Moore, Kaymer relishing NGC experienceon December 7, 2013
Day two of the Nedbank Golf Challenge was overshadowed by the passing of former president Nelson Mandela, and, for a change, the golf at the Gary Player Country Club became secondary as tributes poured in from all parts of the world.
But, to borrow the line from the late Freddie Mercury, the show must go on, and one man put on a ball-striking exhibition yesterday that resembled a professional throwing darts at the bulls-eye. His name is Ryan Moore, and he pulled himself from out of the peloton with a sparkling 65 in the second round. And the truth is, it easily could have been better, as some make-able birdie putts slipped by the cup.
“It was a really nice round of golf. I told my caddy driving up in the cart it is not too often that you have to be disappointed when you see 65,” the American reflected afterwards. “I just hit the ball great today; some really nice iron shots, and every time I had a six iron I seemed to be hitting them at the pin and had a really good birdie chance.”
“I was finally able to convert putts. I have been hitting the ball really well lately in my last couple of tournaments, and just have not been making putts. I just got it rolling at the end of the first round and made a couple of nice birdies on 16 and 17. So I got some confidence out of it and just rolled right into the afternoon round.”
Moore trails leader Jamie Donaldson by three going into moving day, and is looking to become the first American to taste success here since Jim Furyk in 2006. The $1.25 million pay cheque would no doubt be a decent birthday present for a man who turned 31 on Thursday, but what has been so striking about Moore has been the visible levels of enjoyment etched on his face over the last couple of days.
“It has been a great week, and I have really enjoyed it. I told everybody as soon as I got the nod that I was actually in the tournament. It was a no-brainer, no hesitation – I was coming. I’ve heard such positive things from everybody who has ever been here,” he said.
Moore continued: “The only unfortunate thing is that my wife was not able to come with me, because we have a one-year old little boy, so flying for 24 hours was not going to happen with him and with our grandpa and grandma for a full week. I guess I will have to get myself back in, so maybe she can come back another year.”
It once again underlines the allure of the tournament, and why the world’s best players – many of whom live in excess of a 12-hour flight away – flock to the Pilanesburg whenever an invitation comes their way. Former world number one Martin Kaymer, who lies a further stroke adrift of Moore at seven-under par, also didn’t need to think twice about returning to defend his title.
“It was nice that Bernhard (Langer) and I could win together,” he said of his 2012 triumph. “He won on Saturday and it was nice for both of us to bring the trophy home to Germany.”
The former PGA champion continued: “Coming here is not just a tournament that we play, it’s really a great experience. We play pretty much the same tournaments 20 times a year, and then you come here. Nedbank and Sun International invited me to a safari last weekend and they really take care of us. It’s an experience I don’t get a chance to go through anywhere else in the world.”
As it turned out though, the safari was a bit more action packed than the German may have been expecting.
“It was brutal!” Kaymer recalled wide-eyed. “Everybody thinks they want to see a lion kill an animal and I actually saw it. The noises of the animal and the brutality! We are human beings and we are raised not to kill and not to hurt anyone, and then you see that, which is the complete opposite. I was a vegetarian that night!”
“Those things are crazy and completely different, but they are also interesting to see,” he added.