Success all Round
Our cricketers take pride of place this week thanks to their sterling efforts both on and off the field in Zimbabwe.
It was a superb effort for captain Michael Vaughan, who picked up another Man-of-the-Series award, and his team as they overcame some pretty delicate problems before the Tour started to beat Zimbabwe 4-0 in one-day matches.
It was also great to see them come out of the troubled country without any real problems in a country I will always know as Rhodesia. I travelled their extensively in the 70’s and early 80’s and it was always one of my favourite places to visit. Hopefully it will get back to normality one day soon and everybody will look forward to going there again.
On the golf front, James Kingston almost wrapped up his first European Tour title in Hong Kong but was undone by the remarkable Miguel Angel Jimenez, who collected his fifth title of the year.
James is somewhat of an Asian specialist and it should have surprised nobody that he finished tied second. It was a great way to start the new season after performing so consistently in 2004.
Equally commendable was David Howell’s fast start to the year and it is only a matter of time before he puts the lid on some of these performances and has a couple of wins. What was surprising was that, having caught up on a few social activities he’d missed out on during the year, he should come sprinting out of the blocks to take his now customary position among the contenders.
Charl Schwartzel followed up his 3rd in Japan with another top ten finish in Asia and I can see him getting into the mix far more often this season. And I would not be in the least surprised if he won this week in The Bush.
Louis Ooosthuizen has also got off to a good start and, alongside Charl and Richard Sterne, I can see the three young Boks having a great year and intensifying their friendly rivalry. It may well carry each member of the trio into the top 50 of the money list. For those who like a bet, you could do worse than follow these three thoroughbreds throughout the season.
Simon Wakefield impressed particularly in the last round to get a few early points on the board and his experience at the end of last year, particularly at Tour School, will stand him in good stead for the season.
Finally, Lee Westwood’s safari in Sun City came to a grinding halt on the back nine on Sunday when he took 43 strokes after being in contention all week. In that heat it is very easy for things to get away from you… and they certainly did. The seven he took on the eighth did irreparable damage and highlighted a bit of a weakness in his short game that he is well aware of and will be working on intensively over the next couple of months.
All in all it was one of those weeks when a lot of our guys were in the news. I look forward to plenty more like them in what promises to be a fascinating season.