After helping Europe win the 2012 Ryder Cup, Nicolas Colsaerts was relegated to the announcer's booth last month when the Europeans defended their title. Based on his play in the weeks since, it appears the Belgian is eager to be back inside the ropes when 2016 rolls around.
Colsaerts has struggled to replicate the form that led to an appearance at Medinah (where he went 1-3-0) and after reaching as high as No. 32 in the OWGR in 2012 he entered this week's BMW Masters at No. 142 in the world. He did, however, bring a bit of momentum with him to China: Colsaerts tied for fourth last month at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, then in his first start following television duties at the Ryder Cup he nearly shot the first-ever 59 in European Tour history at the Portugal Masters.
Colsaerts settled for a 60 that led to a runner-up finish in the rain-shortened event, and after rounds of 66 and 64 he holds a one-shot lead at Lake Malaren over Alexander Levy - the man who clipped him in Portugal. According to Colsaerts, sitting on the sidelines at Gleneagles was all the motivation he needed to start playing better.
"When you get to see it like that from the outside, I was certainly missing it," Colsaerts told reporters. "I wish I could have been playing in it, and it's almost like you go back the week after and you just keep that intensity that you've seen at the Ryder Cup and bring that out in the next tournament. You realize how golf should be played on some of the courses, and not be afraid of taking command."
After going 14 straight starts this year without a top-10 finish, Colsaerts is now halfway toward a third straight top-five result - and potentially his first win on the European Tour since the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship.
"I'm comfortable being back here now," he said. "I'm quite happy being here and playing the way I am capable of."