Ekurhuleni - George Coetzee hated his last outing in the SA Open but is a lot more upbeat about this year’s event at Glendower Golf Club which gets underway on Thursday.
Not only was last year’s tournament his first event back after breaking his ankle in a surfing accident, but the course is not one of his favourites, so when he limped out after missing the cut, it was not a happy time for him.
“I think the fact that I played it last year with an ankle injury and it was my first tournament back, it was torture for me,” he said. “Just walking the golf course was hard work and it was painful. Obviously there aren’t great memories from that with missing the cut as well. I think that I’m better prepared, that I’m fit and strong and feeling good, that’ll be better for me to play this golf course.”
And while many of his peers are quick to sing the praises of Glendower Golf Club, he doesn’t feel quite as affectionate towards it. “I’ve had a lot of chats about it over the holiday and I think my opinion differs from a lot of the other guys,” he said. “It’s a really good golf course but, horses for courses. I prefer to play tracks where you don’t have to hit it around the corner the whole time. Hopefully I’ll hit some good shots, play some good golf, but yeah it doesn’t really suit my game. Luckily my game is in pretty good nick.”
For Coetzee to feel that way about his game is a quantum leap ahead for a man who once said all he needed to do to start winning more often was to get out of his own head. Now he likes his swing. “Things are looking up. It’s just starting to just happen naturally and I’m not overthinking and doing things deliberately and on purpose,” he said. “It’s just flowing and I’m really happy with the way the swing looks.”
So even though he’s not entirely comfortable around Glendower, and even though he had an anti-climactic end to 2016, he is cautiously optimistic about his chances in the SA Open. “I wasn’t in contention a lot because of the injury and working on some stuff in my game last year,” he said, “so it was a sacrifice I had to make and it’s kind of just a process of getting yourself back into contention enough to get comfortable with it and hopefully we can finish the job a couple of times this year.”