A slice of the action from Durban

1/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Durban Country Club  (Getty Images)
Durban Country Club (Getty Images)
Our man on the ground at Durban Country Club takes you behind the scenes of the Volvo Golf Champions…

Harrington holds court

There’s never a dull moment with Padraig Harrington, and sure enough the garrulous Irishman was on top form during his press conference on Tuesday afternoon which, at less than 30 minutes, was one of his shorter preview interviews. Having joked that his New Year’s resolutions was “to answer questions with a yes or no only”, Harrington covered numerous subjects, ranging from making his European Tour debut at Durban Country Club 17 years ago, to the current race for The Ryder Cup captaincy and Rory McIlroy’s Olympics dilemma. It was fascinating stuff from Pod, whose answers are always thoughtful, articulate…and long!       

Goose eager to get going again

In contrast, Retief Goosen is often portrayed as a man of few words, but the two-time Major Champion was on fine form during his conference, in which he explained – in sometimes gruesome detail – the back surgery he underwent last August, and his post-op rehabilitation. Goosen revealed that a disc in his back had “totally disintegrated” but, following surgery by a back specialist in London, he is now able to swing the club virtually pain-free. During his time away from the game, Goosen has been able to devote more time to growing Goose Wines, the successful wine company he owns and runs. No doubt a few bottles of his award-winning Gander Shiraz 2009 have helped to ease the pain in his back over the past five months… 

Volvo holds all the aces

Hole in one prizes are regular features of professional golf tournaments, but not many offer three prizes – to both amateurs and pros alike. The Volvo Golf Champions is no ordinary tournament, however, and there is a Volvo V40 car up for grabs on the 12th hole; but perhaps the more eye-catching vehicles are placed at the back of the 15th and 18th tees. Any player fortunate enough to ace the 15th will drive off in a Volvo Compact Excavator EC55, which is essentially a digger; whilst a hole in one at the driveable par four last will be rewarded with a Volvo FH Truck, which is essentially a juggernaut. Louis Oosthuizen has his eye on the Excavator, which could come in handy on his farm, whilst Retief Goosen was keen utilising the Truck to export his award-winning wines. I just hope he’s got a big enough garage at the vineyard to park it in…