By Michael Vlismas
The Sunshine Tour caddies were amongst the few smiling through the rain at the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa at Mount Edgecombe Country Club on Thursday.
After two days of rain and weather delays, another heavy downpour on Thursday forced play to be called off for the day mid-morning. The first round has yet to be completed, and will resume at 6am on Friday, with the second round scheduled to start at 6:40am in an almost seamless loop as Sunshine Tour and European Tour officials do their best to beat the weather and try and complete this tournament. Daniel Brooks still leads with an eight-under-par 62, one ahead of Frenchman Francois Calmels.
But the time off the golf course at least gave the caddies an opportunity to sit around and swop a few stories of life on tour.
Their tales ranged from strange nicknames for caddies, such as Bin Laden, the caddie for Vaughn Groenewald and a man with an impressive black beard. And their nicknames for certain players also came out.
Tony Johnstone has always been known as Matsetse, which describes the way he fidgets and “dances” around the ball in a bunker before playing it.
Des Terblanche is known as Mpa-moropa, which means big drum, describing the big belly of one of the caddies’ most liked players on tour.
And young professional Danie van Tonder is known simply as Arnold Palmer for a swing that the caddies feel resembles one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
Jaco van Zyl is called Jabu Pule by the South African caddies, reflecting his incredible skill and ability to always be in contention whenever he plays in South Africa.
And every year the caddies have a player they refer to as ATM, reflecting the one player whose bag means a consistent payout every week. This year it’s Adilson da Silva.
As for the caddie highlights in 2013, most agree that what happened on the fairways of the Parys Golf and Country Estate on a Friday afternoon in September is a leaderboard topper.
The final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament came down to a playoff between Andrew Curlewis and Lyle Rowe.
And Vuli and Veli Hlophe, twins from Swaziland who are both caddies on the Sunshine Tour, found themselves competing against each other in the playoff as the caddies for Curlewis and Rowe.
It was Veli who walked away the winner over his brother, with Curlewis claiming his second win on the Sunshine Tour in as many weeks.
But it was a proud moment for the tour caddies who, when the two brothers left with their players for the playoff, immediately sent somebody to go and buy a bottle of champagne to toast the twins.