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Matt Wallace column: ‘I’m ready to prove that I deserve to be back on golf’s biggest stage’

Matt Wallace column: ‘I’m ready to prove that I deserve to be back on golf’s biggest stage’

For the first time in nearly two years, I’m teeing off at a Major. It feels good to be back. Do I feel like this is deserved? One hundred per cent for the effort that I’ve put in and the changes I’ve made.

What I had to do to get to the PGA Championship was to win a tournament, and I’ve done that now. But I wasn’t at last month’s Masters, I’m not in the US Open or Open fields as things stand, and I want to regularly be back in the big-time majors. This can’t just be a one-off.

I’ve finished in the top three at the PGA before and my golf is going in the right direction. If I play well this week, I can definitely compete again but, if I play like I did off the tee at my last tournament, you’ll never hear from me again!

My golf has been a little inconsistent of late and I’m searching for a little bit of improvement across the board: hitting more regularly out the middle, making more putts, producing less mistakes on my approach play, making sure the misses are tighter and then just having a little luck on my side.

Taste of glory: Matt Wallace won his first PGA Tour title at the Corales Puntacana Championship in March (Getty Images)
Taste of glory: Matt Wallace won his first PGA Tour title at the Corales Puntacana Championship in March (Getty Images)

Having won at Corales in March, I didn’t think, ‘Yes, I’m back’. I just don’t think like that because, even in 2018 when I won three times, I also had a bunch of missed cuts around that.

The win, the ranking points, the money don’t take the pressure off, as I’m my own worst critic. And anyway, if I relax and rest, my golf will suffer.

I want to be part of the Ryder Cup this year... I know what I have to do

Much of the time, this game feels like a puzzle and, while I like the puzzle-solving, I don’t like the inconsistency. I don’t play enough weekends, so my approach, my preparation, mindset and play all need to be more reliable and my golf will improve.

That’s the beauty of this game and, as things stand, I don’t feel all that far away. I just need to put all the pieces together. As well as being back in the Majors, another big target is the Ryder Cup. I want to be a part of it. I know what I need to do and talking about it isn’t going to get me there.

I got an idea of what it’s like to be involved with the Hero Cup. The focus and adrenalin is so high, it’s tiring. I understand how some players can’t always replicate that in tournament play, as it’s so difficult to get that intensity for all four days.

I played alongside Europe’s captain Luke Donald the other week. I didn’t play great but I didn’t prepare very well, as it was a bit of a comedown from that win. This week, the preparation has been right up there. I feel I belong here and can make my mark.