What does it take to play the round of your life? We asked some of South Africa's most accomplished golfers about their best days out on the green.
The one round that stands out to me would have to be the final round at St Andrews in 2010, when I won the Open Championship. It was the last day of the Open Championship, and we were playing at the Home of Golf. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a single thing about that day - absolutely nothing at all. I sincerely hope it happens again. That round taught me to keep calm and patient under pressure and to trust my swing. That's what I love about golf: the fact that every day and every round presents something different. You can never be perfect, but you can strive to improve and be better.
My best round was the round I played to win the BMG Classic in 2011 at Glendower Golf Club. I shot 64 in my last round to win the tournament. Even though I'd shot 62, 63 before, that was the day I really needed a good round. I was off throughout the tournament and needed to play the round of my life to make a come back. Mentally, I was alert. I wasn't expecting anything, I was just aiming for a low score and I played without bogeys. When I got to the ninth hole, I saw my name on the leaderboard and realised I was in third place. In the remaining nine holes, I made it to first place. It was really important for me to play one hole at a time, focus and not get ahead of myself. You can't get good results if you don't work for them.
My best round was definitely the last round of the SA Open in 2014. I went into the round 4 shots behind and knew I needed a low one for the win. I was still 4 shots behind, with 5 to play and had to make a move. I decided to take on a very difficult par 5 with a carry of 187 metres and hit what was probably the best 5 wood of my life. From there, I made a 5 metre putt for eagle. I was 3 behind, and had 4 to play. I finished par, birdie, par, birdie for a 5-under round and tied for the lead. I won the tournament on the second play-off hole. Winning the SA Open made me extremely happy, especially in the way it happened. I had so many lovely people supporting me and my family was there as well – I will never forget that round and I loved every second of it. Golf is a lot like life. I love the challenge. It really tests you mentally on every level – with ups and downs, wins and losses, extreme joy and disappointments all in one day.
The one round that stands out to me is the 2011 final round of the Masters at Augusta. I played against the best in the world on the final day of a major tournament, where the lead changed seven times on the back nine holes! I was able to hold my own against the best players down the stretch and shot 66 to win the Masters. If I could do it all over again, I would have done it exactly the same. The lesson I learnt from golf was to stay patient, in the present and never give up. What I love about golf is the fact that you will never master it and every day brings a new challenge.
My best round? It was definitely the second round of the Southern Cape Championship in 2015 at George Country Club. I shot five under and shot my first and only albatross. I was over the moon, and that round definitely came at the right time. After I got that albatross, I had to calm myself down and my caddie really helped. Even though I felt some pressure, I have to be honest – I thrive under the pressure and competitiveness of golf. If I could play that round again, I'd just copy and paste it as is. That day, everything went my way. Golf takes a lot of patience and there are more downs than ups, but perseverance helps.
My best round of golf was when I shot 60 at Kingsbarns in 2012. It was so close to the number we all want – 59. It was a flawless round of golf and it led me to win the tournament [Alfred Dunhill Links Championship] at the end of the week, so it was a pretty special round. I don't think if you shoot a score like that, you can do anything different or better. You need some luck and you need to take the opportunity if it comes your way. It was one of those days when everything went my way. If you can get that every day, then golf wouldn't be fair. That's why you get those rounds once or twice in your career – that's what makes golf special. Golf can be a real mind boggler at stages. You get some days when you think you'll play well, and you play horribly. Other days, you think you'll play badly and you might have a great round. You just need to be patient and take it as it comes. One thing about this game, you can't force things. As soon as you start forcing, that's when it will bite you. I love competing, and I love what I do.
This content was brought to you by Sun International. Ready to tee up for the round of your life? Go here.