Marty Dou chases PGA TOUR return, something greater as season begins
January 15, 2022
By Chuah Choo Chiang , PGATOUR.COM
- January 15, 2022
Marty Dou wins 2019 Bahamas Great Exuma Classic
The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season begins Sunday at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay. China’s Marty Zecheng Dou seeks a PGA TOUR return, but he’s chasing something greater as well.
“Now, the goal is to promote golf in China … even if it’s a small contribution. This makes me feel that the past few years, playing golf means something bigger,” said Dou, 24.
The young and talented Chinese pro will be joined by compatriots Xinjun Zhang and Carl Yuan in the Bahamas, chasing the ultimate dream of the PGA TOUR, on which Zhang and Dou enjoyed brief stints previously. Fifty PGA TOUR cards will be at stake on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour – 25 cards determined via the Regular Season Points List, and another 25 cards available via the three-event Finals Points List.
Chasing the American dream has meant making sacrifices and being some 11,000 kilometers away from home. The adopted Dallas resident admits the world of professional golf can be a lonely affair, but the two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner is determined he can gain his rewards once more.
“In the previous New Year, I went to a hot pot place for dinner on my own and there were families out to celebrate,” said Dou, winner of The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic in 2019. “The waitress asked why I was alone and at that moment, I thought to myself, ‘I’m here to achieve a goal. Without a goal, I wouldn’t want to be here and I would live in China.’”
“Everything we do here is because of golf. We’re competing on Tour, trying to make a living, and all these factors weigh on our minds. The added stress means we are starting further back than the others. That’s why having friends (like Yuan and Zhang) is important as they give me a different perspective on things and teach me a lot.”
Dou grew up as a phenom in the game, winning four times on PGA TOUR China Series in 2016 while still in his teens en route to lifting the Order of Merit title. In 2017, he became the first mainland Chinese to win on the Korn Ferry Tour, which earned him a PGA TOUR card for the following season. His dream was short-lived as he struggled to find his footing against the stars of the game.
“Those early years went very smoothly,” reflected Dou. “The year I got onto the PGA TOUR, the roller coaster began. For all kinds of reason, I wasn’t ready to be on TOUR. I didn’t play well and lost my card. I had to go back to the Korn Ferry Tour to start over.”
Working with renowned swing guru Cameron McCormick, who also coaches the likes of Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger, has been beneficial. Dou’s biggest takeaway has been the realization he needs to look forward in the game to improve.
“There was something I have been thinking a lot … my game and skills have improved so much, but why can’t I play explosively like when I was younger?” Dou said. “I used to compare my swing to those times when I played really well, to try and regain that feeling. Then I figured you just can’t solve problems this way. You want to go back to the old days but you are not that person anymore, physically or mentally.
“Since I came over to the U.S., the most helpful person has been my coach. He’s the first person I turn to for help for anything related to golf. He’s worked with world-class players and he inspires me in problem-solving. He tells me not to compare myself to the old days and (that) current issues require updated solutions.”
He knows he represents millions of Chinese whenever he tees the ball up, and he hopes to find a way back onto the PGA TOUR and contend for wins. No mainland Chinese has won on the PGA TOUR.
“When I was young, my goal was to beat my peers,” Dou reflected. “The moment I turned pro, playing golf became my job and making a living for myself and family. Now, the goal is to promote golf in China. For the upcoming season, I want to set my mind right and play with my best mindset.”