Chris Paisley reveals pain of failing to reclaim tour card

Chris Paisley was among the members of Stocksfield celebrating their centenary with a dinner dance in Hexham on Saturday night and although the best player in that 100 years of club history was not sulking, neither was he among the leading revellers

Photo credit: www.rgjphotography.co.uk Golfer Chris Paisley watches as dad Eddie, Stocksfield captain, plays a shot
Golfer Chris Paisley watches as dad Eddie, Stocksfield captain, plays a shot

Most professional sportsmen – and most people generally – have to learn to live with one of the facts of life. What usually matters most is how you pick yourself up after you have been knocked down.

Chris Paisley was among the members of Stocksfield celebrating their centenary with a dinner dance in Hexham on Saturday night and although the best player in that 100 years of club history was not sulking, neither was he among the leading revellers.

Paisley had landed at Newcastle Airport hours earlier having fallen down the field on the last day of Final Stage of Q School the previous day in Spain, where he had started the sixth round with an excellent chance of reclaiming his European Tour card at the first attempt.

Non-attendance at the dinner was barely an option because this is his father Eddie’s captain’s year at Stocksfield. For similar paternal reasons his brother Andy, the head professional at Hexham, would have been for the high jump had he not been at the big night out for the family’s home club.

“I felt like locking myself away, moping around at home on Saturday night and saying nothing to anybody,” said Chris, from Mickley Square, a former Walker Cup player who is attached to Close House.

“What was so frustrating was that everything was in place at final stage except my putting. I gave myself tons of birdie opportunities but I never sunk anything from 15 feet or longer all week. You have no chance when that happens.

“But I did my best to put a brave face on things at the dinner. It’s part of being a professional and there is no way I would have let my dad down.

“It was a horrible flight back from Spain and a pretty gloomy three days afterwards. But I have had a chat with Andy and with my coach, Andrew Nicholson, and I have snapped out of it now.

“I’m actually excited about doing all the planning ahead of next season.”

There is also some transatlantic wedding planning going on. Today Paisley flies to Tennessee to catch up with his fiancé, Keri Drish, whom he met at college in America.

Their wedding has been fixed for April 11 on Daytona Beach, where elder brothers Richard and Andy will share the best man duties.

Nobody played more than the 31 tournaments Paisley took on during his first European Tour season this year. The Challenge Tour fixture list is not so extensive, teeing off with one tournament a month for the first three months of 2014.

Robert Dinwiddie, from Barnard Castle, won his main tour card back this year playing 19 times, finishing in the same No 12 place in the Challenge Tour rankings Paisley occupied in 2012.

Paisley will play the Joburg Open in February – one of between six to ten starts he remains entitled to on the European Tour – and a dream performance in any one of those events means he’ll have his main tour card back. As he puts it: “In golf you are always one week away from a ten-year high.” Around mid-December there will be a gathering of Team Paisley – the player, his coach, his fitness trainer Kenny McKenzie and his physio Karen Young – when all concerned will get on the same page at a mass planning session.

“I was playing so much this year chasing rankings points there was not enough time to stop and take stock,” Paisley said. “Now I shall be able to tweak my swing properly, work on things more long term generally and take in the overall big picture rather than relying on stop gaps and quick fixes.

“One of the main things is that my putting, although strong on the technical aspects, does not seem to be so natural in terms of factors such as the pace and my feel for a putt, and that is something I am going to prioritise.”

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