Everything is coming up roses

2014-07-20 15:00

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South African-born Englishman Justin Rose has already been confirmed as a contestant in this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City in December.

This follows his stunning wins on the European and PGA tours in the space of three weeks.

Breaking his winless drought after capturing his first major, the US Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, last year, Rose took the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland, on Sunday, carding an impressive -16 for a total of 288.

Before that, he lifted the Quicken Loans National trophy at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, in a one-hole play-off over Shawn Stefani of the US.

Rose’s fine form on the fairways has put a smile on the face of Alastair Roper, the Nedbank Challenge tournament director, who said the Englishman would make his sixth appearance in “Africa’s Major”.

“Being born here, Rose has always felt a special affinity for South Africa as he still has family in the country,” said Roper.

“It will be nice to have him take part in this year’s tournament,” he said.

The 33-year-old player, who is in the field that is contesting the Open Championship taking place at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, is up to the task of making a mark here.

He made his debut in the challenge in 2007 and came second to South African Trevor Immelman that year.

Rose finished tied seventh behind Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn last year.

His connection to South Africa brings into focus a few of the other sports personalities with strong bonds to Mzansi who are now citizens of other countries.

Tennis star Roger Federer, for instance, holds Swiss and South African passports.

Several sporting luminaries have their hearts deeply embedded in South Africa as they were born here, but now represent other countries.

They include retired soccer star Sean Dundee, cricketer Kevin Pietersen and New Zealand rugby player Andrew Mehrtens.

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