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NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE

10-13 NOVEMBER 2016

2016 MAJORS FOUR ROOKIE WINNERS

FLIGHT SCOPE

SA INVENTION TAKES GOLF WORLD BY STORM

THE BUSINESS OF GOLF AND WHO EARNS WHAT

10 -13 NOV EMBER 2016

UN-LEISHED DEFENDING CHAMPION MARC LEISHMAN REFLECTS...

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

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CONTENTS

2016 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE

45 The people who make the Nedbank Golf Challenge The organisers and staff behind the scenes

50 Marc’s new “leish” on golf For the defending champion first prize is always family

54 Grace’s major vision 10 Welcome to the 36th Nedbank Golf Challenge 12 Welcome letters 22 Earning its place The Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player is a firm fixture on the European Tour

28 Sponsor thanks 31 Global diversity is the strength of the European Tour

The appeal of the European Tour

38 Major firsts and Major records in 2016 More about this year’s four rookie winners

Why South Africa’s Number 1 feels he is still learning

58 Anchor’s away

How the banning of the anchored putter has affected the game

63 Did golf deliver gold at the Olympics? Why golf needs a place on this stage

66 The men who make the pros’ swing sing The role of coaches comes under the spotlight

71 Master Willett now a major force The rise and rise of this Masters champion

79 Money makes the tour go round The golfers who made it to the “rich list”

85 The sweetest swing in golf And who it belongs to

91 Stenson as dominant as ever How the likeable Swede creates such fireworks on the fairway

99 The business of golf

The bottom line’s changing face

109 From tracking missiles to tracking balls The story behind FlightScope

116 The Sports Trust

The Nedbank Golf Challenge’s golf development fundraiser

123 Take the course

A walk through the Gary Player Country Club

144 Course layout 149 Behind the scenes 155 Roll of honour

FOR SUN INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT CHAIRMAN Mike van Vuuren TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR Alastair Roper SUN INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS Claudia Henkel, Zoleka Skweyiya EVENT MANAGERS Dan Sevel, Elardus Senekal, Warren Rudolph, Sonja Holl FOR THE PUBLISHING PARTNERSHIP EDITOR Matthew Pearce MANAGING EDITOR Wendy Maritz ART DIRECTOR Ryan Manning FEATURES WRITER Michael Vlismas COPY EDITOR Christine de Villiers EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS Mark Beare, John Morkel FINANCIAL MANAGER Naeema Abrahams ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVES Elna Coetzer, tel: 021-488-5938, Nick Lumb, tel: 021-481-3518, Ebrahim Ajeraan, tel: 021-488-5904. For sales enquiries for the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge programme, please call 021-424-3512 or email info@tppsa.co.za. TRAFFIC MANAGER Nadia Jacobs PHOTOGRAPHY Grant Leversha, Getty Images REPRODUCTION Hirt & Carter PRINTING Paarl Media Cape Produced for Sun International by The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 15054, Vlaeberg, 8018. Copyright Sun International 2016. Editorial and sales enquiries: tel 021-424-3517, fax 021-424-3612, email info@tppsa.co.za. The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or Sun International. The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd and Sun International do not accept any responsibility for information published. For information on sponsorship and hospitality opportunities at the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge, phone Warren Rudolph on 011 780 7248.

8 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE 2016


WELCOME TO THE 36TH

NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE

A

very warm welcome to the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player and, more specifically, to the pages of this official tournament publication. While much of the content of the magazine in years past has been focused on the invited players, most of whose identities were known months in advance, the change in date and format of the event this year have necessitated a change in editorial approach from us as well. With the Nedbank Golf Challenge now being the penultimate event on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, it has moved away from being a co-sanctioned, predominantly invitationdriven event to being a fully fledged European Tour stop, with the top 64 players on the Race to Dubai following the previous week’s event

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gaining automatic entry, and being joined by the 2015 defending champion, the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner and six other tournament invitees. We have featured our defending champion, Australia’s Marc Leishman, along with two other Nedbank champions, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, both of whom broke through to win their first Major championships in 2016 and thereby confirmed their participation at Sun City. We have also included features on two South Africans who grew up remarkably close to each other along South Africa’s Garden Route but in very different environments, Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, who will fancy their chances in front of you, their home galleries. In addition to our featured players, we have

given you plenty of golf-related content and debate to devour, including the consequences of the ban on anchored putters at professional level (implemented at the beginning of 2016), a report card on the readmission of golf into the Olympic Games in Rio, a glimpse into the South African inventor of a technology called FlightScope that has transformed the golf-club-fitting environment as well as added value to broadcasters, and a look at the health of the business of golf, along with plenty more. We hope that you will keep this publication as a reminder of your visit to Africa’s Major, and that you will enjoy it as much as the world-class golf you will experience at the Gary Player Country Club. Matthew Pearce and The Publishing Partnership team


WELCOME WELCOME TO THE 2016 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER. AFTER HAVING PLAYED SUCH A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN STARTING THIS ICONIC EVENT 36 YEARS AGO, IT IS FITTING THAT THE LEGENDARY GARY PLAYER NOW HAS HIS NAME ADDED TO THE OFFICIAL TITLE OF AFRICA’S MAJOR. The golfing world mourned the passing of “The King” Arnold Palmer in September, and our sympathies go to the Palmer family and the broader golfing fraternity. Golf would not be what it is today had it not been for Palmer’s contribution. Now, as part of the Race to Dubai’s Final Series, the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player starts another exciting chapter in its proud history. The size and format of the field and prize money may have changed over the years, but Africa’s Major has always attracted the best players in world golf, from Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros to Nick Price, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Sergio García, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and many more. The Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player presents a unique platform for us to

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

show our appreciation for our valued clients, while at the same time working with Sun International to showcase South Africa as a sporting and tourist destination. The tournament also continues to inspire future generations of South African golfers. With 72 of the world’s best golfers battling it out to be crowned the European Tour’s number-one player as the Race to Dubai nears its conclusion, there will be much more world-class golf on offer to spectators and TV audiences around the world as Africa’s Major helps showcase our beautiful country. Thanks to Graeme Stephens, Alastair Roper and the team at Sun International for their partnership in this event and the effort that has gone into making this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player one to remember. I particularly thank Alastair Roper, who, in his capacity as tournament director for the past 20 years, has played an invaluable role in making this event one of the finest sporting events in the world. He has announced that he will be retiring after this year's event, and we wish him and his family the very best. Thanks for joining us. I trust you will have a fantastic time at Africa’s Major.

Mike Brown Nedbank Chief Executive

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WELCOME

WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS TO JOIN THE ELITE FINAL SERIES ON THE EUROPEAN TOUR’S RACE TO DUBAI, AND WHAT A PROUD MOMENT FOR SOUTH AFRICAN GOLF. EVER SINCE IT MADE ITS DEBUT IN 1981, THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE HAS SET A HIGH STANDARD AS ONE OF THE FINEST TOURNAMENTS IN WORLD GOLF. IT HAS ALWAYS EXCELLED IN ITS ABILITY TO DRAW THE WORLD’S BEST PLAYERS TO SUN CITY, AND IT HAS REMAINED AT THE FOREFRONT OF WORLD GOLF IN TERMS OF ITS PRIZE MONEY AS WELL AS ITS OVERALL PLAYER AND SPECTATOR OFFERING. The inclusion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge as a full European Tour event and with a prime place on the Final Series is another feather in the cap of all of those who work so hard to make “Africa’s Major” one of the best golf experiences in the game. There is no doubt in my mind that those who have come to expect the traditional high level of hospitality that Sun International and this tournament offers are going to be equally impressed once again. An increased field of 72 players means unprecedented golf viewing options for the many fans who travel to Sun City to catch a glimpse of their favourite players. The quality of the field will be one of the strongest as the Nedbank Golf Challenge now occupies such a premier slot on the European Tour’s schedule. As such, Sun City has undergone many exciting changes and upgrades aimed at enhancing the

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

experience of the fans. This tournament holds a very special place not only in the history of South African golf, but also in that of Sun City. From the very start the Nedbank Golf Challenge has showcased what Sun City has to offer – and this message, beamed out to the global audience, is as strong as it was in 1981. To our main sponsor, Nedbank, thank you for walking this journey with us and playing such a major role in all efforts to keep growing the Nedbank Golf Challenge. I would also like to welcome all the players who, through this new vision for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, will be able to experience the amazing hospitality and wonders of Sun City that I’m sure you’ve heard your fellow professionals speak of over the years. Valli Moosa Chairman, Sun International Limited

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WELCOME IT IS MY GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU TO SUN CITY FOR WHAT IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE FINEST MOMENTS IN THE ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY OF THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has always distinguished itself as a tournament driven by innovation, and the team at Sun International has done an excellent job over the years constantly raising the bar and exceeding the expectations of the players and spectators alike. This year marks an exciting new era in the tournament’s history as it takes up a place on the European Tour’s elite Final Series, with a bigger field size of 72 players and an increased purse of US$7 million. With this comes an increased demand for what Sun City has to offer, and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised by the many changes we have made to

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

improve the resort. In addition to the revamped Entertainment Centre, there are many new attractions at the Valley of Waves and The Sun City Hotel, as well as many innovations around catering and hospitality. I invite you to really make use of everything we have here. There are indeed very few resorts worldwide that have such a complete offering for the family. Sun International is immensely proud of this event and we take pleasure in showcasing “Africa’s Major” to you. Enjoy! Graeme Stephens Chief Executive, Sun International Limited

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WELCOME

THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER HAS ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF THE GREAT EVENTS ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTING LANDSCAPE AND THE SUNSHINE TOUR IS THRILLED TO WELCOME EVERYONE TO THE GARY PLAYER COUNTRY CLUB AT SUN CITY AS WE CONTINUE WITH YET ANOTHER NEW CHAPTER IN THIS GOLF TOURNAMENT’S ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY. Now that the tournament has become part of the European Tour’s Final Series on the Race to Dubai and the field has been expanded to 72 players, with the prize-fund boosted to $7-million, we’re confident that golf fans will have plenty over which to enthuse as some of the world’s very best professionals descend upon the iconic Sun City and its celebrated Gary Player Country Club. It is a pleasure working with committed partners such as Nedbank and Sun International, and their decades of experience in putting on this tournament assure that fans and players alike get a top-class experience. To the European Tour, with whom we have put on so many events on the Sunshine

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

Tour, we owe a massive debt of gratitude. The events on which we collaborate are always among the best on the Sunshine Tour, and we welcome them back warmly to South Africa once again. With the biggest field ever to be assembled at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, there will be no shortage of great players to entertain the crowds. Among them there will be many new faces experiencing Sun City for the very first time. They will have substantial knowledge of the tournaments that have gone before, and we wish them a successful week. Finally, a special welcome to our tournament host and South African sporting legend Gary Player, who has been synonymous with the “Million Dollar” and then the Nedbank Golf Challenge since its inception. In his role of ambassador and host to fans, sponsors and players, Player adds significantly to the stature of this tournament, giving greater meaning to its claim of truly being “Africa’s Major”! Selwyn Nathan Executive Director, Sunshine Tour

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WELCOME THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE HAS A RICH HISTORY AS ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST CELEBRATED SPORTING EVENTS AND THE TOURNAMENT ENTERS A NEW CHAPTER THIS WEEK AS IT BECOMES PART OF THE EUROPEAN TOUR’S FINAL SERIES FOR THE FIRST TIME.

An increased field of 72 players means even more of our members will be able to experience the spectacular resort of Sun City and add their names to those who have played here over the past 35 years. This is the penultimate event on the 2016 Race to Dubai, and after another terrific year of competition on the European Tour, we look forward to seeing who can make one last push over the next fortnight. Players are our recipe for success in everything we do, and we are truly honoured to have one of the greatest of all, and one of South Africa’s most revered sports stars, Gary Player, as our tournament host this week over the stunning golf course that bears his name.

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has an illustrious Roll of Honour featuring no less than 15 Major Champions, the most recent being England’s Danny Willett who followed up his victory here in 2015 with success at Augusta National the following April. Earlier this year, Australian Marc Leishman provided one of the stories of the season when his six-shot victory marked a remarkable start to the 2016 European Tour season, having almost lost his wife just months earlier. We wish Marc, and all competitors here this week, the very best and I look forward to greeting them all upon my first visit to this wonderful country. Once again our thanks go to Sun City Resort and Sun International for hosting us, and to Nedbank and all of our other partners for their ongoing support. Our thanks go also to the members and staff of this golfing paradise for welcoming us so warmly and allowing us the great pleasure of hosting this superb event on such a beautifully presented layout. We hope you all thoroughly enjoy the week. Keith Pelley Chief Executive, European Tour

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“SPORT HAS THE POWER THE LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS ACADEMY The Best of Sport The Academy is the ultimate sports jury who selects the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. The Members of the Academy also volunteer their time to act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Laureus Ambassadors are sports men and women who are supporting the Academy by inspiring the next generation.

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INTRODUCTION

EARNING ITS PLACE

IN ITS NEW POSITION AS THE PENULTIMATE EVENT ON THE RACE TO DUBAI, THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER HAS INKED ITSELF ONTO THE GLOBAL ITINERARY OF THE EUROPEAN TOUR.

T

HOSTED BY GARY PLAYER

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here’s an important add-on to the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge, over and above the 42 additional players who will tee up for the penultimate event on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai this year. The add-on to which we refer is the phrase “hosted by Gary Player”, which now appears after the official event title – hugely appropriate recognition of the tremendous work South Africa’s Grand Slam winner has done for this event from the very beginning. When he put the course design together to complement Sol Kerzner’s overall Sun City vision back in the late 1970s, Gary Player became indelibly linked to this event, in which he played in 1981, in its inaugural “Million Dollar” format, and on another four occasions thereafter. He would probably be the first to admit that

he was past his competitive best, considering the other professionals who came to South Africa to complete in those early years, but his mere presence gave the event and the venue an instant credibility with local golf fans as well as with those foreign players who, to a large extent, were venturing into the unknown. As the event grew, evolved and changed over the past three decades and more, Gary Player – along with his ageless course design – has been a comforting constant in the process and at the event itself. Always immaculately turned out, always with a smile, a comment and a signature for an adoring fan, Player has been synonymous with the Nedbank Golf Challenge and is now so in name as well. Each day he makes his way to the first tee to greet the players, and it has been special to


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INTRODUCTION

note the esteem in which he is held by the local and visiting professionals and the respect they afford him as they make their way to the tee for the final round. The biggest difference with this year’s edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge is that he will be shaking a lot more hands on the tee on that final day. With the tournament having been included in the European Tour’s Finals Series and the penultimate tour event prior to the finale in Dubai, the field has grown from 30 last year to 72 in 2016.

IN MEMORIAM It was with great sadness that we noted the

passing of Desmond Blow in May this year at the age of 88. Des was described by his peers us “fearless” in his reporting of political matters in the 1970s, but it was as a jovial presence as a sports reporter in the media centre at the ‘Million Dollar’ and then Nedbank Golf Challenges that will be remembered fondly by sports journalists from around the country. To our knowledge, he is the only journalist to have attended every single tournament from 1981 to 2015 and he even managed to be part of the winning team at the traditional “Final Round” one year, earning himself a spot in the Sports Trust day on the Monday after the tournament, playing the same course set-up as the pros on Sunday. He was heard to remark during that experience that, not even were he 100 years old, would he threaten to “break his age” at the Gary Player Country Club! RIP Des, an institution at this event. Thanks for some wonderful memories.

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The top 64 players on the Race to Dubai money list following last week’s event automatically qualified to be here, along with eight other players. These include six tournament invitees, allowing the tournament committee to look not only outside the top 64 but also for participants from other tours, as well as the defending champion, Australia’s Marc Leishman, and the winner of last year’s Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, South Africa’s George Coetzee. And so the metamorphosis of the Nedbank Golf Challenge is completed. What started life as an exhibition-style invitational event that aligned perfectly with the objectives at the time of the resort at which it is played changed into a more serious – still invitational – tournament, had its time as the richest tournament purse on the planet, added a Champions Tour element, achieved cosanctioned status with the European and Sunshine Tours and is now a fully fledged part of the European Tour’s global itinerary. Yet with all the changes over the years, at its centre has remained a course design for the ages, one that has been tweaked on occasion to cope with the advances made in equipment technology but that has largely stood the test of time and always provided great entertainment and reward as well as punishment for the wayward. The ninth green has become one of the great meeting places for golf spectators anywhere in the world, given the hole’s propensity to dish

(L-R) Nigel Matthews, Graeme Stephens, Vassi Naidoo, Marc Leishman, Mike Brown, Fikile Mbalula, Valli Moosa and Gary Player. up birdies and eagles along with some big numbers, while the grandstand around the 18th green is one of the biggest in the game outside the Open Championship. As always, this event promises to be about more that just the golf itself, with the numerous sideshows before and after, as well as the superbly created hospitality environment, allowing South Africa an opportunity to showcase to the world its capability in hosting sports events comparable to any standard. It is an undoubted thrill for the South African participants to perform in front of their home galleries and, with a number of them lurking in the top 25 of the Race to Dubai standings all season, there is every prospect of a home-town victory, the first since 2007. It would be an equally enjoyable thrill for Gary Player to stand on the 18th green on Sunday afternoon as part of the presentation party to celebrate a South African winner, considering the input, inspiration and influence he has had on the growth of the game in this country and of this event in particular. He will rightly be celebrated at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge as the “the host with the most”.


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SPONSORS

SUN INTERNATIONAL AND THE EUROPEAN TOUR EXPRESS THEIR GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION TO THE LOYAL AND DEDICATED SPONSORS WHO HAVE SUPPORTED THIS EVENT.

