The Hack: To err is human

It’s easy to forget they’re human sometimes.

Week in and week out we’re left amazed by the feats of professional sportsmen and women.

The highlights reel is chock full of footballers and their wonder-strikes, batsmen blasting the ball to all parts of the ground and golfers bombing drives down the fairways of the world’s best courses.

It’s awe-inspiring stuff. But every now and again we’re brought back to earth and shown that to err is human.

Ask Ernie Els about the one-foot putt he missed last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the home of golf, St Andrews.

Don’t worry Ernie, it happens to all of us. Hackers around the world were made to feel a little better about their games after witnessing one of South Africa’s best ever golfers miss a sitter.

My regular golf buddies would have given that as a gimme – although truth be told I’ve missed from there before under pressure in a team matchplay situation – but the world of tournament golf is less forgiving.

For the duration of this week I’ve been fortunate enough to make Sun City my home for a few days of rest and relaxation before the rigours of the cricket season, and with a few other codes chucked in for good measure, fill up my time.

Being that close to two of South Africa’s golfing gems as far as courses go it was a given that there would be a round involved. Just a pity that after a blistering start at the Gary Player Country Club I faded meekly in the closing stretch to sign for a 94. My dreams of being a paid professional well and truly constrained by my high handicap.

While our time on the course on Tuesday was purely for leisure by the time the field for this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge will descend on the Pilansberg in a little less than two months time but their trip will be all business.

With the grandstands all just about erected and the course in immaculate condition it’s clear that it’s been a busy few months for the staff at the course. Walking the layout and trying to imagine what it’s like when the stands are full is somewhat daunting.

Heck, I’m not really a fan of having too many people on the first tee watching the start of a round.

I’m fairly sure that Els has forgotten about that short putt. Given the schedules of professionals there’s no point dwelling on the past. Like the often quoted poet Alexander Pope wrote ‘to err is human, to forgive divine.’

It’s easy to think that the pros live a charmed life, and to some extent they do especially when you think of the swollen bank balances, but these days schedules are jam-packed and the number of obligations during events high.

Think of the Proteas and their 70-odd day journey in India across all three formats. That’s a long time to be away from home. A hotel bed is great for a couple of days but nothing beats sleeping in your own space.

It’s true what they say, there’s no place like home.

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