QUALIFYING for all four major championships next season and earning almost $1,8 million on the PGA Tour this season, would be a crowning moment for any golfer, but for Brendon de Jongé, nothing beats playing side by side with his idol Nick Price at the President’s Cup.
Reflecting on a roller coaster year, De Jongé described playing in the President’s Cup for the first time as the major highlight of his career.
De Jongé earned a place in the President’s Cup international team as one of captain Price’s picks, a decision that prompted criticism last month.
However, De Jongé who will be in action this weekend at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, US, won praise from teammates, opponents and commentators during the tournament, vindicating his selection in the team.
“I can say without a doubt it, (The President’s Cup) alongside Nick Price, was the highlight of my golfing career so far. I loved the team aspect of it all, which is what I certainly miss the most in this profession,” he said.
Asked whether he felt any extra burden over his selection, De Jongé said: “I can honestly say that I didn’t feel extra pressure being a pick because I had the backing of all my teammates which was reassuring.
“I was fortunate enough to be paired with the most experienced member of our team (Ernie Els) who had obviously been through these pressures countless times. He was a really calming influence on me and helped me get settled in very quickly.”
The 33-year-old US-based star, although still yet to win on the PGA Tour since stepping up from the Web.com Tour in 2010 described his season as “rewarding and very satisfying after earning just under $1,8 million in prize money and a slot in all four majors next season.
“This season has been very rewarding for me and very satisfying. I achieved almost all the goals I had set out at the beginning of the season,” De Jongé said in an exclusive interview with NewsDay Sport from his base in the US.
Having missed out in three of the four majors this season, one of De Jongé’s goals this season was to secure his place in the prestigious tournaments.
This season, De Jongé missed out on the Masters, the US Open and the Open Championship, while his only appearance in a major came at the US PGA Championship.
However, next season the Harare-born golfer will play in all four majors following his impressive run during the FedEx Cup play-offs which saw him qualifying for the prestigious Tour Championship for the first time in his professional golf career.
“The thing I am most proud of was the consistency I showed throughout a long year. Also making the Tour Championship gets me a start in all the majors for next year which makes setting a schedule that much easier,” De Jongé, who has jumped 25 places on the official World Golf rankings from position 88 to 63 since the start of the year, said.
De Jongé has a busy schedule ahead of him until the end of the year.
The burly golfer is expected to represent Zimbabwe at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia from November 21-24.
However, before that De Jongé is expected to play at next week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia next week, the McGladrey Classic in the US, going to Australia for the Australian Masters which he will use to prepare for the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.