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Champagne weekend for SA golf sees 10 players inside top 100

May 10th 2021 at 04:25

Garrick Higgo stole the headlines with his third European Tour title at the weekend, and he marched to within one of the world’s top 50 as he climbed to 51st in the latest Official World Golf Ranking list.

Finishing in a share of fourth behind Higgo after a victory of his own last week, Dean Burmester climbed to 93rd on the rankings, up from 107th last week, taking the number of South Africans inside the top 100 to 10.

There are 17 players from this country inside the top 200, and 26 inside the top 300, an incredible feat for such a small nation – small relative to the golfing giants of the world.

Higgo climbed 15 places from last week’s 66th to justifiably attract international attention as possibly the hottest golfer on the planet right now. “It’s unreal,” said Higgo of his meteoric rise. “I can’t believe it has happened so quickly again, but my game has been good so I can believe it as well.

“I have been working really hard on a lot of little things and I have also accepted what works for me and kind of stuck with that. I think that has been a big thing. If I don’t play as well, I don’t look for something.”

ALSO READ: Higgo does it again as he bags Canary Islands title

On that remarkable run of results for South Africans, he added: “I think we all want to win and all very hungry for a win.”

The other win for a South African came from Wilco Nienaber in the Sunshine Tour’s and Challenge Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am in George. It was a long-anticipated title for the big hitting Nienaber, and the appearance it gives him in August’s World Golf Championship-FedEx St Jude Classic will surely turn the heads of fans in the world’s biggest golf market, the United States.

Nienaber’s climb to 131st on the world rankings means he is the 12th best South African player according to that list, with Justin Harding in 126th marginally ahead of him as one of the two players who are next in line to break into the top 100.

Lower down, it was a good week for Charl Schwartzel as he climbed 20 places to 157th after a good showing in the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour. He finished 14th.

The biggest South African climber of the week inside the world’s top 300 was Oliver Bekker, who shot up 38 places to 285th, courtesy of his share of third in the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

South Africa’s top 10

  1. Louis Oosthuizen 32 (up 1)
  2. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 40 (unchanged)
  3. Garrick Higgo 51 (up 15)
  4. Erik van Rooyen 75 (down 3)
  5. Daniel van Tonder 77 (down 2)
  6. Dylan Frittelli 79 (down 2)
  7. Brandon Stone 85 (down 1)
  8. Branden Grace 91 (unchanged)
  9. Dean Burmester 93 (up 14)
  10. George Coetzee 98 (down 1)

Courtesy satourgolf.co.za

Aces high! | Garrick Higgo has hole-in-one on his way Canary Islands win

May 10th 2021 at 04:00

Garrick Higgo aced the seventh hole on Sunday on his way to his second European Tour title in three weeks as he romped to a six-stroke victory in the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour.

READ | RORY MCILROY SNAPS WIN DROUGHT WITH VICTORY AT WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP

He holed his tee shot on the 158-metre par-3 seventh to simply underline his superiority on the day, as he shrugged off two bogeys on his way to a seven-under-par 64 to finish well clear of Australian Maverick Antcliffe, whose 21-under-par was adrift of the top of the leaderboard by some distance.

🚨 HOLE IN ONE 🚨@garrick_higgo just made the first hole in one of his professional career!

He now leads the #CanaryIslandsChampionship by six shots. pic.twitter.com/ixkiXkSy0T

— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 9, 2021

“It’s amazing, and I’m happy to be done now,” said Garrick Higgo after he received a thorough drenching at the hands of his fellow South Africans once the final putt had dropped.

“I’m very tired, but just really happy and thankful.

“It’s awesome having support of the South Africans out here. They’ve all taken me under their wing and I learn a lot from them.”

READ | WHOOPS! BRYSON DECHAMBEAU FLIES 1 600KM HOME – THEN REALISES HE MADE THE CUT!

He became the youngest South African to three titles on the European Tour in just his 26th tournament on that circuit. The win will take him within touching distance of the top 50 in the world’s top 50 on the official rankings, and he will join a growing band of South Africans in the year’s second major championship, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina on May 20.

