May 31, 2016
It has taken some time but Chris Wood finally delivered on the potential he showed when finishing fifth as an amateur at the 2008 British Open by winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
The beanpole Englishman's one-stroke victory at the European Tour's flagship event on Sunday sent him rocketing from 54th to 22nd in the world rankings and went a long way towards clinching a debut Ryder Cup appearance in September.
Wood said compatriot Danny Willett's first major victory at the U.S. Masters in April had given him the kick up the backside he needed to make the next step in his career progression.
"I've grown up with Dan since we were about 13, 14, through England amateur golf, and there's no doubt seeing players like that win pushes you," the 28-year-old told reporters.
"I'm not somebody who needs to be motivated. I can motivate myself but ... you just want that feeling of winning a tournament again and holding a trophy. It definitely spurs you on."
The 6-foot-6 (1.98-metre) Wood said he found it tough to enjoy the experience as he was plotting his way to his third, and most important, tour win.
"I'm pretty tired," he added after finishing with a three-under-par 69 and a nine-under tally of 279. "It is so hard to win a golf tournament and particularly one of this stature.
"The golf course is so demanding, the final six holes or so, when they play into the wind, it seems like every shot you've got to hit good shot after good shot just to try and make pars.
"That's how it feels when you're leading so mentally it's very draining and you can't really enjoy it to be honest, even though obviously I played really nicely."
Swede Rikard Karlberg finished in second place, one ahead of world number nine Willett who lamented a poor back-nine 39 in the second round that sent him back into the pack after a tournament record outward half of 29 had pushed him into first place.
"It was easier on Friday in the morning and then we hit a bit of a slow patch," said Willett. "That kind of killed it really.
"There was a lot of good in there this week but the bad shots have been pretty bad. A couple of weeks off now before the U.S. Open is going to do me some good."