Bogey for black caddies

2014-04-20 15:00

Internationally acclaimed South African caddies Justice Matshaya and Simon Masilo say they would like to see more of their colleagues to follow in their footsteps.

The pair have travelled the world working with various top players in key contests on the European and US PGA tours, and have made a fortune from their efforts.

This marks them out as members of a select group in Mzansi who make a “decent living” from caddying.

But Matshaya wants to see more black caddies coming through the ranks on the big stage. He said: “There are a number of good ones out there who have what it takes to make the grade. It’s just that some of them are not being utilised by some of the players.

“Most of the white pros on the tours deprive our caddies of the chance to make some money by sidelining them in

preference of their relatives. This is bad.” Matshaya (56), from Pimville in Soweto, spent five years with Charl Schwartzel when the 2011 US Masters winner

was still finding his feet on the greens. He steered the Vereeniging-born player towards victory in the Spanish Open in Madrid in 2007, which he won by a single stroke.

The caddie had worked in Europe in 1998, where he carried the clubs for Jeev Milkha Singh – the first Indian golfer to join the European Tour. Other big names he has assisted include the UK’s David Park and Mark James.

The last time Matshaya was involved on the big stage was in December last year, when he shouldered the bag for

Englishman Richard Finch during the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club in Mpumalanga. Finch finished second to Schwartzel at the event.

Masilo (49), who hails from Mondeor in southern Joburg, is regarded as one of the finest caddies in the country. He has been in the game for 30 years, 18 of which were spent with Ernie Els on tour, winning several events with the Big Easy including three Nedbank Golf Challenge titles.

Other big names “Shorty” – as Masilo is known at the Soweto Country Club where he sharpens his skills along with

Matshaya – has worked with are Fulton Allem, a South African-born pro now based in the UK; and American US Open winner Corey Pavin. Masilo has also rubbed shoulders with top players like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Masilo is optimistic the situation for black caddies will improve in future. “Our caddies will get a chance to make a mark abroad as well,” he said.

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