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Leopard Creek

If you asked me to name my favourite golf course it would not be the great American ones like Augusta, Pebble Beach nor Sawgrass, nor the Scottish links St Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon nor Muirfield, nor Royal St. George’s,  nor Birkdale, but Leopard Creek in South Africa.

Why?

It has something which all the others lack.

Situated by the Kruger National Park you see every type of animal from exotic birds to big game.

It’s not unusual to see a group of elephants waddling next to the course.

Commentator Tony Johnstone is as informed an expert as any ranger and regularly updates you on the cheetah, warthog or rhino.

It’s a testing track too, with fast greens and tricky short holes.

Don’t go out of bounds as a pride of lions might assist you finding your ball!  A crocodile-infested river divides the course from the park itself.

The sponsors are Alfred Dunhill and Charl Schwartzel has been a regular winner.

Rafa Cabera-Bello won it last year.

I backed Branden Stone to win but two of my each-way fancies – Spaniard Adria Armous and Scott Jamieson – finished in the top eight to provide some winnings.

Christian Bezuidenhout won it with Pole Adrian Merkon, 19 year old South African Jayden Schaper and American Sean Crocker challenging.

There are some powerful other South African golfers like Dylan Fritelli coming through and 25 year old Bezuidenhout will now be in the top 50 and eligible for the Masters in April.

The European Tour has announced a strategic alliance with the US PGA.

Greater prize money has induced many a European golfer to play the US Tour and Jon Rahm and Victor Novlund of Norway have had US college scholarships.

Less well-known are the Americans as Brooks Loepka who did once start on the European Tour.

Now there are Julian  Suri,  Crocker and David Lipsky but I don’t know what happened to Peter Uhlien?

Hopefully such an alliance will straighten out one problem: the admission of golfers like Paul Casey who play the US tour to the European Ryder Cup Team.

The event had me enthralled all weekend.

South Africa is two hours ahead so I was able to watch later the T20 international in Paarl which England won and a dreary goalless draw between Chelsea and Spurs.

We could all see this was a lifeless bore except the commentator Martin Tyler and the boys in the studio who thought otherwise.

Arsenal lost at home again and the early optimism that Michael Arteta might make them a top four club again has evaporated.

Predictably the Sunday press were full of Klopp’s rant.

He should have batted the questions off non-committedly as quickly as possible.  Now he has become a target but worse looks uncomfortable in handling problems caused by injury which necessarily afflict any side.

About John Pargiter

John Pargiter’s biggest claim to fame is his first-ever work experience job, as ‘legs’ (or runner) for Henry Longhurst. For many years he worked in insurance at Lloyds. After retiring he has returned to his favourite sport of golf and is a keen recreational sailor and grandparent. More Posts