When did you realise that you could make golf your profession?
I was always thought I had an edge for the game, even in my younger days, but it took me a bit longer than others to realise just how far that edge went. I was always playing off plus handicap at sort of 14, 15 years old so I understood that I had the potential but it took me long to get any further.

I found it quite frustrating watching guys I grew up with getting out there on tour 3 or 4 years before me. However, I never wanted to try until I started winning big amateur events, I said to myself “If I can’t win these big amateur events, how am I going to stand up against the guys on tour?”

I waited and bided my time. Then I got to 22 and things weren’t going that well and my mum made me get a job in the local supermarket and I think after the four weeks of working there, I thought to myself — there is no way I wanted to spend the rest of my life working there. I decided to really knuckle down. My family weren’t of the wealthiest background so they said that they would help me up to a certain point but that they couldn’t support me. Just in the sense that I didn’t want to be doing that for the rest of my life, I knew what I wanted to do. It gave me a lot of clarity, a lot of vision and a lot of drive as well.

Taking that job must have been tough, what inspired you to push on?

It was just the job, I just didn’t want to be stacking shelves for the rest of my life. I had no education from school or anything like that, or any other career prospects, golf was my only avenue. It made me knuckle down to work on it. Hats off to my mum and dad. My dad got down to 10, 11; he took a step back from his own playing to take me around the country to play, I think he’s dropped down to an 18 now which is an absolute disgrace, he’s an absolute bandit off that!

Who did you look up to in the golf world?

The year before I turned pro we had an England get-together with the team managers and they invited me along. It was a day with Lee Westwood. We each played four or five holes with Lee and then we came off and one of the coaches said to Lee quite loudly “Which one of these do you think has the potential to go forward and do great things?” and he pointed me out in the line-up and I was rather put back by it.

Knowing that Lee Westwood had that to say about me, though, that out of all of these guys, I should be the one kicking on — it gave me a massive boost of confidence. I think I ended in the top 10 of every amateur event that year.

I’ve always looked up to Lee, and for him to say that about me, something that he didn’t have to say —really gave me the inspiration to go on and push hard again.

If you had to pick one person. Who would you most want to play a round with on a Saturday morning?

I would love to go back in time and play golf with Jack Nicholas just to see how good he was with the equipment back then. The equipment now has moved on so much technologically. It would be a massive eye-opener. Now the clubs have bigger heads, the ball sizes are all the same, but — they weren’t great. I would be incredibly intrigued to see how he got round with what he had, back in the 70’s.

Moving onto watches, where did the relationship with AP come from? Did you know them before coming into golf?

I’ve always loved watches and I’ve always wanted to own an AP. I remember when I was 16/17 and seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing them in the movies and thinking how I really wanted one of them. It has always been an aspiration of mine to do that so I’ve always known who they were and when I turned pro they were just getting into golf, 4 or 5 years ago.

To see the AP logo on the side of the sleeve of a few of the guys, I knew I wanted that deal and luckily I’ve managed to play well enough that they took an interest in me. Looking forward I hope it grows, I know a lot of the people here and it’s very much a family environment.

When you walked in and got to choose a watch, which one did you choose and why?

I always loved the Royal Oak Offshore, and fortunately enough just before signing I was going to buy one and they let me do a golf day and gave me the watch. I was absolutely over the moon, my eyes lit up, I had been waiting for that moment for so long and now I actually have one. It’s a little surreal, playing as a youngster and seeing a brand that you’ve always wanted and you end up having it.

What is something other than golf that people know you are really great at?

Growing up I was always pretty good at sports. I was a pretty decent tennis player back in the day, I used to play for the county and I don’t think anyone would think of me playing tennis now anyway — because there is running involved and as the years have gone by, running isn’t one of my greatest strengths. As you can tell the physique has gone downhill a little bit.

When you think of the word ‘successful’, who comes to mind?

Justin Rose. Not necessarily the quickest guy to come to winning and to get all the richest, he has had to work so hard to get to where is — it came very much later on in life for him. I remember he missed 24, 25 cups in a row and now he’s a major winner. I think that, that is how you deem success, not by all the time what you win, it’s just measuring yourself, am I getting better as a golfer, as a person?