It can be very easy to look at the career of Steven Bowditch and see the 2001 Australian Stroke Play title as an amateur, then the victories on the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Nationwide Tour, and ultimately the two wins on the PGA Tour, and assume it’s been a pretty straightforward progression for the talented Australian.
But that would be a mistake.
It has been anything but easy for Bowditch to get where he is.
Bowditch has had a very public battle with clinical depression and which has resulted in a myriad of personal issues that he has had to struggle through. But despite this, he has risen to become one of the most respected players on the PGA Tour.
Fellow Aussie Adam Scott calls him one of the most naturally gifted golfers he’s ever seen. Others have referred to him as like Phil Mickelson in the extreme.
Bowditch grew up in Queensland as one of four children an in very humble surrounds. His father was a cement renderer and later a truck driver. His mother sorts mail in the local post office.
Bowditch turned professional at the age of 18, but a few early failures on the Challenge Tour saw him give up the game for a short while. He began rebuilding his career at home in Australia and in 2005 won the Jacob’s Creek Open on the Nationwide Tour at the age of 21, which made him then the second youngest winner of a Nationwide Tour event.
Armed with a PGA Tour card for the 2006 season, Bowditch began to struggle with what would later be diagnosed as clinical depression.
Despite this, he worked his way back onto the PGA Tour, and in 2014 made his breakthrough when he won the Valero Texas Open. A year later and he added the AT&T Byron Nelson to his list of victories, becoming the third Australian winner of this tournament after Scott and Jason Day. And in 2015 he also qualified to play in the Presidents Cup for the first time in his career.
It has been an incredible journey for Bowditch, and one where he would prefer to forget about the past and focus on what is clearly a very bright future for a golfer who was always spoken of as a special talent.
Some might argue that Bowditch’s career has been erratic. In 2014 he missed the cut in tournaments played on either side of his Valero Texas Open win on the PGA Tour. He missed a further six missed cuts towards the end of that season.
And then in 2015 he had eight missed cuts and a disqualification before his victory in the AT&T Byron Nelson.
“It’s basically the way my career has been my whole life,” Bowditch said after his win this year.
“You know, I guess when it’s good, it’s good and when it’s not, I’m just trying to hang on and make some cuts and get better and better. You know, it’s the game of golf. I’m obviously not at the superstar level. I just go out there and do my best and hopefully every now and again I get a chance to win.”
But he could easily become a superstar of the Nedbank Golf Challenge as only the second Australian winner of “Africa’s Major” after Robert Allenby in 2009.
Born: 8 June 1983.
Turned pro: 2001.
Family: Wife – Amanda.
Special interests: Cooking.
Career highlights: A two-time winner on the PGA Tour. Enjoyed a distinguished amateur career in which he won the 2001 Australian Stroke Play.
2015 highlights: Won the AT&T Byron Nelson to claim his second PGA Tour title.
2015 Majors: The Masters – DNP. The US Open – DNP. The Open – T30. The PGA Championship – MC.
NGC record: Debut.