WATCH: A development system needs to be created for African golf – Zambia’s Muthiya
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Johannesburg – Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya believes African golf is crying out for a platform for young players to compete on the international stage.
While the Sunshine Tour and South African golf is thriving, with a number of tournaments co-sanctioned with the European Tour like the Joburg Open which begins at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday, more still needs to be done for the sport on the Mother Continent outside the Rainbow Nation.
The European Tour is a truly global tour with events in Europe, Asia and Africa. However, with just one European Tour tournament outside South Africa on the African continent (the Kenya Open in March), there are few opportunities for the next generation of players to test their game at the highest level.
“As far as the state of African golf, a system or platform needs to be created. South Africa is an exception because it has a proper system in place from developmental stage of junior golf, amateur golf and professional golf,” said Muthiya.
“That’s why you’re [South Africa] having so much success. The Sunshine Tour is the platform that’s there. If the Sunshine Tour can extend its tentacles into other African countries to those kinds of players, they can level up their game.”
African golf, outside South Africa, is crying out for a development platform for young professional golfers. Have a listen to Zambia's Madalitso Muthiya here, as he spoke to me ahead of #JoburgOpen hosted by the @CityofJoburgZA at @RandparkGolf @AfriNewsAgency @IOLsport pic.twitter.com/KvesLBw0g4— Michael Sherman (@Golfhackno1) November 24, 2021
Muthiya was the first Zambian and black African to play in The US Open in 2006, just a year after turning professional. Now aged 38, Muthiya hopes other Zambians will follow in his footsteps.
“The state of Zambian golf isn’t as potent as it should be.
“But there has been some steady progress, there are a few tournaments being played now for juniors and the top amateurs, as well as the professionals. There are a number of guys who have turned professional, but what we want to do is try and push them to play internationally. I just found out that Dayne Moore qualified today[Tuesday], so it will be great to see him playing the Joburg Open.”
As for his own aspirations, Muthiya hopes to use all the years of experience he has behind him to make a final push to make it on the European Tour.
“I played collegiate golf [in the USA] and played with a lot of guys who are on the Korn Ferry Tour now. I have been to play on the Korn Ferry Tour for a number of years. Playing at that level helps with drawing up your goals and setting the direction for your game.
“I truly want to be part of a group of the best players in the world, and I’d like to be on the same stage by having a tour card. I believe I play well enough to be on the European Tour or much greater.”
Muthiya grabbed headlines in 2019 when he finished seventh at the SA Open, also held at Randpark. Coming back to the same course to play in the Joburg Open, Muthiya is confident about his chances.
“I definitely enjoy playing here in Joburg. I’ve always geared my mind to working on a higher level, so it’s always exciting when you have a tournament of this magnitude.
“The goal is to try and play my way into contention, and take it from there. The goal for the season is to finish in the top-10 on the [Sunshine Tour] order of merit, and perhaps even a bit better than that. What I’m looking for mostly is steady improvement. If I’m improving all the time, I believe my scores will reflect that.”
Away from his own game, Muthiya was pleased to see Tiger Woods post a video last week of himself hitting a full golf shot for the first time - as he continues to recover from the serious ankle injury he sustained in a car crash in February.
“He’s a trailblazer in the game of golf. Everyone is eager to see him coming back. He’s so much part of the game, so it’s exciting for everyone and myself to see someone who has done so much and still persevering. The world has given him everything, but he’s earned everything. He doesn’t have to fight hard to compete, but for him it goes beyond the money. It’s about winning trophies and the honour of the game.”
African News Agency (ANA)