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EUROPEAN TOUR

Martin Kaymer during the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

GLOBAL DIVERSITY IS THE STRENGTH OF THE

EUROPEAN TOUR

THE EUROPEAN TOUR HOLDS TOURNAMENTS IN EUROPE, AFRICA, ASIA, THE UAE AND IN CITIES AS DIVERSE AS NEW DELHI AND JOHANNESBURG.

I

t is significant that South Africa’s Sunshine Tour currently hosts more tournaments on the European Tour than any other because they are closely linked to each other’s growth. The European Tour evolved out of what was known as the PGA European Tour, which was founded in 1971 with English professional John Jacobs as the first Tournament DirectorGeneral. In 1972, the Tour hosted its first official event – the Spanish Open, played the week

after the Masters that year. By 1977, the Safari Tour, South Africa’s forerunner to the Sunshine Tour, was already co-sponsoring tournaments with the PGA European Tour. Africa has always played a key role in the growth of the European Tour, and the first tournament the Tour hosted outside of Europe was the 1982 Tunisian Open. In 1984 the European Tour was born as an independent organisation as it broke away from the Professional Golfers Association. It was a move that was greatly facilitated by the

emergence of a new breed of European stars in Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and many others who brought the kind of talent that could easily merge with sponsor interest and growing television coverage. Golf courses were undergoing their own revolution at this time as they moved into the new era of the more aggressive player. In 1995, the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour partnered on a much greater scale when the South African PGA Championship became the first official co-sanctioned tournament

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EUROPEAN TOUR

between the two tours. In 1997, when Vijay Singh won the South African Open at Glendower Golf Club, this tournament was added to the European Tour calendar. It was this successful co-sanctioning strategy in South Africa that formed the basis of what has become the European Tour’s global strategy. By co-sanctioning with other tours outside of the US, the European Tour has been able to make itself a far more global series with an unprecedented reach. It now features tournaments in Europe, Africa, Asia, the UAE and in cities as diverse as New Delhi and Johannesburg. But in South Africa, the European Tour has always found one of its strongest allies. “We’ve been very good for the European Tour, and they’ve been enormously good for us,” says Selwyn Nathan, executive director of the Sunshine Tour. The creation of the European Tour’s Final Series was a direct response to the PGA Tour’s lucrative FedEx Cup, and the inclusion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge on this further strengthens the longstanding bond between the two Tours.

The European Team celebrates as Europe retains the Ryder Cup in 2014.

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The debate that the PGA Tour has the best players competing every week could also be questioned in light of the fact that, as a collective, Europe has won 11 out of 16 Ryder Cup matches since 1985 – a year after it became an independent Tour.

And the traditional start of the European Tour’s season is always the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek. But whereas the European Tour has been the breeding ground of some of the game’s greatest champions, it has also always been involved in an economic tussle with the PGA Tour to retain its best players. Quite simply, the PGA Tour is the richest in world golf and offers the stability and familiarity of one-country travel. “The PGA Tour is an attractive Tour. You play in one place and it’s quite an easy tour to travel around,” Luke Donald once said. But the European Tour cannot be beaten in terms of versatility and the creation of a more rounded golfer. Whereas golf and the golf courses on the PGA Tour can be pretty one dimensional, the European Tour prides itself on producing a player capable of winning on a links course one week and a parkland course the next. And as much as the mighty dollar may lure some players to the PGA Tour, many others have walked those fairways before and have been happy to return to the European Tour. Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood are two high-profile examples of former world number


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IT HAS TO BE CONSISTENT. MICHAEL WATSON AMATEUR

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EUROPEAN TOUR

ones who tried their hand at focusing on the PGA Tour before returning to their more familiar surrounds – and to the benefit of their own games. “I consider the European Tour my home. This is where I feel comfortable. I think you play against the best players in the world on the European Tour. You have all the great players here,” says Kaymer. “It’s different being in Europe and playing different kinds of golf courses. It makes it interesting as well when a tournament moves around courses.” Ernie Els, too, has long been an advocate of maintaining a schedule on both tours rather than limiting himself to just one, and, much like Gary Player before him, has popularised the notion of being a global golfer. The debate that the PGA Tour has the best players competing every week could also be questioned in light of the fact that, as a collective, Europe has won 11 out of 16 Ryder Cup matches since 1985 – a year after it became an independent Tour. There was also a time not too many years ago when the European Tour had the majority of the players in the top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking. The diversity that the European Tour offers is attractive to many golfers, including some young Americans. Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein both famously packed their bags and travelled the world with the European Tour when they turned professional in a bid to give themselves a more solid foundation.

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South Africa’s Branden Grace also admitted that it gave him enormous confidence when he won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the three classic links courses of the Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in 2012, and then later won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on the vastly different layout that is Leopard Creek. “When you win on such diverse golf courses, it gives you the self-belief that you can win anywhere in the world,” he said. The money to be made on the PGA Tour and the greater world-ranking points on offer each week will always remain attractive to the world’s best golfers. While some are ready to consign the European Tour to always playing second fiddle to the more powerful PGA Tour, European Tour Chief Executive Officer Keith Pelley believes his Tour is still vastly untapped in terms of potential. One of the reasons the European Tour has never partnered with the PGA Tour in a so-called global tour is because, “We are a global tour,” says Pelley. The European Tour’s initiative of allowing players to wear shorts in pro-ams was another strategic move in its bid to show more flexibility and innovation than its US counterpart. “We’re going to continue to be very aggressive from an innovation perspective and make the game more appealing to every generation,” says Pelley.

Rory McIlroy after winning the Irish Open in Ireland. He is surrounded by (L-R) Keith Pelley the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Colm McLaughlin of Dubai Duty Free, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Barry Funston, the Chief Executive of The Rory Foundation.

“We’re going to continue to be very aggressive from an innovation perspective and make the game more appealing to every generation.” Keith Pelley European Tour Chief Executive Officer


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2016 MAJORS

MAJOR FIRSTS AND

MAJORIN RECORDS 2016 THE 2016 MAJORS PROVIDED FANS WITH THRILLING GOLF THAT INCLUDED SURPRISING, SHOCKING AND NAIL-BITING FINAL ROUNDS FOR THE WORLD’S LEADING PLAYERS.

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he 2016 Majors produced a Grand Slam of “rookie” champions for only the fifth time in history, highlighting the global depth of talent in the game. Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker were the latest group of golfers to claim their debut Majors all in the same year, after it happened in 1959, 1969, 2003 and 2011. It began as it always does, on the immaculate fairways of Augusta National Golf Cub for the Masters in April. Windy conditions made for a difficult opening three rounds that were dominated by defending champion Jordan Spieth. New Zealander Danny Lee was in the mix for the first two rounds before dropping off the pace. Rory McIlroy made a run up the leaderboard in the second round but didn’t feature beyond this.

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Willett opened with a 70 that left him four strokes off the first-round lead. He matched Spieth with a 74 on day two to leave him four strokes behind going into the weekend. On Saturday Spieth retained his lead with a 73, marking a record seventh consecutive round of leading the Masters. Behind him, Willett had moved into a good position at level par and three strokes back with a 72. On the first wind-free day all week, Spieth seemed set to coast to another green jacket as he birdied the final four holes of the front nine for a five-stroke lead. Then came one of the most shocking collapses in Masters history. He bogeyed 10 and 11, then made quadruple bogey on the par-three 12th after twice hitting into Rae’s Creek. He recovered somewhat with birdies at 13 and 15, but by the time he made bogey on 17

for a startling 73, the collapse was complete. “I’ll be okay. I’ll survive. It happens,” Spieth said of the possibility of long-term damage caused by his collapse. Meanwhile, Willett made birdies at holes six and eight, and then had a run of three birdies in four holes from the 13th for a solid 67 and a three-stroke victory on five under, over Spieth and Lee Westwood. “It’s just crazy, just surreal. You know, words can’t really describe the things and the emotions. You’re so much involved in what you’re doing when you’re on the golf course and you do something special, and it still doesn’t quite sink in what you’ve achieved. I’ve won a couple of golf tournaments around the world, but this is – this is just a different league. It’s a Major. It’s the Masters,” Willett said in his press conference.


Dustin Johnson with the US Open trophy at Oakmont.

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2016 MAJORS

Henrik Stenson after his victory at the 145th Open Championship.

Next on the schedule of a very packed golf year was the US Open at Oakmont. Weather was again a factor, as the first round struggled to get going. By the end of it, Westwood was again pushing for a maiden Major one stroke off the lead. Dustin Johnson had opened with a 67 to join him on three under. Sergio Garćia, Danny Lee, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson were all in the top 10. And they were chasing the unheralded American Andrew Landry, who was playing in his first Major and had come through qualifying as the world’s 624th-ranked player. Landry led with an opening four-under-par 66. The catch-up needed because of the weather delay made for a congested few days of golf. At the end of the second round Landry was still in contention following a 71 for a total of three under. But Johnson had taken the lead with a 69 and at four under. “Mentally you’ve got to make sure you stay sharp all day, because you can’t go to sleep on any shot out here,” Johnson said of the concentration required amid the delays and long days. Yet what was shaping up to be a year of surprises at the Major took another interesting turn on Saturday. Irishman Shane Lowry shot through the field with a 65 to claim a four-stroke lead on seven under. But he wasn’t about to get too far

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ahead of himself with Johnson at three under, Westwood at two under, and Garćia at level par. “These are the best golfers in the world behind me. I have to go out and do what I’ve been doing all week. This is exactly where you want to be. I’ve been beating myself up over the last six months trying to get in this position. I’m here now. I might as well enjoy it while I’m here,” Lowry said. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t last long. Lowry sunk to a 76 on the final day to finish tied second with Jim Furyk and Scott Piercy on one under par. Ahead of them, Johnson worked his way to a 69 and a three-stroke victory on four under. But there was still plenty of drama in a rules fiasco that quite easily could have cost him the title. On the fifth green Johnson, as is his want, took a few practice putting strokes perilously close to his ball. And then his ball moved. At the time it was agreed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) that Johnson had not yet addressed his ball when it moved, so was not liable for a penalty. But after reviewing the incident, the USGA bizarrely then informed Johnson on the 12th tee that he may be liable for a one-shot penalty, which he eventually was given. Fortunately it didn’t affect the outcome, but

several high-profile players including Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy, hit out at what they said was the USGA’s farcical handling of the situation. They weren’t the only ones. The USGA revealed that they had received thousands of letters and emails from angry fans about the way the matter was dealt with. Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus presented the most obvious argument against the USGA. “How can the USGA let a circumstance like the one Dustin faced linger throughout almost a whole round? Unfair added pressure, especially after facing a similar controversy at the PGA Championship in 2010. No player deserves to go through that kind of turmoil,” said Player. And Nicklaus added, “You either have a penalty or you don’t have one. I think it’s very unfair to the player.” Johnson handled it very well. “I just went about my business. Just focused on the drive on 12 and from there on out, that we’d deal with it when we got done. I’m glad it didn’t matter because that would have been bad.” Royal Troon and the Open Championship were all about drama and excitement of a different kind. Phil Mickelson set the tone with an opening eight-under-par 63 and a three-stroke lead over the field.


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He stayed at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds on 10 under, but with Henrik Stenson moving to within a shot after a second round of 65. By the end of Saturday, it was crystal clear that there were only two players in this chase for the Claret Jug. Stenson added a 68 to lead on 12 under, while Mickelson signed for a 70 to be one back going into the final round. The next best was Bill Haas a distant five shots behind Mickelson. And the stage was set for one of the greatest final-round duels in the history of the Majors. Both players produced a level of golf that seemed almost unbelievable as each continued to raise the bar of excellence for the other. Stenson birdied four of his final five holes for a 63 and a three-shot victory on 20 under par. Mickelson was stunned. He had shot a final round of 65 and still lost. The American’s total of 11 under par was 11 strokes better than third-placed JB Holmes. He was 11 ahead of the rest of the field, and still he lost. By three shots. Stenson now owned the lowest final round

Jimmy Walker celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship.

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in the history of the Open and the lowest 72-hole score of 264 as well. Most importantly, he owned a Major. A first for Sweden. “I felt like this was going to be my turn. It’s not something you want to run around and shout, but I felt like this was going to be my turn,” Stenson said. Springfield, New Jersey, was the final stop on the 2016 Major calendar as Baltusrol hosted the PGA Championship. Jimmy Walker, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, led the first day with a five-underpar 65. He was one clear of a world-class leaderboard, with Martin Kaymer in a group on four under and Stenson at three under. A year of Major records featured another one on the Friday of this championship as American Robert Streb signed for a record-equalling 63 in a Major to share the halfway lead with Walker on nine under. Jason Day went into the weekend two shots back, while Stenson was still a threat three shots off the pace. Weather forced the suspension of play on

Saturday, and when the third round was completed on Sunday morning Walker held a one-stroke lead on 11 under, with Day his nearest challenger. Stenson was also still well in the hunt at two strokes back. Day applied as much pressure as he could on Walker, culminating in an eagle on the 18th that left Walker needing to par the hole to avoid a playoff. It seemed like he had overplayed his hand when he went for the green with his second and found the deep rough just to the right of it. But Walker chipped out to 40 feet, leaving himself two putts from there to make par, the last of which was the ever-perilous three-footer. When he holed it, the relief was etched all over his face. “Just to be in it and be there and have a chance, and then to finish it off is just… It’s so gratifying,” he said. Sadly there were no South Africans chasing Major glory this year. But their presence is felt in the exclusive club of five first-time Major-winning years, with Gary Player in the 1959 group and Charl Schwartzel in the 2011 one.


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BEHIND THE SCENES

THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE

NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE AFRICA’S MAJOR HAS STAKED ITS CLAIM AS A WORLD-CLASS EVENT, MOSTLY DUE TO THE ORGANISERS AND STAFF BEHIND THE SCENES.

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e so often define great tournaments by the great golfers who take part in them. But great tournaments are in actual fact made by the great people behind them. From the moment one man in Sol Kerzner had a vision for a resort unlike any other in the world to the influence of another in Lee Trevino as to how best to promote this resort through a golf tournament – they have all played their part along with hundreds of other people who have worked to make the Nedbank Golf Challenge what it is today. These are the faces behind what has made first the Million Dollar and then the Nedbank

Golf Challenge the premier tournament it remains, with a prime place on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Final Series. Gary Player remembers being there at the start, when he was asked to build a golf course. In the crater of an extinct volcano. With no water for kilometres around. “When Sol and I first discussed the idea to host a unique million-dollar golf tournament at Sun City, the biggest challenge we had was to build a golf course in time. We flew out there in a helicopter, and we walked through the veld at what would be the site for the Gary Player Country Club. I said to him, ‘Sol, you have one major problem here. There is no

water and we have to build on volcanic rock.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Gary, I’ll get you the water, you just build me a world-class golf course.’” And so one of the most iconic golf courses in the world was born. Now, imagine for a moment that one of today’s pros helped to launch a golf tournament, and then also worked as part of the greenkeeping staff. Hard to picture? Well, that’s what Player did. In those early years Player divided his time between competing in the tournament and hosting the golfers, media, fans, and raking

(L-R) Helga Roper, Jeff Sluman, Bernhard Langer and Alastair Roper.

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BEHIND THE SCENES

the bunkers himself to ensure the Gary Player Country Club was in the best possible condition. “For the first tournament the greens had to be artificially dyed to look good on television,” recalls Player. Alastair Roper, who this year will mark his 20th and final event as tournament director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, remembers a time when scaffolding and grandstands and world-class logistics were but a dream for those early days of the tournament. “In 1981 I worked at Sun City as a food and beverage manager,” recalls Roper. “When the first Million Dollar started in December that year, my role was to look after the public catering. One of our many food and beverage managers at that stage was a German, and we had to serve chicken biryani and bratwurst and sauerkraut. That was on the menu, and it was a case of take it or leave it. “We had these old marquees with guide ropes and the big steel poles in the middle that pulled the tent up. I remember we had a storm come in twice over that tournament, and it flattened us on both occasions. Once was on the Friday and once was on the Saturday. So it was a bit of a challenge rebuilding everything and then still trying to cater for the thousands of people that came the following day. “And I remember that first nine-hole playoff with Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros. We were getting to the point where we were going to take cars and put the lights on the greens so that they could finish the round that Sunday afternoon.” For Roper, it is a particular source of pride to see the influence the Nedbank Golf Challenge has had on world golf. “We once went up to 18 players and that was the year the Presidents Cup was held at Fancourt. The PGA Tour actually asked us to expand the field size because they felt that if all of their players could participate in the Nedbank Golf Challenge then more players would commit to the Presidents Cup. What a feather in our cap to be that hook for the world’s best players.” It has always been a close family of golfers, officials and sponsors who has helped to make the Nedbank Golf Challenge what it is today. Graeme Stephens, the Chief Executive of Sun International, recalls that the partnership with Nedbank is one that goes back a lot longer than before the bank’s title sponsorship of the tournament. “Nedbank has been a lifetime partner to Sun International. Nedbank provided the first money to Sol Kerzner to build our first

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The visionaries: Gary Player and Sol Kerzner. property, and Nedbank is still with us today,” says Stephens. “The Nedbank Golf Challenge is our flagship event and has always been that. It really is important for us to keep it relevant. It has evolved significantly. This next phase is without a doubt its most exciting one. “Over the last 19 years Alastair Roper has been the point man for us as the tournament director, and it’s to his credit that this tournament has remained relevant and grown the way it has. “Going forward, we are keeping the very best of the character of the old and we are elevating it to a bigger and better event.” In the media, Grant Winter, Iqbal Khan, Jon Swift, Stuart McLean and many of those original golf writers – some of whom are no

longer with us – who covered the first Million Dollar will remember when the “media centre” was not the lavish building it is today, but rather the old pump house for the Sun City pools. From Jane Goodwin, Nedbank’s legendary event manager who runs this event with military precision, to Theo Manyama, South Africa’s most successful rules official who started his career as a marshal at the 1981 Million Dollar, and Rob Abrams and his exceptional running of the official merchandise at The Pro Shop facility at the tournament, and even Dorcas, the waitress who always used to be in the media centre topping up coffee cups with a smile for golf writers as they tried to make their deadlines – the success of the Nedbank Golf Challenge has never been about its world-class golfers. It’s been about its people. The ones behind the scenes who are the true heart of this, “Africa’s Major”.


