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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Former Springbok father and son tee off at Alfred Dunhill Links together

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It is an emotional week for former Springboks and father-son duo Schalk Burger Sr and Schalk Burger Jr, as they tee off together at the 2023 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

The 2023 instalment of the Alfred Dunhill links will be played on three courses from October 5 to October 8, namely the St Andrews Old Course [the home of golf], Carnoustie Golf Links, and Kingsbarn Golf Links.

It is a stop on the European Tour.

The left-handed Burger junior has his work cut out for him this week, as his dad played in 18 Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.

Day 1 on the first tee at the Old Course, former Springbok Schalk Burger Jr makes his debut appearance as an amateur competitor in the championship, watched by his father Schalk Burger Sr. Picture: Ian McIlgorm

In 2007, Burger, 67, finished third in the team event with his son Tiaan as his caddie.

It will be the first time that world cup-winning Springbok Burger Jr, 40, will play at one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

Besides his golfing phenomenon father, Burger Jr will go up against English brothers and pro golfers Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

South African professional golfers at the event include Thriston Lawrence, Jaco Prinsloo, and young guns Hennie du Plessis and Aldrich Potgieter.

Burger Jr said golf and rugby were similar in ways as well.

“It’s a complete bucket list item for me. When I received the invite, there was no hesitation. Lucky for me, the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup schedule and my commentary duties also worked out as they have a break now. But I’ve got quite big shoes to fill at this event because everyone I speak to says, ‘Your dad is an absolute legend here’,” said Burger Jr.

“I actually think rugby and golf are similar in that it’s when you’re off the field or on the fairways and sharing stories that’s the most rewarding. If you ask me what was the most outstanding moment of my rugby career, it’s not about the trophies or World Cups I’ve won. It’s more about the friends I’ve made and the memories of special times together,” Burger Jr added.

Burger Sr, who made his first appearance for the World Champions in 1984 against England in Port Elizabeth, said it was a privilege to play the tournament with his son, who reflected on early golf memories with Burger Jr.

“Being alive is a privilege, and being alive in a place like this during this week, even more so. Schalk and I have had wonderful memories on the golf course.

“From his first birdie using a cut-off two iron when he was only four-years-old to watching him as a young boy play golf with Ernie Els, to this week playing together here in St Andrews, I only have good memories,” Burger Sr said.


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