The 104th South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club this week marks the fourth consecutive time that the tournament will be hosted by the city of Ekurhuleni and for local Doug McGuigan it’s a rare treat.
“This is the second year we’ve had it here it’s nice to be able to stay at home, sleep in your own bed and play a tournament. We had it at Serengeti Golf Estate for two years and now we’re back here at Glendower,” he said.
Playing around the corner from your house is a double-edged sword. The bonus of having extra support is tinged with expectation.
“My friends in this area aren’t shy and everyone wants you to do well. I think there’s an added pressure, because people from the area know you and so you expect more from yourself,” he said.
Local knowledge of the course will definitely help McGuigan as he looks to win a seventh title.
“This course is to my liking and it does feel like a home golf course. It’s a traditional course and staying at home is always special when you play a tournament,” he said.
The area is famous as Africa’s first Aerotropolis and uses OR Tambo International Airport to locate itself as an international business destination. From McGuigan’s perspective there has been a noticeable improvement in the city.
“Where I live there are a lot of aeroplanes flying! I’m not totally aware of the Aerotropolis scheme, but whatever they are doing is working! They’re obviously doing something right.
“This is a nice place to live. I grew up in Kimberley, which is a smaller town, but I’m happy here and there are good golf courses, which is an attraction,” he said.
Arguably the most famous of those courses is Glendower, where McGuigan will compete at his national open from Thursday. Before the turn of the year he was playing well and this week he’ll look to continue in that vein.
“Beside the Alfred Dunhill Championship I had some good results. I think the last five or six tournaments were all top 20 results, and that gets you back into the zone.
“You do wonder if you can win the SA Open with a field that includes Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els and Richard Sterne. But obviously we can win, especially because the golf course is so tough this week. This rough is hectic and in a lot of places you will need to chip out,” he said.