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King Louis, the Farmer? Well, maybe. Louis Oosthuizen grew up on his parents’ farm near Mossel Bay, so it’s safe to say that farming could have had another dairy farmer in its midst, if it hadn’t been for his passion for golf – but then he loves tractors too!

Louis Oosthuizen has one of the best swings in the business. And he is the winner of the 2010 Open Championship, seven European Tour events and seven Sunshine Tour titles.

Like Ernie Els, his early mentor, Louis is an inspiration to all South Africans and golf fans around the world.

The Sunshine Tour is where champions, current and future, get to perform at the highest levels. Rich in talent, the Sunshine Tour has set the stage for professional golfers who are determined to continue in the winning traditions of those who have gone before.

Louis has a 150-acre cattle farm close to his parents’ farm to which he returns for a bit of peace and quiet, but the game of golf is his profession for now – thank goodness.


Marc Leishman, with his wife Audrey and their sons Oliver and Harvey during the par-3 contest prior to the start of the 2016 Masters.

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DEFENDING CHAMPION

MARC’S NEW

LEISH ON GOLF DEFENDING CHAMPION MARC LEISHMAN LOVES TO WIN, BUT PRIZES FAMILY ABOVE ALL ELSE.

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hen Marc Leishman became only the second Australian winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2015, the most many South Africans knew about him was the emotional year he’d had in dealing with the near-death of his wife. In March of 2015 as he was preparing for the Masters, Leishman’s wife, Audrey, was rushed to hospital with a lifethreating respiratory disorder. Described by doctors as an acute case of toxic shock, Audrey was suffering from various bacterial infections that left her with a 5% chance of survival. Leishman put his golf aside as he took care of his young sons, Oliver and Harvey. “Harvey understood when things weren’t good. I couldn’t say it to him – that his mom might not come home again – so I kept telling him she’ll be home soon. That was one of the hardest things, trying to be positive when inside I knew [the outlook] wasn’t. He saw a lot of things a three-year-old should never see,” he said. Audrey recovered, but Leishman’s rollercoaster year was still not over. In 2015 an uncle of his passed away. And Leishman lost a playoff for the Open Championship. So there was certainly a sense of being owed something when he arrived at Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the end of last year. It all started to come together for him on the Saturday at the Gary Player Country Club. It was a day that frustrated most of the field, but not a man who suddenly had first-hand experience of the fact that golf was not life and

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DEFENDING CHAMPION

death. “I’ve already been through that,” he said. On that Saturday, overnight leader Henrik Stenson said he had to grind his way to a 70 for a total of 13 under par. South Africa’s Jaco van Zyl, one behind at the start of the third round, said he fought his swing all the way through his 72 that put him at 10 under par. But Leishman, who was pretty satisfied with his 66 for a total of 14 under par to place him one clear of Stenson going into the final day. “I really want to win. Anything can still happen, but I’ve been in this position before and I’m looking forward to having a chance tomorrow,” the Australian said that evening. On Sunday, he continued with his solid play when he closed with a 67 to win on 19 under par and by a comfortable six strokes, joining 2009 champion Robert Allenby as the second Australian winner of “Africa’s Major”. And for Leishman the relief was palpable. “I’m going to be happy to have this year over with. This tops off a tough year for me,” he said. So when Leishman added his name to the growing list of top golfers who withdrew from the Olympic Games this year, few would have held it against him. “Last April my children and I almost lost Audrey. Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100% recovery of her immune system. We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate,” Leishman said in a statement. This year, Leishman arrived at Augusta National Golf Club quite unsure as to how he would feel being back on the scene where a year before he’d received the phone call letting him know that his wife was critically ill and may never recover. “When it was at its worst, a lot of things go through your head. I was thinking my boys need me. I couldn’t imagine travelling as a single dad with two kids,” he told The Augusta Chronicle. Leishman remembered leaving the hospital in a state of shock and driving his car into a pole. He missed the cut in the 2016 Masters, a Major where in 2013 he’d finished tied fourth. The rest of this year’s Majors saw him play the weekend in all of them, with a best finish of tied 18th in the US Open. Leishman could well feel he was knocking on the door of an Open Championship title after finishing tied fifth in 2014 and tied second

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Leishman ended a tough 2015 with winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge. in 2015. He lost the latter in a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson. But while upset, Leishman says he’s now far better at handling defeat. “I think I treat every tournament differently now,” he told The Augusta Chronicle this year. “I’m more aggressive now than I was beforehand. It’s not life or death, golf. It’s a game, and that’s how I look at it now. I’ve been through that life and death stuff and it sucks. But I’m one of the lucky ones that Audrey’s still alive. She’s one of the lucky ones, really, that she’s still here to hug our boys.” It’s easy to overlook the unassuming Leishman, but as he proved at Sun City last year, his opponents do so at their peril. He had a strong amateur career before turning professional in 2005, and then worked his way through the mini tours in the US. In 2009 he graduated to the PGA Tour and became the first Australian to win Rookie of the Year. His maiden victory on the PGA Tour came in the 2012 Travelers Championship, where he came from six behind on the final day to win with a closing 62. “He’s one of those guys – when he’s in the hunt he’s hard to beat. Sometimes it’s easy to look past a guy like Marc because he’s not

really outlandish or flamboyant. He’s just really a tough competitor,” says fellow Australian Adam Scott. Leishman’s different approach to the game could make him an even tougher competitor going forward. He admits that he now plays more aggressively, knowing he has come close to losing far more than just a golf tournament. There are songs he hears on the radio that he heard at the time his wife was in hospital fighting for her life, and he says these make him tear up instantly. He and Audrey have also started the Begin Again Foundation to bring more awareness to the toxic shock disorder that Audrey suffered from. Their slogan is “A new Leish on life”. Leishman himself certainly has a new focus on professional golf. He has been called one of the nice guys on tour, and it’s a title he doesn’t see as detracting in any way from his ability to call up that killer instinct when he needs to. “I think you can be nice and still be competitive,” he says. “I feel like I’m very competitive. You can be nice and very competitive at the same time and I feel like that’s what I am. Obviously I would like to play a little bit better golf to give myself more chances to win, but yeah, I don’t think it’s a disadvantage. “I love winning just as much as anyone else does. In match play or head-to-head over the last nine holes on a Sunday, I want to win.”


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MAJOR POTENTIAL

GRACE’S

MAJOR VISION A WORK IN PROGRESS

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SOUTH AFRICA’S NUMBER ONE BRANDEN GRACE STILL FEELS HE IS LEARNING HOW TO COMPETE AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF THE GAME.

randen Grace is quite comfortable heading into the 2016 Nedbank Golf Challenge as South Africa’s top-ranked player in the world. But sometimes even he needs to pinch himself. “It feels good to be South Africa’s number one,” he said when he first broke into the top 10 in the world this year. “What I’ve been able to accomplish is phenomenal. And yes, it has exceeded my expectations to a point. I never thought I’d be able to achieve what I have so soon in my career, and it’s been great.” As much as he has achieved, it is certainly not where Grace plans to stop. “This is just the start. My long-term goals are to win Majors and consistently rank inside the top 10.” After his consistent performances at Majorchampionship level in 2015, when he finished tied fourth in the US Open and third in the PGA Championship, there was a definite sense that 2016

would be Grace’s year. And he certainly felt it as well, as he looked forward to the 2016 Major season. “I know what Major Championship golf feels like now. I know what being in the hunt feels like. I definitely want to see my name on one of those trophies.” It didn’t happen on the fairways of Augusta National Golf Club, where Grace missed the cut for the second year in a row. In 2015, Grace said he felt he put too much into his preparation for the Masters and he clearly still needs to find his sweet spot in terms of preparation for this one. The US Open at Oakmont saw him continue his solid run here as he finished fifth. In the Open at Royal Troon, Grace was again under the radar with a finish of tied 72nd. And he finished off the year with a strong showing of tied fourth in the PGA Championship. Solid showings in two out of four Majors for the second year running is still impressive for a player who, despite all that he has achieved, still feels like he

is learning to compete at the highest level. At the US Open this year, Grace explained this when he said, “It’s been tough. You kind of go through all these steps. You start with the Sunshine Tour, you get a little bit better. You get to Europe, and get a little bit better. Then you get to the PGA Tour, and it feels like you really have to start all over. “It’s taken me a while, but I think last year was a big hurdle for me to get over. I started playing a little bit better, and then coming into those big Majors, the US Open, the PGA Championship, really got me over that line and the confidence to get out here full time and make the choice to be out here and try to give myself a good chance of getting some wins under the belt.” His victory this year in the RBC Heritage for his first title on the PGA Tour was a big confidence boost and one he believes has allowed him to be a bit more patient about the next step in his career. “I was putting a little bit of pressure on myself and trying to do well and pushing things a bit. I can really sit back, not really

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relax but enjoy it a little bit more and really start preparing for a couple of things that I really want to do well in the Majors, in the WGCs, and then kind of push to get those big boxes ticked off,” he told the media after that victory. Yet the time he may be taking to feel truly settled on the PGA Tour is certainly not affecting the confidence he has in his ability to compete there. “I can see myself there among Jordan (Spieth), Jason (Day) and Rory (McIlroy). I don’t think the type of golf we play is very different. It just depends on what you make of your breaks when you get them. “In 2015 I had the opportunity in the US Open and one bad swing cost me. I learnt from it quickly and got myself into position at the PGA Championship. I played a lot better in that environment but Jason was just on a different level that week. I know I gave Jason a run early

Branden Grace and his fiancée Nieke Coetzee after he won the 2016 RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour.

“In 2015 I had the opportunity in the US Open and one bad swing cost me. I learnt from it quickly and got myself into position at the PGA Championship.” Branden Grace on Sunday before the back nine. The type of golf he played on the back nine, he was just one step ahead of everybody. But it’s nice to know that when you need to switch it on you can.” It was similar to what he told the media at the PGA Championship this year: “I feel I’m progressing pretty nicely. I think I’m getting more confident as the Majors go on. I was a little bit disappointed with the Open this year. I thought I played some decent golf, but it wasn’t one of those golf courses that really suited me. I couldn’t get my eye around the place. “But when I tee it up now, I feel I can win a Major.” When it comes to his ball striking, Grace knows he can compete with anybody in the world. “When I get it going I get it going properly. I’ve never been a player who hits the ball badly. The thing that has maybe kept me back a bit is the putting.” To correct this, Grace has been working with vision specialist Dr Sherylle Calder. “I started working with Sherylle last year. She’s made a big change in my putting. But we also work on the long game and picking targets, and getting your concentration to where it should be and not where you think it is. “In the past I would work so hard on getting the ball close to the hole and then miss the

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putt. I’m still practising hard on the irons but I know the putting is important. If you can hole those big putts it’s mind-boggling what you can achieve. If you look at Jordan Spieth – I don’t think he’s the best ball striker out there but he knows how to get it done. That’s what it takes in this game – making putts when you need to. “I make a lot more putts than I used to. When my putting is on there aren’t really a lot of guys who are going to beat me.” As far as the Majors are concerned, Grace is perhaps not so focused on making sure he wins one as just being ready for when his chance comes. It’s a fine distinction, but one he explains as follows: “You never know when it will be your week. I always think of Louis Oosthuizen when it comes to that. He never really had Major highlights until he won the Open at St Andrews. When that happens you just have to take it with both hands.” Away from the golf course, Grace is making some major moves elsewhere in his life with an impending wedding to fiancée Nieke Coetzee. “I’m in a pretty serious relationship at the moment and that’s nice. It’s good to get your mind on other things and not just golf. A lot of guys fall into the habit of just thinking about golf. You need that time away from the game to clear your head and think of other things.

“Nieke and I met a couple of years ago and I’m happy on the course and off it. That’s been the big key for the way I’ve played. I’m at the point where I’ve realised golf is what I’m good at, but there are a lot of things outside of golf as well. I think when you realise that, you start enjoying the game more.” As for those around him, many are convinced Grace will be South Africa’s next Major winner. “I think he’s definitely got it. I’d just like to see him firm up a bit more physically,” says Gary Player. Ricci Roberts, who, as longtime caddie of Ernie Els, has seen enough greatness in the game to be able to spot it a mile away, agrees that Grace has got Major potential. “He’s not scared. He’s had a taste of the Majors and I think if he wins one he’ll win a few,” he said. Close friend Louis Oosthuizen agrees. “We’ve all seen what Branden can do. He’s definitely going to win Majors.” And Els is also a big fan. It was his words to Grace before the 2015 US Open that convinced the young South African he had Major potential. “When Ernie says something you need to listen and make the most out of it. The first time I played well on a links course he was the first to say I’d win an Open. That’s nice to hear from a guy who has achieved what a lot of guys can only dream of. “We had a chat before the 2015 US Open and he said to me, ‘Your golf is great and it’s your time, I know you can do it.’ That makes you believe.”


Adam Scott is all smiles as he raises his putter to fans on the 18th hole at The Barclays in New York.

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ANCHORS AWAY, AND WITH IT THE WHOLE DEBATE THE BANNING OF THE ANCHORED PUTTER THREATENED TO SOUND THE DEATH KNELL FOR CERTAIN PLAYERS’ CAREERS. A YEAR DOWN THE LINE, IT APPEARS MAYBE NOT.

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ost people don’t react too well to change, but golf’s most famous putter anchorers seem to have done just fine in the first year of this rule change. Adam Scott and Bernhard Langer were two of the most vocal opponents to the banning of anchored putting at a professional level, which came into effect in January this year. There were widespread fears of an end to the careers of all players who used this method of putting. Scott had won the 2013 Masters using an anchored-putting technique. Keegan Bradley won his Major – the 2011 PGA Championship – using the same method. As did Webb Simpson when he won the 2012 US Open, and Ernie Els when he won the 2012 Open. At the 2012 Nedbank Golf Challenge, Langer was very vocal in his disagreement with this change to the game. “I don’t understand that they’ve been used for 20, 30 years and only now they say, ‘We think they’re illegal.’ I’m sorry, I don’t accept that argument whatsoever. It doesn’t make sense,” he said, and then a few days later won the Nedbank Golf Challenge’s Champion’s Challenge using an anchored putter, as if to hammer home his point.

Fast-forward to 2016, and what has the effect been on Langer’s game? The German is top of the Charles Schwab Cup standings on the Champions Tour. At the time of writing he’d had four victories, 14 top-10 finishes and a scoring average of 68.51. Tough times. On the PGA Tour, at the time of writing Scott had won twice in 2016, and was ranked third on the FedEx Cup standings with a scoring average of 69.47. Els was shamed publicly by his lack of putting form and often admitted his own frustrations with this area of his game to the extent that you wondered where his future lay. Then, at this year’s Joburg Open, he carded a third-round 68 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club and was waxing lyrical about the short putter he was now wielding. “My putting doesn’t feel 10% better, it feels 100% better,” Els said. “It’s like I’m on a different planet. I’m playing like I did in my heyday. I was dead scared of those little two and three-footers, but now I’m suddenly putting great. My long game’s never been an issue and if I can putt like I did here, I really feel I can be competitive on Tour this year and get back into the top 50 in the world.”

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Els’s exuberance may have been a bit premature, as his season hasn’t worked out exactly as he’d planned. Even Tim Clark, the golfer who was considering legal action against the ruling bodies to allow him to continue using an anchored putter in light of a physical limitation he has in his arms, seems to have moved on quite comfortably. Earlier this year, Clark revealed how the limitations he had only became real in his own mind by the age of 11.

“To be honest, I feel like the putting change won’t be a huge issue. I think I could even possibly be a better putter without the long putter, and I’m looking forward to playing and seeing where I can take it.” Tim Clark “I don’t even remember starting playing golf, that’s how young I was. I was probably two or three years old. We lived on the Umkomaas Golf Course so in the evenings we’d go out and play until dark. By the age of seven I was playing 18 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday with my brother and dad. I only realised the limitation in my arms when I was about 11, so by that time I had my swing grooved and it wasn’t something I ever thought of. I didn’t think of it as a hindrance to my game. Later on that may have been the reason that led to my elbow surgeries. Both the tendons in my arms tore. With certain things in the short game it doesn’t help. You need that rotation on some shots and I don’t have it. But then a lot of guys say that’s why I hit it so straight because I don’t have that rotation.” Clark became the most legitimate case for anchored putting to be allowed in certain instances, and made an impassioned plea to the golf bodies that drew widespread support from fellow players. But change rumbled on, forcing Clark to adapt. “When I went to Hawaii this year I hadn’t played a round of golf in two months. I took out

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the other putter and finished tied 13th. I putted better than I had in a year-and-a-half. To be honest, I feel like the putting change won’t be a huge issue. I think I could even possibly be a better putter without the long putter, and I’m looking forward to playing and seeing where I can take it,” he said. In fact, it’s been a recurrence of injury and not putting that has hampered Clark this season. On a broader scale, the reaction in the golf industry to the November 2012 announcement that anchored putting would be illegal from January 2016 onwards resembled a mutiny. One equipment spokesman declared, “Golf lost today. This is not the direction we should be going. It will only continue to alienate people from golf ... This decision is a giant leap back on that front.” Another said, “We appreciate the process the USGA used in its decision to ban the

Bernhard Langer still uses a longer putter but does not anchor it to his body. anchoring of putters, but we don’t agree the decision is in the best interest of the game.” The PGA Tour and PGA of America both initially voiced their opposition to the ban, but then relented. Although the PGA Tour did add that it would be nice if one day it could be given a pass on some rules made by the USGA that aren’t in the “best interests of the PGA Tour”. Quite. The players have moved on, which is quite impressive for a game that sprung to life during the Middle Ages and is usually quite slow when it comes to change. Just consider the debate around golf in the Olympics. Who knows, in four years’ time at the Tokyo Olympics we might also be asking what the fuss was about.


