I'm a big fan of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and I know he was hugely inspired by what he witnessed at the Ryder Cup in Hazeltine where he was vice-captain and fellow countryman Thomas Bjorn’s on-course buggy driver.
The 26-year-old was invited to the United States by Bjorn in a bid to expose him to a Ryder Cup and all that the competition brings, with a view to a potential maiden appearance at the tournament in the years ahead.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer performed a similar role at Valhalla in 2008 and he went on to hole the winning putt four years later as Europe sensationally triumphed at Medinah.
Olesen won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2015 and had made a strong start to the current season but arrived at last week’s Turkish Open having missed seven cuts in his past 10 events.
I was delighted to see him claim victory in Antalya on Sunday and it was a fantastic effort which included a course-record nine-under-par 62 on Friday. He had to withstand a rush of birdies on Sunday from England’s David Horsey, who played some wonderful golf to turn up the heat on the now four-time European Tour winner.
No player has ever surrendered a seven-shot lead after 54 holes on the European Tour before, although Horsey’s charge for glory more than hinted at that possibility before Olesen regained his composure and fired birdies at the 12th, 14th and 15th.
Olesen claimed the biggest payday of his career, scooping close to £1m, and rose to ninth from 38th in the Race to Dubai standings, which is still led by Henrik Stenson after Danny Willett recorded a disappointing joint-68th finish.
Masters champion Willett was disgusted his own performance during a final round in which he carded 75, but after initially appearing to rule himself out, he has decided to play in this week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.
But in respect of Olesen, he talked after his victory of his game being good enough to compete at Majors and ultimately the Ryder Cup, and whatever he achieves going forward, I believe a lot can be traced back to his time in Bjorn’s buggy.