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Golf Australia Express : January 2014
T WO things make a man stand out in a crowd. Height and talent. England’s Chris Wood has both in abundance. At just 26, the 196cm—or 6’ foot 5”— golfer has already achieved a lot in his burgeoning career, including two top five Open Championship finishes— one of those as an amateur—two professional wins on two world tours, and more recently he represented his country with Danny Willet at the 2013 World Cup of Golf. Yet as a rising star of the game, the lanky lad from Bristol has had to deal with the dark cloud of injury more than any young golfer should. Sitting down with Wood, you quickly get the sense he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s been ‘brought up right’, so to speak. And when you consider the way he keeps getting back up after injurious setbacks, it’s hard not to have immense admiration for the man. He is a definite ‘Tubthumping’ Englishman in the Chumbawumba sense. It seems you'r enever gonna keep him down. Having already missed out on a lot in his career, it’s little wonder Wood jumped at the chance to fly the English flag at the World Cup when higher-ranked countrymen declined the honour. “I hope I never turn down the opportunity to play for my country,” Wood told OTG after a tough first round at Royal Melbourne. “Certainly at this stage, I never think I will.” “To get the chance to play [for England] as a pro is fantastic.” When he’s fit, Wood is clearly a large force to be reckoned with out there, a fact no more evident than at the Qatar Masters 12 months ago where he secured his maiden European Tour victory after a stunning approach to the final hole for an eagle. “A lot of the feeling was [relief.]. It’s just so hard to win on Tour,” he said. “It was a big monkey off the back. It sort of gave me a—not a confidence that I could win, because I knew I could—but a belief I could win again.” Wood had come a long way from the fresh-faced kid who nearly pulled off the unthinkable at The Open in ’08 and ’09, only to then face a wave of expectation to salute early on in his career. Although, not all of that expectation came externally. “I always felt like I was improving but I was disappointed I hadn’t won up until the point I did," Wood said. “It sort of feels like it opens the doors for more opportunities to be winning.” Words by Damian Shutie “I HOPE I NEVER TURN DOWN THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY FOR MY COUNTRY.” the feature