Joost Luiten hopes that the Dutch Open will be the starting point for a better period for him, both physically and mentally.

The sign and also two-time winner of the tournament (2013 and 2016) is experiencing a disappointing season, partly due to physical problems, in which life as a golf professional did not always suit him.

"It has been a difficult year and corona also took the fun away a bit. We spent a lot of time in hotels, but those were also like prisons. Because you were not allowed anything, eating together was not even included," said the 35 year-old Luiten.

"And then we also played on 'ghost courts'. Especially if you don't play very well, the days are very long. If you play well, you accept it much more easily."

The Dutch golfer is happy that he can play for his own audience again at the Dutch Open.

"It was nice to be able to offer people some entertainment again. The spectators make the tournament," he says.

"There is a bit more pressure around me as a player here, also in advance. On the one hand that is fun, on the other hand it is also heavy and it takes a lot of energy. Yet I always look forward to it for weeks and feel it always a bit like my tournament."

Can Joost Luiten compete in the top at the Dutch Open for his own audience?

Can Joost Luiten compete in the top at the Dutch Open for his own audience?

Photo: ANP

'Have been messing around since the beginning of this year'

On familiar ground, Luiten hopes to be able to turn things around.

His start on Thursday with a round of par was not very promising.

"I am always here to win. It is golf and of course it is still possible," said the Rotterdammer.

"It's just very difficult with golf to set a goal like: I'm going to be in the top ten this week. But I have a good track record here and I have to say that I'm going for the win. That's why I'm a sportsman. "

Luiten's last title on the European Tour dates back to 2018, when he was the best in Oman.

He is no longer among the best 200 golfers in the world and is 204th.

"It is now important to improve my game and get results. Golf is a strange game and you can quickly climb very fast. I have to ensure that my game and body are back in line quickly," said Luiten.

"I've been messing around since the beginning of the year. And then you fight against yourself more. And my stomach problems were a complete blow. If the surgeon in Spain literally says: 'We have to operate on Saturday evening, otherwise you won't make it to Monday ', then you'll be scared for a while."

Luiten notices that a better period is coming and hopes to become more consistent soon.

"Life on the tour is also becoming more pleasant; we are now also allowed to do more, such as eating out. This week I consciously stay in a hotel. I always do that during a tournament and if I suddenly sleep in my own bed, then that would feel really crazy."