Higgo started the day two shots clear at 20-under, and quickly made his intentions clear with a birdie on the first. While he bogeyed the second, he regained that shot with a birdie on three, and then he was on his way, putting daylight between himself and any challengers. There were five more birdies, the ace, and a second bogey, but, in truth, the rest of the field was fighting for second.

Despite that, he said he felt some pressure.

READ | YURAV PREMLALL GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE TO NEDBANK JUNIOR CHALLENGE

“I did feel pressure, from the start,” Garrick Higgo said.

“It’s not easy to lead. When I won two weeks ago, it was my first time. In this game, anything can happen.”

Behind him Dean Burmester, who won last week carded a closing 65 to finish in a share of fourth. Louis de Jager signed for a four-under 67 to finish 17-under for the week in 12th, while Zander Lombard’s 68 saw him to 20th on 16-under. Justin Harding ground his way to one-under 70 and a share of 38th, with Justin Walters finishing on nine-under for a share of 51st.

For Garrick Higgo, it’s probably time to sit down and catch his breath as he rockets to fifth on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings, ahead of greats of the game like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

He has shown he belongs there, even two days shy as he is of his 22nd birthday.

"I'm really tired but I'm just really happy, and thankful"

A word from our champion @garrick_higgo after his third victory on the European Tour 🎤#CanaryIslandsChampionship pic.twitter.com/zeweN9aBF7

— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 9, 2021

Leading final-round scores from the European Tour’s Canary Islands Championship at Golf Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain, on Sunday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 71):

257 – Garrick Higgo (RSA) 66-63-64-64

263 – Maverick Antcliff (AUS) 70-64-64-65

264 – Tapio Pulkkanen (FIN) 66-71-61-66

265 – Nicolai Hoejgaard (DEN) 67-67-65-66, Niall Kearney 68-64-72-61, Dean Burmester (RSA) 68-63-69-65, Andrew Johnston 68-63-67-67, Adri Arnaus (ESP) 64-64-72-65

266 – Sebastian Heisele (GER) 68-69-66-63, Kalle Samooja (FIN) 65-68-68-65, Alejandro Del Rey (ESP) 69-66-65-66

C̵a̵n̵a̵r̵y̵ ̵I̵s̵l̵a̵n̵d̵s̵ ̵S̵w̵i̵n̵g̵

South African Swing? 🇿🇦🏆🏆🏆#CanaryIslandsChampionship pic.twitter.com/u33VG2tQzy

— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 9, 2021

SA’s Garrick Higgo stays red-hot, wins on Canary Islands

May 10th 2021 at 03:51

Garrick Higgo aced the seventh hole on Sunday on his way to his second European Tour title in three weeks as he romped to a six-stroke victory in the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour.

READ | RORY MCILROY SNAPS WIN DROUGHT WITH VICTORY AT WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP

He holed his tee shot on the 158-metre par-3 seventh to simply underline his superiority on the day, as he shrugged off two bogeys on his way to a seven-under-par 64 to finish well clear of Australian Maverick Antcliffe, whose 21-under-par was adrift of the top of the leaderboard by some distance.

“It’s amazing, and I’m happy to be done now,” said Garrick Higgo after he received a thorough drenching at the hands of his fellow South Africans once the final putt had dropped.

“I’m very tired, but just really happy and thankful.

“It’s awesome having support of the South Africans out here. They’ve all taken me under their wing and I learn a lot from them.”

READ | WHOOPS! BRYSON DECHAMBEAU FLIES 1 600KM HOME – THEN REALISES HE MADE THE CUT!

He became the youngest South African to three titles on the European Tour in just his 26th tournament on that circuit. The win will take him within touching distance of the top 50 in the world’s top 50 on the official rankings, and he will join a growing band of South Africans in the year’s second major championship, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina on May 20.

Higgo started the day two shots clear at 20-under, and quickly made his intentions clear with a birdie on the first. While he bogeyed the second, he regained that shot with a birdie on three, and then he was on his way, putting daylight between himself and any challengers. There were five more birdies, the ace, and a second bogey, but, in truth, the rest of the field was fighting for second.

Despite that, he said he felt some pressure.

