MUSCAT, OMAN – FEBRUARY 18: Chris Wood of England plays his second shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf on February 18, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
By Kent Gray
Chris Wood’s baggage for the short flight from Muscat to Doha for the final leg of the 2018 Desert Swing had all the normal golf swag, a bit of happy history and a whole lot of fresh regret.
The 30-year-old Englishman couldn’t hide the hurt after being edged by pal Joost Luiten for the inaugural NBO Oman Open title on Sunday:
— Chris Wood (@Chris3Wood) February 18, 2018
“You play poorly for six or eight months without ever thinking you’d put yourself in contention in a tournament and then when you do you’re gutted when you don’t win,” he told EuropeanTour.com
Still, it was an encouraging change of fortune after a stellar 2016, when he won the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and went on to make his Ryder Cup debut, gave way to a decidedly ordinary 2017 featuring just three top-10s and a seriously worrying start to the New Year with missed cuts in Gauteng, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“I’m pretty down really but in the grand scheme of things it’s night and day to how I’ve been. After a couple of days I’m sure I’ll reflect and see it’s a big step in the right direction this week,” he continued.
“Joost played great to shoot four under [on Sunday]. He’s a good mate of mine. I’m annoyed that I haven’t won but I’m pleased for him. We spend a lot of time together so it’s great to see a friend win.”
Wood also has fond memories of Doha Golf Club to draw on. The first of his thus far four European Tour titles came at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 2013 when he edged George Coetzee and Sergio Garcia by a shot.
“On to Qatar where I’ve won before. Given I’ve turned up at most events with no confidence, I probably feel like I can go to an event next week with a little bit of confidence.”