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Golf | SA

Hennie Otto © Gallo Images

Movember fever hits SA Open

The South African Open at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate this week has produced some highly-entertaining golf, and the crowds have streamed in on the weekend to watch some of the finest players in the world take on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course.

One thing that has certainly been noticeable around the estate has been the array of moustaches on display, both on the faces of fans and players.

The Movember Foundation charity first began its work in 2004 to raise funds and awareness for cancer. They launched their first event in South Africa in 2007, and males around the country have embraced it ever since by sporting many varieties of whiskers for the month of November.

Defending SA Open champion Hennie Otto is one man who decided to let his facial hair run wild, even if he isn’t necessarily a fan of moustaches.

“One of Louis’ (Oosthuizen) friends has got cancer, and I don’t want to do the moustache thing, because it looks ridiculous on me, so I do the beard thing with it. He asked me how long we’re going to do it for and I said the whole of November,” he said.

Some, like European Tour winner Thomas Aiken, do it for a bet, although the real winner at the end of the day is still the Movember campaign.

“All my mates and I grow our moustaches for the month of November, along with the rest of Johannesburg. And whoever loses, donates the money to charity.

“Cancer is a terrible disease and many people suffer from it around the world. I think this is a fantastic campaign and it’s a great idea. South Africans are pretty good with raising awareness when it comes to charitable organisations. So let’s go on and grow our moustaches!” Aiken said.

Ruan de Smidt is a rookie who tasted victory on the Sunshine Tour this year, and had his own reasons for sporting his clean-cut “tash”.

“I was going to cut it off, but I went for my driver’s licence photo and it was on, so I thought I had to keep it on for the rest of the month,” he said.

Many flaunt it, but not every guy feels at their most attractive when taking part in November. The young de Smidt falls into the latter category.

“Chicks really dig it, but I’m going to shave it off at the end of the month, it looks terrible!” he joked.

Aiken also felt it didn’t do much for his sex-appeal.

“I feel less sexy when it’s just the moustache, but I decided to grow it with a beard this year to make it look good,” he said.

Movember’s popularity has grown immeasurably over the last few years, and, although many females have been forced to look at their husbands or boyfriends with disgust at times, it has done wonders for cancer awareness and fund-raising all over the world. Whether it will mark a perennial new fashion trend remains to be seen, but it’s wonderful to see so many of the players and crowds getting involved in such a worthy cause.


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