READ | YURAV PREMLALL GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE TO NEDBANK JUNIOR CHALLENGE

“I did feel pressure, from the start,” Garrick Higgo said.

“It’s not easy to lead. When I won two weeks ago, it was my first time. In this game, anything can happen.”

Behind him Dean Burmester, who won last week carded a closing 65 to finish in a share of fourth. Louis de Jager signed for a four-under 67 to finish 17-under for the week in 12th, while Zander Lombard’s 68 saw him to 20th on 16-under. Justin Harding ground his way to one-under 70 and a share of 38th, with Justin Walters finishing on nine-under for a share of 51st.

For Garrick Higgo, it’s probably time to sit down and catch his breath as he rockets to fifth on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings, ahead of greats of the game like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

He has shown he belongs there, even two days shy as he is of his 22nd birthday.

Leading final-round scores from the European Tour’s Canary Islands Championship at Golf Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain, on Sunday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 71):

257 – Garrick Higgo (RSA) 66-63-64-64

263 – Maverick Antcliff (AUS) 70-64-64-65

264 – Tapio Pulkkanen (FIN) 66-71-61-66

265 – Nicolai Hoejgaard (DEN) 67-67-65-66, Niall Kearney 68-64-72-61, Dean Burmester (RSA) 68-63-69-65, Andrew Johnston 68-63-67-67, Adri Arnaus (ESP) 64-64-72-65

266 – Sebastian Heisele (GER) 68-69-66-63, Kalle Samooja (FIN) 65-68-68-65, Alejandro Del Rey (ESP) 69-66-65-66

Higgo does it again as he bags Canary Islands title

May 9th 2021 at 12:37

Garrick Higgo aced the seventh hole on Sunday on his way to his second European Tour title in three weeks as he romped to a six-stroke victory in the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour.

He holed his tee shot on the 158-metre par-three seventh to simply underline his superiority on the day, as he shrugged off two bogeys on his way to a seven-under-par 64 to finish well clear of Australian Maverick Antcliffe, whose 21-under-par was adrift of the top of the leaderboard by some distance.

“It’s amazing, and I’m happy to be done now,” said Higgo after he received a thorough drenching at the hands of his fellow South Africans once the final putt had dropped. “I’m very tired, but just really happy and thankful.

“It’s awesome having support of the South Africans out here. They’ve all taken me under their wing and I learn a lot from them.”

ALSO READ: Nienaber bags Di Data Pro-Am title despite poor driving

Higgo became the youngest South African to three titles on the European Tour in just his 26th tournament on that circuit. The win will take him within touching distance of the world’s top 50 on the official rankings, and he will join a growing band of South Africans in the year’s second major championship, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina on May 20.

Higgo started the day two shots clear at 20-under, and quickly made his intentions clear with a birdie on the first. While he bogeyed the second, he regained that shot with a birdie on three, and then he was on his way, putting daylight between himself and any challengers. There were five more birdies, the ace, and a second bogey, but, in truth, the rest of the field was fighting for second.

Despite that, he said he felt some pressure. “I did feel pressure, from the start,” he said. “It’s not easy to lead. When I won two weeks ago, it was my first time. In this game, anything can happen.”

Behind him Dean Burmester, who won last week carded a closing 65 to finish in a share of fourth. Louis de Jager signed for a four-under 67 to finish 17-under for the week in 12th, while Zander Lombard’s 68 saw him to 20th on 16-under. Justin Harding ground his way to one-under 70 and a share of 38th, with Justin Walters finishing on nine-under for a share of 51st.

For Higgo, it’s probably time to sit down and catch his breath as he rockets to fifth on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings, ahead of greats of the game like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

He has shown he belongs there, even two days shy as he is of his 22nd birthday.

Courtesy satourgolf.co.za

Garrick Higgo finishes strong to grab lead in Tenerife

May 8th 2021 at 14:31

Garrick Higgo carded four closing birdies in a 64 to continue his remarkable run of form and take a two shot lead into the final round of the 2021 Canary Islands Championship.

READ | YURAV PREMLALL GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE TO NEDBANK JUNIOR CHALLENGE

According to the official European Tour website, the South African arrived for the Canary Islands swing off the back of a top five in Austria and won the opening event at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.

