Johannesburg — He may be big in Japan, but South Africa’s Shaun Norris on Thursday said he is pleased to be back in his homeland after a gruelling, and by his own admission, lonely stint in the East Asian nation.
Norris, 39, went over to Japan in August and has since played 12 events on the Japan Golf Tour in 13 weeks. That stretch saw him finish outside the top-25 just twice and included a win in the Japan Open Golf Championship last month.
“Words can’t explain how happy I am to be back home, and to be with my family — with my wife and my child and seeing them every day,” said Norris.
Dealing with quarantine life and bio-secure bubbles will surely affect many players’ mental health, and though his results have been impressive in Japan, it came as welcome relief to be back in South Africa.
🇿🇦's @shaun_pj (-3 68) has been away from home since August, and it's come as welcome relief to be back home to support the @Sunshine_Tour in the @CityofJoburgZA #JoburgOpen and be reunited with his family@AfriNewsAgency @IOLsport— Michael Sherman (@Golfhackno1) November 25, 2021
Here's what he said: pic.twitter.com/KApqYpltpT
“I’ve been away for three-and-a-half months in Japan. It’s a lonely thing to do as a professional golfer. Unfortunately Covid has hit us, and we have to do all the quarantines so that makes it a lot harder for us to travel.
“At the end of the day, I decided to come back early to support the Sunshine Tour and play in the last couple of events here. So I’m extremely happy to be back home to see my family and my mates and play on the Sunshine Tour.”
Perhaps buoyed by returning to his high veld home, Norris carded a tidy three-under 68 in the opening round of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday.
"I’m happy, it was a solid round without too many mistakes. You don’t win the tournament in the first round.
“I’ve been hitting the ball very nicely the last couple of months. The putting has been as solid as it can be.”
Norris also paid tribute to the DP World Tour — formerly known as the European Tour — for its efforts at growing the game on a global stage.
“There’s nothing better than when people come in to try and grow any tour. DP has done something amazing, not for just us but for all golfersto grow the tours worldwide. We as players are truly grateful to play in these events.”
African News Agency (ANA)