Daniel Nisbet, 2019 100th New Zealand Open, Pre-tournament Interview - 27th February 2019

DEFENDING CHAMPION – DANIEL NISBET

Driving back in as the defending champion – what were your thoughts?

It is a pretty amazing place flying into Queenstown. The scenery here is second to none. Whether defending or not, it is such an amazing feeling coming back to these courses and this area. The two courses are absolutely world class and coming back in is a great feeling.

After your win in Queensland, is that the ideal preparation coming in to the tournament?

Yes I think so. It is nice when the form comes in at the right time. I played pretty well over the summer. I just had to tweak a few things and I think we have made the right choices and changes with my game to hopefully be in contention again this year.

How has your year been?

It’s been okay, very busy and I have been plagued with a couple of injuries. We have that under control now. I have a good team around me and we have taken care of that stuff. I had a few niggly things. My left shoulder has been up and down for a while but staying on top of rehab work for that and keeping it as mobile and pain-free as possible.

Do you have a preference on the courses?

Obviously we played Millbrook more last year so I have a bit more experience there but I also played well at The Hills and I like this course (The Hills). They both have very different aspects where you need to be stronger. Around Millbrook you need to be stronger off the tees and around The Hills you need to be stronger around the greens. Both courses are tough and a challenge dependant on the weather.

Are you superstitious – like staying in the same place this year?

No superstitions like that. I have a few quirks I guess but no superstitions.

Looking back, what got you over the line last year?

A combination of a lot of things – good golf was probably the best one. I capitalised on what I was doing well. I was driving the ball well so I kept hitting driver. A lot asked why not hit some irons off certain tees, but I was driving it well so I kept hitting driver. And took advantage. And I had the confidence with the putter as well.

What has the win meant for you?

Not only did it get me up on to the money list in Australia, it got me an Asian Tour card for last year, this year and next year. Three years on the Asian Tour is going to help me grow and develop my game/ The Asian Tour is going from strength to strength so it is great to be part of that Tour advancing. The doors that are opening up in Europe as a result of the Australasian Tour and Asian Tour means it is becoming very busy. For someone in my position I need to be busy so it is great.

You got pipped at the post for the Tour Order of Merit and you have seen Jack McLeod and Matt Miller over at the WGC, does that motivate you to try to get back up and win the OOM?

100 per cent. There is so much to play for – there European Tour access, there’s different tournaments you can qualify for like WGC and Dunhill Links and others, all these e vents that come off the back of finishing high on the moneylist. That is about being consistent throughout the year. I wished I had been a little more consistent at the end of the year, and would have finished a little higher and got access to those events. This year if the game keeps going the way it is, then I will be there this year.

As the 100th New Zealand Open, does it make it more special as the defending champion?

The amount of effort and energy going into this tournament is absolutely incredible. I am very lucky to be looked after as the defending champion this week. The hospitality I am receiving has been second to none. I just hope I can be in contention at the end of the week.