KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Gavin Kyle Green hopes his “A” game will show up when he makes his debut at the US$10 million World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship which begins on Thursday.
The reigning Asian Tour No. 1 will carry the region’s charge in the year’s first WGC tournament at Club Golf de Chapultepec which will feature 45 of the world’s top-50 players led by world No. 1 and title holder Dustin Johnson and FedExCup No. 1 Justin Thomas.
The 24-year-old Malaysian spent several days sharpening his game with swing coach Chris O’Connell in Dallas last week and will count on experienced caddie Mark Crane to give him an edge in Mexico.
“My result was a little bit on the low side and I wasn’t comfortable with my swing. Thankfully, I had a week off, saw my coach and I’m way more comfortable now which is great. I like feeling like this going into an event,” said Green, who became the first Malaysian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season.
“He (O’Connell) sorted me out where I have more of a one-way miss now and not a two-way miss, so that’s huge for me. Being on a course like this, obviously it’s a huge thing because left and right, you have trouble. We’ve straightened things out.”
After finishing tied 38th in his first WGC tournament at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China last October, Green is eager to make progress in his blossoming career. His success in Asia has given him playing rights on the European Tour this year but his goal will be to get onto the PGA Tour in the near future.
A graduate from University of New Mexico, Green knows he must remain patient in everything that he is doing, including tackling this week’s tree-lined test with precision from off the tee.
“I think patience is one thing but I also think experience plays another part. If you’re constantly playing the bigger events, all of a sudden you go to a European Tour event, you feel very much more comfortable. When I was with the Asian Tour, I was like, man, this is a big event. Then I got used to it, and all of a sudden a couple of top fives came, and I calmed down,” said Green.
As much as he is keen to make an impression this week, Green knows he must take it one shot at a time and stick to his game plan.
“It’s important that I don’t overdo things just because of the event. I kind of had a little feel about it in China (WGC-HSBC Champions) and obviously in the CJ CUP (in South Korea), they were big events, but you can’t overdo things. I think I’m taking a different approach where I’m just going to go nine, nine, nine, take it easy, do some work on the range, chip and putt,” he said.
His caddie Crane, who has worked with Ryder Cup players Paul Casey and Chris Wood, will be very much counted upon by Green to give him the right yardages at a venue which is some 7,000 feet above sea level, which means the golf ball will travel further here.
“He’s seen how good things can happen and how bad things can happen here. So he knows what are the risks and he knows a little bit about my game and where I should hit it and all that kind of stuff, and what suits me,” he said.
“It’s important for me to listen and trust him because sometimes I look at some holes, I’m like, I think it’s driver, but he says no, it’s a 5 wood or a 2 iron. It’s tough for me to just do that because I’m so tempted to just hit driver. I guess it’s part of experience and just trusting,” said Green.