Grace happy to be living the dream
With three European Tour wins this year, one of which saw him beat his idols Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in a playoff, a place in three of the four Majors and almost R15 million in earnings on the European Tour alone, Branden Grace knows the answer to the question.
“Yes, I’m living the dream,” he says.
Grace is taking a break from international duty this week and has teed it up on the Sunshine Tour in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at The Links at Fancourt.
His mere presence in the field saw the world ranking points on offer for the winner this week go from four to 10. And the 24-year-old who idolised Els and Goosen now finds himself lending some of his experience to his fellow pros on the Sunshine Tour.
Even Grace finds it hard to believe how quickly things can change in this game.
“Ten months ago was a big struggle. I was out on the Challenge Tour playing every week and just trying to survive and get back on the European Tour. Sponsors aren’t easy at times like that, so you use most of the money that you make. But you fall behind and you start owing people money.
“Then I went to the European Tour’s Qualifying School and everything just came together. I got my card, and my caddie Zack and me sat down and we said, ‘We’re playing really well and we can win one of the next two tournaments’. That was the goal, and the rest is history. I could just relax and play golf.”
Grace actually won both of his next two tournaments – the Joburg Open and a week later the Volvo Golf Champions, where he beat Els and Goosen at The Links. Then in April he added the Volvo China Open. At that point, not even Rory McIlroy had won three tournaments this year.
“It’s been awesome. Everything has happened really quickly. Things have happened that I couldn’t ever imagine. I’ve played three out of the four Majors, which was one of my highlights of the year. And I played really well in all of them. I managed to play a bit in the United States and managed to make some cuts. I got to play with Tiger Woods and a couple of other big names. This year has been one big learning curve.
“I’ve worked hard and had a lot of knocks backward, but it’s never a bad thing taking a couple of steps back before you can go forward. I’ve worked hard and it’s nice to see it paying off.”