Goosen eyes hole-in-one prize

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nm goosen (31077058) Getty Images Former double US Open champion Retief Goosen is relishing playing the Durban Country Club course. Picture: Getty Images

Durban - Retief “The Goose” Goosen has his eye on the truck, the two-time US Open champion admitted at the Durban Country Club on Tuesday.

“I’ll think I will take the truck, I can use it to haul all the grapes around my farm,” said one of South Africa’s most successful swingers of a golf club when asked which of the hole-in-one prizes he would like to take at the 2013 Volvo Golf Champions showpiece.

After a moment’s pause to consider his options, Goosen chose the heavy duty vehicle over a compact excavator, which is the reward for holing out on the par-three 15th at the European Tour event.

The tournament gets under way on Thursday and carries total prize money of e 2 million (R17m). It will be Goosen’s first tournament since he underwent a back operation to replace a disintegrated disc in his spine five months ago.

“The course is in great shape and I am looking forward to playing,” he said.

Goosen said his back had been getting “a bit tight” when he had been hitting balls recently, but he said overall the post operation period had “been great”.

Final preparations were still under way on Tuesday as a sea breeze blew over the manicured fairways, with organisers laying flooring around marquees and putting up signage and sponsorship boards.

With the serious business only starting tomorrow, Wednesday will see the professionals mixing with the amateurs in the Pro Am competition, while Goosen is scheduled later to host a development clinic at the club’s driving range.

Championship director Tobias Winsnes said although Wednesday was not expected to be too busy, organisers were looking forward to a packed venue from tomorrow.

“We are told that when there is a big event in Durban people will come,” said Winsnes. Everything would be ready in time for the tournament, including the warm-up events.

“We are all set for today and tomorrow. everything has been running smoothly.”

And, as for the most important element, the 18 holes between start to finish?

“The European Tour is very happy with the course,” Winsnes said, noting that many people had told him it was in the best shape it had been for some time. - The Mercury

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