Masters 2013: Getting to know Nicolas Colsaerts

Nicolas Colsaerts

Nicolas Colsaerts

To get you ready for the 2013 Masters, we are breaking down the amateurs and first-timers who will play at Augusta National starting on Thursday, April 11.

• • •

Nicolas Colsaerts

Age: 30

Hometown: Brussels, Belgium

How he qualified: Top 50 in the final Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2012

Nicknamed the "Belgian Bomber" for his prowess off the tee, Nicolas Colsaerts jumped into the public eye with his outstanding performance on the opening day of the Ryder Cup in 2012.

The 30-year-old from Brussels nearly single-handedly sparked a four-ball victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to give Europe its only point in the afternoon session on Day 1 of the Ryder Cup.

He made eight birdies in the match alongside veteran Lee Westwood, putting an exclamation point on his first Ryder Cup match of his young career.

“It was a joy and a pleasure to watch," said Westwood. "You don’t know how people are going to react to their first Ryder Cup, and he took to it quite nicely. I didn’t have a lot to do.”

Colsaerts even received high praise from the World No. 1.

“When somebody like Tiger Woods looks at you and goes, ‘Great playing, man,’ you understand you've done something pretty good,” Colsaerts said.

(Read Jeff Babineau's column on Colsaerts' incredible round here)

Not too long ago, Colsaerts didn't look like a man destined to be a Ryder Cup wild-card pick. He looked like a man that was destined to flame out, not able to control himself off the course, choosing to party instead of focus on his game.

"No one has time to babysit anyone out here.”

He made the European Tour out of Q-School as an 18-year-old, but flamed out and lost his card. Five times, he tried and failed to gain it back at Q-School.

But an opportunity to play professionally in Australia proved to be the re-start he needed.

“I was offered a chance to go somewhere, and I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for me to grab and start a new life, and that’s exactly what I did."

According to our Alistair Tait, Colsaerts got over what he referred to as a mid-life crisis at the start of 2009. He returned to Europe and won twice on the Challenge Tour. He took the third card from that circuit to earn his way back onto the main tour.

And now he makes his way to the biggest stage in golf, attempting to slip on a Green Jacket come Sunday evening.

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