Video: Pro golfer Jamie Moul faces our man Mike
HE’LL be rubbing shoulders with Europe’s best golfers on some of the world’s toughest golf courses in 2012. But you won’t find Colchester’s Jamie Moul shaking with fear. The 27-year-old Essex star has gained a European Tour Card next season. MIKE BACON went and had a few holes with him.
JAMIE Moul will face some serious tests of golf over the coming 14 months.
England’s latest European Tour star could find himself in the same three-ball as Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, or Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy, as he flies round the world competing against the very best Europeans in 2012.
Moul’s eighth-placed finish in last season’s Challenge Tour, has given the Essex star a ‘golden ticket’ – a European Tour card – very highly-prized,
However before all that tame stuff, a gauntlet was thrown Moul’s way, a golfing gauntlet I knew he could not resist.
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Before he takes on Rory ‘whatshisname’, and Luke ‘thingy’, how about giving me – Mike ‘The Slice’ Bacon – (handicap 18 and a dicky putter), a game over nine holes at Stoke-by-Nayland then Jamie?
I knew he would accept.
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For me it was a chance of easy money. For Jamie, a chance to remind himself how bad it could get should he ever develop a slice!
I sensed he was up for the challenge and as we met on the first tee of the Constable course at Stoke-by-Nayland, the serious business took over.
Clearly we are both very competitive, both very focused, although only one of us had silly head covers on their woods. But, hey, I like Donald Duck and his nephews, OK?
The bigger problem for me was – only one of us could seriously play golf.
“We’ll play off the whites if you want Jamie,” I nonchalantly said, trying to strike an early psychological blow.
“Or do you want to go off the yellows?”
I smiled at my own joke, clearly I had psyched him out early on. Jamie must have been worried. ‘The Slice’, an 18-handicapper, ranked six millionth in the world, wanting to take him on – a player in the top 300 – AND off the white tees.
However, as I began to wise up, watching him go through his warm-up routine, I began to wonder was I really so clever?
Now it was concerning me. Typically, and ever with my cup half full, I’d thrown down the challenge to top golf pro Jamie Moul – on his home course – and now off the white tees! I was beginning to breath more heavily.
“You can go first,” he grinned.
He was getting the upper hand – I sensed it – as he laughed at my Fireman Sam scorecard holder.
For those who don’t know, the first hole on the Constable course at Stoke-by-Nayland, is one of the most daunting opening tee-shots in Suffolk, or dare I say, one of the most daunting tee-shots in East Anglia, with a big water carry.
Now I’m praying all those balls I hit at the ski-slope driving range the day before were worthwhile – all �55-worth of them.
Bang! I’ve hit my first shot of the day. And joy of joys, it’s sailing across the water and heading down the middle of the fairway. I’m almost lost for words.
“Great shot,” says Jamie.
Did he just say that? I’m ready to quit on the spot. I like this boy, how can I be so cruel to take money off him!!?
Now it’s Jamie’s turn . . . Wow!
What a drive. He’s managed to go at least 70 yards past me and I’ve hit a good one.
It’s a familiar tale as we play out our nine holes. I watch his sweet swing, he listens to my list of sorry excuses as to why I can’t putt.
But what a great guy Jamie Moul is.
A brilliant golfer, excellent company – here’s hoping he has a cracking 2012.
COL U OR GOLF?
JAMIE Moul first hit a golf ball at the age of nine and was soon a member of Stoke-by-Nayland golf club, having regular lessons with then pro, Kevin Lovelock, now professional at Ipswich Golf Club.
But it wasn’t golf that was Jamie’s first love.
“I enjoyed my football,” he says.
“In fact I was training with Colchester United every Saturday morning and then coming up to Stoke to hit golf balls in the afternoon.
“But I picked up a couple of injuries when I was 13 and football took a back seat.
“It was all golf.”
Not that Col U have been forgotten by Jamie.
“Col U’s result is still the first I look for on a Saturday,” Moul adds.
AS well as a top golfer, Jamie Moul is also a bright lad.
Indeed it was with a little trepidation his dad, Moe, watched as his son left St Helena School, in Colchester, with eight grade A GCSEs under his belt, to then announce he was going to play golf . . . full time!
“My parents have been very supportive of me with my golf, but my dad was a little concerned that I wanted to play full-time,” he said.
“But I am very competitive, very determined and I know what I want to achieve.”
From county squads into Elite English squads, Jamie made his way through the various pyramid steps and in 2007 was World Amateur No.1, for four months.
He played alongside Rory McIlroy in the GB and Ireland Walker Cup team in 2007, at Royal County Down, and now it was time to turn pro.
TRAVELLING THE WORLD
JAMIE turned pro at the end of 2007 and, since then, has travelled the world playing golf.
From India to Russia, Colombia to Kazakhstan, an eighth-place finish on the Challenge Tour this year, now means he must prepare for the big time – a full season on the European Tour. And it won’t be easy.
“The one thing I will notice is the expense,” he admits.
“It cost me about �20,000 just to play last season, with hotel bills, air flights. It will be double that next year.
“Stoke-by-Nayland Golf club are great sponsors for me and Titleist are helping me too in 2012.
“Now I’m on the full European Tour, I have to have a full-time caddy. The season starts in South Africa in the first week of January 2012. Then it goes to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai), before heading to India, Europe, Malayasia, Korea and China, then back to Europe.”
Moul is classed as a category 10 pro, which will not guarantee a starting place in all next year’s events. But he won’t miss out on many.
He still has to play qualifiers to get into the Majors, including The Open, but there are a lot more doors open now.
HOPES AND DREAMS
WHEN Jamie Moul steps onto the first tee in South Africa in January in the European Tour’s first event of the season, he won’t be overawed.
For a start there are plenty of players on the Tour, he has grown up playing with . . . McIlroy the best example.
“I played with Rory in the Walker Cup team and I’ve played with the likes of Rhys Davies and David Horsey, who have all won on the European Tour.
“It would be nice to get drawn alongside the likes of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, but TV tends to govern when they play.
“There is no reason I can’t do well. But the first year is probably the hardest. I’m going to need to earn about 230,000 euros to retain my card.”
An average ‘cut’ (being in the top half of the field after two rounds), can be worth about �4,000 on the European Tour, 10 times more than on the Challenge Tour.”