Date: December 07, 2012
Author: Golf Australia

Marcus Fraser interview, Friday 7 December 2012

Marcus Fraser interview, Friday 7 December 2012 Tell us about your schedule of late. It has been pretty full-on for the past couple of months. This is my seventh week in a row and I still have one more to go next week. I was in America last week for the Tour school and it did not work out the way I would have liked. I pulled the pin early and got back into Melbourne on Monday morning to give myself an extra couple of days to get ready for this week. Your form has carried through the first two rounds. It has been good. I have had a pretty good year in Europe. The best finish I had in Europe on the Race to Dubai, I think I finished 25th there and made five or six top fives which was definitely my best year. Which events have you played? The CIMB in Malaysia, the HSBC in China, the Singapore Open, the Hong Kong Open, the Dubai World Championship, the US Tour school and here. Why? Two years ago I did eight in a row and had a neck operation in January after it. I did not learn my lesson. The schedule was busy but the tournaments were not ones I could miss. CIMB, HBSC, Singapore were $6 or $7 million tournaments. Hong Kong is probably my favourite golf course for the year. I played well again there this year. Then the Race to Dubai, our Tour championship in Europe, the US Tour school and the Aussie Open. I d never want to miss the Aussie Open. Unfortunately I did last year. What were your thoughts yesterday when you were three over after 10 holes? QF 323 was the first thought. I did not really do much wrong for the first 10 holes but all of a sudden I was three over par. I said to myself that there were a lot of birdie chances on the final stretch and I definitely made the most of it. Did you look at 15 as an eagle chance? I went inside and I think there were six balls in the eagle s nest in the clubhouse. Hopefully I will clean those up. How much momentum do you get from a hole in one? The four birdies before it were pretty nice as well. To have one go in like that turned the tournament right around. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going over the weekend. How disappointed were you about the PGA Tour? I got the opportunity to get straight through to final stage. I would not have gone over there unless I was exempt into final. That was off the back of playing well in Australia last year. America is a such a lucrative Tour and it would be great to play over there but it is not the be all and end all. There is a great Tour in Europe and strong fields every week and big world ranking points. I have been in Europe for 10 years now. I feel comfortable and enjoy playing over there. As much as I would have loved the chance to play over there (US), I am still very happy in Europe. If I keep playing the way I have been playing this year, I might get the opportunity next year or the year after to go back over there. Will you get to play the majors and the World Golf Championship events on your ranking? Hopefully. I m second in Asia now. I am already in the British Open for next year after finishing top 30 in Europe this year. Hopefully I can sneak a few more WGC events and the US Open. If I play well this week and next week, the Masters is a chance. That top 50 world ranking by the end of this year is pretty important. What is your best finish in an Australian Open? I think 16th or 17th at Royal Sydney four or five years ago. I have not played overly well, which is probably down to putting too much pressure on myself. It is the premier event in Australia. As a kid, it is the one you watch, along with the Aussie Masters. Always coming here and really wanting to contend, I m putting too much pressure on myself. Hopefully I can take a little pressure off this week. Are you approaching this differently? A little bit. Because I have been playing so much I feel that I can go with the flow. Week in and week out you feel you are going through the same routine every day and it feels like another golf tournament. But it is the Aussie Open and the pick of the bunch of the eight weeks for me. How do you keep fresh? I am not a big person for gyms and that kind of thing but I had a trainer with me for three weeks, then a week off and then another week in America last week. I am trying to stay as fit as I can possibly be and fresh. The first three events were no cut events and the other two I made the cut so it was a lot of golf. Then I made the cut again here this week. It is something you have to do. You see the best players in the world doing it so I am doing something about it too. Don t you normally have a trainer? I usually work with a trainer at home in Melbourne but not normally on the road. I usually just do a few things myself. This was more regimented. Two years ago, after playing eight in a row and the neck operation, I was flat on my back for a couple of months. I learnt my lesson the hard way and I am trying to do a better job looking after myself. Question about the pressure of leading. It is tricky. It is why we practise so we can contend in tournaments like the Australian Open. I have to try and stick to the routines I have been doing for the past six or seven weeks. I feel I have been playing well. I will feel some nerves tomorrow teeing it up but hopefully I ll get stuck into it on the weekend. Was there a chance that you would not play after your neck injury? Yes. If I had not had the operation, there is no way I would have played again. No chance at all. It was a pretty easy decision to make. It sounds like a pretty full-on operation but it actually straight forward, from what the surgeon said. It is fairly common. For the last 18 months my neck had been better than it has been in the year before the operation. More than anything it was a big wake-up call for me. I realised how much I loved the game and how much I enjoyed being out here. Sometimes you take it for granted. You need something like that to give you a kick in the butt and to wake up. What did the surgeon do? He replaced a disk in my neck, put an artificial disk in there, a carbon fibre cage around the disk and also a metal plate. It was a pretty basic operation. I played five weeks after the operation which I probably shouldn t have but there was no way I was going to miss that tournament. I am too much of a tight arse to pull out of those events. It was pretty full-on. The amount of pain I was in leading up to that operation is something that I never want to experience again. I nearly blacked out from the pain every time I stood up. What was your best shot today? There was not one, maybe a few tee shots out there. I have always struggled with a left-to-right breeze. Being able to hold the ball into that breeze a couple of times was something that I took out of today. When did you injure your neck? A couple of years ago I picked up my son over my head and felt something go in my neck. It gradually went downhill from there. I had the operation in January after this tournament and did not think I would ever be sitting in this situation again. It is nice to be in this room 36 holes into the tournament two years later. Question about a winning score. Depending on the breeze I think 12 or 13 under won last year and I think it will be similar. The course is playing well. It is a course I really enjoy and I think Clayts has done a great job on it. It will be 10 to 12 under if the wind plays up. You went close at the PGA last year. What did you take out of that? I was more of a confidence boost. I had not contended a lot apart from the Aussie Masters in 2009 or 2010 when I lost a play-off to Pamps. It was a huge confidence boost more than anything. Then I played well again in the Aussie Masters last year and to finish second in two of our biggest tournaments is a big confidence boost. I feel I took that to Europe this year. Did the doctor tell you the reason for the injury? It was a combination of my golf swing, the way I come into the golf ball, and degenerated disks in my neck. There are still a couple of disks in there that aren t that crash hot. They seem to be holding up at the moment.