Dominic Foos is relishing the challenges he has in front of him as sets his sights on the European Tour but first the Challenge Tour is his major goal for now.
The 20-year-old Dubai-based professional golfer moved to the UAE three-and-half years ago where he practices at the Els Club and lives near-by in Sports City.
Originally from Karlsruhe outside Stuttgart in Germany, Foos is enjoying life in the Middle East as he competes in his fourth season on the Challenge Tour – the second-tier men’s professional golf tour in Europe.
“Dubai is a great place, you’ve got people from all over the world. The main reason for me moving here in 2014 was to be have a good base and be central,” he said.
“I‘m travelling all the time during the summers so Dubai helps me to prepare well. I’ve developed great friendships at the Butch Harmon School and I really enjoy it over there.”
When Foos first burst on to the professional scene in 2014, he tasted victory within his first months, making him the youngest ever winner on Challenge Tour at 17 years, 347 days.
It was easy for some to have unrealistic expectations so early, but in his 50 tournaments since, he has yet to win but two second place finishes has added some gloss to his achievements.
“I feel like it’s a hard experience. I haven’t won a tournament in three years. This experience has helped me to be ready. But I know what I have to work on to get on the European Tour,” Foos said.
“The key to my game is driving. If I hit the fairways it will be a good tournament. My putting is good. Even a bad putting day is good. If you position off the tee, it is key. I’ve noticed it for me it works.
In his three competitions this season, Foos has showed gradual improvements, with his most recent finish his best yet.
A T17 result at the Turkish Airlines Challenge last week was his highest finish in over eight months with promising signs to show his game finally coming together.
He finished T108 at the Barclays Kenyan Open on March 25 and followed it up with a 75th place finish at the Yunnan Open in China two weeks ago.
It’s just an insight into the heavy workload of a professional with each week offering a different setting but the same motivation but not the same result.
“I’ve figured out, for me to effective I can’t play more than four tournaments in a row. I need a break for a week to be fresh and start again and recover,” he said.
The Challenge Tour is tougher than ever with a constant flood of talented youngsters coming through with the ambition of getting on the European Tour.
With only 100 cards available on the European Tour each season, a player needs to finish in the top five on the Challenge Tour to win membership to the European Tour the following season.
At 20, he has plenty of time on his side but there is always that burst to make it to the top as quick as he can on a demanding circuit.
“I want to win the Challenge Tour to get on the European Tour. I am focusing on the process. I know to achieve that I have to hit the fairways, that’s number one priority,” he said.
“The tour has gotten really strong. My game has got better. I’m still making mistakes that I’m learning from which is costing me a lot.
“I know though if I hit the fairways, I can hit birdies. The goal for every player is to be contention and be in the final round of the tournament and figure things out from there.”
*Foos was recently named on ISM’s ‘Class of 18’ programme, which supports three different prospects every year. It is the third instalment of the scheme and last year was its most successful yet, with Matt Wallace and Clement Sordet winning three times between them and graduating from the Challenge Tour to the 2018 European Tour.
Garcia’s title defence at Augusta National effectively came to an embarrassing early end when he took an amazing 13 shots to play the 15th hole in the opening round.
The 38-year-old dumped five balls into the water on the par five, where he made a crucial eagle in the final round in 2017, to record the highest score on the hole in tournament history.
After his second shot – with a six iron from 206 yards – found the water in front of the green, Garcia took a penalty drop and left himself around 90 yards to the green, but repeatedly hit wedge shots onto the putting surface and watched them spin back into the hazard.
Garcia went on to shoot rounds of 81 and 78 to finish in a tie for 82nd in the 87-man field, but insists the incident was quickly put out of his mind.
“Probably as soon as we finished on Friday afternoon it was pretty much forgotten and the week was over,” Garcia told a pre-tournament press conference in San Antonio.
“I think at the end of the day you’ve got to realise that sometimes it happens, sometimes it goes the wrong way, and without doing much wrong it can happen. But you learn from it and you move forward and try to be better.
“If my ball with a six iron bounces up and goes to, I don’t know, five feet or something like that, even if I don’t make eagle we’re probably having a different conversation. I’m probably shooting even par or even one over that first round.
“With a decent round on Friday, I have a chance of contending. Unfortunately, what happened happened and you can start trying to make excuses that I had a lot of things to do coming into the week or during the week, yes, but we’re used to those things. I’m not going to put that as an excuse of why the week went the way it went.”
Asked if what happened on the 15th represented the lowest point in his career, Garcia added: “No, no, not really.
“Maybe if that would have happened on Sunday last year after hitting my shot, if it hits the pin dead on and goes in the water, it probably would have been harder.
“Knowing that you can go there [as a former champion] every year, it kind of helps. If I play it 30 more times we’ll have some years where things go our way and some years where it doesn’t.
“You’ve just got to deal with it and keep moving forward. Obviously the Masters, it’s massive, it’s very important, but it’s one week and you can’t let one week ruin your whole year.”
The eagerly awaited Luckiest Ball on Earth series kicks off later this month and, for the first time, junior golfers across the UAE will be vying for a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest names in golf in the star-studded DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am.
The initiative is another indication of DP World’s determination to grow the game at grassroots level as part of their title sponsorship of the European Tour’s season-ending tournament.
The Junior Luckiest Ball on Earth, which has been introduced as a new initiative aimed at helping to grow the junior game in the UAE, will this year be based on Emirates Golf Federation Order of Merit events with 20 girls and 20 boys winning a place in the Grand Final set to take place on the Fire course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on October 28.
The juniors that qualify will consist of the top 10 boys and 10 girls from the season ending Gross Order of Merit and the top 10 from the Net Order of Merit which will be declared after the Al Ain Junior Open on April 28.
One winner – girl or boy – will then win a place in the ‘Luckiest Ball on Earth’ team, alongside the adult man and lady winner, where they will rub shoulders with the likes of defending DP World Tour Championship winner Jon Rahm, former World No.1 Rory McIlroy and Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood in the DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am on the Earth course on Tuesday, November 13.
The event is the annual curtain raiser for the European Tour’s season-ending grand finale which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from Thursday, November 15, to Sunday, November 18.
“The Luckiest Ball on Earth grows bigger and better every year and we are thrilled to be giving junior golfers in the UAE an opportunity to play with some of their heroes,” said Nick Tarratt, Dubai-based Director of European Tour International.
“We wish all the competitors the very best of luck as they aim to secure a spot in the DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am and send our thanks and appreciation to the clubs and the EGF for continuing to support this amazing initiative.”
The Luckiest Ball on Earth competition has proven a sure hit with the UAE’s amateur golfers since the initiative was first launched in 2011.
The annual competition has traditionally been open to all golfers aged 18 or over who hold an Official Club Handicap recognised by the EGF (maximum 28 for men and 36 for ladies).
The Al Ain Junior Open takes place on April 28 at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club with entries closing on April 25. Secure your place for this amazing opportunity now.