THINK YOUNG, PLAY HARD
The product of three different development programmes, Makhetha Mazibuko is beginning to realise his potential
ON FINISHING SECOND AT THE PGA
My performance at Eye of Africa wasn’t only important for me. It will show the other Gary Player Class of 2017 members that when given the proper support and structure – and with a lot of hard work – these results are possible. Thirty previously disadvantaged professionals are receiving financial aid for travel and accommodation and regular access to swing, fitness and mental coaches, overseen by Sunshine Tour tournament director Theo Manyama.
ON COMING DOWN THE STRETCH AT THE PGA
I was proud of how my game held up in the final round (he closed with a 68). I had never finished in the top-10 of a Sunshine Tour event before. But I was able to
remain calm, and played attacking golf to get into a playoff. I received so much attention afterwards, it almost seemed like I had won!
ON HIS JOURNEY THROUGH DEVELOPMENT GOLF
So many people have helped me on my journey in this game. After seeing golf on television and watching my brother (Ben) play, I began hitting balls in a field near my home in Phuthaditjhaba (QwaQwa). At 15 I started receiving coaching from the Golf Development Board, where the Free State coaching staff of CorneViljoen and Ratha Motaung taught us all the basics. From there I won a scholarship to the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, which was invaluable. For three years I stayed in the EEFF hostel at Fancourt, and matriculated from Thempalethu High School in George.
ON A TIMELY PHONE CALL
Betty Mokoena and I became friends during our time together at the EEFF and we have always stayed in touch. I was struggling with my game in December before we chatted over the phone, and she gave me a small tip with my putting and a general pep talk. In my next competitive round I shot 66 to win the SA Open qualifier at Kempton Park.
ON HIS NICKNAME
As a teenager I was playing in a match against a visiting Scottish team and got on a hot streak, making six birdies in a row, after which they named me the ‘Original PlayStation’ because it was like playing against a video game.
ON A DREAM FOURBALL
Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods at St Andrews. I would love to visit the Old Course. Who knows, maybe I will receive an invite to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October…