“SOME­TIMES I WON­DER HOW MY CA­REER MIGHT HAVE PLAYED OUT IF IT WEREN’T FOR TWO HUGE STROKES OF FOR­TUNE…”

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

a nice ho­tel and fre­quent good restau­rants. Last sum­mer we were hol­i­day­ing in Stil­baai in the South­ern Cape and I re­alised the Titans were play­ing in the Mo­men­tum One Day Cup fi­nal at New­lands.We drove for over three hours to Cape Town, I phoned Mark Boucher for some tick­ets, and af­ter­wards I was in­vited into the chang­ing room for the vic­tory cel­e­bra­tions. Al­bie Morkel and I are good friends (we both live on the Sil­ver Lakes es­tate in Pretoria) and that night was ex­tremely mem­o­rable!

AS A LIFE-LONG Liver­pool fan I’m tremen­dously excited about our new man­ager Jurgen Klopp. ‘My hart KLOP vir hom!’ (My heart beats for him). I re­mem­ber watch­ing a foot­ball match on TV with my sis­ter when I was young. She chose the blue team, so I had the reds. I liked that Liver­pool were the un­der­dogs and I was mes­merised by Rob­bie Fowler’s skills. If Klopp con­tin­ues to in­spire, I will have to go to more games. I’ll even plan my tour­na­ment sched­ule ac­cord­ingly.

I WAS PLAY­ING in the 2005 Bri­tish Am­a­teur at Royal Birk­dale so was in Liver­pool the night of the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal against AC Mi­lan in Is­tan­bul.We were 3-0 down at half­time and I was so de­pressed I de­cided to have a drink. I don’t even like whisky but they didn’t have brandy. I vowed never to drink dur­ing a tour­na­ment again if some­thing spe­cial could hap­pen. A penalty shootout and Liver­pool’s fifth Euro­pean Cup hap­pened!

HOW GOOD CAN I BE? I’m excited at how much I am still learn­ing in this game. Ev­ery­thing I am learn­ing now is go­ing to ben­e­fit me later in my ca­reer. I don’t play pro­fes­sional golf just to main­tain a spot within the top 100 in the world – I want to win tour­na­ments, I’m not go­ing to limit my am­bi­tions. His­tory shows that ex­cep­tion­ally young play­ers who are world-beat­ers are not that com­mon. Tiger, McIl­roy, and now Spi­eth are a rare breed. Play­ers peak at dif­fer­ent times. Look how long it took Justin Rose to reach his po­ten­tial and win a ma­jor. I’m only turn­ing 30 in 2016.

EV­ER­RY­THING IS GEARED for my re­turn to tour­na­ment golf in the sec­ond week of Jan­uary at the SA Open at Glen­dower. My festive sea­son will re­volve around mak­ing sure I’m fit and sharp to com­pete – and con­tend – in my na­tional open. PRO VIC­TO­RIES 2015 Tsh­wane Open; AfrAsia Mau­ri­tius Open 2014 Joburg Open 2011 Telkom PGA Cham­pi­onship 2008 Vo­da­com Ori­gins Hume­wood; SAA Pro-Am In­vi­ta­tional 2007 Vo­da­com Ori­gins Sel­borne BEST MA­JOR FIN­ISH T-7 at 2015 PGA Cham­pi­onship 2015 SUN­SHINE TOUR Won the Or­der of Merit with R5 470 684 from 7 events, high­lighted with Euro­pean Tour co-sanc­tioned vic­to­ries at the Tsh­wane Open (R2.9m) and AfrAsia Mau­ri­tius Open (R2.25m)

From top left: The 1972 Coetzee-fam­ily Bee­tle; smil­ing af­ter surgery; Tsh­wane Open suc­cess; Tuna haul off the KZN coast; Titans trea­sure with Al­bie Morkel (left) and Dean El­gar.

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