Johan Edfors knows better than most just how tough it has become to win events on the European Tour. His debut season back in 2006 saw him produce aggressive golf that helped earn him three titles and end the season 10th on the money list. Having dominated the Challenger tour he made the step up with consummate ease.
Fast forward six years and those three triumphs remain his only wins on the European Tour. His last victory on July 16 at the Scottish Open saw him overcame the trio of Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel and Andres Romero. While the Argentinean has similarly struggled, Donald is entwined in a constant battle with Rory McIlroy for the title of world number one, while Schwartzel won the Masters in 2011.
Edfors has found it difficult to match the consistency needed to regularly compete for titles but his honesty in revealing why he has struggled shows a man who is aware his talent still needs to be harnessed.
“After winning those tournaments [in 2006] I eased up as I knew I had qualified for the tour for the next two years,” admits the 36-year-old. “I was young and much more aggressive and that is something I am trying to get back. I have been too conservative in the last few years.”
This aggression will be put into practice over the coming days at the iconic Wentworth course in the BMW PGA Championship. A seventh place finish last year showed that he has the temperament to remain in contention but does he feel he has the game to claim a victory?
“I think I am finally getting an understanding of how to play the course. Last year was my best showing and I think patience is the key. You have to get the ball on the right side of the hole as the greens are just so difficult. I feel my form is getting better so I am really excited about doing well in this tournament.
“Hopefully I can get another win here and maybe I could get another triple, or maybe even a quadruple.”
The Swede is certainly not short of confidence and that is one trait needed on the European Tour with the current crop of talent. World number one McIlroy currently tops the money list, with the likes of former Open champions Luis Oosthuizen, world number three Lee Westwood plus Ryder Cup regulars Justin Rose and Peter Hanson all in the top 10.
The competition is stronger than ever before but Edfors believes that this can only help him to improve and return to challenging for titles.
“So many of the top guys are now playing on the tour and I think that urges everyone on,” says Edfors who now resides in Dubai. “We have played against them so many times and in some cases we have beaten them on numerous occasions so we know we are not far away.”
For Edfors it is all too evident the part of his game that requires work. One of the longest drivers on tour, averaging over 300 yards, it has so often been his putting that has let him down. A problem that has been shared by the incredibly talented Sergio Garcia who would surely have a Major to his name if his putting was on par with the rest of his game.
He admits his long game is “pretty good” and that he will need a “good putting week” in order to be in contention when he plays at Wentworth. But the display of Bubba Watson in winning the Masters at Augusta showed that big hitting, aggressive players can have success.
“It was great to see Bubba win, especially with the way he plays. It was great for the whole game of golf as he just has fun out there and played his natural aggressive game.”
For now Edfors is solely focused on Wentworth. If he is going to win his first Tour event since 2006 then he will have to cause a major upset with McIlroy out to prove he is beyond a shadow of a doubt the best player in the world. If his putter catches fire and he continues to hit monster drives then he could well be in contention to cause a shock.
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