A top 10 at the Tenerife Open followed and on day three of the second week at Golf Costa Adeje he moved to 20-under, taking his total score in 11 rounds on the Canaries to an incredible 61 under par.

READ | DEAN BURMESTER TURNS ON THE MAGIC TO WIN TENERIFE OPEN

England’s Richard Mansell was his closest challenger after a 64 of his own, one ahead of Scot Calum Hill who signed for a 66.

Garrick Higgo’s second win 13 days ago at Meloneras Golf came in just his 24th event after his first had arrived in his seventh at the 2020 Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos.

The 21-year-old only turned professional in 2019 but soon had two Sunshine Tour wins on his CV and could now pass that total on the European Tour as he continues his meteoric rise.

READ | JC RITCHIE WINS CAPE TOWN OPEN IN A PLAYOFF

“I haven’t been playing well up until Austria, really,” Garrick Higgo said.

“But I’ve been working hard so when it’s going your way you just need to enjoy it.

“I was just trying to stay patient because I’m hitting good putts and I’m hitting the ball a lot better than I have the last couple of weeks. I’ve been giving myself a lot more chances so it’s hard to stay patient when you’ve got a lot of putts.”

A wizard with a wedge 🧙@garrick_higgo finishes round three with a birdie. #CanaryIslandsChampionship pic.twitter.com/WZW5lk75n2

— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 8, 2021

Super League breakaway ‘bad boys’ slapped with hefty fine

May 7th 2021 at 14:59
By: AFP

UEFA on Friday announced sanctions, including financial punishments, against nine of the 12 clubs behind the aborted Super League project, after the clubs “apologised” and acknowledged “a mistake”.

READ | NEDBANK CUP FINAL: CHIPPA UNITED AND TTM BATTLE FOR MILLIONS

The governing body of European football said that “in a spirit of reconciliation” the nine clubs had agreed to a “Club Commitment Declaration” and accepted a five percent cut in their European revenue for one season. 

However, three clubs, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, did not sign the declaration. 

UEFA said it reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called ‘Super League’. 

READ | AL AHLY V MAMELODI SUNDOWNS: DATES CONFIRMED FOR CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CLASH

“The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies,” the statement concluded.

The nine clubs that opted out of the project – Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan – have agreed to a series of “reintegration measures”

“These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called ‘Super League’ and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently.”

READ | BENNI MCCARTHY WISHES HUGO BROOS AND BAFANA BAFANA WELL

The nine have agreed to forego five percent of their revenue from UEFA competitions for one season and pay, between them, a €15 million donation to support grassroots and youth football in Europe.

They also committed to participating in UEFA competitions for which they qualify and agreed to pay fines of €100 million if they ever seek to play in an “unauthorised” competition. 

“It takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that,” said Ceferin.

“In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.”

EXCLUSIVE | TOP KAIZER CHIEFS DEFENDER FACES BLEAK FUTURE

UEFA has approved reintegration measures for nine clubs involved in the so-called ‘Super League’.

The matter of the other clubs involved in the so-called "Super League" will be referred to UEFA disciplinary bodies.

Full story: ⬇

— UEFA (@UEFA) May 7, 2021

EU seals deal for extra 1.8 billion BioNTech/Pfizer doses

May 8th 2021 at 10:19

The EU has concluded a deal with BioNTech/Pfizer for up to 1.8 billion extra doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday.

“Happy to announce that the EU Commission has just approved a contract for guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options) with BioNTech/Pfizer for 2021-2023,” she tweeted from an EU summit in Portugal.

“Other contracts and other vaccine technologies will follow,” she promised.

The contract, on top of the 600 million BioNTech/Pfizer doses the commission has already secured, aims to supply the bloc – population 450 million – with enough jabs for booster shots, the EU said.

 

 

 

They could also expand vaccination to minors and for exports to lower-income countries outside the EU, it added.

Von der Leyen has said that the mRNA technology used by BioNTech/Pfizer and other vaccine-makers has proven safe and effective.

