May 29, 2012

Africa punching above it's weight in golf

Golf is not among the top three popular sport in Africa and is often not mentioned in the same breath as soccer, cricket or rugby when it comes sporting matters in the continent. Yet golf is one sport where the continent has consistently punched above it's weight. The latest official golf rankings , for instance, show two players from South Africa Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel among the top 20 best ranked players in the world. It is not surprising then that Ernie Els has been the highest paid sportsperson in South Africa for the past few years and has only been overtaken recently by Everton's Steven Pienaar. However for all of South Africa's success in golf , none of their players has been able to emulate or surpass neighbour's Zimbabwe's Nick Price who held the official World Number 1 status for 44 weeks (an African record) in the 24 year history of the ranking. Perhaps this success, modest though it may be, is not surprising given the continent's weather and vast landscapes that are suitable for golf. Even Tiger Woods was reported to be planning to invest US$608 million in building a golf course in Kariba, Zimbabwe. Such investments are likely to increase as the indigenous black population takes more interest in the sport.

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