Only two years after shooting a Sunday 59 en route to winning The Greenbrier Classic, Stuart Appleby had reason to expect good things in 2012. Instead, lingering back issues helped to 'ruin' his swing and led to a forgettable campaign that saw the Aussie crack the top 20 only twice in 24 starts on the PGA Tour.
Heading into next week's Australian Open, though, Appleby is optimistic that a return to form is on the horizon. According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, the nine-time PGA Tour winner recently adopted an increased exercise regimen, which helped him drop nearly 10 pounds.
'I'm a bit more emotionally excited,' Appleby said in an interview with the publication in advance of next week's event. 'When my body degraded, my swing degraded and then my confidence degraded.'
Appleby's struggles this year caused him to plummet to 162nd on the season-ending money list, far outside the top 125 needed to keep his card for next year. Currently 18th on the career money list for the PGA Tour, Appleby is now forced to call upon the second of two exemptions at his disposal based on that standing, the first of which he had to use for the 2010 season.
'If you've got a bullet in the gun, you might as well use it,' he added.
At age 41, Appleby could have used a difficult season as rationale to scale back his playing schedule in order to spend more time with his family. Instead, the man who a decade ago came within a stroke of the Claret Jug indicated a desire to press onward.
'I know I'm in good enough shape and have enough attributes in my game, there's no way I want to stop,' he told the Herald. 'I've got too much unfinished business and I love the game too much.'