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Ken Borland



Schwartzel pictures Glendower favourably despite agony there 0

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Ken

 

When Charl Schwartzel pictures Glendower Golf Club he does not see the agony of his final round collapse and playoff defeat against Andy Sullivan in the South African Open in January this year or his surrender of the lead in the previous edition of the second-oldest national open.

He sees a course he likes and has played well on, a course that suits his strategic approach to golf.

“I’ve finished second a few times in the South African Open and the title evaded me the last two years here, but Glendower is a course that suits me well and I don’t look at it as two disappointments here. I’m excited that I can come back to a place where I know I came close in the past, I have another opportunity on a course that has treated me well.

“Two years in a row I’ve had chances to win but there are a lot of good players out there and I know the more times I contend, I will eventually break through. But it’s a positive that I’ve come close at Glendower and I’ll come here in early January and prepare well. You have to play cleverly here, think your way around, it requires a lot of strategy and thinking, which is right down my alley,” Schwartzel said at Glendower on Wednesday when the classic old course was announced as the South African Open venue for the third straight year. The 2016 tournament will be from January 7-10.

Schwartzel squandered four shots in the last five holes of the 2015 SA Open and then lost on the first hole of the playoff to Sullivan. The previous Glendower SA Open saw Schwartzel leading by three shots four holes into the final round, before he faded to a 71 and finished three behind winner Morten Orum Madsen.

But the local favourite says he is not chained to the past and is looking forward to starting a fresh year at Glendower in the second week of 2016.

“I’ll have a good break now, I’m not playing any tournaments in December so it will be a nice long break and I feel that I need it. The physical factors are there, my long game is better than ever, but I need to build my confidence back up because you need confidence to win,” Schwartzel said.

The 31-year-old said he hopes the South African Open will continue to be the sort of tournament fathers tell their children about when they’re sitting on their knee, and he was delighted with the announcement of BMW as the new title sponsors.

“It’s even better news that BMW are now involved. When you see the passion of Ernie Els [tournament host] to play in it, it’s inspiring for the future generations. I hope guys like Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace feel the same as me, because I’m going to keep coming back and give it my all. I hope it works out this time, but if it doesn’t, I’ll try again,” Schwartzel said.

With South African golfers desperate to avoid a hat-trick of overseas winners, the fur is sure to fly at Glendower in January, especially if rumours of some huge foreign names coming to play turn out to be true.

 

Refreshed Horne looking for improvement at Africa Open 0

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Ken

 

Keith Horne was 16-under-par after four rounds in the 60s and shooting 66 and 65 over the weekend in last year’s Africa Open, but that was only good enough for a tie for ninth, and the well-travelled South African believes he can improve on that when the 2015 edition of the co-sanctioned European/Sunshine Tour event gets underway at East London Golf Club on Thursday.

Horne has been a consistent performer in the Africa Open, finishing in ties for 18th, 18th, 21st, 62nd, 32nd and ninth since the tournament moved to East London in 2009, but he is still heartsore over the 75s he shot in the final rounds of 2012 and 2013.

“I’ve played pretty well here before, I’ve been in contention but then I tend to have a bad round somewhere. I was in the top-10 last year, but I feel I haven’t reached my potential yet here because I feel very comfortable on the course,” Horne said at East London Golf Club on Wednesday.

Horne’s Africa Open performance was his best on the European Tour last year, and the 43-year-old admitted he was a bit jaded.

“After five years of playing in Europe and 13 years of travelling as a pro, I felt a bit flat so I didn’t play a full schedule last year. I took a large percentage of the year off and now I feel refreshed and ready, I’m a lot more relaxed,” Horne said.

The seven-time Sunshine Tour winner was born in Durban and grew up on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, so playing in the wind in East London holds no fears for him.

“I’m not as good in the wind as I used to be because I’ve lived in Joburg for the last 13 years, but I grew up on the coast and I have the technique and mind-set to play in the wind. It’s mostly about mental preparation, you can’t fight the wind, you’ve got to use it and accept it,” Horne said.

He has averaged 30.22 putts per round in 2015, putting him 140th in the European Tour rankings, but he is really looking forward to the greens in the Eastern Cape.

