Pieters has never looked back after card scare

Thomas Pieters, the European Ryder Cup star, has had a massive 24 months.
Thomas Pieters, the European Ryder Cup star, has had a massive 24 months.
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He was one of the success stories of last weekend's disappointing Ryder Cup defeat for Europe but just a couple of years ago, Thomas Pieters was in danger of losing his tour card and slipping off the radar.

Pieters, playing at this weekend's Dunhill Championship, arrived at the competition as one of the event's star names.

That's a far cry from his first couple of appearances at the event when the Belgian was scrapping it out for points to retain his playing credentials.

However a decent showing in 2014, when he finished inside the top 20, proved to be the kick-start he needed after having only just secured his card before the event.

Since then he's gone on to become one of the brightest young stars in the game with the 24-year-old winning three tour events in 12 months and earning a slot in Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup side.

It's been a remarkable 24 months, the world number 29 admitted.

"I've played it (The Dunhill) two times before," said Pieters.

"Last year I missed the cut.

"Year before, I had a decent finish.

"I think 16th or something.

"I had my card but kind of solidified my card that year.

"It's a weird feeling, it's only been two years since I was struggling for my card and now I'm here, just played The Ryder Cup, so like I said, it went a bit fast."

Looking back on the disappointment at Hazeltine, Pieters said it was tough to accept the plaudits given the side's ultimate defeat.

He added: "I think it's tough to talk about my individual performance when you lose as a team.

"You go there as a team, so you win or you lose as a team, and obviously there's talk about me being a rookie and having four points, and I played great and I'm really happy to have earned four points.

"But again, three of those points were with Rory, so I don't see it as my four points.

"It's tough to talk about it when you lose as a team."