There was plenty of nostalgia when Andre Cruse teed off at the Telkom PGA Championship on Thursday and celebrated his 500th Sunshine Tour event.
ÂItÂs always been a milestone and it was nice to reach it. IÂve been aware that itÂs coming for quite some time, and IÂve always wanted to get there, but I didnÂt know if I could get there,Â he said.
The 47-year-old has won 14 tournaments in an incredible 26 years on the tour, but the most memorable times were not always the victories.
ÂIÂve always wanted to win 15 tournaments, and IÂve been stuck on 14 wins for the last 13 years!Â he said. ÂThere are a lot of memories, like when I lost to Richard Sterne in Zambia. I made a hole-in-one at that tournament two years in a row. Same hole, same club: a nine-iron on the 11th, 2001 and 2002. I won a car both times!Â
Few golfers manage a feat as great as 500 tournaments, and Cruse could only smile as he looked back over the years. The memories include 110 top-10 results and 3098 birdies, along with 100 eagles and three holes-in-one.
ÂIÂve had a great time. I think IÂm the first person to have 500 events on this tour. IÂve cried big tears, IÂve had laughter and joy, and we all keep coming back. ItÂs in your blood, and thatÂs why I got to 500. And IÂve loved it. ItÂs taught me so many things about myself.Â he said.
And this week the venue is fitting Â Cruse plays out of Country Club Johannesburg and if ever there was a course that should host his 500th event, itÂs the Woodmead course at CCJ.
ÂIt does make it more special to play it at my home course, but I didnÂt plan it that way. ItÂs just a really great co-incidence, courtesy of a broken toe,Â he said.
In spite of his illustrious golfing history, Cruse is looking forward to a few more years before he hangs up his clubs.
ÂThings change in your life, but I canÂt look past the fact that IÂm in love with this game, and when youÂre in love with something you canÂt leave it. I would have loved to leave this game 15 years ago, because it irritates me and I hate it, but then I wake up the next morning I get up and canÂt wait to get back out there,Â he said.