Sterne finally back in the swing of things
RICHARD STERNE makes a tentative return to golf today and tomorrow in the charitydriven Gary Player Invitational after what he describes as the “worst season of my career.”
The winner of six tournaments on the European Tour, Sterne had a hip operation in March of last year to repair a torn labrum.
He then was fourth in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral but subsequently struggled on tour, although he did finish second in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship towards the end of 2014. That earned him a spot in the Web.comTour Finals where he placed ninth to earn a coveted PGA Tour card for 2015.
The future looked bright but it turned out to be a disastrous campaign for the now 34-yearold, who missed 16 cuts in 18 starts in America this year. Since the operation, he says, he’s been favouring his right side which has thrown his swing out of balance,
The three- times South African World Cup player and Presidents Cup team member in 2013 – the year he won the Joburg Open with a recordbreaking 260 aggregate after rounds of 63, 65, 68 and 64 at Royal Johannesburg – was just not hitting the same shots he used to.
“It’s been very frustrating but hopefully things are coming right. I’ve worked hard but I was advised just to step away from golf for a while and I haven’t played in eight weeks,” Sterne said. “I’ll try and ease back into it this weekend, and then I’ll play the Cape Town Open (at Royal Cape) and the Alfred Dunhill Championship (at Leopard Creek) and see how it goes.”
Blessed with immense talent, Sterne’s career has been plagued by injury including a four-year spell with a dodgy back. Hopefully, now he’s well and truly on the mend and ready to start rolling in the birdies again.
Sterne, Gary Player and his son Wayne, as well as Thomas Levet and fellow Frenchman Jean van de Velde, are the male professionals taking part in the GPI, alongside Carly Booth, Danielle Montgomery and Emma Cabrera-Bello from the Ladies European Tour.
Also in attendance will ne former Proteas captain Graeme Smith and vice-captain Mark Boucher, ex- Bafana Bafana skipper Aaron Mokoena, Olympic swimming star Roland Schoeman, and popstars Ronan Keating and Brian McFadden.