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R I O O LY M P I C S

DID GOLF

DELIVER AT GOLD THE OLYMPICS?

Justin Rose shows how much the Olympic gold meant to him after winning in Rio.

DESPITE THE NAYSAYERS AND PLAYERS WITHDRAWING FROM THE EVENT, THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED SAID “YES, ABSOLUTELY!”

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he man offering his opinion on whether or not golf was due its place at the Rio Olympics was not a professional golfer. He was a professional tennis player, although South Africa’s Raven Klaasen is a passionate weekend golfer. Klaasen was asked the question after just missing out on his own Olympic dream, having failed to qualify for Rio. “Being able to represent your country is the pinnacle for a player, in my opinion. But I have to say that it has been more than challenging to make myself available because sometimes

it actually puts my personal career at risk. “While I firmly believe playing – and I use the word ‘playing’ because I always represent South Africa no matter where I compete – for your country is one of the biggest honours for a sportsman, I also know that it’s not as simple as people often make it seem. “There are so many variables to consider and I think the best-case scenario is where the player and country benefit mutually from the event and participation of both parties. “It’s hard to advise anyone when you don’t have the full picture. With golf being an

Olympic joy for Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Justin Rose (Great Britian) and Matt Kuchar (USA). individual sport, each player has a point of view and makes their career decisions based on that. I can tell you that a sportsman won’t take a decision like this very lightly. Tennis has been part of the Olympics for a while now. Bearing that in mind, this is only the first time that golf has returned to the Olympics so it might take some time for it to really build momentum.” Klaasen’s opinion came before the Olympics and around the time when the world’s top

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professionals were withdrawing from the golf competition faster than you could say, “There’s a mosquito.” So now that golf has made its return to the Olympic Games, what is the verdict? According to Gary Player, the captain of the South African men’s and women’s golf teams, “I think when all the players were withdrawing, we all wondered whether golf deserved to be at the Olympics. But I think there is now no question that it does. To walk under the South African flag and be there with my team in the arena – what an experience. It’s something to savour because you might never have it again.” On the Sunshine Tour, several players were in no doubt about their desire to play golf at an Olympic Games in the future. “I know that if I ever get the opportunity I’ll grab it with both hands, and I think a lot more golfers will do the same,” said Louis de Jager. “I think a lot of golfers made a big mistake by not going and they’ll be sorry. In the beginning, I’ll admit, I wasn’t so sure about it, but when it started it looked great. I think just the whole experience of being among the best athletes in the world and being able to see them compete and support them and have them support you must have been great. It looked like a lot of fun and it’s now definitely on my list of goals for the future.” Keith Horne agreed. “I watched all four days of the golf and I thought it was fantastic. You could just see on Justin Rose’s face how much that gold

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medal meant to him. All three of the medallists looked very proud of their medals and it was special to see. All the golfers that were there seemed to describe it as the most amazing experience of their lives. “I know it was quite controversial that the top players pulled out, so to see how well it went off and how much the players that were there appreciated it and were honoured to play in it was great for the future of Olympic golf.” But Horne is not getting carried away with Olympic spirit and believes it will still take time for the game to really become entrenched at Olympic level. “Certainly after this one I think everybody is going to have a fresh look at golf in the Olympics, especially the top players. I hope there will be a different response from the best golfers at the next Olympics. I don’t think Olympic golf will just suddenly jump into the top echelons of golf and start competing with the Majors in terms of importance, but it would be great if it could eventually reach that point.” Heinrich Bruiners looked to his fellow professionals in Jaco van Zyl and Brandon Stone and their enjoyment of the experience as enough confirmation that it warrants becoming a goal for him. “You could see the way Brandon spoke about the event and that feeling of being part of Team South Africa. Golf is a very individual sport and it’s quite lonely when you travel on tour. But to be part of a greater Team South Africa

like that would be amazing. After this one I think being able to say you are an Olympian is quite an honour for any professional golfer.” At an official level, Theo Manyama – a longtime rules official at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player – made history as the first South African golf rules official to officiate at an Olympic Games. “It was a great experience. I think the golf played in both the men’s and women’s competitions led to very worthy champions, and that’s what the game needed. “I also think you’ll see a different response from the world’s top golfers at the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Looking at the golf course in Rio with a critical eye, I think they did a good job but they could have improved upon the viewing areas for the spectators, and there were a lot of sandy patches in the rough.” Manyama also pointed out that golf will have to find its sweet spot in terms of its merchandising power at the Olympics, with there being no merchandising area on a scale as seen at traditional tournaments or at the Majors. Whatever you may have thought about golf’s return to the Olympics before Rio, it’s quite clear that, if golf wants to consider itself part of the global community of professional athletes, it cannot afford to not have a place on this stage.

A supportive crowd for Justin Rose as he plays the final round at the Olympic Games in Rio.


GOLF COACHES

THE MEN WHO MAKE THE

PROS’ SWINGS SING THESE DAYS PROS MAY RELY ON MORE THAN ONE COACH TO HONE THEIR SKILLS – FROM FITNESS AND SWING TECHNIQUE TO VISION ACUITY.

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utch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley, David Leadbetter and Dave Pelz are names almost as famous as the many professional golfers they’ve coached over the years. Some are experts on every technical detail of the golf swing, while others, such as the late Belgian Jos Vanstiphout, who in his eccentric way helped Ernie Els and Retief Goosen reach their best, simply have a way of unlocking something in a golfer’s mind with their words. The modern golfer has a coach for his putting, his swing, his fitness and, in the case of Dr Sherylle Calder, even his vision. South Africa’s Robert Baker has helped shape the swings of five former world number one players, including Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. Through his Logical Golf programme, Baker has taken coaching to the next level with the development of a range of unique swing aids to develop better muscle performance throughout the swing. Fellow South African Jamie Gough has long been at the forefront of the global coaching game. He works with European Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan as well as Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Richard Sterne and a host of others, representing the country with

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pride as one of the top coaches on the European Tour. “I’ve been a golf professional since 1983 and have been a teacher for the majority of that time,” says Gough. “I’ve taught on the Tour now for almost 10 full seasons, doing over 30 events a year, and have been very fortunate to have worked with lots of fantastic players.” It’s exactly this time on the ground that has given Gough what he believes is the main ingredient for any good golf coach to have – good communication. “Having spent so many years teaching a broad spectrum of players, from young to old, beginners to scratch handicaps, both ladies and men, you hone your skills as a communicator as well as an instructor. “When teaching Tour players you need to be a very good communicator as well as a good teacher and man manager. At the highest level the players are like Formula 1 cars – they need tuning rather than overhauls, especially at tournaments and even more so during a warm-up before an event, when any incorrect or misplaced word can put unwanted thoughts in a player’s mind.” Gough also admits that when you’re coaching the top players in the world, you do not have the luxury of immediate results. “As

an instructor you always have a path or a blueprint of how you want a player to swing the club and the path you want to take him. But what is crucial on Tour is keeping players playable and competitive while implementing the improvements. The years spent on ranges have given me the experience to balance this.” The technological advances in the game and the introduction of coaching enhancers such as FlightScope and Trackman have certainly brought a different element to the teaching side of the game. But Gough believes there is still a natural element that cannot be replaced. “I have always had a good eye for a swing and, as much as technology is important, I think that a really good instructor will know within a degree what the numbers will be on a Trackman or FlightScope device just by watching the ball flight and listening to the strike. “The technology has definitely confirmed a lot of the path and face numbers, so in general I think they’ve been a good addition to instruction. But I do warn players not to become too numbers-driven and lose the feel of the game. From a distance-control point of view they can be a fantastic training aid as well.” When it comes to the hardest element of coaching, Gough doesn’t hesitate in his answer. “One of the hardest parts of the game to teach is putting, as there are so many


“Richard Sterne and I have just recently resumed our alliance. He is undoubtedly, in my mind, one of the best hitters of the ball in the world and very possibly one of the best South Africa has ever produced.” Jamie Gough

variables. The stroke itself is fairly simple and getting fitted with a putter that suits you is often critically important and generally overlooked. “But for me the nuances of reading greens and feel are incredibly difficult to teach. There are obviously lots of drills to improve the technique, and using green-reading systems like Aimpoint. But putting is an art. If we could all putt like Alex Norén or Brandt Snedeker, the game would be a lot easier for us.” Throughout his years coaching at the highest level, Gough says he has seen a change in the way the professionals swing the club that correlates with the advancements in club and ball technology. “The modern ball and drivers have changed the way that the top players play the game. The modern ball spins less, so swings can be slightly steeper into the ball and still achieve great distance. In the old days players had to hit up on the ball and

draw it to gain distance. A lot of the modern players fade the ball and are still very long.” Looking at some of the players he works with, Gough offers incredible insights that many fans are often not aware of. “Every now and then a player comes into your stable who is a rough diamond in need of a good polish. Andy Sullivan is that player. In the last three-and-a-half years he’s gone from just keeping his card to becoming a Ryder Cup player. He is improving every year and has a fantastic attitude towards life and the game. “The public’s perception of Miguel Ángel Jiménez and reality cannot be further from the truth. Everyone sees the smiling, happygo-lucky wine-drinking cigar smoker. I can honestly say I’ve never worked with a more intense individual whose attention to detail and focus on each and every shot are amazing. “Richard Sterne and I have just recently resumed our alliance. He is undoubtedly, in my mind, one of the best hitters of the ball in the world and very possibly one of the best South Africa has ever produced. I feel the next few years will see him rise to the top echelons of the game, and it would not surprise me to see him win a Major or two. “And then Haotong Li is another player to keep an eye on in the future. You won’t have heard much about this young fellow. He’s only 21 years old but he has all the tools to make it to the top. Tall, slim and athletic, with a solid short game and the best sense of humour on tour.”

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A MAJOR FORCE

MASTER WILLETT

NOW A MAJOR FORCE

DANNY WILLETT’S WIN AT THE 2014 NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE SENT THE ENGLISHMAN ON A TRAJECTORY THAT SAW HIM WIN THE MASTERS A YEAR LATER. HE’S NOT SLOWING DOWN ANY TIME SOON.

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eturning to Sun City to defend the Nedbank Golf Challenge title he had won with such a masterful putting performance a year earlier, Danny Willett had the traditional honour of turning on the lights of the giant Christmas tree outside the Entertainment Centre at Sun City. The previous year’s champion is always accompanied by a child from Reach for a Dream. On this occasion, which took place on 2 December 2015, Willett held the four-year-old Suné Klopper in his arms. She wore a little pink outfit and a pair of black flip-flops. Her head was shaved. Willett and Suné flicked the switch together, and the tree lit up with a small blaze of fireworks to also mark the occasion. Willett later learnt that, before they came to

Sun City, Suné’s parents had been given the news that the treatment for her rare kidney cancer had been unsuccessful. There was nothing more that could be done. Reach for a Dream had already granted Suné her dream of a jungle gym. But her parents were hoping to give her a gift themselves. “One of the most important things for us this year is to make this Christmas one of the best we ever had and to spend time with our family, cherishing every moment,” Suné’s parents said at Sun City. But they were drained financially by medical bills. So Willett decided to step in, and the Englishman donated R100 000 of his prize money that year to the Klopper family. “I met Suné and the Klopper family at the Christmas-lights ceremony and this brief meeting had a profound impact on me and my

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family. As professional golfers we are fortunate to lead privileged lives and we’re in a position to give back,” said Willett. A month after the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge, Suné passed away. She didn’t get to experience the Christmas her parents had planned for her and Willett had provided for. “She went peacefully and has no more pain,” her family said. Yet when Willett slipped on that green jacket in April 2016, there was plenty of joy in South Africa as well. Willett’s victory in “Africa’s Major” certainly boosted his confidence in being able to compete on the highest stage and win Majors. His triumph by four shots at Sun City in 2014 was marked by a final round of 66 that was as composed as any you will see under such pressure. He went into the final round one shot behind Luke Donald. But as Donald faded with a 73 to eventually finish third on 12-under and Ross Fisher closed with a 68 for second place on 14-under, Willett rose to the fore. With his win he joined two of the greats of English golf – Sir Nick Faldo and Lee Westwood – in writing his name into Nedbank Golf Challenge folklore. “Those are some pretty good names to be next to. You see those names on the walk to the ninth green, and you realise how many great players have been here. It’s been an unbelievable week and words can’t describe it,” Willett said after his victory. “This changes a lot. It’s an amazing way to start the new season. It gives you a massive boost,” he added. Willett’s Nedbank Golf Challenge win was the biggest of his career at that point and the highlight of what was an incredible rise in the game by the Englishman. It’s one that has taken him from playing golf on a little par-three course in the middle of a pasture to winning the European Tour’s 2012 BMW International Open and beating some of the world’s best at Sun City, and then claiming his first Major on the fairways of Augusta National Golf Club. There was never a sense that he didn’t have the potential. Willett’s amateur career included victories in the English Amateur, Australian Amateur and Spanish Amateur championships, and he was ranked the number one amateur in the world in 2008. He turned professional later that year and qualified for the European Tour at his first

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Danny Willett with Suné Klopper and her mother at the tree-lighting ceremony at the 2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge.


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attempt at the qualifying school. He retained his playing privileges for 2009, and in 2010 he broke into the top 100 on the world rankings. His maiden European Tour victory in 2012 suggested big things were in store, but then he suffered with a back injury in 2013 and 2014. “My injury set me back about 18 months or so during my third year on tour,” he said. Yet he worked his way through that and by 2015 was at his best again, following up his Nedbank Golf Challenge victory in December 2014 with a second European Tour title in the Omega European Masters. He added a third in February 2016 when he claimed the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. And then came April in Augusta. The spotlight was on Jordan Spieth as he sought to become only the fourth player in Masters history to defend his title. And with nine holes left on the final day and a five-shot lead over Willett, Spieth seemed destined to achieve this.

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Danny Willett after winning the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta. But the back nine was the young American’s undoing as he made bogeys on 10 and 11 and a quadruple bogey on 12. Willett in turn played flawless golf. He birdied holes six and eight, and as Spieth opened the door he stormed through it with back-nine birdies at 13, 14 and 16 to win with a closing 67 on five under par, three shots clear of Spieth and Westwood. “I can’t put it into words,” Willett told the media after his maiden Major triumph. His brother PJ certainly could, as he became an instant hit with his Twitter commentary throughout that final round. “To win golf tournaments on Tour is what we dream of doing – on the PGA and on the European tours. It’s what you practise for and it’s what you play for. You dream about these kinds of days... but for them to happen... is still mind-boggling. The fact that we have been able

to play so well under the pressure that we did on the back nine.” It was certainly just reward for a golfer who believes he took some time to reach his full potential, especially with his back injury. “I know I could maybe have been where I am now a couple of years earlier. But that’s life. I take positives from it. It has been difficult and frustrating – especially mentally. It was hard sitting at home watching guys I know I can beat doing well at tournaments. I would rather have been playing. So although waiting for my body to get better was hard, getting my head round it all was worse. But those were the cards I was dealt so I just had to get on with it.” Willett already has a strong following in South Africa, and his love for the Nedbank Golf Challenge certainly shows. “I don’t care how good your PGA Tour event is, it’s not going to match up to a week like this,” he said after his victory at Sun City. “I have always loved playing in South Africa. Everything about this place is fantastic.”


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GOLF’S RICH LIST

Jordan Spieth’s Coca-Cola deal is said to be one of the biggest the company has ever paid an athlete.

MONEY ENDORSEMENTS, EARNINGS AND BONUSES HAVE ENSURED CERTAIN GOLFERS ON THE TOUR ARE RIGHT UP THERE ON SPORT’S RICH LIST.

T

MAKES THE

TOUR GO ROUND

his year, 11th place in the European Tour’s KLM Open was worth almost half-a-million rand. But legendary South African golfer and commentator Denis Hutchinson remembers a time in his playing career when 11th place in the same tournament didn’t earn you a cent in prize money. When it comes to the earning potential of professional golfers, the landscape has certainly changed since the ’60s and ’70s when Hutchinson was on tour. “I never would have believed it possible. It’s amazing how the prize money has increased worldwide. But the professionals are giving a lot to the game through pro-ams and such, otherwise the sponsors wouldn’t keep investing,” says Hutchinson. “I remember playing in my very first tournament in America in 1960. I played

with Dave Marr, who went on to win the PGA Championship. The tournament we played in was the first of the $50 000 tournaments. We all thought that was so much money. I was lying third at one point, and Dave said to me, ‘Hutchy, another round like that and the car won’t be big enough for the money you’ll take home’. Today’s pros wouldn’t walk across the road for $50 000.” In fact, $50 000 might be just what Phil Mickelson is willing to gamble on a single round. Tiger Woods ushered in unprecedented wealth in the game. But as he languishes on the sidelines, it is his old foe Mickelson who is golf’s top earner for 2016. According to a Forbes magazine study, Mickelson earned $52.9 million in 2016. Of this, only $2.9 million came from prize money. Sure, there was that little legal blip and a

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 79


GOLF’S RICH LIST

certain $1 million that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission decided was ill-gotten gains based on an insider-trading tip. But that was a mere divot for Mickelson and, with no legal action taken against him, he remains as bankable as ever to a myriad of sponsors from Callaway and KPMG to even the pharmaceutical company Amgen. The latter was inspired to join brand Mickelson after he revealed he was suffering from psoriatic arthritis. Only Mickelson could get arthritis and with it a lucrative sponsor. According to Forbes, Mickelson’s off-course earnings this year put him in the category of Roger Federer and LeBron James. It also

Mickelson’s off-course earnings this year put him in the category of Roger Federer and LeBron James. It also places him eighth on the list of the world’s highest paid athletes in 2016.

