The Cape of Good Golf
South Africa’s golfers garner more major championships than any nationality other than Americans
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But part of that journey started long ago when he met Gary Player on a beach at Plettenbeurg Bay. He was five years old and not yet of an age where he was dreaming of being a golf champion. "I do remember what a kind and generous man he was," says Aiken. "That he was a great champion golfer wouldn't have been so important then. But it would be as I took up the game and began to love it. I have always admired Gary Player, always wanted to be like him."
Now 26, Aiken has a ways to go before he can be considered a champion golfer. He finished tied for eighth at the British Open in 2009 and had a fourth-place finish in the prestigious Alfred Dunhill Championship. But he has seven victories on the Sunshine Tour, and he says he's ready to take the next step up. "I'm pretty ready to win now," he says. "I'm being patient, waiting for the right time, working hard, waiting for the lucky break."
And Aiken does a good job of summing up the South African success story: "The weather has a lot do with it, the courses have a lot to do with it, the junior golf programs have a lot to do with it, Gary Player has a lot to do with it."
But the ultimate summing up must be left to Player himself: "We have it all here, don't we."
Jeff Williams is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.
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