South Africa: The Road to the Top End of Professional Sport Is Littered With Broken Dreams


Professional sport is a giant pyramid and what we generally see is its tip. We don't see the mother working three jobs to feed her child's sporting dream, or the coach who takes a talented player under his wing.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

I've played in a few golf pro-ams over the years and, barring one occasion when I played with a seven-time European Tour winner, they have all been with what you would term "journeymen professionals".

What has always struck me is how good these guys are. One of the players, a young South African who was trying to make it in the US and was grinding on the secondary tour, had arrived that morning to play The Links at Fancourt Estate in George.

It's a brutal course at the best of times where an over-par score in a regular professional tournament can sometimes be considered a good day. On this occasion, the weather was fine and the strapping young South African lad shot a five-under 68 (par was 73). He had never seen the course before.

If the caddie told him to hit the ball with a draw around a dogleg, he did...

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