Nicolas Colsaerts will defend his Volvo World Match Play Championship title as the European Tour breaks new ground in Bulgaria this week, but only after his father arrives on a hastily-chartered private jet with his clubs.
Colsaerts’ first attempt to get his clubs and luggage to the spectacular Thracian Cliffs resort was thwarted by a strike at Brussels Airport.
Plan B saw his mother take his reserve set on a flight from Paris to Sofia, but that flight was cancelled and when his mother eventually arrived at midnight, the luggage had not made the journey.
It was only when he appealed on social media for help that staff at Brussels airport searched for and found the original missing clubs, allowing his father Patrick to bring them on a private plane arriving late on Tuesday night.
pls go like my comment on the Sn Brussels airlines FB page... i need clubs to defend my #VolvoWorldMatchplay titel!!— Nicolas Colsaerts (@Coelsss) May 13, 2013
“It was pretty intense yesterday,” said Colsaerts, who will face South Africa’s Branden Grace and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat in his group.
“It was either get my clubs or play with a random set which I did not want to do in the defence of my title.
“It has been disruptive. I wasted two days and I wanted to play today. But we travel enough to know that you have to deal with it. Thank God my father is going to be here tonight with some clothes and my clubs.”
golf bag found...thx to a few individuals that took the time to solve this situation!! Lets have a some#VolvoWorldMatchplay action now!!— Nicolas Colsaerts (@Coelsss) May 13, 2013
The 24-man field is split into eight groups on Thursday and Friday, with the top two from each advancing to the last 16 on Saturday morning. The quarter-finals will be played on Saturday afternoon with the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Colsaerts did not actually win any of his group games last year, halving with Charl Schwartzel and losing to Retief Goosen, but went through after a play-off with Schwartzel after the former Masters champion also lost to Goosen.
The Belgian is looking to become the first player since Ernie Els in 2004 to successfully defend the title, while Australia’s Brett Rumford is seeking a third win in succession after victories in the Ballantine’s Championship and Volvo China Open.
The last player to achieve that feat was the late Seve Ballesteros in 1986.