By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Nicolas Colsaerts made a name for himself at the Ryder Cup last September when he erupted for eight birdies and an eagle as he and Lee Westwood knocked off Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
The memory of what Colsaerts calls that "incredible" day never gets get old.
"Every time I think about it or I talk about it with friends of mine and everything, it's almost like I've got to pinch myself to realize what I've done," Colsaerts said.
Now it's time for the big-hitting Belgian to introduce himself to the PGA TOUR as he makes his debut as a member at Torrey Pines this week. He calls this point in his career "pretty exciting times."
The confidence Colsaerts gained that day at Medinah will certainly be a plus, but he says he didn't make the decision to play the PGA TOUR because of that performance.
"When you play golf professionally, you just want to play with the best," Colsaerts said. "You want to play on the biggest division -- just as much as when you play basketball, you want to play in the NBA. That's what you see on TV. It's what's exciting about the sport."
Colsaerts, who is a two-time winner in Europe, played eight events on TOUR last year with his best finish being the ties for seventh at the U.S. Open and Wyndham Championship. He's been very impressed with the condition of the courses, the pleasant weather and the way the players are treated which he calls "quite phenomenal."
Colsaerts, who is sure to attract attention after averaging 318 yards off the tee last year, says he feels like he's 15 years old again.
"I'm just very curious to see how I'm going to fit in, and how my game is going to evolve with the conditions of play over here, playing with probably the best players in the world week in and week out and on probably the best prepared courses there is ever,' Colsaerts said.
"So this is going to be pretty easy to raise up your game, considering you're playing in these fantastic conditions every week against good guys."
Colsaerts said he plans to spend his off weeks in West Palm Beach, Fla., a place many TOUR players -- Americans and ex-pats alike -- call home. He spent last week there getting ready for this early stretch of tournaments that will see the 30-year-old remain in the U.S. at least until after the Masters.
"I'm not going to base myself here yet," he said. "I have other things on my plate. I don't really want to waste time on looking for a place or anything like that. I've lived out of a suitcase for the last ten years of my life, and I'm quite happy doing so.
"It might take a bit more time to look around. I mean, this country is so big and it has so much to offer, it's difficult for somebody like me who hasn't really been everywhere to find out where I want to live. ... That's just going to work out good for me now."