Johannesburg – Last summer Marc Cayeux was aiming to do all four rounds inthe Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington – from behind the ropes that is.
This summer this remarkable, courageous golfer is hoping to do all four rounds in the Alfred Dunhill Championship beginning at Leopard Creek on Thursday from inside the ropes as a competitor.
“If I could walk four rounds, then I reckoned I could play golf for 72 holes and that was my goal,” said the Zimbabwe-born golf professional – a nine-time winner on the Sunshine Tour who was involved in an horrific car accident in Zimbabwe in 2010.
His left foot was almost severed from his leg and his right femur so badly damaged it appeared to be beyond repair.
At Royal Joburg last year, 27 operations down the line and after four long years not being able to get himself around without the aid of crutches, he was finally walking again.
“Twenty-seven ops. It’s a good golfing number: It’s like I’ve done three nine-hole loops,” chuckled Cayeux. Now, apart from just walking,he’s playing golf again.
Last year, in November, he entered the IGT Tour’s season finale at Centurion and shot 76-70-73 over the 54 holes – a pretty good effort considering all he’d been through. And this year he’s made the cut in three tournaments he’s been able to enter – the Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare and two IGT events. And he made the cut in all three.
“The Zim Open wasn’t such an issue because it was at Royal Harare, which is a course I know so well. Leopard Creek? For me, it’s going to be like swimming with the sharks and we’ll have to see what happens but it’s a stepping stone to get back on tour full-time,” adds Cayeux.
This year’s three made cuts may be a far cry from the sizzling 61 he posted to win the 2005 Vodacom Tour Championship at Country Club Johannesburg.
But, he says, it’s great to be back although he admits he’s still in pain.
“People say pain is temporary but for me it’s permanent, but there’s no way I’m giving up this game.”
Cayeux reckons SA Open champion Brandon Stone could be the next big thing in SA golf.
“When I do get back on tour,” he says with a smile.
“I’ll have to be chasing young guys like him, who are pumping it a mile off the tee, while I’ve lost yardage and am an inch shorter than I used to be. Back in 2014 they had to shorten my left leg by 3cm to get me level again, and at least I’m not walking in circles anymore!”
Cayeux’s career was put on hold in a head-on collision while he was travelling alone from the Beit Bridge border post along the Masvingo-Chivhu road in Zimbabwe.
“I crashed head-on with a police truck when the commander of Manyame District swerved out for a cow and drove straight into me,”Cayeux explained.
“He died at the scene and I was airlifted to the NetCare Millpark Hospital. The doctors told me that my golf career was definitely over, but I’ve always had a goal to get back on tour.”
On Thursday, in the first round at Leopard Creek he joins the likes of
2011 Open champion Darren Clarke, as well as defending champion Charl
Schwartzel, on the tee.
Both will, no doubt, be saluting the very brave man that is Marc Cayeux.