NICK DOUGHERTY admits he needs to fall in love with golf again as he sets out to salvage his career today.
After dropping off the main tour for the first time in a decade, the Liverpool-born player is looking for a route back from the second-tier Challenge Tour.
A three-time Tour winner, Dougherty saw his form desert him in a torrid 2011 which saw him miss 33 halfway cuts in 34 appearances and fail to come through the end of season qualifying school.
Now he tees up at this week’s Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Colombia and Barranquilla Country Club on the Caribbean coast. The 29 years-old has been praised for refusing to duck the challenge of rebuilding his career, which had taken him into the world’s top 50 at its height.
“In recent years I’ve been trying to do things by the book a bit too much and, while I stand by the decisions I’ve made with my game, it kind of went in the wrong direction for me,” he says. “I’ve been so conscious of what I was doing, I forgot to just try and enjoy it and just play the game. I just need to get back to basics now and remember the reasons why I loved the game in the first place, and I’m getting there now. I feel like I’m more me again.”