The Score is the Sunshine Tour’s Player Blog.
Tristen Strydom reflects on his past Sunshine Tour season and that breakthrough victory in the Tour Championship.
It was the right time and place to make my breakthrough in last season’s Tour Championship. It’s obviously very satisfying in a way because for a long time I haven’t been my normal self in terms of being confident on the golf course and not worried about my game. I felt it should just come to me, but it’s been an uphill road since I joined the Tour. That first year on Tour in 2017, I failed miserably. I was very low after that. I was really disappointed. My caddie just kept saying to me to be patient because I was playing well, and it will come.
After yet another runner-up finish in 2021 I took on Grant Veenstra as my coach. It was really tough on me those first few months because I’ve never been in that kind of structured setup, and I had to show a lot of discipline to myself and make sacrifices. I don’t mean to sound arrogant when I say this, but golf has always been the easy part for me. I’ve played golf since I was a year and four months old. It really does come naturally to me. But when I turned pro, I went from knowing exactly what I did with a golf ball to being confused. There is not that sense of urgency in amateur golf. You’re still a youngster and under your parents’ roof. Then you turn pro and suddenly it’s welcome to the big boys. It took me a while to find my feet. There wasn’t anybody who showed me the ropes. But I’m also a bit different like that. I don’t like asking questions. I like doing my own thing because I feel that when you figure it out yourself, there’s that sense that you who did it. This is a mental game, and that’s what has clicked for me. You don’t have to play perfect golf to contend and win golf tournaments.
I’m turning into a better professional in the sense of being more dedicated to what I’m doing. I’m more patient in my build-up and more strict in my course management. I never really understood the importance of that before. Discipline seems like a harsh word, but I found the real power in doing the same thing for the past nine months every day and trusting that it’s good enough to win golf tournaments. Last season I took the time to work really hard on my mental game. That’s a big key out here on Tour when you’re trying to beat seriously good golfers. We can all do everything with the golf ball out here. What makes the difference is that you need to be mentally tough out here.
I have some great opportunities now. I’m going to play the Challenge Tour and hopefully get my DP World Tour card at the end of this season. You know, in golf you always compare yourself to other guys. I compare myself to a lot of my peers who are in the top 100 in the world, playing in Majors and winning on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour. For me there was a sense of, ‘what am I missing to get to that level?’. I need motivation like that. I want to be playing on the main tours. I want to be in the top 100 in the world. I want to try and win Majors.
Photo Credit: Sunshine Tour