Jorge Campillo

On the road to Dubai

10/07/2022 · By Carmen R. Cuesta
Jorge Campillo, spanish golfer
“In the end, golf consists of small nuances that mean you’re at the top or not,” this golfer from Cáceres, Jorge Campillo, assures us. © Image courtesy of Jorge Campillo.

This golfer from Extremadura reaches the Open de España —a tournament that always holds a special place in his heart— after a season where he came fourth at the Omega European Masters and ninth at the Italian Open. His goal? Qualifying for the final in Dubai, playing the British Open in 2023 and, above all, continuing to enjoy a sport he’s passionate about.

Jorge Campillo (Cáceres, 1986) started to play golf, he tells us, like thousands of amateur players at any golf course in the world. For fun with his family. “I was probably three or four: my father started playing and I simply joined him,” he explains. He was hooked on the game from the start. His transition to the professional circuit, becoming one of the most well-known faces on the DP World Tour —the European circuit—, featured a bright career as an amateur player and his studies at Indiana University in the US.

 “I’ve always been attracted to the idea of being a professional golfer. I never thought I’d make it because of the fierce competition, but when I was in my third year at university, I realised I could give myself a chance.” Jorge Campillo’s beginnings were influenced by the example of big Spanish players: “My idol has always been Ballesteros. Although I also took notice of players like Olazábal, Sergio (García)… you always look up to those from your country because they’re close.”

This player from Cáceres believes that his present owes a lot, on all levels, to those players that paved the way on the international scene. “It’s true that Spaniards have always been good at golf. Every decade has had a role model, and we currently have a genius like Jon Rahm. I don’t know why (laughs), but Spaniards have some sort of innate talent for playing golf.” “In this game —he reflects— perhaps talent is having a special skill. In a technical sport such as golf, working hard is necessary and you can achieve a lot with a bit of effort, but that talent is essential: if you don’t have it, it’s hard to become a pro and stay there.”

“I don’t know why, but I think that Spaniards have some sort of innate talent for playing golf”

Competing for years at the pace that the circuit demands requires extensive preparation, but what do you have to train more? How do you approach that preparation? “That’s a good question. I prepare technically the most. Then come the physical and mental aspects, which play a vital role. I struggle a bit with the first, but I keep it in mind to be fit, to not get too exhausted, and to avoid injuries. Regarding the second, you have to be well prepared.”

Professional golfers, he explains, spend most of the year away from home, travelling every week to different tournaments during the season, and being far away from family together with the pressure of the competition, can take its toll sometimes. This is why he highlights the importance of having good mental health to compete at such a high level: “In a sport like golf, it’s important to have a good head on your shoulders. In my case, over the years I’ve learnt how to manage that mental part better. Even so, it’s still quite hard. The hardest part for me right now is missing my daughter while travelling; I’m always excited to see her again.”

“Over the years, you become aware of everything that is coming. Despite the hectic pace of life we lead, we do have time to do some sightseeing, go out to dinner, or discover new places. We always have time to see something,” he assures us. Planning the season is part of that preparation, as well as playing with timings to be able to enjoy travelling and time with your family. “I’m a frequent flyer with Iberia —laughs—. I wouldn’t mind having a few less miles under my belt, but I can’t really complain: I love playing golf and it’s a privilege to work doing what you love.”

At the end of the season, when he’s back home, this golfer from Cáceres goes back to his routine: “I lead a pretty normal life. The truth is I get up a bit late, I go to the gym, I train in the morning, I go home, and I go to train some more in the afternoon.” A lifestyle that does allow him to split his time between his family and his great passion: “Golf means a lot to me personally and I can’t imagine my life without it: it has meant almost everything to me.”

The 2022 season and his goals: Open de España on the horizon
Jorge Campillo’s career was at its peak just before the pandemic. COVID was a small parenthesis in that progression, but this Spanish golfer sees the positives in those moments: “It was a shame. I’d just won a tournament from the circuit, and I was feeling pretty good, I was playing really well. It broke that positive momentum, but I also had more time to spend at home and I had my little girl.”

The 2022 season is bringing Jorge Campillo a lot of joy, with fourth place at the Omega European Masters and ninth place at the Italian Open: “I’m playing quite well this year. I don’t know if I was better before [the pandemic] or not, I feel quite similar. In the end, golf consists of small nuances that mean you’re at the top or not, but I feel like my game is on the right track.” A dream? “I’m really excited to play Augusta. The Ryder Cup is of course the Ryder Cup, but I would like to play the Augusta Masters before I die.”

Jorge Campillo is among the 40 best players in the European circuit this year, with set short-term goals: “My main goals are making the final in Dubai and, after that, being among the 30 best to play the British Open next year.” Therefore, he’s excited to face his week in Madrid. “The Open de España is a great tournament. I’m always excited to play in my home country and even more so in Madrid, where I always receive a lot of support from the audience. Having my friends and family there is a bonus, although this year —he smiles— coincides with my cousin’s wedding and most of my family can’t make it.”