Golf: McCarthy hoping his ‘staycation’ will pay off

Nick McCarthy
Nick McCarthy
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Nick mcCarthy bucked a popular trend among professional golfers this winter by opting for a ‘staycation’ over a trip to Disneyworld.

The former Challenge Tour player traditionally spends the last few weeks of his build up to a new season fine-tuning his game in Florida.

The weather is a large part of the appeal, as is the standard of golf courses and the fact that he can focus on his game away from distractions.

But this year the 27-year-old EuroPro Tour player chose to stay at home in Leeds in a bid to rediscover the magic that saw him earn elevation onto the second-tier Challenge Tour circuit back in 2011.

“I usually go to America because I can get my head down and concentrate purely on my game,” said McCarthy, who would not confirm whether a trip to Disneyworld was also on his working-break itinerary.

“Hopefully this is the turning point for me.

“I decided to stay at home partly because of finances but partly because the weather has been decent and I could get the work done at home.”

McCarthy enters his third year back on the EuroPro Tour after lasting just 18 months on the rung one below the European Tour.

Like all golfers at this level, he heads to Celtic Manor in a couple of weeks for the first EuroPro Tour event of the season, hoping this is the year when it all clicks into place.

“I’m still plugging away at it,” he said. “You keep looking for improvements in your game.

“This winter, for instance, I’ve worked primarily on my short game and attempted to just keep my long game ticking over.

“In some respects, the whole process can be very frustrating.

“But you’ve got to keep going and keep working hard.

“Once you have been at a higher level, as I have in the case of the Challenge Tour, you want to get back there as quickly as possible.”

Improvements are quantified by results in golf and one big positive in that respect came at the end of last season for McCarthy. After a steady campaign on the EuroPro Tour – highlighted by 12 cuts made from 15 events and five top-10 finishes – he arrived at the year-ending Tour Championship in Egypt and produced his best result of the season.

“It was nice to be in contention again in such an important event,” said McCarthy, whose third-place finish saw him rise up to a final position of 17th on the rankings.

He earned £5,500 from that one week’s work, his biggest pay day for nearly 18 months, and went into the winter believing in himself again.

Hence the change to his winter routine.

And as he heads to Wales for the first event of the season on Wednesday, May 13, he does so hoping for more big pay cheques in 2015.

“It’s another busy year ahead and I’m ready to get cracking,” added the long-time Moortown member.

“I’ve already been playing on the local ‘1836 Tour’ and if I’m in good shape I’ll have a crack at European Tour qualifying school again in August/September.

“But the main focus this year is the EuroPro Tour. It’s a circuit that’s improving each year in terms of calibre of players and standard of courses, so it’s an enjoyable tour to be a part of.”