Golf, to some amateurs, with no intention to turn professional, is a necessary evil.
The memories of an uncle, who was a committed golfer, are still fresh. After a bad day on the course, he would sulk and vow not be part of the field the next Saturday.
But the next Saturday, early morning, he would be the only one with a bright face and a trademark smile. He couldn’t hide it until he disappeared, heading for the golf course, again.
“The good memories, the challenges that force me to think and just the feel of the course, forces me back here. It is indeed an emotional game,” he explained much later.
When sports writer Jim Murray said “golf is not a game, it’s bondage, devised by a man torn with guilt, eager to atone for his sins”, he may also not have been far-fetched.
Most of the golf players will not agree, but in the diverse views, they could just all agree that you can’t just give up the game!
Chapman golf club captain Sithembelenkosini Sibanda this year pointed out that finishing all the holes for starters was high priority.
“My opinion of a good tournament is one that you play from start to finish regardless of the score, so I can say I have only played good tournaments,” he told Business Weekly.
And perhaps Zimbabwean top golfer Marc Cayeux is the bigger picture. His is a story beyond just a frustrating round or tournament, but a whole career.
This was a player who could have been extremely successful on the course had it not been for near death experience in 2010 in a road accident. At one point, after several surgeries, doctors had concluded he would never play again. He had every reason to give up but that was never the option for him. He played on.
It will be interesting to see how Cayeux will perform at Vodacom Origins of Golf final tournament that started on November 2 to 4. The final tournament on the 2017 series is at the Simola Golf and Country Estate. Zimbabweans Cayeux, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Ryan Cairns, Greg Bentley and Mohammad Rauf Mandhu had all entered.
Golfchannel gave a glowing tribute of Cayeux last year.
“Cayeux turned pro in 1996. Won his first tournament two years later. Collected nine Sunshine Tour titles, a trio of wins on the European Challenge Tour and assumed the unofficial title of Zimbabwe’s best player since the heady days of Nick Price, Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty,” Golfchannel wrote.
“In 2005, Cayeux qualified for the WGC-NEC Invitational, and he played the first two rounds at Firestone with Tiger Woods. Fittingly for Cayeux, then 27, the biggest tournament of his career wasn’t without incident.
“Before departing for the US, he grabbed a hot barbecue skewer that left a quarter-sized burn on his left palm. Cayeux could barely swing a club when he arrived for practice rounds, so he stopped by a local sporting goods store to be fitted for a baseball batting glove that he wore on his grip hand. Grimacing with every swing, he still shot 71 in the first round.”
And he impressed former world number one Woods.
“Incredible. Absolutely fantastic. The fact that he even went out there and played and grinded it out like he did was absolutely fantastic. It was fun to watch.” said Woods, who had also admitted he didn’t know the Zimbabwean before that week.
According to golf expert, Ryan Lavner, Cayeux had arrived.
“Over the next few years, he would test his skills against Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Ernie Els,” Lavner. “A world-beater, he was not, but Cayeux briefly climbed inside the top 200 in the world rankings, and he was known amongst his peers as a quiet, dedicated player with a powerful and natural swing.”
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