BioNTech of Germany and Pfizer of the United States have stepped up supply Europe with their jointly produced doses, and their vaccine is currently the main one being used in the EU.

EU rollout accelerating

Others in the EU vaccine portfolio include those from AstraZeneca — which delivered far below the quantities it had promised, and whose jab has been tarnished by a link to very rare blood clots — as well as from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

After a slow start, the EU’s vaccination rollout has greatly picked up speed, with more than a quarter of its population having received at least one jab.

The 27-nation bloc is on track to have 70 percent of adults fully vaccinated by late July, and is already cautiously reopening ahead of its vital summer vacation period.

Von der Leyen has stood by the EU strategy of her Commission being responsible for negotiating vaccine contracts for all member countries, despite early criticism that rollout was too slow.

 

 

 

Europe is now debating with the United States over whether lifting patents on Covid vaccines could boost supplies to poorer countries.

The EU has so far sent more than 200 million doses to non-EU countries, while the United States has dispatched just 2.7 million to Mexico in what it describes as a “loan”.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, tweeted that “Europe’s role in the world is more critical today than ever as we fight Covid-19,” adding that it “shows when we collaborate on common causes we are stronger together”.

The European Union is major contributor to Covax, a WHO-backed facility designed to get doses to mainly lower-income countries.

Rory McIlroy calls breakaway golf circuit proposal a ‘money grab’

May 5th 2021 at 13:21

Rory McIlroy has re-iterated his opposition to proposals for a breakaway golf circuit, labelling it a transparent “money grab” similar to football’s European Super League, which swiftly collapsed following a wide-ranging backlash.

READ | DEAN BURMESTER TURNS ON THE MAGIC TO WIN TENERIFE OPEN

World No 1 Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Rose are among the players to have been offered lucrative contracts by Saudi Arabian investors to join the new league, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The European Tour told the PA news agency it opposed the plans “in the strongest possible terms”, while a representative for Rose declined to comment.

Under the PGL’s proposals outlined in January last year, 48 players would compete in an 18-event season offering a total prize fund of £183 million, but Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka – at the time the top three ranked players in the world – all ruled themselves out.

READ | JC RITCHIE WINS CAPE TOWN OPEN IN A PLAYOFF

Speaking ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, Rory McIlroy said he had first been contacted about the idea in 2014 and that nothing had come to fruition, also noting that the latest story emerged on the day of the PGA Tour’s annual player meeting.

“You go back to what happened last week with the European Super League in football and people can see it for what it is, which is a money grab,” McIlroy said.

“Which is fine if that’s what you are playing golf for, to make as much money as possible, then go and do that if that makes you happy.

“But I think the top players in the game – I’m playing this game to try to cement my place in history and my legacy and to win major championships.

“Golf has been very good to me over the years and I honestly don’t think there is a better structure in place in golf and I don’t think there will be.

“You have the strategic partnership as well between Europe and the PGA Tour and that’s only going to strengthen the structure of golf going forward as well in terms of scheduling and all sorts of other stuff and working together a little bit more.

“I’m very much against it (the breakaway) and I don’t see why anyone would be for it.”

SEE | TIGER WOODS ON CRUTCHES, SMILING – WITH HIS DOG – IN NEW PHOTO

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan addressed the player meeting at Quail Hollow on Tuesday and said any player signing up to the new league would face suspension and possible expulsion from the Tour.

That could have consequences for eligibility for major championships and the Ryder Cup, but Rory McIlroy agrees with Monahan’s stance.

“You have to protect your product, right? You have to protect what you have,” the four-time major winner added.

“And Jay took us through it last night. It’s in the by-laws that were written by the members. If I were in charge of the PGA Tour, I would do the same thing.

“You saw what happened with the European Super League. The top 12 clubs got together and said, ‘Let’s keep more of the money for ourselves,’ and people didn’t like that.

“It affects competition, it affects the integrity of competition. I just can’t see how it works.”

READ | GARY PLAYER’S SON BANNED FROM THE MASTERS AFTER GOLF BALL MARKETING STUNT

McIlroy has also previously said he “didn’t really like where the money was coming from” and Amnesty International has again urged players to consider their role in Saudi Arabia’s attempts at “sportswashing”.

