Zecheng Dou Takes Two Minutes
By Laury Livsey
Zecheng Dou played much of the inaugural Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series as an amateur, finishing runner-up at the Series’ second event—the 2014 Buick Open. Prior to that, Dou had a celebrated amateur career that took him all over the world. In the fall last year, right before the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Dou, who turns 19 in January, made the decision to turn pro so he could play in that PGA TOUR event. The top-five players on the Order of Merit at the end of this PGA TOUR China season earn 2016 Web.com Tour membership. Dou, who goes by the English name of Marty, is sixth on the Order of Merit with one tournament to play. He is ￥31,377 out of the No. 5 position. Immediately following the completion of this week’s Capital Airlines – HNA Real Estate Championship, regardless of how he finishes, Dou will travel to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, with his goal a permanent move to the U.S. and a long PGA TOUR career.
(Zecheng Dou in his signatured bucket hat)
I had been wearing the bucket hat for two years. I began wearing it when I was 16, when I was an amateur. I liked the feel of it when it was circled around my head. It wasn’t like the tight, regular golf hats most guys wear.
All my bucket hats are black. It gets so hot in the summer in China, and my hair is getting a little longer. It’s hard to find time to get a haircut. So I just stopped wearing them.
I was in between going to college or turning pro. Before last year, I really got into this question with my dad. I was talking to Arizona State, Washington and UNLV. I wasn’t sure I would play all four years. I was thinking about turning pro early, not staying for four years.
I’ve been a pro for more than a year now. I think I made the right decision. College seems to be a lot about having fun and doing all the social things. I like silence around me so I can focus and practice.
My favorite city in America is San Diego. The weather is perfect. But my favorite course is TPC Sawgrass. I’ve been there for the Junior Players, and I’ve been there a couple of times with the Chinese national team, where we practice. I’ve played that course quite a few times.
When I’ve played the 17th hole, the wind hasn’t been blowing that hard, so I’ve made a few birdies there.
I haven’t found what I would consider my favorite course in China yet. Maybe after I win a PGA TOUR China event, I think that will be my favorite.
Even though I’ve been a pro since 2014, it seems every time I read something about me, I’m still referred to as “young player Zecheng Dou” or “junior Zecheng Dou.” Every time it’s like that, so I’m still treated like a teenager, which I am.
I still live with my parents. I don’t keep my room clean, but my mom is nice to me. And I do put all my dirty clothes in a clothes box. My mom keeps my room pretty clean.
This last year, I would say I’ve spent about 45 days in my own bedroom. I travel a lot, but I never get to visit the fun places in the cities I’m in. But I do think because of all the golf I play in all the different places and all the different course, I am improving.
As a golfer who travels for my life, I hate the early wake-up calls I get because of tee times and shuttle buses and flights I have to catch. I don’t get enough sleep and it exhausts my body.
I can sleep on planes, no problem. I can fall asleep as soon as the plane starts flying, every time. I just fall asleep when it takes off. I feel I have to sleep at least eight hours just to feel right.
My dad always wanted me to wear contacts. I tried to when I was in America. It’s just hard for me to look around and see the things around me. I don’t like that you have to change contacts every day and take them off at night. What if you wake up at 2 o’clock and you don’t feel like sleeping and you want to watch TV? So you have to go put your contacts in. I think I will do laser when I get a little older.
(Image by Zhuang Liu)