Q&A Interview: We speak to Zane ScotlandFebruary, 2014
Once destined for greatness, Zane Scotland has had to show fortitude just to remain in the game
Zane Scotland has been on many people’s radar since he qualified for the Open at Carnoustie in 1999 aged just 16 as an amateur starlet.
Since then there have been highs – he secured his 2007 European Tour card after just half a dozen starts – and lows – the following year he suffered a wrist injury and in 2003 a car crash knocked two vertebrae out of place in his neck.
Now, though, he is back playing pain free and winning on a regular basis on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour. In 2013 he topped the Order of Merit after picking up four wins before coming through the first two stages of Q School but just missing out at the final leg.
Scotland’s game is on an upward curve, as he explains…
“I practise out in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and play the tournaments on the MENA Tour but I still live in Banstead in Surrey. I’ve been playing nicely for a while; I won in 2012, had two seconds and was second on Order of Merit. I don’t get get any bother with the neck, I don’t practise as much as I would like to but it’s not a problem otherwise.
“It is clichéd, but golf is a game of confidence, I think I’m a better player now than five years ago, I’m more experienced and steadier and more consistent. It is a build up of playing for 20 years and 10 years as a professional.
We work on TrackMan on every lesson so we are dealing with facts and figures to go with his knowledge and how we can change the numbers. Rather than guessing things for a month we know within an hour what is good and what isn’t. “I have worked with Kristian Baker at Wentworth for the past 18 months and my results have really improved. We work on TrackMan on every lesson so we are dealing with facts and figures to go with his knowledge and how we can change the numbers. Rather than guessing things for a month we know within an hour what is good and what isn’t.
One of my pals Duncan Stewart began working with my management group MB Partners, which is run by the former Formula One driver Mark Blundell and has Theo Paphitis involved, and he said they were good. They have very interesting backgrounds; everyone raves about Theo but I’ve not been able to fit him into my schedule!
“Mark obviously gets what sport is about, some people in the management game have never been managed and, when you do you want things done a certain way, it might not make any sense but it just helps your performance. It’s great when you’re playing well it’s great, but then you have a few bad months, you worry and you’re up against it. But it can turn round quickly.
“I have played at the top level and the bottom. The pressure is obviously big at the Majors but it’s very different when it is to pay the bills. It is pretty easy to hole six-foot putts to win a tournament when you have been doing that all week; it is really hard to make the cut when you are obviously struggling. It is very up and down and not really like many jobs but I quite like the uncertainty of it.
“I got my card through six starts so I don’t really question myself and I am better prepared now. If I didn’t think I could do it I wouldn’t carry on. The hardest part is to get your card back, there are so many guys going for it and you need to get a lot of things right.
“You can only really play your way into big tournaments rather than rely on invitations. I played the French Open last year by winning the qualifying and got into the Dubai Desert Classic by finishing in the top three on the MENA Money List. I have had invites in the past but now I have to work for it and rightly so.
“The low point was having all that time off with the neck injury and to have golf taken away from me was hard but friends and family have been mega supportive and given me a lot of confidence.
“The Open at Carnoustie was very different to the experience at St Andrews in 2010. You remember your opening tee shot so much, there isn’t a feeling like it. I was fine on the range then, when Ivor Robson calls your name, you can’t feel your arms and your legs, somehow you make contact. Every single hole had the potential of a disaster.”