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Golf | Presidents Cup

Darren dares to dream about Presidents Cup



While October is an eternity away in golfing terms, Darren Fichardt has been thinking about the Presidents Cup for a long time.

And with his world rankings rising to a career-high 76th after his second-place finish at last week’s Tshwane Open, the 37-year-old Centurion golfer has allowed himself to think of the possibility of making International Team captain Nick Price’s short list ahead of this year’s clash with Fred Couples’ United States at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio,

“Of course I have been thinking about it,” said Fichardt as he recovered from a marathon nine-week spell of tournament play during which he won his fourth European Tour title at the Africa Open in East London, finished in a share of seventh behind Jaco van Zyl at the Dimension Data Pro-Am in George, and then trailed Dawie van der Walt by two strokes at The Els Club Copperleaf last week.

“It would be a huge privilege to get a call-up for the Presidents Cup,” he said. “In the same way as the European players dream about the Ryder Cup, South Africans have the Presidents Cup to dream about.”

Ahead of the October 3-6 date for this year’s clash, Price will name 10 players from countries outside the US and Europe based on the Official World Golf Rankings, and he will add two captain’s picks to his roster.

As the rankings stand this week, South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Branden Grace and George Coetzee would join Australians Adam Scott, Jason Day, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy with Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita as automatic choices.

Tim Clark and Richard Sterne are the next two players currently in line, and Price’s Southern African sympathies would make him think long and hard about those two.

Fichardt’s 76th is perhaps not high enough to catch Price’s eye ahead of the Asian credentials of Thailand’s Tongchai Jaidee and South Korea’s KJ Choi, but he knows his career is on enough of an upward trajectory to bring him to Price’s attention.

“If I sit thinking about it, I could lose focus on my game,” said Fichardt. “But my best play is starting to emerge. My game is where I want it to be after I spent six or seven years trying to find it.”

Those years saw his world ranking sink as low as 770 in the 50th week of 2008. The turnaround started coming after the 44th week of 2011 when he was ranked 645th, and he climbed to 150 at the end of 2012.

His Africa Open win catapulted him to 100th, and the next two results saw him climb to his current high.

“It would be incredible to play on a Presidents Cup team dominated by South Africans,” he said.

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