Steel enjoyed the birth of his son Graham on July 9th and after having undergone surgery to his feet a week later, the 36-year-old is now determined to make an impression on his return to competitive golf at the Royal Orchid International Golf Club.
"It feels great being a father and it does change my outlook on life. The birth of Graham has brought a lot of excitement and I am extremely happy," said Steel, who last competed in the Bangkok Airways Open in June.
The Malaysian stalwart produced two top-10 finishes in the first half of the season and he is eager to continue his feat when faced against a top field this week that include local stars Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong, the current UBS Order of Merit leader, big-hitting Australia Scott Hend, in-form Scotsman Simon Yates, India's Gaurav Ghei, and Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei who won the Brunei Open last month.
After celebrating the birth of Graham, Steel underwent surgery to his feet mid July and was off competitive golf for over two months. With a refreshed feel to his game this week, Steel is hoping to walk in the right direction for a strong result in Guangzhou.
"I had to go for an operation to remove two outgrown bones, one on each foot, and I was on the couch all strapped up for two weeks. I wasn't able to hit the ball for over three weeks. But I'm glad to have undergone the operation as my feet were really sore whenever I walked the course before. I feel much better now when I walk compared to how it was in the past five years. I am not tired after a round of golf and I can work on my game after having played 18 holes, so it's made me a lot more energetic.
"But I wasn't playing too well in the past few months and maybe it was because of the anticipation of having a baby too. The break and the birth of my child has now inspired me to face the second half of the season with renewed confidence and I am eager for a strong result," admitted Steel, who will be hoping to hone his skills at the Royal Orchid International Golf Club.
"The course is nice and I like it. It is not too long so it doesn't demand much off the tee. The greens are quite receptive as well. It should be a low score this week. I took a few putting lessons since I was not allowed to wear shoes after the surgery. Hopefully I can polish the other aspects of my game and have a good week here."
Among the other top contenders at this week's US$400,000 event is China's Zhang who will be walking on familiar ground competing in a course which he helped redesign while Compatriot Liang will be equally fired up for a comeback after a rare miss cut appearance at the Brunei Open.
With five top-10 finishes so far this season, Hend, who is third on the UBS Order of Merit, will be on the hunt for a maiden triumph while India's Ghei, having already tasted victory in the Middle Kingdom in April, will be eager to strike it right in the Guangdong province.
The action on course at the weekend of the Midea China Classic will be beamed live on ESPN StarSports. There will also be terrestrial coverage in Indonesia and Thailand with 30 million in estimated number of audience as the Asian Tour Weekly Magazine show will be televised across the region through ESPN StarSports.