Four years ago, Victor Dubuisson was tearing it up in the Ryder Cup.
The shy, reserved Frenchman revelled in the drama at Gleneagles, partnering Graeme McDowell to resounding foursomes victories over Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley and Jimmy Walker/Rickie Fowler.
He then halved his singles match with Zach Johnson to go unbeaten on his debut in the biennial match and, at the age of just 24, it looked like he could become a cornerstone of the European team in the years that followed.
However, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.
Ahead of the Ryder Cup in his home nation, Dubuisson has teed it up just once on the European Tour in 2018. That was at the Open de Espana in April, where he posted rounds of 74 and 72 to miss the cut by six.
So, what’s stopping Dubuisson from teeing it up?
According to French media, the 28-year-old has been sidelined for the remainder of the season with a pretty serious injury.
After undergoing on operation on his sinuses late last year, Dubuisson suffered a perforated eardrum after flying back from the Open de Espana and has been ruled out indefinitely.
“My eardrum was hit on the plane on the way back from Spain then, back home, it exploded,” he told reporters in late May. “I was forced to have surgery and I can’t fly. My season is over. I can’t hear anything on the left side.”
Asked about the impact of this injury on his game, he continued: "I can hit balls but at the moment of impact, it hurts a lot. Playing would slow down my healing considerably, affecting my balance. I continue to do my ear rehabilitation so I can hear normally.”
Dubuisson has long been a man of mystique, who is usually very guarded with the media after a reportedly troubled upbringing.
“No more personal family questions, please,” responded Dubuisson at the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship after being asked about leaving school at the age of ten and if his parents tried to talk him out of it. “I’m sorry but I don’t like to think about that.”
In the media centre at that event, Thomas Levet, who first met Dubuisson when he was 14, added: “I know his family story and it was not an easy childhood, let’s leave it at that.
“Let’s not talk about bad things.”
Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery from his ear issues and is back on the course soon.