Ryder Cup: Colsaerts' Big Belgian Bang makes world take notice

Wildcard dazzles Woods but he just couldn't be Superman again

Medinah

Famous Belgians: King Charlemagne, Tintin, Rubens and Magritte, Hercule Poirot, Eddie Merckx, punk rockers Plastic Bertrand, and George Lemaitre, who proposed the Big Bang Theory. Add Nicolas Colsaerts's name to the roll of honour.

The 29-year-old 6ft 2in tall Muscles from Brussels has a Big Bang Theory of his own: whack it with a driver into the middle of next week.

Colsaerts is about to play his part in either a history-making comeback or defeat but if it is the latter, he will be one of the few Europeans who can hold his head high. He has fought his heart out for the European cause.

In two rounds of fourball matches he made 11 birdies and one eagle while of his partners, Lee Westwood managed none and and Paul Lawrie contributed just one.

Yesterday morning, Colsaerts tried to breath life into Sergio Garcia, another European who had been sluggish at Medinah. He almost did it, too. But he just couldn't be Superman two days in a row. He and Garcia lost 2&1 to Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. "My partner was trying really hard, and we got back to all square, and then I started spraying it all over the place," Garcia said.

Jose Maria Olazabal has been so impressed with Colsaerts that he sent him out in the lead match with Lawrie in the afternoon fourballs. If anyone could ignite a European fightback, perhaps the Belgian could land the first blow. But it wasn't to be. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar beat them one up.

Colsaerts has already made history as the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. His stock could well be about to go global. He's not even big in Belgium. But now America certainly knows who he is.

Especially after he beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on his own in Friday's fourballs with eight birdies and an eagle. Westwood's birdie-free contribution to that match was so minimal he would have made better use of his time if he'd nipped off to buy his pal an ice cream. "When somebody like Tiger says, 'Great playing, man', you understand that you've done something good," Colsaerts said. "Nicolas probably had one of the greatest putting rounds I've ever seen," Woods said.

Colsaerts comes from fine sporting stock. His great grandfather represented his country at basketball and water polo at the 1920 Olympic Games and his father played top-level field hockey. "I was always going to play sport. I have been dreaming for 20 years about playing in the Ryder Cup," he said, remembering how watching the matches at Kiawah Island in 1999 fired his imagination.

The Dude wanted to be Fred Couples. "Freddie just always seems to be a cool cat, the way he walks and the way he plays," Colsaerts said. "I loved the laziness about him. Funnily enough, I think I walk kind of the same way." But Colsaerts very nearly didn't come to the ball. His journey really is a Cinderella story.

Four years ago, he was languishing outside the world's top 1,000. Now he's world No 35 and riding golf's "up" escalator. He gained a reputation as a party animal and paid the price for his lifestyle. He lost his playing rights and took a teaching job at an academy in Australia. It was here that he reached the low point. "I was watching tournament golf on TV and thinking I shouldn't be on the other side of the screen," he said. "I'm the perfect example that if you want something really bad and you put your work into it, if you've got the heart and the passion, anything is achievable. It's almost like I feel I've come back from the dead."

If Europe are to retain the Ryder Cup today, it will require more than just a miracle from Colsaerts.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?