Phil Mickelson and his caddie during the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Indiana.

Mickelson and Spieth are the only two golfers ranked inside the world’s top 10 richest sports stars of 2016. Spieth’s 10-year Under Armour deal is rumoured to be in the region of the $200 million Nike paid for Rory McIlroy. Spieth is also enjoying a monumental sugar rush from a deal with Coca-Cola said to be one of the biggest the company has ever paid an athlete, and that puts him in the same league as the company’s similar deals with Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift. Not bad for somebody who has “college dropout” written next to “education” on his CV. And, at 23, Spieth has longevity in earning potential on his side. In third place on the Forbes list is the man the top two need to thank for their

places him eighth on the list of the world’s highest paid athletes in 2016. Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list with $88 million in earnings in 2016. But he did so the old-fashioned way – with a salary of $56 million that outweighed his $32 million in endorsements. Jordan Spieth comes in second among the golfers and ninth on the world list with earnings of $52.8 million in total, according to Forbes’ estimations, of which $20.8 million was earned on the fairways of the world.

80 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

money – Tiger Woods. Golf’s power earner made $274 000 in prize money last season. That puts him in the territory of Ángel Cabrera. But you can bet Cabrera didn’t make $45.3 million in total earnings this year. About $45 million of that is endorse-ments, with about half of this coming from Nike annually. Woods certainly took a hit with his private troubles as well as his injuries, but his brand remains so strong that he can afford to lose more sponsors than most players will ever have in their lifetimes and still be a top earner. So where do some of the game’s other stars rank? Rory McIlroy weighs in at number four with total earnings of $42.6 million this year, and $7.6 million of this in prize money. Aussie Jason Day is still earning a lot of his money the hard way, making $15.1 million in prize money as part of his $23.6 million in total earnings. But while the kids are certainly making some sizeable pocket money, there is one undisputed top earner in golf. Arnold Palmer’s estimated net worth of $675 million before his death in September made him consistently one of the game’s wealthiest. “The King” indeed. Gary Player is reported to weigh in at around the $200 million mark, which means he can well afford to ignore his own advice regarding his passion for horses – “Never invest in anything that eats when you sleep,” he says. Ernie Els is estimated to be worth $75 million, and his is, like Player’s, a global brand. So while we marvel at the swings of the world’s best players and their ability to play the game, we should instead be marvelling at the little logos on their caps and shirts. According to Golf Digest, a logo on the front of a cap or shirt can be worth between $250 000 to $2 million annually on the PGA Tour. Endorsements also come with significant win bonuses and other incentives. For example, the golfers declaring they do not get paid to play in the Ryder Cup and do so purely for the passion of the competition are not being entirely truthful. While their passion may not be in question, many do have contractual clauses that see them paid healthy bonuses for making the teams. There is no doubt the game’s top professionals do what they love for a living. And it pays.


12-15 January 2017

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HITTING THE SWEET SPOT

Louis Oosthuizen plays a shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston this year.

SWEETEST SWING THE

IN GOLF

ADMIRED FOR HIS EFFORTLESS SWING, HUMBLE APPROACH TO GOLF AND LIFE, AND DEDICATION TO FAMILY AND FARMING... WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT LOUIS?

F

ormer Nedbank Golf Challenge champion Thomas Bjørn is a solid block of Danish glacial ice that doesn’t melt easily into senseless praise or flattery. So it was with a very measured expression that he considered the swing of Louis Oosthuizen. “You can’t help not enjoying playing with somebody who swings it like that – that’s for sure. It’s probably the best golf swing in the game of golf,” Bjørn said ahead of playing with Oosthuizen in the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions tournament at Durban Country Club. The fact that Oosthuizen will rarely, if ever,

spend more than 30 to 35 minutes warming up on the range before a round reinforces just how technically perfect his swing already is. On the range before a tournament round, Oosthuizen will work through his bag quite quickly as he warms up. And yet, as he goes from wedge to driver, the most striking thing is how his tempo remains as unchanging as a metronome. Analysing Oosthuizen’s swing for Golf Digest, respected coach Pete Cowen describes it as “almost perfect”. When he won the Open in 2010, Greg Norman admitted he sat riveted to the TV –

something he never does – watching Oosthuizen’s swing repeat over and over again in a flawless display around the Old Course. It’s not just the experts who feel this way. A website poll during the 2016 Masters revealed 89% of fans believed Oosthuizen had the best swing at Augusta National that week. If balance is an equally important part of any good golf swing, then Oosthuizen has this in bucket loads as well. Not just balance in golf but balance in his life. Oosthuizen has long maintained that his life is about more than just golf. He is a devoted

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HIT TING THE SWEET SPOT

father. He is a passionate farmer. He is also a strong supporter of junior golf in South Africa, and his Louis57 Academy has highly respected coach Val Holland helping to hone the games of the Southern Cape’s top junior golfers. His support is invaluable to many of them, as 17-year-old Carlo Heunis explains. “I started with the academy at the beginning of 2016. Val Holland has made a massive difference with my swing and my mindset on the course. And Louis has also had a big impact on my golf. He helps us a lot with sponsors and being able to play in tournaments. He’s also helped me a lot with costs and I really appreciate it.” Oosthuizen’s business interests are as diverse as wine, a restaurant and, this year, a foray into the world of golf-course design. His latest business venture was to partner with renowned golf-course designer Peter Matkovich and the Matkovich Group. “My life has always been about more than just playing golf, and when I wanted to explore my passion for golf-course design I was delighted that Peter and the Matkovich Group were willing to welcome me as they have,” says Oosthuizen.

86 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

Louis Oosthuizen signs autographs as he participates in the Bags 4 Birdies Campaign during previews ahead of the 145th Open Championship in Troon. And what Matkovich sees in Oosthuizen is far more than just the silky smooth swing or ability to bring a distinctly global presence to his golf-course design company. He also sees a genuinely likeable person. “Number one, Louis is as nice and as good as his golf is good. With that comes a very humble man who obviously has his own ideas but who is still humble enough to say, I’ve got a lot to learn about this industry,” says Matkovich. Even in 2009, at the age of 26, Oosthuizen spoke with incredible maturity about becoming a father for the first time and at that point still searching for his first victory on the European Tour. “Fatherhood is going to be very different in the beginning. But I can’t wait for it. I’m really anxious to see how it’s going to be,” he said. Then he added, talking about that first title in Europe, “To win, there are so many things

that have to happen for you that particular week. I’m not pushing anything and I won’t break my head about it. I know it will come and I must just be patient.” Patience and getting out of his own way have been familiar themes throughout Oosthuizen’s career. It was his calm demeanour that the golf world marvelled at when he won the Open in 2010. Yet it is something he has had to learn. “This game is hard enough as it is. I used to get quite down on myself when I made stupid mistakes and I knew I could do better. But I just try to be relaxed and think rationally about what I did wrong. Golf is definitely not everything to me. I’m really relaxed about it. I’ve got my goals and I know exactly what I want to achieve.” Golf ranks behind his family and his farm, and there is no doubting that Oosthuizen is a farm boy at heart. So much so that, when he was young, he viewed a move by his parents from the farm to the town of Mossel Bay as “just not for him” – bearing in mind that in those years Mossel Bay was hardly a bustling metropolis.


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HIT TING THE SWEET SPOT

“I love being on the farm. When I was in high school my father moved us into town for three years. But he’s also not a town person, so we moved back to the farm,” says Oosthuizen. Among his favourite farm experiences was the fun he and his brother had on an old red Honda motorbike. “That bike was a legend on the farm. It was a 50cc and my brother bought it from my grandfather. I remember how badly I always wanted to ride it. It was old and slow. But I tell you, you could leave it standing for weeks and then get on it and it would start first time. “The petrol cable broke and we couldn’t get a new one for it because the bike was so old. So my brother and I took a rope and we connected

88 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

Oosthuizen celebrates a birdie alongside Lee Westwood during the third round of the US Open at Oakmont. it to the petrol feed and ran it over the handlebars. Sometimes it would stick and then things would get a bit scary on that bike. But it was great fun.” The grounded personality Oosthuizen brings to the game does not completely overshadow his drive to be the best at his profession. At Major championship level he already has the Open title in 2010 and then runner-up in three other Majors, two of which were decided in playoffs. Had Bubba Watson not pulled off one of the

most impossible shots in the 2012 Masters to beat Oosthuizen in that playoff, and had the South African holed two putts inside 10 feet during the 2015 Open playoff, he would be a triple Major winner by now. Injury has also hampered Oosthuizen’s progress. In 2013 he had to withdraw from the Open after only eight holes because of a recurring neck injury dating back to 2005. It came at a time when he’d started the year by breaking into the top five in the world and was seriously challenging for his goal of reaching second on the world rankings. Oosthuizen also withdrew from the US Open that year and didn’t play in the PGA Championship. And missing the cut in the 2013 Masters made for a disappointing season in the Majors. Then came a back injury as a result of falling off a tube being towed behind a speedboat, and Oosthuizen admits that his relaxed approach to rehab didn’t help his cause either. But his 2015 performance in the Majors was a compelling side story to Jordan Spieth’s Grand Slam quest. In the US Open at Chambers Bay, Oosthuizen fought back from an opening 77 to eventually finish tied second, just one shot behind winner Spieth, and with five consecutive birdies on the back nine of a closing 67. Then came his near miss in the Open in St Andrews, and suddenly the golf world was talking about Oosthuizen’s “RunnerUp Slam” as well. It’s a far cry from when commentators were mangling his surname during the 2010 Open – now it is on everyone’s lips. Yet the limelight has never held much of an attraction for Oosthuizen, and here he is, still more than happy to have a bit of fun at his own expense. Posing as an intern for Golf Digest, he once took to the streets in the US, stopping members of the public and asking them to identify photographs of some of the most famous names in golf. Tiger Woods was recognised by most. Arnold Palmer was mistaken for Jack Nicklaus. And then Oosthuizen held up a photo of himself for a couple to identify. “It’s that South African, isn’t it?” said the woman, still oblivious to who was holding up the photo. “But I can’t pronounce his name.” “You pronounce it, Louis Oosthuizen,” Oosthuizen said. “Great job,” said her husband as he patted Oosthuizen on the shoulder.


OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER

STENSON DOMINANT AS EVER BACK AT SUN CITY AND AS

WHEN HENRIK STENSON TAKES TO THE COURSE, THERE ARE ALWAYS BOUND TO BE FIREWORKS, SAY THE PUNDITS.

I

t is quite amazing to think that when Henrik Stenson requested an invitation to play in the 2012 South African Open, he was hoping to use that tournament as a means of getting back into the top 50 in the world. Once ranked as high as second in the world and as low as 230, Stenson has seen the ups and downs of this game in a remarkable career so far. And when he’s at his best, his victories have been some of the most dominant performances in the game. South Africans were given a glimpse of this when he won the 2008 Nedbank Golf Challenge by a crushing nine strokes over American Kenny Perry.

Then this year he became the first Swedish winner of a Major when he claimed the Open Championship in a three-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon that has been described as one of the greatest final rounds in Major championship history. He made for more fireworks when he was involved in another great battle with Justin Rose for the gold medal at the Olympic Games in August. There is no doubt that whenever Stenson is on top form there will be fireworks on the fairways.

Henrik Stenson celebrates on the 18th green at Royal Troon at the 145th Open Championship.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 91


OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER

Stenson and Phil Mickelson after their epic battle at Troon.

At the Gary Player Country Club in 2008, Stenson was making only his third appearance in “Africa’s Major”. He showed no signs of being at all overawed by the field when he opened with a 63 for an immediate five-stroke lead. At that stage it tied the 63 Ernie Els carded in 2002 as the official lowest round in the history of this tournament. Stenson wasted no time asserting his authority on that opening round, which he began with three straight birdies. “I’ve got it all lined up to go out there firing again in the second round,” he said. “I’ve got a strong three wood in my bag and felt really confident with it. I just kept hitting fairways,” he said. That three wood would prove to be his single biggest weapon that week as he hit it with devastating precision. On the Friday of the second round, Stenson had opened up a six-stroke lead over the field when play was suspended because of lightning. When it resumed again early on Saturday morning, Stenson quickly moved seven ahead of the field before showing the first signs of vulnerability. A charge by Rory Sabbatini closed the gap to three strokes at one point in

92 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

Stenson and Mickelson went at each other with everything they had, constantly raising the bar on each other’s games as this Major became pure theatre, with just the two of them as the lead actors, and the rest of the field watching from the distance.

the second round. But this is where any challenge to his dominance ended. When the sun set on the Gary Player Country Club that Saturday, Stenson had an eight-stroke lead over the field – weather delays and a blister on his foot notwithstanding. “I’ve never gone into a final round with an eight-shot lead. I don’t think I’ve had more than a four- or five-shot lead before,” he said. His nearest challenger, Robert Karlsson, knew exactly that he was witnessing something special when he said, “I’m not expecting even to get a chance for a win on Sunday.” Lee Westwood echoed this when he declared, “The way Henrik is playing he looks out of sight at the moment. My eyes are set on second place.” By Sunday afternoon, Stenson had completed one of the most impressive victories in the history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge when he won by nine strokes. “I’ve never won by such a big margin before. Definitely one of my greatest achievements,” he said. It was a performance that stood alongside


OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER

that of Nick Price’s in 1993 as perhaps the two most dominant ever produced in this tournament. Price won by 12 shots in 1993, and the Zimbabwean started the final round that year with a 10-stroke lead. In 2013 Stenson won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai by six strokes, again to emphasise his ability to win by big margins on the biggest stages in the game. But he will probably agree that nothing beats his three-stroke victory over Mickelson in the Open this year. Stenson and Mickelson went at each other with everything they had, constantly raising the bar on each other’s games as this Major became pure theatre, with just the two of them as the lead actors, and the rest of the field watching from the distance. Mickelson would wonder what on earth happened. He’d led for two days and shot a final round of 65 – bogey free. He’d finished at 17 under par. He’d been 11 shots clear of third-placed JB Holmes. And somehow he still didn’t win. Ahead of him, Stenson closed with a Major championship record-equalling 63 and set an Open record of 20 under par for victory. Stenson had taken a one-stroke lead over the American into the final nine holes. They both birdied the 10th. Then Stenson bogeyed 11 while Mickelson saved par to see them level. Stenson then birdied three holes in succession from the 14th while Mickelson could make only one in reply during this stretch. That seemed to have done it. Mickelson parred his final two holes while Stenson parred 17 and then birdied 18 to win by three. As he said later, he felt this was his time. And Stenson certainly took the opportunity with both hands. Mickelson couldn’t believe what he’d just witnessed. “I don’t remember being in a match like that where we’ve separated ourselves from the field by so many strokes,” he said. Asked whether this was the best he’d ever played and never won, Mickelson said simply, “Yeah.” Stenson summed up his performance when he said, “There are a few countries where I’ve managed to do some great things, and Scotland is now one of them.” Perhaps, though, South Africans can claim to have been there first when Stenson showed just how you dominate a final round as he did at Sun City in 2008.

94 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

GOLF’S BEST BATTLES The battle between Henrik Stenson and Phil

wrote their own chapter in the book of

Mickelson is now etched into golf folklore as one

memorable Major battles, the time in the US

of the greatest in the game.

Open at Torrey Pines.

It can quite easily stand alongside the titanic

While still recovering from knee surgery, Woods

1977 Open war between Jack Nicklaus and Tom

had battled his way through the pain to arrive on

Watson (above) at Turnberry.

the tee of the 72nd hole one hole behind leader

Their “Duel in the Sun” was so good that even in the thick of it Watson could take time to

Mediate. Despite a poor drive into a fairway bunker and

appreciate what was unfolding when he stood on

then a bad second into the rough, Woods hit a

the 16th tee, turned to Nicklaus and said, “This is

wedge to 12 feet and holed the putt to set up a

what it’s all about, isn’t it?” The two golfers were

Monday playoff.

tied on 11 under par with three holes to come. Earlier, Nicklaus had taken a three-stroke lead over Watson through four holes. Watson responded with three birdies in the next four

On the front nine of that playoff, Woods and Mediate each held the lead on three separate occasions. After 10 holes, Woods was three clear. Then, on

holes to catch Nicklaus. Watson’s bogey at nine

the back nine, Mediate rallied and was one stroke

and Nicklaus’s birdie at 12 saw a two-shot gap

ahead playing the 18th. Again Mediate parred the

between them.

18th, and again Woods birdied the hole to keep

But Watson hit back again with birdies at 13 and 15 to see them tied on that 16th tee. They parred 16. On 17, Nicklaus hit a great chip to four feet after missing the green. Watson missed his eagle putt and tapped in for birdie, and Nicklaus, surprisingly, two-putted for par. On 18, Watson was in control with a magnificent tee shot down the middle and then a seven iron to two feet from the flag. Nicklaus was

the playoff alive. On the 19th hole, Woods made par while Mediate finally relented with a bogey. As Mediate said afterwards, “I threw everything I had, the kitchen sink, everything right at him.” In 1981, the inaugural Million Dollar Challenge began on an historic note when Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros were involved in an epic nine-hole sudden-death playoff. Ballesteros looked to be headed to the title

on the right rough off the tee and then hit an

when he faced a tap-in on the first playoff hole

eight iron to 35 feet from the hole. Then Nicklaus

while Miller had a 25-footer to keep the playoff

holed that putt for birdie. The gallery was

alive. But the American holed the putt, hit

cheering so wildly that Nicklaus had to calm

famously with a process where he closed his eyes

them down so Watson could putt. He made no

on contact. Eight scintillating holes later and

mistake and holed the putt for the win.

