5 Things: Thomas Pieters - bomber, Tour winner, flower girl
1) Pieters bombs it, like really bombs it
Thomas Pieters has been on Tour the past three seasons and has averaged over 300 yards every year. According to his coach Pete Cowen it’s down to his ‘long levers’, his swing speed is around 120mph.
He also does 5-6 workouts a week and has bundles of talent. His longest drive on Tour is 420 yards at the NH Collection in Spain two years ago.
2) How did he get on Tour?
After missing his senior year at the University of Illinois he came through all three stages of Qualifying School in 2013.
At the Final at PGA Catalunya he was ill after an opening 64 but he played on and took the 20th of 27 cards. His family then flew in to celebrate.
In his first season on Tour he was 83rd, last year 29th and he is now up to 13th.
His three victories have all come on mainland Europe – Czech Masters and KLM Open (two weeks apart in 2015) and now Made in Denmark.
— Thomas Pieters (@Thomas_Pieters) June 7, 2016
3) Not the quickest start to Tour life
After gaining his card his first nine starts, on either the European or Challenge Tours, produced eight missed cuts and one pay cheque of around £5,000.
Pieters explains that it was down to a lot of travelling that he wasn’t yet used to. Then it all turned around at the Malaysian Open despite opening up with a 75.
“Mentally, the turning point for me came at the 5th hole during the second round. I was +5 for the tournament, when my caddie turned around and said ‘Stop this sh*t! Let’s play these next 13 holes seven under’.
“It’s hard to explain why, but I got an immense confidence boost and I did what he said. In the end, I was -14 on the following 50 holes, finishing in a tie for 8th for the tournament. My first top 10 on Tour!”
A month later he lost a play-off for the Spanish Open to Miguel Angel Jimenez, back at PGA Catalunya.
4) He’s a family guy
He grew up making some pocket money selling balls that he found in a water hazard at his local club and then playing with his older brother and sister.
Before too long he was concentrating solely on golf, at 14 he stopped playing football and basketball, and went to a boarding school which was funded by the Golf Association of Flanders. In 2009 he won the Belgium Junior Championship.
When he won the Czech Masters his mum, dad and sister (and manager) Lieselotte drove 12 hours from Belgium to just arrive in time to watch Pieters emerge triumphant. For the return journey Pieters joined his family members.
When his sister got married in Portugal he and his brother Pieter-Jan acted as a pair of ‘flower girls’, dishing out confetti as they walked down the aisle. Pieters then caught the bouquet bit then dropped it when he realised the significance.
5) PGA Tour gave him a virtual haircut
The Belgian is a possible Major Champion but that didn’t stop the PGA Tour from making some ’minor’ alterations to his official profile image.
Pieters posted a before and after photo to Instagram, in which his curly locks have been airbrushed out of existence.
The Tour were quick to respond: “In the standard process of prepping new headshots for broadcast TV, electronic scoreboards and other uses – which always requires a bit of retouching and colour-correction – our vendor was a bit too heavy-handed in the editing of Thomas’s photo.”
“We meant no disrespect to Thomas. We think he has a great head of hair,” they kindly added.