Price tips De Jonge for greatness

JOHANNESBURG - Former world number 1 golfer Nick Price says fellow Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge just needs a first PGA Tour win to set himself on the path to greatness and become, like him in his heyday, one of the best players on the planet.

Price, a winner of three Majors in the 1990s and one of Zimbabwe’s greatest sportsmen of all time, reckons his younger compatriot De Jonge is walking in his footsteps, tipping the bulky 32-year-old from Harare to eventually scale the dizzy heights of international success once he get off the mark on the circuit.

The 56-year-old Price told South Africa’s Radio Today from his Florida base at the weekend that he stays in constant contact with De Jonge, also based in the United States, although he is slightly worried that his own past lofty achievements may weigh heavily against his fellow countryman.

“I speak to him fairly regularly, I always feel if I talk to him too much, I put too much pressure on him because I really want him to do well,” Price said of Zimbabwe’s top-earning sportsman.

“But he is on the cusp right now, knocking on the door and I think for his confidence, he just needs to get that first victory and once he gets that, I think we will see a new player emerge.

“There is always that confidence factor which is multiplied two times, three times, four times, whatever it may be. For me, when I finally broke through, eight years of having a lean period, my confidence level was so high and I think that is what kept me going. I think that is what Brendon is really looking for now.”

Meanwhile Price, named International Team captain for the 2013 edition of the President’s Cup, is hoping to see De Jonge being part of the side to take on Fred Couples’ US team later this year.

The International Team already has two Zimbabwean natives in Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty, who Price has already chosen, alongside Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama, for his three assistant captains.

“Well, it is looking really good for us, I tell you that, you know, we have got five in there right now and (South African) Tim Clark is looking really good and hopefully Brendon de Jonge from my homeland Zimbabwe, hopefully he makes it and we may have a good possibility that we will have a good seven out of the 12 in the team from Southern Africa.”

The biennial President’s Cup, the equivalent of USA against Europe in the Ryder Cup, is played between a team representing the United States and an International Team representing the rest of the world minus Europe.

This year’s edition of the President’s Cup will be played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, in the US.

A three-time Major champion and 1994 British Open champion, Price will return 10 years later as captain of theInternational Team that has one win in in nine tries.

Among the most popular players of his generation, Price, who was inducted into the World Hall of Fame in 2003, won five events on the European Tour and 18 titles on the PGA Tour. He won the 1992 and 1994 PGA Championships as well as the 1994 British Open.

He was a member of five President’s Cup teams. - Enock Muchinjo in South Africa

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