“I’m also used to the greens on the coast and the greens here are as good as any coastal greens I’ve seen. They’re the best they’ve been here for the last five or six years, so kudos to the green keeping staff, they’re in magnificent condition. They’re not as slow as they’ve been in the past, they’re rolling beautifully and I think a lot of putts are going to be made,” Horne said.

The father of two daughters will also be campaigning in Asia this year, having finished in 11th place in the Tour Qualifying School in Thailand in January.

“I’m going back, I had good seasons in Asia in 2009 and 2010 and I enjoy it there, more than Europe in fact. But the money’s in Europe … ,” Horne admitted.

The money’s also good in East London, with a prize pool of R14.5 million and a first prize of just over R2 million.

But the East London Golf Club course needs to be overcome first and, especially when the wind blows, it is a short course with many hidden dangers.

“East London seems to bring out the best in our golfers but you can go out and think you’re going to shoot very low, flopping wedges into all the greens, but the course has got teeth. There are birdies out there, but you have to keep double-bogeys off the card. If you take the course for granted, it can really bite you,” Horne said with the benefit of years of experience.

http://www.africaopengolf.com/PressReleases/2015/20-refreshed-horne-hunting-africa-open-glory.pdf

Jake White leaves the Sharks after just one year 0

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Ken

Jake White is on his way from Sharks rugby after just one year and the smart money is on the 2007 World Cup winner re-emerging in a consultancy position with some team playing in next year’s edition of the global showpiece.

White has always stated his prime goal is to return to coaching an international team, something Sharks CEO John Smit acknowledged yesterday in announcing the move, but the departure is not on as amicable terms as the statement suggested.

The director of rugby’s tenure has been on rocky ground since the Sharks board took exception to the unpopular style of play used in SuperRugby, with an over-reliance on kicking and territory, and the former schoolteacher has also reportedly had bust-ups with junior players at the union.

“Jake and I have known each other a long time and were very frank in our discussions regarding this Sharks opportunity back in 2013, Jake was excited to implement change as well as be involved with South Africa’s most talented squad, but from the outset stated his ambition to be on the international stage again and I was all too happy to have him for however long we could. What he has achieved for us in such a short time is incredible and our staff and players have learned a huge amount,” Smit said in the statement.

The captain of White’s 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok team praised White for the culture he had installed at the Sharks and his work in developing structures for both the leading players and those coming through the system.

“Jake was also tasked to up-skill the young coaches as well as tidy up all rugby structures across the board from our academy all the way to our senior team. Initially it was thought this would take some time. However, being allowed to concentrate on these tasks during the Absa Currie Cup has fast-tracked the process and we can happily say our SuperRugby squad is in place and our pre-season plan ready to go.

“The mentoring role Jake has played to our coaches has been invaluable and the time is right for Jake to free himself up for any international coaching and consulting opportunities. The 2015 Rugby World Cup is just months away,” Smit said.

White has a very good relationship with Japan coach Eddie Jones, the former Wallabies mentor who he brought in as a consultant to South Africa’s triumphant 2007 campaign. Jones recently suffered a stroke, plus Japan are in the same pool as South Africa, of whom White obviously has intimate knowledge. The Japan Rugby Union are also well off financially, so paying for a consultant of White’s pedigree would not be a problem.

White has confirmed that he will be moving back to Cape Town, prompting speculation that he might be lining up a role with the Stormers. But this would be highly unlikely, given that current coach Allister Coetzee has steered his team to the top of the Currie Cup log and they already have a high-profile director of rugby in Gert Smal, who was White’s assistant with the Springboks.

Plus the brand of rugby White introduced at the Sharks will not go down well with the Newlands faithful.

The doors at King’s Park could well be opening for someone like Gary Gold, who was the Springbok forwards coach from 2008-2011, during the Peter de Villiers era, and someone who worked well with Smit.

However, if the decision is not left entirely to the CEO and the Sharks board want to be actively involved in recruiting White’s successor, then former All Black and Gauteng Lions coach John Mitchell is already in KwaZulu-Natal as the head of University of KZN rugby.

 

 

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