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Golf Australia Express : April 2014
F OR Steven Bowditch, the conversation has turned. For the first time in a long, long time, the likeable 30-year- old Aussie is defined by a stunning performance on the course and not by the depression that almost consumed him. The story of Bowditch’s ongoing battle with depression has been well worn over the past fortnight. The sleepless months, the crippling self-doubt, the paralysing fear of leaving the locker room, the alcohol abuse. The time he hammered a bottle of scotch down, slept for two straight days and then tried to drown himself in a pool. Having emerged from that episode, received the help and medication he needed and become a Beyondblue advocate, the title of “depression survivor” will always float in the air around Bowditch’s name. But now there are a few other titles of which he is equally and unquestionably deserving. Contender. Threat. PGA Tour winner. And this week: Masters debutant. On Wednesday, Australian time, he’ll tee it up alongside defending champion Adam Scott, John Senden and leading Australian amateur Oliver Goss in a Augusta National practice round foursome that would have seemed impossibly unlikely just a few weeks ago. “It’s been a pretty exciting time,” Bowditch said in his typically rasping, Aussie twang. “It’s been crazy, it’s a wonderful experience. I still haven’t got my mind wrapped around it.” Bowditch has spent many, many hours within the four walls of psychologists’ offices since his mental health diagnosis almost a decade ago. So it’s unsurprising that it was a head doctor that played a major part in his first PGA Tour success. According to Bowditch, after years of psychological treatment to aid his fragile mental state, ironically, it took a sports psychologist just one day to fix his game. “I just started seeing a sports psychologist last Wednesday [the “IT’S BEEN CRAZY, IT’S A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE. I STILL HAVEN’T GOT MY MIND WRAPPED AROUND IT.”