Felix Jakens, head of priority campaigns and individuals at risk at Amnesty International UK, said: “The authorities in Riyadh clearly hope that a glitzy Saudi-backed golf tournament will help shift attention away from their jailing of peaceful activists like Loujain al-Hathloul, the grisly state-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in neighbouring Yemen.

“Any golfer tempted by a lucrative Saudi-backed tournament ought to be ready to speak out about human rights in Saudi Arabia as a means of counteracting its intended sportswashing effect.”

Golf’s South African love story: Daniel and Abi van Tonder

May 4th 2021 at 11:54

It is one of the great love stories in golf. The husband and wife team of Daniel and Abi van Tonder continues to flourish on the fairways with victory after victory, the latest of which in the Kenya Savannah Classic in March earned them a European Tour card.

In the last nine months Team Van Tonder has won five times. Van Tonder heads into this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt as a man very much on the rise in the world rankings. His performances on the Sunshine Tour also saw him experience a World Golf Championship event this year, and he will make his Major debut in the upcoming PGA Championship.

At every opportunity he gets, Van Tonder credits his wife and caddie Abi for the calming influence she is on his bag. Her impact on his life has been far greater though. A quiet and almost shy woman from a humble upbringing in the small town of Potgietersrus, she has been the rock that helped him get through the most difficult years in his life.

ALSO READ: Van Tonder seals status with Kenya Savannah Classic win

Van Tonder suffered immense and sustained emotional trauma as a child and teenager. It carried over into his early professional career and it could quite easily have broken him. “It was a very difficult time for him. The whole of 2015, 2016 and 2017 was especially bad,” says Abi. There is no need to retell here exactly what happened, because this is a love story. And Abi came along at exactly the right time in his life.

She was quite literally a lifeline for Van Tonder when, on that tournament day in December 2013, he walked up to her coffee station on the driving range at Mount Edgecombe during the Nelson Mandela Championship.

“He came over and bought a coffee from me, and started a conversation,” says Abi.

But much like a challenging golf course, Van Tonder was going to need to use every club in his bag to win the heart of the lady at the coffee station.

“We’re both Afrikaans speaking, but I spoke English to him because to be honest I wasn’t really interested,” she says with a laugh.

“He came to buy a coffee quite early and I wasn’t actually open yet. I told him he needed to wait for his change.”

And that’s when Van Tonder delivered the “shot” of his lifetime that would’ve made even Cupid blush.

“He told me he’d wait for a pretty face anytime,” says Abi. “We just kept in contact from there. Then we started dating in 2014, and the following year we were engaged.”

ALSO READ: No stopping Van Tonder as he claims fourth title in last six starts

As simple as Van Tonder likes to keep things on the golf course, he certainly makes up for it as a romantic. His proposal to Abi was definitely one for the books.

“He proposed to me when he played in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2015. But then he said it’s half a proposal because he wants to do it properly. After the tournament he took me in a helicopter ride to the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu-Natal, and we had a picnic on the mountain there. He proposed to me there. It was quite special.

“Caddying wasn’t actually in the picture. I wanted to be a game ranger. But it went that way, and now here we are.”

Abi has had a front-row seat to Van Tonder’s transformation as a golfer over the past few years to the point where he now has a European Tour card, is playing in Majors, and is working hard to break into the top 50 on the world rankings from his current position of 75th.

“He’s matured a lot on the golf course. He used to be too aggressive on the course and he would get angry with himself.

“I joke with him now that he’s getting older so can’t get so angry anymore. So now if he gets angry, he’s over it by the next tee box. I like to joke with him a lot during a round. For example, in Kenya (during the final round of the European Tour’s Kenya Savannah Classic) he made back-to-back bogeys on the second nine. When he made the second bogey I turned to him and called him an egg. I was just like, ‘You’re such an egg’.

“He just gave me this comical look, and when the camera was pointing at him he just smiled. It’s little things like that which just break the seriousness a bit. I know him when he gets too serious. It’s not good for him, when he’s too zoned in. He almost loses focus then.”

And now it’s time to take this love story on the road, as the two of them embark on their European Tour adventure. Albeit with the restrictions of love in the time of Covid.

