Maybin's major ambition

Gareth MaybinGareth Maybin has several goals and some major ambitions for his second full season on the European Tour.

As far as goals are concerned, he'd be happy to add 10 yards to his driving distance. Who doesn't need a few extra yards these days?

But his ambitions run deeper than any physical improvement and after an impressive rookie season in 2009, the 29 year old from Ballyclare is not afraid to set the bar higher than most.

“I am probably a better player than I thought I was and I realised that I am more than capable of competing with some of the best players in the world, which is always very encouraging," he said of last season's campaign. “Finishing second in the South African Open last season was a big leap for me and you come away from that and think it was a fluke week. 

“But I came out in Malaysia and had a good chance there and then another four top 10s after that. So when you look at the results, you realise that you actually aren’t that bad a player at all.”

Maybin qualified easily for the season-ending Dubai World Championship and plans to do even better this term.

He sees no reason why he shouldn’t set his sights on qualifying for the majors or the Ryder Cup team and he will get a chance to take his first steps down that long road in this week's Abu Dhabi Championship.

"You have got to have aspirations and big goals. There is no point in going out there to be a journey man and waste your time," he said. "You have got to have big goals and I want to play Ryder Cups and I want to play in majors. 

“I know it is going to be a slow process but I’d like to think I can play in majors and contend to get into the Ryder Cup team. 

“It is a question of having success in the right tournaments and the three events in the Middle East are three big events. 

“They’re the ones I really have to do well in if I want to improve my world ranking and start contending for things like the Ryder Cup.”

Maybin is no Rory McIlroy but he is one of the slow burners among the Irish tour contingent and possess a clinical golfing brain to go with an enviable long game. His touch around the greens is often superb and when he is "on" with the putter he is a match for anyone.

"I know that the good results and the wins will come if I continue to put in the work," he added. "My all round game is good even though the statistics might say that my strength is from tee to green. My strength is more in the short game, especially my chipping and my wedge play. 

"What I’d really like is a little more length off the tee. So I’ve been working hard in the gym trying to achieve that goal. I’d also like to be more of a consistent putter. When I am on with the putter, I am pretty good but when I am off I am just not good enough."

He has been working hard in the off season with the Royal Belfast coach Andrew Ferguson and uses the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland near Jordanstown to get the most out of his physical attributes.

As a member of the Horizon Sports Management stable, he is in good hands when it comes to making decisions. He is also intelligent, mature and thoughtful about the game.

He made his name in the US, where he toiled on the NGA Hooters Tour for several seasons before coming home to Europe. He earned his Challenge Tour playing privileges thanks to a handful of invitations and graduated to the European Tour after just one season on Europe's feeder tour, winning the Qingdao Golf Open en route to fourth place in the rankings.

Having finished 53rd on the European Tour money list in his rookie season, he was a worthy challenger for the Rookie of the Year honours that eventually went to Chris Wood.

And while he is no Rory McIlroy, he is a player capable of great things over the next few seasons.

"It’s easy to forget how young Rory is sometimes but he is a very mature golfer for his age and a great person at the same time," Maybin said. "I think he will push on and go from strength to strength this year."

Having graduated from the University of South Alabama, Maybin knows America well and realises that McIlroy will be expected to achieve miracles on the PGA Tour this year.

"America being America, they are looking for a superhero and looking to a few of the younger boys like Anthony Kim and Rory to step up," he said. "But I am quite happy with Europe for the next few years."

Should be achieve a few of his goals this term, Maybin has the temperament to triumph on any stage. He might not make much noise, but he has the game to match his towering ambition.