ZIMABABWE’S number one golfer Brendon de Jongé is poised to compete at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia from November 21-24.
– Mufaro Chivonivoni
The country’s sportsperson of the year will not be on the individual section of the event.
The tournament has been remodelled this year as an individual event with a team component event as well.
Unfortunately Zimbabwe is unable to field a team for the event as no other Zimbabwean golfer is currently ranked in the top 100 on the world golf rankings.
In previous events, Zimbabwe has fared well at this event with two runners-up positions in 1994 and 1993.
In 1994 the two man-team consisted of Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty while in 1993 Nick Price and McNulty represented the country.
Local golfer Scott Vincent who is currently on a golf scholarship in the United States has the potential to become the next Zimbabwean to break into the top 100.
At the moment Vincent is currently sitting on fifth place on the highly competitive US men’s collegiate rankings.
Since September he has won three of the four events he has played in.
Vincent finished fourth in the only event he did not win.
For a country with only about thirty golf courses, Zimbabwe has done well to produce a number of golfers who have competed at the highest level.
The most notable is Nick Price who occupied the world number one spot during his illustrious career.
Other notables are Mark Mcnulty, Tony Johnstone and Marc Cayeux.
While as a country we have done well to produce such golfers, there is still room for improvement.
Given the amount of natural talent that is seen on the junior level, we should be producing more word-class golfers.
The area that seems to need improvement is the age when the golfer has left high school. Zimbabwe does not have any sports academies or universities that are able to groom potential professionals into world-class athletes.
So when someone fails to get a sports scholarship to study in the US their talent does not get an opportunity to get fully developed locally.
Golf is a sport where the mental aspect plays a huge part and locally we do not have any full time sports psychologist to help up and coming junior golfers.
This mental weakness had been exposed numerous times when our local golfers get the rare opportunity to compete at the highest level.
However, a pleasing development in the country is the recent launch of the University Of Zimbabwe golf scholarship.
The golf scholarship fund seeks to raise financial and material resources for students with good golfing capabilities to pursue their discipline locally and abroad while also getting an education.
If such initiatives are copied by other institutions, we might see a rise in the number of world-class golfers emerging from the country.