England’s James Heath hopes a year of lows and highs is now on an upward trajectory after booking his debut at The Open.
It will be the first time the 33-year-old has attended the championship in any capacity as he was determined to go there as a player not a spectator.
A year which began with the loss of his mum Jenny turned around with the birth of his son Buddy – Heath’s mother’s maiden name was Budd – a first Challenge Tour victory in a decade and an Open debut.
“It was genuinely the worst time in my life at the start of the year and anyone who loses their mum will say the same,” Heath said. “I think about her every day. It is life and it sucks. It has been tough but I know she would want us all to crack on.
“It has been up and down but the last month has been one of the best.
“Our little boy is 10 weeks old and all that perspective stuff people talk about is not a joke.
“You give golf 100 per cent but at the end of the day everything will be fine.
“After losing my mum in January golf is important but it doesn’t mean as much.”
His Open debut will genuinely be the first time he has been at the tournament in any capacity.
“I have had a couple of very near misses: there was heartache in 2014 when I was doing well and had a nine on the 13th on the New Course at Sunningdale,” said the Worcester Park golfer.
“Of course I’ve dreamed of this for a long time. I’ve never been; I’ve never wanted to go because I’ve always wanted to play.”