The dynamic left-handed Proteas batsman reveals how he came to play golf right-handed and the embarrassment of taking a divot in New Zealand, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
How often do you get to play golf?
It all depends on the country we’re in, but I try to aim for two rounds a tour. The courses in New Zealand and Australia are generally pretty good, so the team has a great time over there. I try to cash in during the off-season and get a lot of golf in. It’s social and an excellent way to catch up with mates. I’m playing off a 12-handicap, but I’m working on getting down to single figures.
The Proteas are notorious for being low handicappers, though, aren’t they?
That doesn’t really bother me. On my day I can handle myself against anyone, and I like taking advantage of the extra shots they have to give me.
Do any grudge matches take place on tour?
One certainly springs to mind … Kyle Abbott and myself enjoy taking on [coaches] Claude Henderson and Adrian Birrell in a battle of the young ’uns against the old, experienced duo. It’s very competitive with loads of banter and we all have a good time. They always ask us for some extra shots, but that’s not the way it works [laughs] …
Do you have any favourite golf courses?
It’s tough to choose locally between Cotswold Downs and Zimbali. In fact, Durban has some pretty special tracks, but you can’t go wrong between Cotswold Downs and Zimbali. The Australian in Sydney is absolutely beautiful and is a real treat to play.
You used to play left-handed?
I played left-handed for most of my life until a particularly frustrating round about three years ago. I played the last hole right-handed and made a bogey on a tough par-five. Kyle suggested I stick to playing right-handed because I couldn’t get any worse. It felt awkward at the time, but I’m used to it now.
Are there any embarrassing moments on the course you’d like to share with us?
Ha, ha, yes. I was playing a really nice course in New Zealand and after taking yet another large divot from the rough, I heard some shouting from a tee box. I responded by walking closer and being very polite, but my friendliness was not reciprocated. While I heard ‘Howzit, David’, the elderly Kiwi gent was actually yelling, in a thick accent, ‘Fix your divot’. I quickly turned away to attend to my issue. I still get teased about it.
Which shot do you struggle with the most?
The tee box still gets me a little nervous, especially on a narrow par-four where you know you have to hit the fairway if you want to make par.
Where do your on-course strengths lie?
I don’t want to jinx it, but I enjoy putting. I reckon I have a pretty good feel around the greens and love sinking a few putts.
DAVID MILLER BIO
David Miller is an aggressive left-handed batsman with a penchant for clearing the ropes. The 27-year-old made his debut for the Proteas in May 2010 and has a strike rate of above 100 in ODIs and T20s. The big-hitting middle-order batsman has three limited-overs centuries to his name, the last coming as he spearheaded the Proteas to the second-highest run chase in ODI history against Australia at Kingsmead in October.
– This article first appeared in the November issue of Compleat Golfer