By Michael Vlismas
Brendon de Jonge hasn’t been back to South Africa for at least the last 16 years. But the Zimbabwean and PGA Tour campaigner may be stamping his passport more regularly for trips here and around the world in 2014.
De Jonge is making his debut in the European Tour co-sanctioned Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek this week, joining a field including two-time champion Charl Schwartzel and double major champion John Daly.
De Jonge is in South Africa on the back of a successful 2013 on the PGA Tour in which he claimed four top-10s and closed out the season in style when he made it into all four of the FedEx Cup Playoff tournaments, finishing within the top 20 in each.
He puts those performances down to feeling much more at home on the PGA Tour this year. “A lot of it was a comfort level. I’ve played for seven years on the PGA Tour now and you get to know the courses better and the towns. Everything becomes a bit easier. That’s had a big part to play in it,” De Jonge said.
And now he wants to take his game worldwide in 2014.
“I took affiliate membership on the European Tour for this coming season so I’m going to try and play a bit more globally. I think it rounds off your game. The kind of golf is so different to what we’re used to playing in America. Everything’s in the air in America, whereas on the European Tour the conditions can get windy and firm. It’s a different kind of golf and very refreshing.”
De Jonge’s first foray into a more global schedule saw him finish tied seventh in the recent Australian Masters and tied 12th in the individual event of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. All of which bodes well for his first showing in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.
“This is a special place. The course looks hard and I think it will be a good test. I’m looking forward to it.”