In 1986, a six-year-old German boy stood looking at the information board of his local golf club, Burg Overbach in Much.
He was a 36 handicap. He was passionate about the game. He couldn’t wait to play in the Sony Young Master tournament at his club that year, as the youngest player in the field. But there was just one problem.
“I couldn’t yet read properly,” says Siem.
So he asked the members, “Am I on the starter’s list?” And they were happy to point out his name, and as such help the rise of another German golf star.
Siem was a regular at the golf club, with his parents running a restaurant there. “The golf course and the bunkers were my home, and the biggest playground you could imagine,” he says.
While his friends were fascinated with football, Siem gravitated towards golf and would often light candles around the putting green so he could keep working on his game after dark.
After a solid amateur career in which he won the 1999 Spanish Amateur Championship, Siem turned professional in 2000.
His breakthrough on the European Tour came in South Africa when he won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in January 2004.
In 2006 he teamed up with German golf legend Bernhard Langer to win the World Cup of Golf for his country.
Then he had to wait until 2012 before claiming his next victory on the European Tour in the Alstom Open de France. They have come quickly after this though, with wins in the 2013 Trophee Hassan II and then a victory this year in the BMW Masters. Tied for the lead with Ross Fisher and Alexander Levy after 72 holes in the BMW Masters, Siem took the title when he chipped in for birdie on the 18th during the playoff.
“A chip in is always cool, but to have one in a play-off is even cooler. It's my third tournament that I’ve won in a play-off so far. It’s pretty cool, I like that,” said Siem.
Siem’s talent has never been in question. But there were some who wondered whether he could contain an often explosive temper early in his career.
His short game coach, Marc Roe, certainly believes he’s done this. “Over the last few years I have watched Marcel develop and become a much more professional golfer. He has always had the passion and this exuberance and a great amount of skill. He also has a volcanic temper that has let him down in the past, but when this is channeled correctly it can become a massive positive.”
Thos year, Siem’s surge up the Race to Dubai rankings, including a finish of tied 12th in the US Open, has put him on the radar as one of the standout players of the European Tour season.
And there’s a definite sense that Siem is becoming very comfortable in the winner’s circle now.
“It’s my fourth time now that I’ve won a tournament. I think you have to learn. You have to be more in that position to be as cool as, let’s say, Tiger or Rory or those guys. Usually I’m a very, very aggressive player. But I think it’s a learning process for me, and to stay a little bit cooler.”