SA golfers hungry for home gloryon December 3, 2014
The last time a South African golfer won the Nedbank Golf Challenge was in 2007 when Trevor Immelman was victorious. And the seven South Africans in this year’s field are determined to change this when the first round tees off on Thursday.
“It’s a goal for all of us to win this event,” said Tim Clark, who is making his fifth appearance in this tournament. Clark has been on an upward curve in form at Sun City, culminating in his second-place finish in 2010.
“It would be a great way to finish off the year. This tournament has a great history and a lot of great champions, so for a South African it would be an honour to lift that trophy.”
Louis Oosthuizen is equally focused on making sure the famous crystal glass trophy stays in South Africa this time. And the 2010 Open champion has drawn further inspiration from South Africa’s greatest golfer, Gary Player.
“I’ve spent some time talking to Mr Player this week. It’s great to learn from him. He’s won something like 163 tournaments, and that’s just incredible. It’s great to still be able to speak to him. This week is very special for any South African golfer, and I’d love to win it while he’s here with us.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Charl Schwartzel. “This tournament really has a special meaning for South Africans. My desire to win it definitely hasn’t changed.”
But Clark has the experience to know that with 30 of the world’s best players competing on a demanding Gary Player Country Club golf course, it’s going to take something special to break away from the pack.
“There’s a good field here and any one of these players can get hot and be tough to catch.”
Defending champion Thomas Bjørn agrees.
“You know you’re here because you’ve had a really good year. But there are 29 other players here that have all done something very good this season, so you can’t single out anybody as a favourite. That always makes for a good tournament. So you try not to play yourself out of the tournament in the first two rounds, and then see what the weekend brings.”