Kallis, Boucher hope to tee off to new heights
Golf | SA (supersport.com)
Jacques Kallis is well known for producing patient, polished centuries that sap the energy from the opposition on the cricket pitch, but the South African star allrounder hopes to put the same touches to his golf game at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Simola Golf Club on Wednesday.Kallis, cricket legend Barry Richards and fellow Protea Mark Boucher are among 60 amateur golfers who will tee it up alongside professional golfers in the R540 000 Sunshine Tour event in Knysna.
Just swapping his bats for a set of clubs was inspiration enough for Kallis to tackle the tough Jack Nicklaus championship layout in cold and windy weather.
“It’s always nice to mingle with the other sporting codes,” he said. “It’s nice for us to be relaxing while the pros have to sweat it out but I think the most exciting part for me is arriving at the airport with a golf bag and not a cricket bag.
"It’s always makes it a lot more exciting when you take the golf bag off the carousel instead of the cricket bag. The smile that comes across my face; I don’t think I get that when I take a cricket bag off.”
Boucher, too, was eager to get going.
“Any time you get a chance like this to tee it up with the professionals, you grab it,” the feisty wicket keeper said.
Boucher said he is counting on Western Cape golfers Jacques Blaauw and Grant Veenstra and their experience to pull the team through in the wet conditions.
“The region had a lot of rain and the course took on a lot of water early in the week,” he said.
“It’s going to be a change of scenery for us, because we usually parked in the bar when it rains. It will be a new experience for us. I’m a five handicap but I might go out to a seven in these conditions. With the wind blowing and the course wet, we may have to rely on our partners to pull us through.”
Kallis also thinks the conditions might merit a couple of extra strokes. “I play off a six but I think I could be very competitive off a 10,” he joked.
The pair also have another reason for producing a top performance: 66-year-old Richards, who also plays off a six-handicap and has the home-course advantage.
“Barry is an old hand at these types of tournaments,” said Boucher. “I don’t know if he can still swing past his belly, but whatever it takes, Barry won’t beat us.”
Kallis agreed, saying they came well prepared. “We’ve played a lot of golf in the last couple of months and we even played here a couple of weeks ago, so we are ready for him.”
But Richards was quick to bite back.
“No doubt it’s going to be a fierce competition, because those two probably think I’m past my sell by date,” he said. “But they forget I get weight for age off the tees. Weight for age, I’m backing myself.”
Jokes aside, Richards said he is pumped to tee it up with Tjaart van der Walt and 13-time Sunshine Tour winner Desvonde Botes.
“I’ve played in the Alfred Dunhill Links, the Gary Player Invitational and several Vodacom Origins events over the years and it’s always such a pleasure to play with the pros,” he said.
“Not only because of the golf that they play, which is obviously a lot of fun, but also what you learn on the golf course. I love the competition and I admire the fellows. Pro golfers are so good at selling their game; I wish the cricket players would take their lead.
“It’s great to test yourself against these guys and see yourself contributing to the match.”The amateurs compete in the first two rounds of the 54-hole event only and the top five teams qualify for the series final at Legend Golf and Safari Resort in September.