WATCH OUT WORLD! SA has a 7 year old Tiger on the riseJune 10, 2019
WHILST the golfing world’s attention will be on Tiger Woods this week when the Big Cat will be attempting to win his second major of the year, it is another Tiger that has stolen the early headlines as we enter the US Open week at Pebble Beach in California.
Simthandile Tshabalala or Sim Tiger, as he is affectionately known, is a mere seven years old but the South African toddler is already being touted as a golfing superstar of the future.
The African Tiger won the US Kids Championship this past weekend and already shows signs that he possesses the confidence of a young Woods at his best, a smooth swing ala Louis Oosthuizen and the hands of Seve in his hey-day.
He took to Twitter to announce this magnificent achievement. “I had that birdie putt to be crowned champion after an intense 3 rounds of play offs. 5 birdies and I am the U.S kids golf Champion. Thank you for the support,” he said.
Tshabalala, who hails from Fourways in Johannesburg, has only been playing competitive golf for nine months but his trophy cabinet already hosts “almost 30 trophies.” He has played in the United States, Malaysia, Australia and Scotland with trips to the US, Canada, Costa Rica and Brazil already scheduled for the rest of 2019.
Bonginkosi Tshabalala, who plays the dual role of father and caddy, says the charismatic Sim shows a keen interest in sports. “We started him on sports when he was just two years old just to identify his talent with the intention to support him as best we can.”
We tried him at tennis, cricket, swimming and football. He is captain of his football team and also does athletics so he is a true all-rounder,” the older Tshabalala explained.
SMOOTH: Sim has a smooth swing for a 7-year-old.
The future for the Tshabalalas is seemingly very bright but that wasn’t always the case. “I grew up in the rural areas with no exposure to sport or decent facilities. I grew up with an absent father so I made it a point that I will be there for my kids and I want them to live a life that’s better than mine.”
Despite facing adversity, Bonginkosi, now a successful businessman, was determined to excel. ”I graduated with an honours in information systems from the University of Pretoria and MBA at Gibs. My wife, Bongeka, grew up in a shack in a poor community but she also graduated with a Bcom law from the University of the Western Cape.
“Tiger Woods.” he said when asked who his favourite player is. “Because of his achievements and being the first black player to win the Masters and just because he dominated golf the way he did.”
SUPERSTAR: Sim has already almost 30 trophies in a mere 9 months!
When asked where he got his nickname from, the young star was very happy to share the story. “I got the name at the World Championship in Malaysia in 2018. The people there saw my swing and then started calling me Tiger. After that the US Kids officials started calling me Sim Tiger.”
Woods of course, completed his comeback from injury and other setbacks to win the Masters in April this year, a tournament that Sim now has set his sights on. “I want to turn pro and win the Masters one day. I also want to own my own business.” he said confidently.
Take note world, the next generation Tigers are coming through. They have Twitter, charisma and most importantly, the game to become great…
Follow Sim on Twitter @Tiger_Sim