Ballesteros three-putted on the ninth for a bogey

In 2008, Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate

that gave Miller the title.


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THE GOLF BUSINESS

VALUE THE BOTTOM LINE FOR

GOLF BUSINESS

THE BUSINESS OF GOLF HAS TAKEN A BIT OF A SWING, SO TO SPEAK, WITH THE EMPHASIS TURNING TO A MORE PERSONAL APPROACH.

I

n 2016, Nike Golf stopped doing it. After 15 years of trying to sell golf equipment, the brand that has long preached a can-do attitude to everything realised that the changing face of golf business is exactly the opposite. You cannot be everything to everyone. “It makes absolute sense,” Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International, says of Nike’s decision. “They need to focus on their core business of apparel and footwear. We have already seen them sign the world number one Jason Day to a multiyear $10-million-per-year deal to wear Nike clothes and shoes but that allows him to continue to play TaylorMade equipment. We will no doubt see more of these types of deals

again soon with many of the golfers on Tour.” The news around Nike Golf was followed by the major US golf retailer Golfsmith announcing it was seeking a new owner and maybe even filing for bankruptcy. Combined with the constant message that golf club membership is dwindling worldwide, it paints a gloomy picture for the industry. But Player is fairly pragmatic about all of this. “When you have little to no new growth of golfers in the US for many, many years, there is only so much product you can sell. It certainly does not help that the equipment manufacturers keep releasing new models several times a year. My point is, how many new drivers, putters or sets of clubs do you

really need? How often does the average player need to buy a new set of the ‘latest and greatest’ equipment? Does it really improve his game? Think of how many more rounds of golf could be played if the amateurs aren’t spending a good chunk of their cash on new equipment. “We also need to distinguish between the professional game and the remainder of us who are the amateurs. Professional golf has never been healthier or more lucrative worldwide. On the other hand, the amateur game has been struggling for a long time and at best remains static or flat-lined. However, I am optimistic about the future. Golf’s popularity will start to spread to more countries with events like the Olympics.” As with everything in the industry at

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THE GOLF BUSINESS

present, from equipment to apparel to sponsorships to golf club memberships, the key word is value. The PGA of South Africa has intensified its efforts to add to this value proposition in the local game through its “Valuing the PGA Professional” programme. It’s a programme designed to help South African golf clubs understand where their strength lies, namely in their members. And the PGA pro is, according to them, integral in enhancing this. “Golf clubs need to realise that their biggest asset is their members, not their facility,” says Ivano Ficalbi, the chief executive of the PGA of South Africa. Under the “Valuing the PGA Professional” initiative, the PGA is sharing international best practice with local golf clubs to help them create golfers, add members and retain them, and create a bigger community spirit within the industry. “The programme has been very successful in America. In their research there they found that only half the members of a golf club knew the name of their PGA professional, and only about 14% had ever had a golf lesson. “What the PGA of America has seen is that

“How often does the average player need to buy a new set of the ‘latest and greatest’ equipment? Does it really improve his game? Think of how many more rounds of golf could be played if the amateurs aren’t spending a good chunk of their cash on new equipment.” Marc Player, CEO of Black Knight International

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World number one Jason Day has signed a multiyear clothing sponsorship contract with Nike.

members who are in a coaching programme with their local PGA professional are 100% more likely to remain members of the golf club than those who aren’t. And rounds of golf at these clubs by members in a coaching programme increased by 20%. “I also think more can be done to promote the benefits of golf as a sport. We don’t talk enough about that in this country.” Understanding your market is something Player also believes is key to future growth in the game. “We should always look at the various golf industries around the world to see what can be learnt, and perhaps the most important lesson is to understand your local market, its demographics, spending power and where growth will come from. “The bottom line is that we must get more people playing an affordable game that takes less time. It will have a trickle-down effect, inspiring amateurs to play more and the next generation of golfers in a particular country to take up golf as their main sport. South Africa is one of the top golf nations, but still only a very small percentage of the population are regular players.” The Tiger Woods effect on the industry has long been hailed as the reason for its boom when Woods was at the peak of his powers, and many are similarly saying golf is now paying the price of his absence from the game. But Player isn’t so sure. “While Tiger no doubt helped golf in many ways, his peak playing performance also coincided with a period of tremendous financial prosperity around the world. Timing

is so critical, not only in sport but in business as well. Golf has had its ups and downs prior to Tiger and will survive both this current downturn and return to prominence again in future. Golf attracts almost 100 million people worldwide, and when China and India really take to the game over the next few years we will see another boom.” Much like the meeting point between Arnold Palmer and television, which resulted in that generation’s golf boom. Gary Player has long said there is no substitute for personal contact, and this will indeed be the main driver for golf sponsorship in the future. “Very simply and most importantly, sponsors want a return on their investment,” says Marc. “In our case, it is the measurable global TV and media exposure for their brands and meaningful customer engagement for their best clients. The days of just slapping your logo on a good player or athlete and hoping for the best are long gone. Many brands are now targeting younger people. This, along with the ever-increasing use of social and digital media, means that golfers themselves need to act as channels or spokespeople to market in the digital age. Our Gary Player Invitational charity tournaments have produced excellent returns when measured against any sponsorship metrics.” Quite simply, the business of golf is entering a new age where it’s no longer “Just Do It” but rather “Just Do That. And do it better than before”.


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SOUTH AFRICA’S

TOURNAMENT OF

CHAMPIONS DELIVERS A 13TH CHEQUE TO CHARITY

TEAMS SUPERSPORT AND TELKOM TOOK UP THE CHALLENGE AGAIN THIS YEAR TO DELIVER SOME FABULOUS GOLF TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CHARITY.

T

he 13th edition of the Telkom Supersport Shootout saw a change of venue for South Africa’s Tournament of Champions, with the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo playing host for the first time. There was a natural buzz of excitement as the players arrived on the Friday, when they were welcomed with a special menu created by Mi Casa frontman J Something – who kept things close to his Portuguese roots – and the mindblowing (and -bending) antics of magician and mentalist extraordinaire Larry Soffer. As had been the case in the inaugural year of the Ryder Cup-style team competition between

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ADVERTORIAL

Team Telkom and Team Supersport, there was some enthusiastic banter between the respective captains Jabu Mabuza and Imtiaz Patel, the latter vowing to win the team trophy for the first time after “generously letting Telkom win” in year one. For the first nine holes of round one, the teams participated in a greensomes format, in which both members of the pair hit a tee shot and thereafter played alternate shots until the completion of each hole. By the end of that opening nine, Telkom had already chalked up a sizeable lead. From the 10th tee onwards, the players reverted to a more conventional format, each playing their own ball and participating in the individual, better-ball and team competitions simultaneously. During the course of the two days’ play, there was also an opportunity for some specially selected participants to experience the incredible “Extreme 19th” hole at Legend, a par-3 whose tee is accessible only by helicopter and where the green sits some 400m below the tee. Former Bafana Bafana skipper Neil Tovey was able to navigate his ball closest to the hole from off the edge of the cliff-top tee. The host venue for this year’s event certainly played into the hands of former Springbok flyhalf and fullback – and now SuperSport commentator – Jaco van der Westhuyzen. He owns property at Legend and is a member of

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the golf club, and used his local knowledge to great effect, staying close to if not right at the top of the individual leaderboard for much of the competition. Heading towards the final nine holes on Sunday, Van der Westhuyzen was locked in a great battle for the top spot with longtime supporter of the Shootout, Riyadh Peer, whose company, LA Clothing, manages the Polo brand that supplied the participants with some wonderful gifts. Peer was first to falter, dropping shots early in the back nine to allow Van der Westhuyzen to build up a comfortable cushion heading to the final few holes, before a dramatic swing at the tricky par-3 17th hole. While Peer hit the green with his tee shot and made a solid par with the two putts that followed, Van der Westhuyzen came up short and ended up dropping two shots to reduce his lead to a solitary stroke with just the final hole – a par-5 with water in front of the green – left to play. There was more drama to follow as Van der Westhuyzen pulled his tee shot and

played a miraculous recovery from out of the bush to set up the par five that secured his victory, with Peer coming up just short with his birdie putt. There was some consolation for Peer in that he and better-ball partner Breyton Paulse teamed up to win that title for the second time, having partnered each other to victory in a previous edition of the Shootout at Simola in Knysna. They defeated Van der Westhuyzen and his partner, Craig Commins, into second place. In the overall team competition – sadly for Patel’s Team SuperSport – it was not nearly as closely contested an affair as it had been at Zimbali a year earlier. Despite the injury that prevented him from playing, Mabuza’s inspirational captaincy saw him lift the trophy once more. Results on the golf course aside, the event once again provided one of the country’s great networking opportunities for representatives of South Africa’s sporting, business and political environments. The team competition continued to build a sense of rivalry on the golf course, while the heart of the event continued to beat strongly in the form of many millions of rands being raised for the nominated beneficiaries. And, with the tournament having been played in various parts of the country, a first visit to Limpopo reinforced the view that one can genuinely live “a world in one country”.


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2016/09/21 10:21 AM


TEC H N O LO GY

SA INVENTOR GOES FROM TRACKING MISSILES TO GOLF BALLS

MAKING HIS MARK WITH THE SPEED GUN WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF HENRI JOHNSON’S FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF SPORTS TECHNOLOGY.

I

n the brilliant mind of Henri Johnson, it was quite a simple question. How do you take extremely sophisticated technology developed for the military and apply it to something far more critical and important in life – like golf ? The answer to this question is FlightScope: the global radar tracking technology that has revolutionised golf and that was the brainchild of Johnson, an inventor from Stellenbosch.

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TEC H N O LO GY

As an engineer, Johnson put his then mandatory two years of military service in South Africa to very good use when he started focusing on radar and sonar while in the South African Navy. He developed the technology to track projectiles and measure their velocity and ballistics, and the armies of the world loved him for it. But Johnson had bigger worlds to conquer in the use of his technology for sport. Fuelled by a passion to make complex technologies a part of ordinary people’s daily lives, he first adapted his technology to cricket and developed the speed gun that made its debut at the 1999 Cricket World Cup. It would later also be used in tennis to track the speed and angle of the balls. In 2004, he unveiled FlightScope to the golf market, giving the game the world’s first 3D radar tracking system with the benefit of real time and portable feedback on virtually every aspect of the game. It has since become the default technology for everyone in the game, from professionals to coaches to the Tours and the media. FlightScope allows for the measurement of the whole trajectory of a golf ball, including the 3D path of the club. It provides valuable information such as club-head speed, launch angle, spin rate, distance carry and even minute details such as the face angle and loft of the club. As a teaching and club-fitting tool it has proved invaluable and has even been described as a catalyst for helping to drive the retail sector of the industry, as it allows for a more customised buying experience. According to FlightScope, golfers can now calibrate every single club in their bag and know exactly what distance they hit each club, taking all of the guesswork out of it. “Knowledge is power,” says Johnson, who is not a man who enjoys dealing in speculation. That’s why he’s designed technology that can measure the moment of impact between club and golf ball to as near as 0.1 degrees. In terms of the information gained about your golf ball, you can glean statistics on vertical launch and decent angles, flight time, spin rate, distance carry, total distance and much more. And when it comes to clubs, the golfer can analyse club speed, face angle, dynamic loft, swing plane, club face to path, and angle of attack, to name a few. In golf, Johnson has certainly found a very willing audience because it is a sport where its

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“The biggest benefit I’ve gained is distance control with my wedges. I set up different distances with my wedges and really work on my distance control. The great thing about FlightScope is that you can travel with it.” Sandra Gal FlightScope’s radar tracking system measures the whole trajectory of a golf ball, as well as the 3D path of the golf club.

proponents cannot get enough information and stats in the pursuit of the perfect game. In 2008, in the midst of the global recession, Johnson moved his company from South Africa to the golf heartland of Florida. This proved another masterstroke, as FlightScope has gone on to achieve unprecedented growth in its field. “It’s been an amazing journey to see

FlightScope grow and to see how our products and technologies have changed over the years,” Johnson said when he was named Orlando Business Journal’s 2015 CEO of the Year. “As CEO it is thrilling to see the immense success and growth of FlightScope in the last few years, and without a strong team behind me, this never could have been done. We’ve accomplished great things together and


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TEC H N O LO GY

FlightScope is used by both professional and amateur players and coaches.

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it’s been a thrill to be at the forefront of that. “I have a clear vision for what we are doing and what we can be doing. I also pride myself on being a decisive, inspirational, analytical and resourceful person. This is especially good for quick decision-making and problemsolving. I also have a deep caring for FlightScope as a company as well as for the work environment and employee’s wellbeing,” Johnson said. In an interview, German LPGA Tour professional Sandra Gal explained exactly the functionality of FlightScope that attracted her to the technology and that excites both playing and teaching professionals alike. “The biggest benefit I’ve gained is distance control with my wedges. I set up different distances with my wedges and really work on my distance control. The great thing about FlightScope is that you can travel with it. It’s good to test it out on the range and see how the ball performs wherever I am in the world.” It’s even been praised by professionals for assisting them in honing speciality shots such as a low punch shot required on a links course. Here FlightScope assists them in realising that their vertical swing plane needs to be adjusted for this type of shot as well, not just where they place the ball in their stance. “The FlightScope is a key practice session in my working week. If you know exactly how far you are hitting the ball with each club then it becomes second nature on the golf course under pressure. It has also been a great help when getting fitted for my new clubs so that I can compare data,” says former Nedbank Golf Challenge winner and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett. “I use it daily with my players,” adds South African coach Jamie Gough. Analysis is one thing but what you do with that data is something altogether different, which in itself mirrors the kind of attitude to life that Johnson has. “I have always believed that if you find what you’re passionate about and make it a reality, you won’t ever work a day in your life. Search for your passion and relentlessly chase it down. Reach for your dreams, find out what you are passionate about and make it a reality. You can become anything you want if you work for it. Live your dream.”


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THE SPORTS TRUST

THE SPORTS TRUST, NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE AND PARTNERS KEEP

DRIVING GOLF DEVELOPMENT SOUTH AFRICAN GOLF DEVELOPMENT BOARD AND SOUTH AFRICAN DISABLED GOLF ASSOCIATION SUPPORTED BY THE SPORTS TRUST.

T

he Nedbank Golf Challenge’s golf development fundraiser, The Sports Trust Golf Challenge has raised over R21 million towards the transformation and development of golf in South Africa since 1999. This event, which takes place the day following the tournament, encourages corporates to compete against each other to raise funds which are distributed to leading golf development organisations, namely the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and

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the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA). Nedbank and Sun International are founding Trustees of The Sports Trust, a registered NPO that implements sport development projects, provides sporting kit and equipment, and builds or refurbishes sports facilities on behalf of their trustees and donors. From this event, the SAGDB received a major boost of R450 000 for its various projects. The funds have been used to purchase golf shoes, shirts, balls, coaching aids, gloves and

other equipment and apparel for the leading SAGDB golfers in each region. A portion of the money was also used to keep funding the Border chapter and its costs for tournaments, coaching, transport and player meals. “The SAGDB is extremely proud and thankful to be associated with The Sports Trust and Nedbank. The sponsorship goes a long way to enhancing and sustaining our projects. It is through support such as this that we can ensure a programme that delivers


Eugene Vorster, CEO of SADGA, receives a cheque from The Sports Trust that enabled the purchase of a golf cart and other SNAG golf equipment. Also pictured at the Zwartkops Golf Club handover are Carol Crawford, Marketing Manager of The Sports Trust, Dan Sevel, Sports Marketing Manager for Sun International, and several children from SADGA. results and offers our young golfers some extra benefits,” says Grant Hepburn, managing director of the SAGDB. “Last year we established a project in the North West and although there are no superstars yet, we have seen exciting development and improvement in the new golfers.” A further R250 000 was donated to SADGA and its ongoing work to introduce golf to disabled children. “We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from The Sports Trust, Nedbank and Sun International as we continue to help people see that we are not focusing on people with disabilities, but rather on developing a

Tebogo Lefifi is an SAGDB amateur player, and recently won the Under 18 SA Girls Championships, C Division. She is a Grade 6 student from Lyndhurst Primary School.

community of golfers who can express themselves despite their disabilities,” says the SADGA chief executive officer, Eugene Vorster. SADGA makes use of the popular SNAG golf-skills teaching programme, but at the same time its coaches use the opportunity to convey other values and skills that can be learnt through golf, such as patience, honesty, integrity, basic mathematics, timekeeping and even spelling.

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THE SPORTS TRUST

Prenesh Naidoo from West Rand School represents one of the greatest success stories of SADGA’s programme. Over two years, Naidoo went from being a withdrawn pupil lacking confidence to one of the brightest golfers in the programme. “Until now, nobody ever gave me the opportunity to be part of a team and represent a school,’ says Naidoo. Charles Williams from Cape Town is another product of the programme. In his seven years with SADGA he has become the

Andre Rossouw, Head of Operations and Projects, SAGDB, receives a cheque from Carol Crawford, Marketing Manager of The Sports Trust, Dan Sevel, Sports Marketing Manager for Sun International and Tobie Badenhorst, Head: Group Sponsorships & Cause Marketing, Nedbank Limited.

The South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) has empowered numerous disabled youngsters through their SNAG golf teaching programme. best deaf junior golfer in South Africa. Ignation Douries was part of the Western Province team that competed in the prestigious SADGA Provincial Challenge, where he was undefeated and holed the winning putt for his team. Simu Mdudu, who lost his leg in a train accident, joined SADGA only two years ago and this year qualified to play in his first Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open. Charl Theron continues to develop as one of the top-ranked amateur golfers in the SADGA fold. He was the leading South African golfer at the 2016 Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open and finished fourth in a strong international field.

