Ekurhuleni - Thama Jeffrey Nkonyane is about to collect the biggest cheque
of his 32-year long career after helping England's Graeme Storm to victory in the SA Open at a
packed and trilled Glendower on Sunday.
The Englishman went toe-to-toe
with Rory McIlroy, but came out on top at the third playoff hole.
Storm might have weathered the onslaught of the
world's number two player, but a tsunami is about to hit Nkonyane’s bank
account after the 37-year-old Storm pocketed R2.3 million for his efforts.
“This will definitely be the biggest pay-day of my
life and of course the money is going to be great, but this is proudest day of my
career,” said the 51-year-old from Soweto.
“It was very special to win the SA Open in front of my
home crowd with Graeme, because we’ve known each other more than 20 years.
“I used to caddie for him in his amateur days, when he
came out to South Africa as a youngster to compete in the SA Stroke Play and SA
“We always reconnect when he comes to South Africa and
he calls on me if he doesn’t bring his own bagman. This time his caddy went on
honeymoon, so he called and I came.”
Over the last three decades, Nkonyana has carried many
bags and some of his favourites included Hugh Baiocchi, the late Wayne Westner and Woody
Austin. After so many years playing mother, father, psychologist and caddy
brought a lot of experience and he knew his job was to keep Storm’s head in the
never played with Rory before, so we knew it was going to be a stressful day at
the office, but I have to say, the South African golf fans had a lot to do with
his win,” Nkonyane said.
almost every hole, for every shot, they cheered just as hard for Graeme as they
did for Rory and that really gave us a lot of confidence. Graeme didn’t have time to feel the
“My job was to keep him looking ahead and keep him in
the game. We’ve always work well together and he today he had the confidence to
“I am so proudly South African today. This just shows
you that we are as good as caddies anywhere in the world and I hope the
youngsters watching saw what Graeme and I did today. You can achieve anything
if you work hard and you keep trying.”