Like father, like son

The Manyama name will still be re­spected in golf­ing cir­cles af­ter Theo Manyama re­tires, as the ap­ple hasn’t fallen far from the tree

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

He­len Row­land was not too far wrong when she said: “A man’s de­sire for a son is usu­ally noth­ing but the wish to du­pli­cate him­self in or­der that such a re­mark­able pat­tern may not be lost to the world.” The father-son pair­ing of the Manya­mas could not il­lus­trate the point bet­ter.

They were a mem­o­rable fea­ture this week at the Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club in Waterk­loof a day be­fore the Tsh­wane Open teed off on Thurs­day.

It was no or­di­nary Wed­nes­day on the fair­ways – it was golf-of­fi­cial­dom his­tory in the mak­ing.

There was a lot of hus­tle and bus­tle at the venue, with the or­gan­is­ers putting the fi­nal touches to their prepa­ra­tions for the Tsh­wane Open. But City Press’ at­ten­tion was not on the peo­ple milling around the course; it was on two re­mark­able gen­tle­men: Theo and Lud­wick Manyama.

Like father, like son. See­ing them jok­ing around like old friends was a heart-warm­ing sight, and there was none of the for­mal­ity one might have ex­pected. The two could eas­ily have been mis­taken for noth­ing more than close friends who hap­pened to look pretty sim­i­lar.

They shared jokes ca­su­ally with those in the rules-of­fice meet­ing at the club­house.

When they drove a club cart through the course to in­spect it, they kept on ex­chang­ing jokes along the way, like big bud­dies with equally large frames.

The Manyama sur­name is es­tab­lish­ing it­self as a bit of a bud­ding dy­nasty in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of pro­fes­sional golf. The men have be­come re­spected rules of­fi­cials on both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional golf cour­ses. They are fully fledged tour­na­ment di­rec­tors at the high­est level of the game.

Lud­wick fol­lows in the foot­steps of his fa­mous father, who has been at the helm of the Sun­shine Tour tour­na­ment as a di­rec­tor for 24 years. The 38-year-old Diep­kloof, Sowe­to­based Manyama ju­nior has served as a tour rules of­fi­cial since 2007.

He was el­e­vated to the more pres­ti­gious role of tour­na­ment di­rec­tor in De­cem­ber af­ter be­ing an un­der­study to his father and Gary Todd, the chief tour­na­ment di­rec­tor.

The younger Manyama is look­ing for­ward to achiev­ing the mile­stones his 72-year-old father did as an ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Manyama se­nior has reached a unique mile­stone for a South African, with a “ca­reer grand slam” of his own. He has of­fi­ci­ated in all four of golf’s ma­jor con­tests – hav­ing worked at 16 US Masters, nine US Opens, 19 con­sec­u­tive Bri­tish Open Cham­pi­onships and one PGA Cham­pi­onship.

The vet­eran will notch up yet an­other ad­mirable achieve­ment in a glit­ter­ing ca­reer when he of­fi­ci­ates at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil in Au­gust. This will the first time that golf will be played as an Olympic sport since 1904, and the South African team will be cap­tained by Gary Player, though the 80-yearold leg­end will not com­pete.

Cur­rently lead­ing in the world rank­ings lo­cally are Olympic hope­fuls Bran­den Grace, at num­ber 11, and Louis Oosthuizen at 20. The fi­nal se­lec­tion of golf­ing Olympians, which will be based on global rank­ings, will be made in June. Both South African play­ers stand a good chance of rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try as a twoman team at the Games.

Manyama se­nior is look­ing for­ward to his as­sign­ment at the Olympics, which he de­scribes as a crown­ing mo­ment.

“This is the pin­na­cle of my ca­reer as an of­fi­cial. Rep­re­sent­ing your coun­try in the Olympics means a lot. I’m look­ing for­ward to mak­ing the most of it.”

