Florida - Stuart Appleby has always been a very down to earth person.
During the 2003 President's Cup (held at the Links in Fancourt) he was asked about his views on the Links as a golf course.
He replied "It was like trying to mount a cow!" At a follow up press conference he was asked to elaborate on this comment "You can quote me that I was unable to catch the dog so I went for the cow!"
Classic down to earth, slightly irreverent, Australian humour. I had always liked Appleby's approach to golf and life and these comments further cemented him as a top bloke in my book. One that I could easily relate to.
Our paths crossed again this morning during his practice routine at The Honda Classic tournament at PGA National (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida). The first event of five in this state known as the Florida swing.
Appleby is still the quintessential down to earth, very honest, the guy next door type. I introduced myself, reminding him of our meeting at the Links in 2003. Appleby filled me in on what has been going on with him recently.
He is just coming back from back surgery that kept him out of the game for 11 months. He described how he is learning how to re-balance his body after a left side weakness resulted in his back over compensating, resulting in serious issues that needed a major operation to resolve.
Appleby also revealed how he tries to recalibrate his mental GPS system everyday by checking he is going in the direction he wants to be headed in. It's these simple, uncomplicated techniques that have helped him stay humble with his feet well and truly on the ground.
Appleby mentioned how going back to the family farm in Australia was another strategy for him to remain in the moment.
"My dad has always been a no nonsense type of guy and I've learned from him how to focus on ensuring I'm going in the direction I want to be."
Welcome back to the PGA Tour "Apples" and I for one are very happy to see you teeing it up again.