Storm’s Cad­die Joins Lo­cal Roll of Hon­our

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

Thama Jef­frey Nkonyane found him­self a minicelebrity in Jo­han­nes­burg when he col­lected the big­gest cheque of his 32-year ca­reer as a cad­die af­ter help­ing Eng­land’s Graeme Storm win the BMW SA Open at Glen­dower.

He is one of six South African black cad­dies who have been on the bag of an Open cham­pion since the championship be­came part of the Euro­pean Tour in 1997. Four of them have been with for­eign play­ers rather than lo­cals. Isaac Zwane was the first, with Vi­jay Singh at Glen­dower in 1997. Si­mon Masilo cad­died for Ernie Els in all five of his Open vic­to­ries (two of those were be­fore the Open be­came co-sanc­tioned). Mike Sithole cad­died for Mathias Gron­berg at Rand­park in 2000, while Solomon Soli was on the bag for an­other Swede, Hen­rik Sten­son, when he won at Serengeti in 2012. Soli has trav­elled ex­ten­sively on the Euro­pean Tour.Tim Clark had Kloof CC cad­die Jus­tice “Juice” Dlamini by his side when win­ning at Dur­ban CC in 2002. “This is the big­gest pay­day of my life, and also the proud­est day of my ca­reer,” said the 51-year-old from Soweto, who is a reg­u­lar cad­die at the Wan­der­ers Golf Club. “It was spe­cial to win the Open in front of my home crowd, and with Graeme, who I’ve known for many years. I first cad­died for him when he came here in 2001 as a young­ster to com­pete on the Sunshine Tour. Then I picked up his bag again in the 2005 SA Open at Dur­ban Coun­try Club, and we fin­ished in the top five.We al­ways re­con­nect when he comes to South Africa and he calls on me if he doesn’t bring his own bag­man. This time his cad­die went on hon­ey­moon, so he called and I came.”

Nkonyane has car­ried many bags on the Sunshine Tour and his favourites in­clude Hugh Baioc­chi, the late Wayne Westner and Amer­i­can Woody Austin, who briefly played the Sunshine Tour for part of the sum­mer of 1987.

“Graeme had never played with Rory (McIl­roy) be­fore, so we knew it was go­ing to be a stress­ful day, but I have to say the fans had a lot to do with his win,” said Nkonyane.“At al­most every hole they cheered just as hard for Graeme as they did for Rory and that re­ally gave us con­fi­dence. My job was to keep telling him not to get an­gry or up­set and hurt him­self. I am so proudly South African af­ter this. This shows that we are as good as cad­dies any­where in the world.”

Storm, in­ci­den­tally, recorded a golf­ing first when his mother cad­died for him at the 2000 Mas­ters (he was in­vited af­ter win­ning the 1999 Bri­tish Am­a­teur).

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