“It’s going to be fun travelling on the European Tour, but the sad part is that with Covid we can’t do any sightseeing,” says Abi.

Either way, you still know that the happiest player-caddie couple in golf are going to have a fun time together.

SA rising star Garrick Higgo cruises to second Euro Tour win

April 25th 2021 at 12:48

 

South Africa’s Garrick Higgo continued his brilliant start to life as a European Tour professional by sealing his second victory on the circuit at the Gran Canaria Open on Sunday.

The 21-year-old, who won last year’s Portugal Open on just his seventh European Tour start, eased to a three-shot triumph in the Canary Islands.

Higgo, the world number 110, started the final round with a two-shot lead and managed to stay out in front and finish on 25-under-par for the tournament.

He could rise to as high as 65th in the rankings on Monday.

ALSO READ: Stone ‘a proud boy’ after winning Limpopo Championship

In-form German Maximilian Kieffer, who lost in a play-off in Austria on his last outing, put some pressure on with an eight-under 62, but had to settle for second again.

Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, part of Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup-winning team, finished tied-fifth on 18-under in his first start of the year after struggles with injury and Covid-19.

Olesen is still waiting to stand trial on charges including sexual assault after being arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport in July 2019 after returning from an event in the United States.

He was suspended by the tour after being charged with sexual assault, being drunk on an aircraft and common assault, but was cleared to return less than a year later after his trial was delayed until at least December 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 31-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all three charges

Olesen led at the halfway stage, but fell back over the weekend with rounds of 70 and 66.

Europe has finally turned a corner on Covid-19 vaccinations

April 24th 2021 at 18:42
Raising hopes the continent can bring the pandemic under control and reopen economies faster than expected.

Governments around the world condemn Myanmar’s military coup

February 1st 2021 at 04:34
By: Eyaaz

The United States led governments around the world in calling for the restoration of Myanmar's democracy on Monday after the military staged a coup, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians

The post Governments around the world condemn Myanmar’s military coup appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

EU: Africa Hackathon looking for participants and partners to jumpstart cross-continent innovation

October 21st 2020 at 10:04

The EU: Africa online hackathon is seeking innovative solutions to socio-economic problems in Africa that have been amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. Estonia and the African Union, in cooperation with Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland, with the implementing partners Garage48 and Smart Africa are organising an online cross-continental hackathon “EU-Africa The Post Crisis Journey” from the 10th to the 13th of December 2020. Registration of mentors and participants ongoing at http://www.euafricathejourney.com

What is the EU-Africa Online Hackathon Program about?

It is an African-European online hackathon program aimed at finding innovative solutions to socio-economic problems that have been further escalated by the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to engage in 10,000 passionate tech-savvy and socially conscious problem solvers, 300 mentors, and 500 community organizations across Africa and Europe. Winning teams will get their hands on a 100,000 Euros prize fund , develop their prototypes further in the follow-up program of the hackathon, and implement their world-changing ideas in real life.

How does it benefit Africans Post Covid-19?

The post-Covid-19 era offers Africa an important opportunity to revitalize its economy under a green and smart framework that supports sustainable technologies. More importantly, it provides a platform for young Africans to put their creativity, innovation, and ingenuity to work in creating solutions that will help Africa recover better and faster.

Where are the targeted impact areas on the African continent?

  • Education
  • Food Security
  • Health and Wellness
  • Governance
  • Economy and entrepreneurship
  • Smart Cities in Africa
  • Cyber Security and Data Protection
  • Big Data
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Job Security    

When is it commencing, Criteria for eligibility and how to join the program? 

The Call for Applications is open and two online matchmaking sessions will be held on 28th November and 5th December to combine the best teams for ideas before the main online hackathon which will run from 10-13th December 2020.

This program is open to team and individual sign-ups – visionaries, developers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and anyone socially active. Registration ongoing at https://eventornado.com/event/eu-africa-the-post-crisis-journey

Yusuf Mutamba is the African Project Coordinator charged with participants outreach, creating awareness and enabling credibility for the program in Africa.

Abiodun Abidoye writes from Pretoria for Africa Online News

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