There are four men in the South African Open Championship field this year who have won the title, and it would not be too surprising to see any of them in contention again when the event tees off at Glendower Golf Club on Thursday.
And while Hennie Otto is the most recent to have won the title when he triumphed in 2011, Retief Goosen is the highest-profile player to have done so with his more recent of two titles coming in 2005. James Kingston won in 2007, and David Frost won the second of his two titles in 1999.
It’s the veteran Frost who would be the unlikeliest of that group to win the 2013 title, and, should he pull that incredible rabbit out of the hat, he would become the oldest man to win the title, a year older at 54 than Sid Brews was when he won in 1952.
“I still like to measure myself against the young guys,” he said. “And being really fit also plays its part,” he says. “I like to spend an hour every morning in the gym doing cardio, and 45 minutes late afternoon concentrating on weights, core and legs.”
As unlikely as a scenario of the old man winning seems, Frost has had the kind of year on the Champions Tour in the United States that would give him enough belief to go into the tournament believing he has a realistic chance of winning.
He finished fourth in the Charles Schwab Cup behind winner Kenny Perry, with only Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples ahead of him. He won over $1.8-million with his two victories, two second-place finishes – one of those was a loss in a play-off – and three thirds. He finished in the top 10 13 times and in the top 25 an incredible 21 times in his 25 starts.
His victories came in the Toshiba Classic and in the Regions Tradition, a tournament regarded as a ‘major’ on the Champions Tour. Add that to two victories in the previous year, and another in 2010, and he clearly has US form in his favour.
On the European Senior Tour, he finished in share of third in the Senior Open Championship in July behind the play-off between winner Mark Wiebe and Langer. Add that to his victory in the previous year’s MCB Tour Championship, and he has European form going for him too.
In his time, he won all three legs of the old ‘triple crown’ of South African golf, too, taking the SA Masters in 1987, and the PGA Championship in 1994. So a third SA Open Championship would be an extraordinary feat.