SA golf has a new "Grand Slam champion"

Michael Vlismas

Thanks to the PGA of South Africa, this country will have another "Grand Slam champion" when veteran rules official Theo Manyama attends the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin this month.

The 72-year-old Manyama has risen from the streets of Soweto to become one of world golf's most respected rules officials and a man known by the world's leading professional golfers, from Tiger Woods to Ernie Els to Miguel Angel Jiminez.

His record at the Majors puts him in an elite club that has seen him invited to officiate at 16 Masters, nine US Opens and 19 Open Championships. And all of these have been consecutive appearances.

But despite several invites to officiate at golf's fourth Major, the PGA Championship, Manyama has been unable to attend for a lack of financial support.

However this year, Manyama, who is also a Master Professional of the PGA of South Africa, will have his air ticket paid for by the PGA of SA.

"I am so grateful because I have some wonderful memories of the Majors," he said. "When Ernie Els won the 2012 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes, I was with him on the 18th green. And people watching on TV said the commentators were saying, ‘That man next to Ernie is Theo Manyama, one of the best rules officials in golf'. That made me proud that I could also add to the glory of our country in that moment," said Manyama.

"I remember going up to Phil Mickelson once to give him a ruling, and again some of my friends watching on TV told me the commentators said, ‘Oh, here's Theo Manyama. Phil is in good hands here'. It's wonderful to be respected for your hard work."

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About the PGA of South Africa

The Professional Golfers Association of South Africa is a members' organization of over 500 qualified Club Professionals. The PGA was founded in 1925 and lists amongst its members over the years many of South Africa's greatest golfers and most dedicated servants of the game.

The PGA is committed to training and serving golf pros whose principal aim is to offer a highly professional service to golfers in all aspects of the game.

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