European Tour

Aiken going through 'hell'

Thomas Aiken (File)
Thomas Aiken (File)

St Andrews - Thomas Aiken's 2019 European Tour and world ranking stats going into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship beginning in Scotland on Thursday don't look that encouraging considering he is one of the best professional golfers to come out of South Africa.

The 36-year-old, three-time European Tour winner from Johannesburg and multiple champion back home is a lowly 142nd on the 2019 Race to Dubai and has dropped to 384th in the world rankings?

So, why the slump?

Well, it's not his golf that has gone sour but things happening off the course, circumstances out of his control, that have kept the birdies away.

For one, it's been a difficult year at home with he and his wife Katie looking after their two little ones, 23-month-old Lily and five-month-old Sawyer - whose birth left Katie dangerously ill and hemorrhaging.

Then, early this month, Hurricane Dorian with its devastating 320km/h winds - "Opening the Doors to Hell" as the Wall Street Journal described it - hit the Great Abaco island in the Bahamas where the Aikens have a home.

"Part of our roof was blown off and the house was flooded but that's nothing compared to what other folk suffered on the island," says Aiken.

"Many people lost absolutely everything and by last count there were 53 known dead and of the island's 120 000 people, 1 500 are still missing and presumed dead.

"It's been unbelievably tragic and golf has been the last thing on my mind. So I'm here at the Dunhill just trying to get some kind of focus back on the game, but it hasn't been easy, and it isn't easy. All I can do is try my best and see what happens."

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