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Pieters re-energised for return to action on home soil

Pieters re-energised for return to action on home soil

Thomas Pieters says he is re-energised ahead of his return to action from a month-long break at this week’s Soudal Open – a tournament he has a special association with.

Thomas Pieters-1396673054

The Belgian has enjoyed a stellar season so far on the DP World Tour, winning his maiden Rolex Series title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, but the 30-year-old has not played since he missed the cut at the Masters Tournament last month.

Pieters is third in the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex and admits that being in his home surroundings has helped in his final preparations.

“I’m feeling good,” said Pieters, who is 36th in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I have been home for four or five weeks, so I am rested, well prepared and looking forward to a fun week.

“It is a wonderful feeling to wake up in my own bed and to drive to work in 20 minutes. I had a lot of flying time before Augusta, so I took a week off (after the Masters) to rest and then a lot of practice and a lot of time in the gym. Like I said, I think I am well prepared.”

"As a family we are extremely proud that we organised it for two years to show that it is possible."

The return of the Soudal Open this year revives Belgium’s national Open which spans more than a century and was first part of the DP World Tour in 1978.

In 2018, after an 18-year absence, the tournament returned as the Belgian Knockout, with Pieters' family run company Pieters Productions taking over the responsibility for its organisation.

For two years the event was played under an innovative format. After 36 holes of stroke play, the cut fell with 64 players making it to the weekend, at which point the format reverted to nine-hole medal match play up to the nine-hole final.

“Organising a tournament like that brings with it a lot of stress,” Pieters added.

“As a family we are extremely proud that we organised it for two years to show that it is possible. I am immensely proud that Golazo (the event organiser) is continuing that work this way with the first Soudal Open. I am very excited about this week.”

Reflecting on the event’s return to a 72-hole strokeplay format, he added: “It is more enjoyable for the Belgian fans, a lot more local players will make the cut, and it should be great.”

Pieters, a former Ryder Cup player, is among a host of Belgians in the field and is expecting a stern examination at Rinkven International Golf Club in Schilde, near Antwerp.

“This wind swirls about 380 times a day here so that is one of the difficult parts,” he said. “It is really narrow and it’s not short but it’s shortish, but it just makes it quite tricky.”

Nicolas Colsaerts, like Pieters a former Ryder Cup player, is another Belgium native delighted by the return of golf to his country on the DP World Tour.


The 39-year-old will make his first tournament appearance since the Ras al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital in February as he continues to undergo treatment for a kidney condition.

“It was the biggest break from golf in my whole life,” said Colsaerts. “Concerning my golf game and life, I have absolutely no idea where I am with this.

“I have no idea how I am going to feel on Thursday morning, I am diving a little bit into the unknown, but I am extremely happy to be here and see faces I haven’t seen in a while, and the support from everyone – not just from my profession – but it has been really overwhelming, so I have a genuinely nice reason to be here, and very happy to be here.”

Colsaerts played in both stagings of the Belgian Knockout, finishing tied 18th in 2018, and highlighted the support the event has previously received.

“It is nice to be home, the weather is nice and the event seems bigger – bigger players, bigger purse, bigger everything, which is great,” he added.

“Since the first edition when the Pieters family was in charge it was great to see lots of people coming along. With it being treelined and old school like this, you know you don’t need 15,000 to make it look like it is really busy, so there has been great support from the people from not only in Antwerp but everybody from Belgium, so let’s hope we can do it again this week.”

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