Extract from an interview released a few years later in Golf Journal. We are at the beginning of 2011 and Victor will live his first year on the Tour.
“Is the European Tour a dream come true?
I watch golf all the time on TV and, when I was younger, I wondered how I would feel if I could play PQ3 (last stage of European Tour qualifying) and be in a position to qualify. I had a lot of apprehension and, when I arrived on the last holes at the PGA de Catalunya (course of the card final), my dream came true.
What is your state of mind when you arrive on the Tour?
Last year, I played a lot of invitational tournaments through IMG. So I already had the opportunity to miss cuts and make mistakes that I didn’t make at the start of this season. So far, I’ve only played four tournaments, but overall, it hasn’t gone too badly. I had four cuts and I made a top 10 in Qatar. I have always played at my level, and I still have some aspects of my game to work on, in particular at the small game level. I am satisfied, but you always have to do better, aim higher and give yourself ever more goals high to be able to enter the top 10 more regularly. I’m not there yet, but that’s my goal for the end of the season.
What errors have you corrected this year?
Last year, I got very angry. I couldn’t stand the slightest bogey. This year, I manage to be more patient when I start to miss shots, or when I am not having a good trip. In general, my bogeys or double bogeys turn into a birdie behind. This is what makes the difference. When I started to miss shots, I ignited, I conceded bogeys and I missed cuts by a few points. This year, I try to stay calm and, when things aren’t going well, I try to play a little more safe.
Victor Dubuisson at the British Open in 2010.
You have a reputation for being one of the greatest talents for a long time, but not for being the hardest worker. How do you work?
I don’t go to the driving range. I spend my day on the course. For example, when I work my putting, I work it in a real situation, on the course. I will never put myself around a hole trying to enter 100 putts in a row because, on the course, we never have the same putt. And when I play less well, I return balls, playing each stroke at 100%. On the 5 or 6 meter putts that I miss, the same, I train on the course. I’ve been working like this for two years and, so far, it has worked pretty well.
Where is your swing?
I improved in my game but not necessarily in my swing. My gesture is less beautiful than three or four years ago, but it is much more effective. I decided to do this since I watched the PGA Tour, every weekend until two in the morning. Aside from Justin Rose, there is never a great swing or extraordinary ball hitting, but the players work their game hard and that’s why they score.
What do you mean by “they work their game thoroughly”?
They’ve had to repeat their swing hundreds of times while playing, and they know exactly what to do. If they go to the practice, they will not focus on a detail, such as not moving their right leg at backswing, nor set up the closed club. They will go on the course and they will practice putting the balls to the flag. They are not going to take care of their swing.
“I’m quite anxious and shy. People judge me and France is a country where you judge without knowing “
So the practice is not for you?
The practice is not for me. After a quarter of an hour I start to make push, hooks, shots I never do on the course. From there, it annoys me and I consider having lost my day. I prefer to do 18 or 36 holes and train as if I were competing.
What has changed in your life, in your golf and in your way of working since you turned pro?
Going pro has not influenced my way of playing too much, except the decision not to get angry anymore. There, yes, I changed. In everyday life, I am always the same. I play golf every day. I am focused, but I keep going out with my friends. I did not say to myself: “Now I’m a professional, I’m going to become a machine and, from 8 am to 8 pm, I train thoroughly. “ I think it would make me play worse and lose my game.
At the age of 15, you were the youngest player in history to play a European tour tournament, during the French Open 2005. Did you realize at the time?
This participation is anecdotal. It’s good when you are an amateur to have achieved this but, if not, being the youngest on a tournament on the European circuit does not change much. There are good amateur players who play professional tournaments before disappearing. There was a 15 year old Hawaiian (Tadd Fujikawa in 2006) who had a cut on the PGA Tour, then he finished 20th in the Hawaii Open. Today, we no longer hear about it.
You are difficult to define, between this impression of detachment, or of “I don’t give a damn”, and your anxiety which shows through …
I am quite anxious and shy. People judge me and France is a country where you judge without knowing. I am given the label of “I don’t give a damn”, of “wanker” who tells it a little. However, I don’t necessarily dare to go to people. I’m very cool with everyone, and the people around me say that I’m a nice person. In tournament, I am stressed, and it is normal because it is the beginning. I’m not going to have the same attitude as a Karlsson or a Lee Westwood, who already have 30 million euros in the bank and who play for fun. “