So he’s almost a little dazed ahead of tomorrow’s R650,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final presented by Samsung at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa, but he knows that his golf career takes on a whole new meaning from the start of the 54-hole event.
“I’m missing my little boy already,” he said as he lined up a handful of ball on the putting green to get some practice done, “and I’m not sure how it’s going to feel out on the fairways and greens tomorrow. But I do know that life is very different for me now.”
He’s going to have to get his feet on the drought-stricken ground at Zebula pretty smartly, as he faces a host of players who will be ready, willing and able to get the job done in the sixth and final event in a venerable series of tournaments that have become the winter staple for Sunshine Tour professionals.
Chief amongst those is Jean Hugo, who has won two this year already – at San Lameer and Vaal de Grace – and is a player who seems to reserve the best of his considerable skills for this series, in which he has already won an extraordinary 11 titles.
The other winners in this year’s series are Justin Harding, Christiaan Basson and Dean Burmester, all of whom are multiple winners on the Sunshine Tour.
De Jager – as well as the rest of the field – will be more than somewhat relieved that Burmester is not in the tournament this week, as he has won four times on the Sunshine Tour this year already, and seems tough to beat every time he tees is up. But he has just finished playing himself into the Final Stage of The European Tour’s Qualifying School and was not able to make it back to South Africa in time.
De Jager was going well after a poor second round last week. “I was three-under when the call came,” he said. “The first call came at the fourth, and they reckoned I could finish the round. But I got another call a few holes later, and my wife said I should get there quickly. So I did!”
He’ll be pleased at his 11am tee-off time in the first round, but he can’t get used to lying in…