The former Kaizer Chiefs defender had never played a round of golf before being thrown into the spotlight at the SuperSport Shootout, writes WADE PRETORIUS in Compleat Golfer.
When did you take up the game of golf?
I started just after hanging up my boots in 2013 when I started working for SuperSport. I was invited to be a member of their team for the Shootout.
How did that go?
Well, having never really swung a club or taken a lesson on the rules of the game, it was a bit of a disaster. The fact it was broadcast live on TV didn’t help either. I made a real hash of things and vowed from then on to improve and learn more about the game. A few years down the line and I’m hooked.
Who was your partner on that day?
Poor Mark Williams had to suffer. He’s helped me a lot and I’m pleased to be more competitive now.
What’s the state of your game now?
I’m down to a 14 and enjoying the game. If you don’t take up coaching or something like that, life beyond soccer can be a bit boring, so golf after gym fills my day. I enjoy playing all around the country, especially Highland Gate and Euphoria. My golf group does a few tours and I can’t wait to get to Knysna and George for some action down on the coast.
And have you taken your clubs abroad?
Yes, I’ve swung it in Singapore, Mauritius and Thailand. It’s great to be able to play outside South Africa but if you had to ask me to choose, I’d say our courses are still the best.
Why has it taken soccer players longer to adjust to golf than some other sportsmen?
There aren’t any similarities in the swings. Kicking a ball and the techniques used in soccer don’t translate into golf, so that’s why some former players are only doing well in golf now. I guess our competitive nature and ability to learn quickly help us, but cricketers and hockey players are definitely a step ahead of us.
What do you like about golf?
Pretty much everything. It’s good to be out in nature with your friends and then I also enjoy the networking aspect. It’s amazing how golf can bring people together.
How much golf do you watch on TV?
More than most I think. I love watching Dustin Johnson play. He’s no-nonsense and hits it a mile. But my favourite will always be Tiger Woods – I was a bit disappointed with his performance at The Masters but he’s slowly working his way into some form which is exciting. There’s definitely some life in him yet.
Do you have any hole-in-one stories to share?
Nope, I’m still waiting. I don’t like the idea of having to buy a round of drinks for a full clubhouse, so hopefully when it does happen it’ll be nice and quiet with just a few friends at the 19th hole. That does remind me to check on my insurance, though [laughs].
What club do you trust the most?
I bought the TaylorMade M4 driver recently but I couldn’t figure it out so I switched to the M3 and now I’m swinging it beautifully.
What shot intimidates you?
I freak out a bit any time water is in play. I can’t stand the thought of losing a new ball, so I get a little tense.
What is your golf dream?
I want to organise a charity golf day that is run supremely well to give back to the community. Something that contributes to the upliftment of a school or something for underprivileged kids. The day the Jimmy Tau Golf Day comes off, I will sit back a very pleased man.
Jimmy Tau, who played for Orlando Pirates before joining rivals Kaizer Chiefs in 2005, made his name as a right back who loved to advance in attack. Tau added eight Bafana Bafana caps to his name, including being part of the national team’s 2006 Afcon squad. Known for precision and uncompromisingly tough tackles, Tau retired in 2013 after amassing over 160 caps for Amakhosi. He was quickly put to work as an analyst at SuperSport, where he forms part of their world-class broadcast offering.
– This article first appeared in the June issue of Compleat Golfer, now on sale!