Date: February 21, 2008
Author: Luke Buttigieg at Moonah Links

Sheehan happy in Japan

While most young Australian golfers dream of the riches on offer on the US PGA Tour, Paul Sheehan says he is far more content basing himself in Australia and largely plying his trade in Japan. A winner of the Jacob&aposs Creek and Japan Opens in what was a fine 2006 season for the 31-year-old Victorian-based New South Welshman, Sheehan has in no way turned his back on playing tournaments in America. But with two daughters under the age of five, Sheehan prefers to live in Australia and only spend a few weeks at a time away from home playing in Japan, although he will make the occasional trip to play US PGA and European Tour events. “I enjoy playing the tournaments over there on the PGA Tour, it&aposs just I would like to, if I could get the chance to play in tournaments over there, probably do it as in doing it from home,” Sheehan said after opening the Moonah Classic with a two-under 70. “I&aposd like to concentrate on playing on the Japanese Tour and playing some tournaments in Europe this year and if I get the opportunity to play some on the PGA Tour I&aposll go over there but not base myself over there.” Sheehan did make an attempt to establish himself in the United States in 2007 but a combination of some poor form and 12 weeks away from home soon after the birth of his second child had him changing direction mid-year. “I sort of had sporadic starts on that tour (US) and I wasn&apost playing well and I was a long way from home and I&aposm used to playing in Japan where I get home a lot and so on,” he added. “I didn&apost have a good start to the year and then I made a decision that I wanted to be home more and I wanted to be playing in Japan. As soon as I went back up there I was happy and I started playing some good golf.” Sheehan has already played several events on the 2008 European Tour, including the New Zealand Open late last year when he tied for second and the Abu Dhabi Championship a few weeks ago. With a tie for 34th to his name in Abu Dhabi, Sheehan is hopeful of playing well enough in a handful of further European Tour co-sanctioned tournaments, including the upcoming Johnnie Walker Classic in India, in order to gain his full card for 2009. But in the meantime he will happily head back to the Japanese Tour when its season begins in April, and play selected events in both America and Europe when he can get starts, as well as spending plenty of time at home with wife Jackie and children Billie and Bobbi.