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

Win­dow or aisle? Aisle. First per­son to call in a jam? My fa­ther, David. Test match at Lord’s or Twick­en­ham? Twick­en­ham. First car? Toy­ota Tazz. Cur­rent car? VW Golf GTI. Favourite TV show? Suits, Bin­nelanders. Low­est round? 60 in a social round at The Els Club in 2015. Su­per­sti­tions? None. Best friends on tour? Ty­rone and Steven Fer­reira, Mer­rick Brem­ner. Strong­est player men­tally on tour? My­self! Most nat­u­rally gifted on tour? Jean Hugo. Long­est hit­ter on tour? Mer­rick Brem­ner. First thing you bought af­ter first pay cheque as a pro? A pair of run­ning shoes in 2008. Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with, liv­ing or dead? MMA fighter Conor McGre­gor. Which celebrity would you sac­ri­fice to zom­bies? Ross from Friends. at Dur­ban Coun­try Club in the 2009 Sun­coast Clas­sic, but I kind of just drifted along for the next few years. I be­came frus­trated that things were not hap­pen­ing quickly enough. Bran­den Grace and George Coet­zee were two of my peers at am­a­teur level, and things were start­ing to hap­pen for them, but not for me. I was do­ing okay for a 25-year-old, but I wanted more.


At the end of 2012 I was do­ing some mixed-mar­tial arts train­ing for fit­ness pur­poses and tore lig­a­ments in my left shoul­der while wrestling. I man­aged to play on for a few months – even fin­ish­ing third at the Tsh­wane Open – but even­tu­ally I needed surgery and landed up missing four months of tournament golf. It was dur­ing that time away from the game that I did some se­ri­ous soul-search­ing and re­dis­cov­ered my drive for golf. I also re­alised what off-course pur­suits pro golfers should not be do­ing! I went back to my coach from am­a­teur days, Llewellyn van Leeuwen, and the work we did en­abled me to win twice in 2014.


We weren’t even dat­ing yet, but I met Zjar­dene and her par­ents for break­fast one morn­ing in Pre­to­ria.We were mak­ing small talk when her dad men­tioned that he had run in a 10-kilome­tre race the pre­vi­ous day. I was su­per­im­pressed he had done it in 38 min­utes, and asked if he had ever con­sid­ered run­ning the Com­rades. Modesty pre­vented him from re­ply­ing, but his wife Sharon couldn’t re­sist. She let me know that he had ac­tu­ally won the Com­rades! My fu­ture fa­ther-in-law was 1991 Com­rades win­ner and Iron Man leg­end Nick Bester! Zjar­dene and I mar­ried two years later, but that story is time­less.


Af­ter the 2013 Di­men­sion Data Pro-Am at Fan­court I drove north from George through the Ka­roo to Gary Player’s farm near Coles­berg to meet this icon of the game for the first time.A friend of my fa­ther had ar­ranged the visit. Gary couldn’t have been more ac­com­mo­dat­ing. We spoke well into the night, mostly fo­cus­ing on the men­tal side of golf.The next morn­ing he looked at my swing.A week later I fin­ished third in the co-sanc­tioned Tsh­wane Open at The Els Club, earn­ing R1.2 mil­lion. Enough said.


I am a fa­ther now. Zjar­dene gave birth to our son Luca last Novem­ber, so I now play for our fam­ily too. I’ve been to the Euro­pean Tour Qual­i­fy­ing School four times, with­out suc­cess, and I’ll go again later this year.That’s the goal. I be­lieve I can com­pete on the Euro­pean Tour. I also need to win a 72-hole event on the Sun­shine Tour. My three vic­to­ries have all been three­r­ound events.

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