Who are some of the better golfers in the Proteas set-up?
That’s quite a tricky question. All the boys can play a bit, it just depends on how often they play and where. When we are on tour, we always try play a round or two. Often, after David Miller has been up to the tee box, you have to repair some divots. He and Graeme Smith always take big chunks out of the tee box
What is your handicap?
I’m playing off a five. I was as low down as a three previously, but my game has improved quite a bit and I’m happy with that five for now.
And some of your best scores?
I shot a 69 at Clovelly a couple of years ago and I recently shot a 71 at Kuils River, which was very nice. Those are pretty much the best, as far as I can remember.
What is the strongest part of your game?
The drive, certainly. I’m proud of my long game, but I’ve got a steady short game too. If I were to pick something about my golf I like the most, it has got to be my drive.
What are the best courses you have played?
We are so blessed in South Africa, especially down in Cape Town, where we have Pearl Valley as well as Arabella. In the greater Southern Cape, we’ve got some really great courses there, too. Pinnacle Point, Pezula, Fancourt – those are right up there with my favourites. But definitely Pearl Valley and Arabella as the top two I’ve played, and enjoyed some of my best golf there.
What is your favourite Major?
Unofficially, the Players Championship is right up there for me. I enjoy watching that. It’s a whole different story watching golf without Tiger Woods on the television, though. There are some exciting young guys on the scene. Guys like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler make any tournament worth watching when there is the time to do so. Adam Scott is also fun to watch. Those guys all compete well with each other, but as I said, it’s not the same watching without Tiger around.
Have you ever had a hole-in-one?
I’ve come close on a few occasions, but never got one, no. I made a two on the 5th hole at Rondebosch not so long ago. I said to some of the guys at the time that must have been the closest I have ever got to a hole-in-one. Obviously, hitting the green straight away is right up there for me – very pleasing. I obviously would like to get an ace one day.
What is your dream fourball?
I would have to fit Tiger’s name in there somehow. The other two would have to be Jason Day and Rickie Fowler. Away from world-class golfers like those guys, I would definitely share a fourball with some of my close mates – like Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince and Robin Peterson. Perhaps the choice would also go down to one or two other of my mates. I have a friend, Carlos, who I play quite a lot with. We all enjoy taking money off each other, so it’s always good fun out there when we get to play.
Vernon Philander has played 32 Tests, 30 ODIs and seven T20Is for South Africa. He has taken 126 Test wickets, the first 50 of which were taken in record-breaking time – just seven matches. A solid all-rounder, he sports plenty of ability with willow or iron in hand, exemplified by booming cover or fairway drives.