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For Sun International and Nedbank, both founding members of The Sports Trust, these tales of triumph are what motivates their ongoing support. “We have always believed in the power of the Nedbank Golf Challenge to make an impact beyond just the actual week of the tournament, and Sun International is very proud of the value this tournament adds to the work of the South African Disabled Golf Association and South African Golf Development Board,” says Dan Sevel, Sun International’s marketing manager of Sports Marketing. This is echoed by Tobie Badenhorst, Nedbank head of Sponsorships and Cause Marketing: “We are humbled by how much of a difference SADGA and the SAGDB has made in the lives of so many young golfers. All of these children have grown in self-confidence and self-worth, and are now positive role models for so many others.” Anita Mathews, executive director of The

Sports Trust, expresses her thanks to the trust’s partners for their support of its work of increasing access to sport, particularly in abled and disabled schools in previously disadvantaged communities. “The Sports Trust Golf Challenge is our premier fundraiser to support golf development and other sport development programmes,” she says. “The SAGDB and SADGA do amazing work to increase awareness for the game of golf and use it to change lives. We are very grateful to our partners and founding trustees, Nedbank and Sun International, for their continued commitment to sport development in our country.” After this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, a development fourball – consisting of the SAGDB golfers Siyanda Mwandla, Dylan Jacobs and Thabiso Magwaza, and the SADGA golfer Charles Williams – will once again play in The Sports Trust Golf Challenge on 14 November. “The Sports Trust Golf Challenge is an amazing opportunity for our young golfers as it is a world-class venue and a wonderful golf course. For the SAGDB players to play the course in the way that it is set up for the professionals is always a massive challenge, but it is excellent for their personal growth and experience as golfers,” says Hepburn.


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opportunity for compounding growth,” says Jean Minnaar,

R30 000 limit for that year,” he says.

investment and savings manager at Old Mutual. The latest Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor findings show that South Africans do not save enough, even though as many as 80% of respondents indicated they were keen to learn how to save. Minnaar says this is an encouraging development for South Africans trying save. “Tax-free savings accounts are in line with the focus of the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his predecessor, Nhlanhla Nene, on making it easier for South Africans to save.

In line with the adage that “it’s time in the market that counts”, customers should rather try and build up the savings in their tax free savings plan over the long term to gain the significant impact of tax free compound growth. Compound interest is where you earn interest on the interest already earned and it has a snow-balling effect on your savings. ”For this reason it’s also true that the sooner you start to save, the better,” he comments.

He adds that Old Mutual cautions savers against frequently

Minnaar explains that tax-free savings provide an excellent

accessing their accumulated savings. “Although tax free

opportunity, especially for younger South Africans. As a

savings accounts allow you access to your savings at any

guideline, if you’re young and start saving early, tax-free savings

time, we urge our customers to build up funds over the long

are generally the better.


HOLE BY HOLE

TAKE THE COURSE

72 OF THE WORLD’S FINEST GOLFERS WILL BE COMPETING FOR TOP SPOT ON ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST CHALLENGING COURSES. N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 123


HOLE BY HOLE

124 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


1st DISTANCE 403m PAR 4 STROKE 7 Most will hit a club from the tee that takes the fairway bunkers out of play. Players will be left with a mid- to short-iron to a green that slopes sharply from back to front and with some potentially wicked pin placements. Distance control with the approach is vital to ensure a reasonably flat putt.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 125


HOLE BY HOLE

2nd DISTANCE 520m PAR 5 STROKE 13 The first of four par-fives, all of which are genuine scoring opportunities. A fairway bunker right in driver territory and a sharp left-to-right camber on the fairway make the tee shot tough, but everyone will take a chance with the driver here to create the chance of reaching the green in two.

3rd DISTANCE 411m PAR 4 STROKE 3 The tee shot on this par-four is vital. A driver can leave a nine-iron or wedge into the green but the risks are high, with bunkers on the right of the fairway and bush on the left. The prudent play is a three-wood or less, which leaves a medium iron to a raised, well-bunkered and viciously sloping green.

126 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


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HOLE BY HOLE

4th DISTANCE 195m PAR 3 STROKE 9 The number of tee positions and depth of the green allow for a distinctly different shot requirement on all four days. Few are tempted by the traditional front-right pin position over the water on Sunday, while anywhere above the hole on this green leaves a lightning-fast putt.

5th DISTANCE 449m PAR 4 STROKE 11 Most will hit a three-wood off this tee to take a deep fairway bunker out of reach, which then leaves a medium- to long iron into a green that was designed to accept short-iron shots. If the pin is in a corner of the green, then the prudent play is to aim for the middle of the green and be happy with a two-putt par.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 129


HOLE BY HOLE

6th DISTANCE 388m PAR 4 STROKE 15 A short but potentially dangerous par-four where the biggest threat lies in the tee shot, with a fairway bunker up the right and thick rough down the left. The green is well bunkered and is also protected by thick rough immediately in front of the green.

7th DISTANCE 206m PAR 3 STROKE 17 The green has two distinct portions separated by a ridge, and to get the tee shot all the way to a back-left pin position requires a long iron even for the long hitters. Although a front-right placement looks more inviting from the tee, it brings more bunkering on the right into play.

130 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


As seen on DStv JHB 55516/OJ


HOLE BY HOLE

8th DISTANCE 450m PAR 4 STROKE 1 A ditch running through the fairway rules the driver out off the tee, so almost everyone will be hitting a three-wood here. Once the fairway has been found, there’s still plenty to do, with an approach that is uphill all the way to a green on which the pin can be tucked away. Frequently ranked the most difficult hole.

132 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


9th DISTANCE 545m PAR 5 STROKE 5 The most popular spot for spectators, the ninth green and surrounds provide one of the great amphitheatres in South African sport. On at least two of the four days, the island green will be in range in two shots, setting up the possibility of two-putt birdies and the odd eagle‌ but some potentially big numbers as well.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 133


tfr - Advert - 210 x 276mm final CMYK - low res Friday, October 23, 2015 3:04:21 PM


HOLE BY HOLE

10th DISTANCE 500m PAR 5 STROKE 16 A second consecutive par-five that the players like to use to kickstart their back-nine charge. The green is comfortably the smallest target on the course, demanding absolute precision from more than 200 metres out if it is to be found in two, but you can expect to see a large number of up-and-down birdies here.

11th DISTANCE 419m PAR 4 STROKE 10 A visually intimidating tee shot, as the hole takes a 90-degree dogleg from right to left and there is nothing but thick bush all the way up the left. The prudent play is to aim straight and be content with finding the fairway, even if it does mean a slightly longer approach.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 135


HOLE BY HOLE

12th DISTANCE 200m PAR 3 STROKE 14 It’s uphill all the way to the green on this short hole with a long, relatively narrow putting surface and some wicked slopes, especially near the back. The most important thing is to leave a putt from under the hole, as anything above will be difficult to stop.

13th DISTANCE 406m PAR 4 STROKE 2 There’s a surreal feeling at this hole – being the furthest from the clubhouse, there are seldom many spectators. Four is always a good score as there is danger left and right off the tee, and a green full of slopes and subtleties. A back-right pin position is toughest, with a gaping bunker protecting the front.

136 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


48029_mil_ngc_mag_adP.ai

1

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HOLE BY HOLE

14th DISTANCE 550m PAR 5 STROKE 8 The infamous ‘love grass’ strategically scattered throughout the massive bunker that surrounds the green creates doubt in going for the green in two. Even for those laying up, the approach has to be absolutely precise with the green no more than 10 paces deep in places. Considered a real birdie opportunity.

15th DISTANCE 431m PAR 4 STROKE 6 The real challenge lies in the tee shot: you need a miracle not to make bogey if you find the left-hand fairway bunker that is in the range of a three-wood off the tee. The bunker front right of the green is one of the deepest on the course, so to be shooting for a right-pin position, hitting the fairway off the tee is imperative.

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 139


HOLE BY HOLE

16th DISTANCE 193m PAR 3 STROKE 18 The pressure of the home stretch can cause the odd wayward tee shot on the otherwise least intimidating of the four par-threes. The hole has the advantage of being versatile due to its variety of tee positions and the ridge running across the middle of the green to create two distinct tiers.

17th DISTANCE 437m PAR 4 STROKE 12 From the back tee it is a carry of more than 200 metres just to reach the fairway. The real risk, however, is with the approach shot: even with a good drive from the back tee, the players are left with a medium-iron shot to a green positioned in the famous Sun City lake, with a deep bunker to the right protecting against a bail-out.

140 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


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HOLE BY HOLE

142 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


18th DISTANCE 459m PAR 4 STROKE 4 Most players will opt for a fairway wood or hybrid off the tee to ensure the best possible position in the fairway; the further left in the fairway, the better on this 90-degree dogleg left. A pin position anywhere on the left is relatively accessible, but the traditional Sunday back right brings a gaping bunker into play and there is absolutely no margin for error with the approach.

Graphics: Courtesy Plus 4. (Contact Alan Hoffman at 082 254 0017 or email alan@plus4.co.za)

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 143


COURSE LAYOUT 144 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


1

SKYBOXES

1 FedEx 2 SunSales 3 Three Ships Premium Whisky 4 JCDecaux 5 Vodacom 6 Deloitte 7 Volvo 8 Telkom 9 KPMG 10 VIP Viewing Deck on 9th 11 Circa 18th Green Hospitality 12 Emirates 13 Sun International VIP Lounge

1

HOSPITALITY

1 Nedbank Pavilion on the 9th 2 Transnet 3 Circa Clubhouse 4 Circa Challenge Club 5 Nestlé 6 PriceWaterhouseCoopers 7 Circa Sponsors Village Lower Deck 8 Old Mutual 9 SuperSport 10 Circa Sponsors Village Upper Deck 11 Castle Lite 12 Sun MVG Platinum 13 Sun MVG 19th Hole 12 Bidvest WELCOME WALKWAY ENTER THROUGH WELCOME WALKWAY INFORMATION PARCEL DROP-OFF SUN INTERNATIONAL MARKETING THE PRO SHOP SUPERSPORT NEDBANK

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY FOR SPECTATORS

VOLVO HONDA

ON-COURSE FACILITIES PRACTICE GREEN PUTTING GREEN ON 1ST

THE COURSE HOLE

PRACTICE RANGE ON 10TH

METRES

PAR

1

403

4

MEDICAL EMERGENCIES VIP PARKING

2

520

5

3

411

4

4

195

3

5

449

4

6

388

4

7

206

3

8

450

4

9

545

5

10

500

5

11

419

4

12

200

3

13

406

4

14

550

5

15

431

4

16

193

3

17

437

4

18

459

4

7 162

72

TOTAL

If the siren sounds, put down your umbrella and seek shelter immediately.

ON-COURSE LEADER BOARDS

ALSO AVOID THE FOLLOWING: • Grandstands • Telephone poles • Hilltops/high places • Metal or wire fences • Wearing metalspiked golf shoes • Bodies of water • Open fields • Tall or isolated trees • Golf carts

SUNBET

ATMs: AT WELCOME WALKWAY, ADJACENT TO THE MERCHANDISING MARQUEE, THE SOHO HOTEL AND THE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE

ON-COURSE BIG SCREENS CELL PHONE HOT SPOTS

MERCHANDISING SKYBOX SHUTTLE PICK-UP POINTS SPUR CASTLE LITE EXTRA COLD ENTERTAINMENT ZONE GRANDSTANDS WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY PUBLIC / DISABLED WC FACILITIES REFRESHMENTS STATIONS WATER POINTS CROSSOVERS TENNIS COURT WELLNESS CENTRE

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 145


M

Y

Y

Y


BEHIND THE SCENES

ON AND OFF THE COURSE FUN AT SUN CITY LAST YEAR.

1 2

3

1 The new Sun City champ gets a champagne shower. 2 Razzmatazz at the Sun City Superbowl during the welcome dinner. 3 Tournament host Gary Player holds court alongside the first tee. 4 Kulani Lebese (CEO, GladAfrica), Jordan Semono, Monica Dlamini, Gaby Lipschitz and Musa Siwelane.

4

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 149


6

5

8 7 5 The best way to cool off at Sun City. 6 Dougie Donnelly, Ken Brown, Ewen Murray and Dale Hayes. 7 Words and images are sent across the globe from the Media Centre. 8 Jaco van Zyl was in contention through 54 holes. 9 Miss South Africa contestants snap a Sun City selfie. 10 The Boma braai is a popular event for players and guests.

9 10

150 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6


Deloitte Technology

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11

11 Thomas and Kate Aiken entertaining young fans. 12 SA’s Big Three: Louis, Charl and Branden. 13 Live on air: Matthew Pearce (far right) with Ken Brown, Dougie Donnelly and Gary Player. 14 The official merchandise tent for those must-have keepsakes. 15 There’s always time for a bet… 16 The ever-popular Valley of Waves.

12 13

16

152 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

14

15


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ROLL OF HONOUR

THERE HAVE BEEN 24 DIFFERENT WINNERS OF THE NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE FROM 12 COUNTRIES. WHO WILL LIFT THE CRYSTAL TROPHY ON SUNDAY? 2015 M Leishman H Stenson C Wood D Willett B Grace V Dubuisson R Streb B Hun An T Jaidee C Schwartzel E Grillo L Oosthuizen T Aiken J van Zyl R Fisher K Aphibarnrat A Sullivan K Bradley M Fitzpatrick S Piercy T Fleetwood W Simpson M-A Jiménez Russell Knox M Kaymer S Lowry B Wiesberger L Westwood S Kjeldsen S Bowditch

2014 68 66 70 67 68 71 69 72 70 71 72 70 73 66 69 70 71 72 69 73 71 75 70 69 75 74 70 72 74 77

68 67 71 75 74 73 66 70 72 74 69 72 69 68 71 68 71 69 77 68 72 72 72 76 71 71 71 81 81 78

66 70 70 70 67 68 72 71 69 67 73 68 72 72 73 73 70 73 68 72 73 72 75 68 72 70 68 72 77 77

67 72 68 68 71 68 73 68 71 70 69 73 70 78 72 75 74 72 72 74 72 69 71 76 72 75 81 75 73 75

269 275 279 280 280 280 280 281 282 282 283 283 284 284 285 286 286 286 286 287 288 288 288 289 290 290 290 300 305 307

$1 250 000 $775 000 $433 000 $270 750 $270 750 $270 750 $270 750 $175 000 $160 000 $160 000 $152 000 $152 000 $144 000 $144 000 $138 000 $130 500 $130 500 $130 500 $130 500 $123 000 $117 167 $117 167 $117 167 $112 000 $107 000 $107 000 $107 000 $103 000 $101 500 $100 000

D Willett R Fisher L Donald M Siem K Aphibarnrat M-A Jiménez J Blixt T Clark T Jaidee L Oosthuizen S Lowry B Todd S Gallacher C Schwartzel T Fleetwood L Westwood G Coetzee P Larrazábal B Koepka D van der Walt M Kaymer J Ahlers A Levy T Bjørn J Luiten K Na M Warren M Ilonen D van Tonder J Donaldson

2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge champion Marc Leishman.

2013 T Bjørn S García J Donaldson H Stenson B De Jonge C Schwartzel J Rose R Moore T Jaidee P Uihlein G Fdez-Castaño F Molinari D Fichardt R Sterne L Oosthuizen

71 66 71 68 72 70 71 70 71 70 72 73 70 70 74 72 68 73 70 73 74 74 68 80 72 77 75 76 77 74

68 70 63 72 73 74 73 71 70 73 72 68 73 71 67 70 74 71 74 72 75 75 70 72 74 73 73 78 78 WD

65 70 69 71 68 69 70 72 71 69 71 75 72 75 74 78 76 71 75 69 71 70 76 68 73 72 71 72 76

66 68 73 68 68 69 71 72 73 73 71 71 72 73 74 70 72 75 72 77 72 73 78 73 74 73 76 72 70

270 274 276 279 281 282 285 285 285 285 286 287 287 289 289 290 290 290 291 291 292 292 292 293 293 295 295 298 301

$1 250 000 $775 000 $433 000 $348 000 $295 000 $245 000 $172 500 $172 500 $172 500 $172 500 $154 000 $148 000 $148 000 $140 000 $140 000 $132 000 $132 000 $132 000 $124 500 $124 500 $117 167 $117 167 $117 167 $110 750 $110 750 $110 750 $110 750 $103 000 $101 500

2012 67 66 67 69 70 68 73 71 69 70 67 76 71 73 74

70 73 66 67 68 70 67 65 70 69 72 70 68 73 69

66 66 67 69 69 71 69 67 66 70 72 69 69 71 67

65 65 70 67 66 66 67 73 72 70 69 74 74 66 73

268 270 270 272 273 275 276 276 277 279 280 282 282 283 283

$1 250 000 $604 000 $604 000 $348 000 $295 000 $245 000 $185 000 $185 000 $162 000 $158 000 $154 000 $148 000 $148 000 $140 000 $140 000

J Luiten M Kaymer DA Points L Donald V Dubuisson B Grace G Woodland M Manassero D van der Walt D Lynn T Wiratchant MO Madsen K Streelman E Els P Senior

74 71 71 68 73 75 74 72 77 73 71 76 75 75 80

68 66 67 71 72 71 73 74 72 71 76 71 71 71 68

75 74 70 74 71 69 75 72 73 75 70 68 77 77 75

69 75 78 74 72 73 68 72 69 74 76 78 72 77 81

286 286 286 287 288 288 290 290 291 293 293 293 295 300 304

$132 000 $132 000 $132 000 $126 000 $121 500 $121 500 $115 750 $115 750 $112 000 $107 000 $107 000 $107 000 $103 000 $101 500 $100 000

M Kaymer C Schwartzel B Haas L Oosthuizen L Westwood P Lawrie F Molinari C Pettersson P Hanson N Colsaerts J Rose G Mulroy

72 72 70 71 71 71 72 72 72 70 73 75

69 71 73 72 73 69 71 75 73 78 79 73

70 70 71 69 70 75 78 74 73 74 69 75

69 69 71 74 73 74 69 69 73 71 74 74

280 282 285 286 287 289 290 290 291 293 295 297

$1 250 000 $660 000 $400 000 $400 000 $330 000 $310 000 $300 000 $290 000 $280 000 $270 000 $260 000 $250 000

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 155


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ROLL OF HONOUR

2005 J Furyk 68 70 D Clarke 67 70 R Goosen 70 69 A Scott 72 69 Furyk won after a play-off L Donald 70 68 T Clark 70 72 C DiMarco 72 71 A Cabrera 71 64 E Els 72 70 K Perry 76 72 S García 74 70 S Cink 73 76

Jim Furyk chipped in during a playoff to win in 2005.

