CAPE TOWN - He may not be in the same league as Dustin “See Ball, Hit Ball, Try to Smile” Johnson or the astonishingly good 61-year-old Bernhard Langer, but Retief Goosen has quickly started to “print his own money” on the fairways of the Unites States.
Since turning 50 earlier this month and qualifying for the PGA Tour Champions, The Goose has picked up (converting US dollars to rands) in the region of a handy R1million in just his first two starts. The sweet swinger from Polokwane tied for 24th in his tournament debut and then shared sixth place next time out.
Now, this weekend, he joins Langer and the other golden oldies at the Cologuard Classic. These PGA Tour Champion events typically have (again doing the conversion) purses of what amounts to a whopping R35m. And since there is no cut, everybody goes home with a fat cheque. Of course, you have to be a player of some renown, like Goosen, to qualify to tee it up on the tour. But once you’re there, there’s a bagful of dollars waiting for you.
Langer, meanwhile, is defying his age in the most spectacular fashion. In the German’s last two starts, in the same events as Goosen, he won the Oasis Championship, and then tied second after losing to Miguel Angel Jimenez in a playoff in the Chubb Classic.
Johnson, meanwhile, demolished the field at last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.
Johnson’s power game is unmatched by his peers and when his putter’s hot, the 34-year-old seems to be unbeatable. He just gets up there and whacks it, rarely smiling though - which is why he’s got the label of “See Ball, Hit Ball, Try to Smile”.
Earnings-wise, he does have plenty to smile about should he choose to do so. The Mexico victory alone was worth $1 745 000 which converts to something around R24m! Once you make it in golf, the rewards are almost obscene but then again, apparently only about 4% of people who try to play the game professionally make a decent living out of it.
In the WGC-Mexico Championship, in which there was also no cut, Louis Oosthuizen shared 25th place which translated into a cheque for $93 250, while fellow South African Shaun Norris was stone last in 71st spot, but still picked up $48 250. Do the maths, at about R14 to the dollar, and Louis earned close to R1.3m and Norris nearly R700 000.
Top pro golfer? Nice job if you can get it.