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Local caddie bags big bonus after Storm’s win

Thama Jeffrey Nkonyane is about to collect the biggest cheque of his 32-year long career after helping England’s Graeme Storm to victory in the BMW SA Open at a packed and thrilled Glendower on Sunday afternoon.

The Englishman went toe to toe with Rory McIlroy, but came out on top at the third playoff hole.

Storm might have weathered the onslaught of the world’s No2 player, but a tsunami is about to hit Nkonyane’s bank account after the 37-year-old Storm pocketed R2.3-million for his efforts.

‘This will definitely be the biggest pay-day of my life and of course the money is going to be great, but this is the proudest day of my career,’ said the 51-year-old from Soweto.

‘It was very special to win the SA Open in front of my home crowd with Graeme, because we’ve known each for many years.

‘I caddied for him in his amateur days, when he came out to South Africa as a youngster to compete in the SA Stroke Play and SA Match Play. Then I picked up his bag again at the SA Open in 2004. We always reconnect when he comes to South Africa and he calls on me if he doesn’t bring his own bagman. This time his caddy went on honeymoon, so he called and I came.’

Over the last three decades, Nkonyana has carried many bags and some of his favourites included Hugh Baiocchi, the late Wayne Westner and Woody Austin.

After so many years playing mother, father, psychologist and caddy brought a lot of experience and he knew his job was to keep Storm’s head in the game.

‘Graeme had never played with Rory before, so we knew it was going to be a stressful day at the office, but I have to say, the South African golf fans had a lot to do with his win,’ Nkonyane said.

‘At almost every hole, for every shot, they cheered just as hard for Graeme as they did for Rory and that really gave us a lot of confidence. Graeme didn’t have time to feel the nerves.

‘My job was to keep him looking ahead and keep him in the game. I kept telling him not to get angry or upset and hurt himself. We worked well together and he had the confidence to tackle Rory.

‘I am so proudly South African today. This just shows you that we are as good as caddies anywhere in the world and I hope the youngsters watching saw what Graeme and I did today. You can achieve anything if you work hard and you keep trying.’

Picture of Nkonyane and Storm courtesy of Ernest Blignault


3 comments
Redowan Patel
Redowan Patel

It's all well that Nkonyane gets a big pay day ensuring a well deserved victory for Storm...But im pretty sure many of our caddies in South Africa have the potential to participate and win major golf competitions...what can be done to get them playing in the mainstream competitions..on the national and international circuit...SASCOC how best do we arrive at this point....

Lorinda Nel
Lorinda Nel

Nkonyane you are a rolemodel for many..... thank you! Well done to you and the champ on a very good game!!!!!!