2011 L Westwood R Karlsson J Dufner G McDowell KT Kim C Schwartzel L Donald M Kaymer S Dyson A Hansen F Molinari D Clarke

2008 68 69 70 70 70 68 70 70 70 72 72 74

70 69 68 67 70 74 71 68 70 69 77 69

62 69 70 70 70 68 70 70 75 77 73 76

73 68 69 70 70 72 72 76 72 70 73 78

273 275 277 277 280 282 283 284 287 288 295 297

$1 250 000 $660 000 $400 000 $400 000 $330 000 $310 000 $300 000 $290 000 $280 000 $270 000 $260 000 $250 000

2010 L Westwood T Clark R Goosen M-A Jiménez E Els R Fisher R Allenby P Harrington A Hansen J Rose E Molinari L Oosthuizen

H Stenson K Perry R Karlsson R Sabbatini S García L Westwood KJ Choi J Kingston J Rose T Immelman L Donald M-A Jiménez

63 73 72 68 72 70 72 72 73 72 72 75

71 70 68 70 70 72 67 77 73 73 74 76

65 68 67 72 72 70 73 70 72 69 71 73

68 65 72 70 70 72 74 67 72 77 75 69

267 276 279 280 284 284 286 286 290 291 292 293

$1.2 million $600 000 $400 000 $300 000 $267 500 $267 500 $245 000 $245 000 $230 000 $220 000 $210 000 $200 000

67 68 69 72 76 69 68 67 74 74 72 74

66 65 67 65 68 73 71 71 72 74 73 71

67 67 69 72 67 70 71 72 70 68 75 75

72 73 72 72 71 71 73 76 72 74 71 78

272 273 277 281 282 283 283 286 288 290 291 298

$1.2 million $600 000 $400 000 $300 000 $275 000 $255 000 $255 000 $240 000 $230 000 $220 000 $210 000 $200 000

2007 68 73 72 69 71 67 70 66 72 70 71 71

64 67 70 69 68 68 70 72 70 72 67 73

71 68 70 71 71 73 73 72 68 72 73 72

68 71 68 71 73 75 72 75 76 72 76 74

271 279 280 280 283 283 285 285 286 286 287 290

$1 250 000 $660 000 $400 000 $400 000 $320 000 $320 000 $295 000 $295 000 $275 000 $275 000 $260 000 $250 000

2009 R Allenby 68 70 H Stenson 70 68 Allenby won after a play-off T Clark 69 72 R Fisher 73 69 R Goosen 69 68 A Cabrera 71 67 N Watney 73 73 L Donald 72 71 R Karlsson 70 72 H Mahan 70 71 R Sterne 72 75 R McIlroy Withdrawn

T Immelman J Rose E Els H Stenson R Sabbatini G Ogilvy L Donald A Scott N Fasth C Schwartzel S Cink R Goosen

71 69

277 277

$1.2 million $600 000

68 66 67 68 63 68 71 72 70

69 70 75 75 73 72 71 73 75

278 278 279 281 282 283 284 286 292

$350 000 $350 000 $275 000 $260 000 $250 000 $240 000 $230 000 $220 000 $210 000

J Furyk H Stenson P Harrington E Els C Schwartzel R Goosen S García T Immelman C DiMarco D Howell J-M Olazábal C Montgomerie

72 69 72 73

282 282 282 282

$1.2 million $433 000 $433 000 $433 000

75 67 72 74 73 75 74 78

70 75 73 80 75 68 74 71

283 284 288 289 290 291 292 298

$250 000 $225 000 $210 000 $195 000 $185 000 $175 000 $165 000 $155 000

71 74 69 76 74 74 70 72 70 78 75 76

71 72 74 66 69 70 71 71 74 72 72 74

69 71 74 72 74 72 80 75 78 72 72 78

281 287 287 288 288 291 291 292 293 297 299 303

$1.2 million $500 000 $500 000 $275 000 $275 000 $217 500 $217 500 $195 000 $185 000 $175 000 $165 000 $155 000

S García 68 66 R Goosen 70 67 García won after a play-off V Singh 65 72 D Clarke 66 71 J Kelly 67 67 K Perry 65 68 C DiMarco 66 71 A Scott 66 74 S Appleby 67 75 F Funk 71 71 J Haas 70 72 T Clark 68 71 P Harrington 72 70 R Allenby 66 78 S Leaney 68 72 C Howell III 73 67 E Els 72 75 N Price 69 75

70 68

70 69

274 274

$1.2 million $500 000

71 74 76 73 74 74 70 71 71 73 74 69 70 75 74 75

69 67 71 75 71 68 72 72 72 73 70 74 77 72 69 73

277 278 281 281 282 282 284 285 285 285 286 287 287 287 290 292

$400 000 $300 000 $200 000 $165 000 $145 000 $135 000 $130 000 $125 000 $120 000 $115 000 $100 000 $95 000 $90 000 $85 000 $80 000 $75 000

69 65 72 70 72 70 73 72 74 71 69 69

63 67 70 71 69 70 70 71 70 75 77 78

267 275 278 281 281 283 284 285 285 285 288 289

$2 million $300 000 $250 000 $212 500 $212 500 $175 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000

2004 R Goosen E Els S Appleby J Furyk C DiMarco J Haas L Westwood T Hamilton N Price F Jacobson C Campbell S García

70 70 70 74 71 75 70 74 71 75 80 75

2003

2002

2006 68 70

72 76 71 68

68 67 69 72 70 70 72 71 74 69 71 75

66 71 71 67 69 70 76 69 75 73 73 77

68 71 65 70 71 71 68 73 66 73 69 70

74 69 75 72 72 75 71 74 73 76 79 76

276 278 280 281 282 286 287 287 288 291 292 298

$1.2 million $600 000 $400 000 $300 000 $275 000 $260 000 $245 000 $245 000 $230 000 $220 000 $210 000 $200 000

E Els C Montgomerie C DiMarco R Goosen J Furyk S García N Price B Estes R Allenby D Clarke P Harrington M Campbell

70 74 68 68 69 70 71 73 70 72 72 71

65 69 68 72 71 73 70 69 71 67 70 71

N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6 157


ROLL OF HONOUR

Sergio Garcia won the first of two Nedbank Golf Challenge titles in 2001.

2001

1998

S García 68 71 E Els 67 66 García won after a play-off B Langer 68 67 M Weir 68 67 L Westwood 69 65 P Harrington 70 72 N Price 68 71 T Bjørn 71 72 R Goosen 68 68 C Montgomerie 68 69 D Clarke 75 68 J Furyk 71 67

66 66

63 69

268 268

$2 million $300 000

67 69 70 61 70 68 74 72 74 DQ

69 68 71 73 70 70 71 73 76

271 272 275 276 279 281 281 282 293

$250 000 $225 000 $200 000 $175 000 $160 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000

1996

N Price 67 68 T Woods 72 68 Price won after a play-off J Leonard 69 68 M O’Meara 69 67 L Westwood 72 65 E Els 70 69 B Langer 69 70 J Parnevik 74 70 J Furyk 75 71 D Duval 72 73 C Montgomerie 71 74 T Watson 72 70

72 67

66 66

273 273

$1 million $250 000

68 72 66 70 74 71 72 71 70 73

69 68 73 71 67 66 64 68 69 70

274 276 276 280 280 281 282 284 284 285

$200 000 $150 000 $150 000 $105 000 $105 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

1997

2000 E Els 66 L Westwood 65 Els won after a play-off N Price 69 T Bjørn 70 J Huston 72 C Montgomerie 69 J-M Olazábal 65 S Appleby 70 M Campbell 72 C Franco 77 D Clarke 68 M-A Jiménez 75

67 69

67 68

68 66

268 268

$2 million $350 000

66 65 67 74 75 70 68 67 75 69

67 65 64 64 67 71 70 69 73 70

67 69 71 69 70 69 70 68 68 74

269 269 274 276 277 280 280 281 284 288

$237 500 $237 500 $200 000 $175 000 $160 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000 $150 000

66 69 69 70 71 72 72 76 67 74 72 76

64 68 64 70 65 68 68 68 70 73 69 71

66 65 65 66 69 67 72 70 75 68 69 74

263 268 270 274 275 277 280 281 283 284 286 286

$1 million $250 000 $200 000 $175 000 $150 000 $125 000 $110 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

N Price E Els D Love III P Mickelson B Langer J Leonard C Montgomerie T Lehman J Parnevik M O’Meara N Faldo I Woosnam

67 66 72 68 70 70 68 67 71 69 76 65

158 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

68 66

274 274

$1 million $250 000

70 71 70 73 71 72 73 73 73 69

275 275 277 277 279 282 283 283 283 284

$187 500 $187 500 $137 500 $137 500 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

1995 71 69 68 67 69 74 78 74 70 76 73 74

68 70 67 68 70 72 68 74 70 71 73 73

68 70 74 69 67 67 69 69 79 69 71 72

68 67 67 73 72 68 71 69 70 75 74 73

275 276 276 277 278 281 286 286 289 291 291 292

$1 million $225 000 $225 000 $175 000 $150 000 $125 000 $105 000 $105 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

C Pavin N Price B Langer S Torrance T Lehman D Frost E Els N Faldo C Rocca V Singh C Montgomerie P Mickelson

69 71 72 69 71 74 72 72 76 75 79 73

72 67 69 73 70 76 72 78 75 72 76 77

69 72 71 70 73 71 69 69 67 74 71 72

66 71 71 72 73 68 78 72 73 72 71 76

276 281 283 284 287 289 291 291 291 293 297 298

$1 million $250 000 $200 000 $175 000 $150 000 $125 000 $103 330 $103 330 $103 330 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

66 71 68 73 68 71 76 72 71 72 72 80

64 66 70 67 69 69 71 69 70 70 71 73

73 70 67 71 74 70 68 68 72 74 72 76

69 68 72 66 68 69 66 73 70 72 73 78

272 275 277 277 279 279 281 282 283 288 288 307

$1 million $250 000 $187 500 $187 500 $137 500 $137 500 $110 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

1994

1999 E Els C Montgomerie D Clarke L Westwood J Furyk C Franco N Price J Huston S García J-M Olazábal M-A Jiménez P Lawrie

CMontgomerie 65 71 70 E Els 67 70 71 Montgomerie won after a play-off S Jones 67 71 67 N Price 71 76 66 S Stricker 68 70 69 I Woosnam 68 69 67 B Langer 69 70 69 M O’Meara 69 71 70 T Lehman 71 71 68 N Faldo 73 68 69 M Brooks 68 70 72 C Pavin 68 71 76

A jubilant Ernie Els three-time winner of the trophy.

N Faldo N Price E Els D Frost B Langer T Lehman S Ballesteros M McNulty C Pavin H Irwin C Montgomerie V Singh


Nedbank Golf Challenge Gift Card copy.pdf

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

1

2016/09/23

3:25 PM


ROLL OF HONOUR

1993 N Price M McNulty B Langer F Allem N Faldo C Pavin E Els D Frost M O’Meara L Janzen P Stewart I Woosnam

67 71 72 72 67 71 76 71 74 76 75 76

66 70 69 70 73 70 69 70 71 73 75 78

66 68 70 72 72 71 69 73 70 75 72 80

65 67 68 66 69 73 73 74 75 71 73 75

264 276 279 280 281 285 287 288 290 295 295 309

$1 million $250 000 $200 000 $175 000 $150 000 $125 000 $110 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000 $100 000

70 73 74 70 73 72 75 74 72 69

69 68 70 69 69 73 73 75 67 72

68 70 73 77 74 73 75 76 DQ DQ

69 69 67 68 70 74 73 72

276 280 284 284 286 292 296 297

$1 million $300 000 $225 000 $225 000 $150 000 $140 000 $130 000 $120 000

68 72 66 72 71 74 73 72 67 72

65 67 71 69 71 70 68 73 74 75

67 71 71 68 74 68 78 72 79 77

72 67 74 76 71 75 74 77 78 76

272 277 282 285 287 287 293 294 298 300

$1 million $300 000 $250 000 $200 000 $145 000 $145 000 $130 000 $120 000 $110 000 $100 000

71 73 69 77 73 79 75 80 81 75

71 70 74 68 72 76 72 67 71 74

71 73 70 68 74 69 70 74 71 73

71 69 75 75 71 69 76 76 77 81

284 285 288 288 290 293 297 297 300 303

$1 million $300 000 $225 000 $225 000 $150 000 $135 000 $135 000 $120 000 $110 000 $100 000

67 67 67 73 72 81 75 76 72 72

66 72 69 71 70 74 73 75 75 77

75 71 72 76 76 71 76 70 80 75

68 69 72 71 76 69 74 78 74 77

276 279 280 291 294 295 298 299 301 301

$1 million $300 000 $250 000 $200 000 $150 000 $140 000 $130 000 $120 000 $105 000 $105 000

Nick Price has three Nedbank Golf Challenge victories.

1992 D Frost J Cook F Couples E Els B Langer J-M Olazábal I Woosnam C Parry N Price N Faldo

1991 B Langer M Calcavecchia M McNulty N Faldo F Couples J Bland I Woosnam J Daly S Elkington D Frost

1990 D Frost J-M Olazábal B Langer S Elkington F Allem R Gamez K Green S Lyle T Armour III T Simpson

1989 D Frost S Hoch T Simpson D Pooley C Beck A Bean S Lyle F Allem S Simpson K Green

160 N E D B A N K G O L F C H A L L E N G E 2 0 1 6

1984

1988 F Allem D Pooley K Green I Woosnam C Beck D Frost M McNulty B Langer

72 67 67 72 74 71 71 76

71 72 72 70 70 69 73 74

66 74 70 69 68 72 71 78

69 66 71 72 72 73 72 78

278 279 280 283 284 285 287 306

$1 million $200 000 $100 000 $90 000 $80 000 $70 000 $60 000 $50 000

67 68 70 72 68 66 70 71

71 71 70 69 73 69 68 72

68 68 68 72 70 74 73 72

68 71 72 70 72 74 74 75

274 278 280 283 283 283 285 290

$1 million

74 69 70 75 75 69 71 73 75

70 72 68 68 70 69 75 74 74

70 71 74 75 71 74 71 72 71

68 70 74 69 71 76 72 71 73

282 285 286 287 287 288 289 290 293

$300 000 $150 000 $105 000 $81 000 $81 000 $65 000 $60 000 $56 000 $52 000

69 70 70 73 69 75 72 75 76 71

70 69 71 72 69 67 74 70 74 70

68 68 71 70 71 69 70 68 70 77

71 73 69 67 74 73 69 75 69 73

278 280 281 282 283 284 285 288 289 291

$300 000 $150 000 $100 000 $87 000 $75 000 $65 000 $60 000 $56 000 $52 000 $50 000

1987 I Woosnam N Faldo D Frost C Strange J-M Olazábal F Allem B Langer L Wadkins

1986 M McNulty L Wadkins B Langer TC Chen I Woosnam H Clark D Frost D Graham G Player

1985 B Langer L Wadkins M O’Meara S Ballesteros L Trevino TC Chen D Graham D Watson H Green S Lyle

69 70 74 74 76 70 73 76 74 73

71 72 72 74 69 75 74 76 70 75

65 71 71 75 69 76 72 71 78 73

74 72 69 68 78 72 75 74 75 76

279 285 286 291 292 293 294 297 297 297

$300 000 $150 000 $105 000 $85 000 $75 000 $67 000 $60 000 $52 700 $52 700 $52 700

69 75 70 67 74 71 72 74 77 69

67 72 67 71 70 70 68 69 68 71

70 67 73 71 69 69 72 71 71 73

68 65 69 70 68 71 70 70 69 72

274 279 279 279 281 281 282 284 285 285

$300 000 $127 500 $127 500 $85 500 $71 500 $71 000 $60 000 $56 000 $52 000 $50 000

R Floyd 72 69 C Stadler 72 67 Floyd won after a play-off L Trevino 71 73 L Wadkins 70 70 J Miller 72 68 S Ballesteros 67 71 J Pate 67 73 J Nicklaus 70 71 G Norman 71 72 G Player 71 75

68 70

71 71

280 280

$300 000 $150 000

70 68 71 73 66 72 78 72

67 74 72 75 80 74 70 76

281 282 283 286 286 287 291 294

$105 000 $85 000 $75 000 $63 500 $63 500 $56 000 $52 000 $50 000

66 69

71 71

277 277

$500 000 $160 000

69 74 72

69 71 73

278 289 292

$130 000 $110 000 $100 000

S Ballesteros N Faldo L Trevino R Floyd I Aoki T Kite B Crenshaw G Player G Norman D Watson

1983 S Ballesteros F Zoeller N Faldo D Graham J Miller R Floyd L Trevino C Stadler N Price L Nelson

1982

1981 J Miller 72 68 S Ballesteros 69 68 Miller won after a play-off J Nicklaus 70 70 L Trevino 70 74 G Player 70 77


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2016/10/07 3:59 PM

Nedbank Golf Challenge Programme 2016  

The Nedbank Golf Challenge programme is the official publication of the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) held at the Gary Player Country...

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