It is the man­ner in which the father-son work­ing re­la­tion­ship plays it­self out on the course that is most en­dear­ing.

The heav­ily built Lud­wick looked busy in the small tour­na­ment of­fice at the club­house as he re­hearsed key points from the rule book to pre­pare him­self for what would be only his se­cond big out­ing as an of­fi­cial on a Euro­pean Tour event.

His more ex­pe­ri­enced father, on the other hand, sim­ply milled around and chat­ted to his fel­low Euro­pean Tour col­leagues.

Lud­wick’s first as­sign­ment since his pro­mo­tion was at the Joburg Open at the Royal Jo­han­nes­burg & Kens­ing­ton Golf Club last month, where he worked along­side David Wil­liams, the Euro­pean Tour’s chair­per­son.

In Pre­to­ria, Lud­wick wel­comed City Press with a broad smile and drove us on a cart to the num­ber nine and 10 greens, where both he and his father pointed out the holes and pin po­si­tions ahead of the four-day show­down in the sear­ing Tsh­wane heat.

Lud­wick, grin­ning from ear to ear, said: “The feel­ing of be­ing el­e­vated to tour­na­ment di­rec­tor on the co-sanc­tioned tour is great. I’m look­ing for­ward to mak­ing the grade in­ter­na­tion­ally, just like Dad has done.”

He ex­plained that the task of be­ing a di­rec­tor en­tailed the need for a per­fect un­der­stand­ing of all the rules and en­sur­ing that all the play­ers con­formed to them.

“This is a tough task, be­cause you ac­tu­ally have to mon­i­tor the play and en­sure no rule is bro­ken.”

The soft-spo­ken Lud­wick, who is also a man­ager on the Big Easy Tour, a de­vel­op­ment or­gan of the Sun­shine Tour, be­lieved the “tu­ition” he got from his father was in­com­pa­ra­ble.

“I have learnt a lot from my dad re­gard­ing the rules of the game. It will be great to make my own mark by per­haps even sur­pass­ing him in fu­ture and set­ting my own record of achieve­ments as an of­fi­cial.”

Lud­wick’s first in­volve­ment on the Euro­pean Tour as a rules of­fi­cial was at the John­nie Walker Cham­pi­onship at Gle­nea­gles in Scot­land in 2013.

He said the high­light of his ca­reer to date was be­ing part of the World Golf Cham­pi­onships-Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional at the Fire­stone Coun­try Club in Ohio, US, last July, where most of the house­hold names in world golf, in­clud­ing cur­rent world num­ber one Jor­dan Spi­eth and vet­eran left-han­der and exworld num­ber two Phil Mick­el­son, took part.

“It was quite en­cour­ag­ing for me to of­fi­ci­ate at such an event. I gained ex­pe­ri­ence by in­ter­act­ing with fel­low of­fi­cials glob­ally,” said Lud­wick.

A proud Manyama se­nior had lit­tle doubt that his son would make his mark as a top­class of­fi­cial and even sur­pass him some­day.

“Lud­wick takes the rules of golf se­ri­ously and is pas­sion­ate about what he does when he is as­signed to of­fi­ci­ate,” said the vet­eran.

“He has a bright fu­ture and will def­i­nitely sur­pass my achieve­ments in fu­ture. I will re­tire soon.”

Sun­shine Tour ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Sel­wyn Nathan lauded Manyama ju­nior and said he was thor­oughly de­serv­ing of his cur­rent sta­tus on the tour.

“Lud­wick has come through the ranks. As the Sun­shine Tour, we’re hope­ful that he’ll blossom into a world-class of­fi­cial, equal to his dad,” said Nathan.

It is clear that golf runs in the Manyama fam­ily’s blood. Like father, like son, in­deed.

PHOTO: EL­IZ­A­BETH SE­JAKE

TOP DOGS Theo Manyama (left), one of the best rules of­fi­cials in golf, and his son Lud­wick in­spect the Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club course ahead of the Tsh­wane Open

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