Johannesburg - Four men in the South African Open Championship field this year 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, in Edenvale, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
While Hennie Otto was the most recent winner, when he triumphed in 2011, Retief Goosen was 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.
Veteran Frost was the least favourite of the quartet for the 2013 title but should he pull the rabbit out of the hat, he would become the oldest man to win the title, a year older at 54 than Sid Brews when he won in 1952.
“I still like to measure myself against the young guys,” Frost said.
“And being really fit also plays its part. 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 win would seem, Frost had enjoyed the kind of year on the US Champions Tour which would give him enough confidence to go into the tournament believing he had 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 (approximately R18-million) with his two victories, two second-place finishes – one of which 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 his two victories the previous year, and another in 2010, and he clearly had form in his favour.
On the European Senior Tour, he finished tied third in the Senior Open Championship in July, behind the play-off between winner Mark Wiebe and Langer and in 2012, he won the MCB Tour Championship.
In his time, he won all three legs of the old ‘triple crown’ of South African golf, taking the SA Masters in 1987, the PGA Championship in 1994 and his two Open titles. A third SA Open Championship would be an extraordinary feat.