Hennie Otto on the first day of the Betway Championship at Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg on August 19, 2020. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/Sunshine Tour/Carl Fourie
Hennie Otto on the first day of the Betway Championship at Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg on August 19, 2020. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/Sunshine Tour/Carl Fourie

For Hennie Otto, the Sunshine Tour’s new Rise-Up series is deeply personal.

When the three-time European Tour champion tees it up at Glendower Golf Club on Wednesday for the start of this week’s African Bank Sunshine Tour Championship, he will do so as a golfer rising up and looking for that next win in his career, as a husband rising up from the recent death of his wife and as a father rising up for his two young boys.

“It’s been tough. It’s hard losing your wife. But you know, you can’t sit still. You have to move on,” says Otto.

He took his sons, Hennie jnr and JJ, on a 4,500km road trip around SA for the three of them to deal with their loss.

“We visited all our friends on farms. We needed that, just to get away. It was nice for us to bond like that. The boys are in a good space now.”

And at the end of that epic journey, they have arrived at a new adventure. a new beginning.

“We’re moving to Paarl because I have a great support system there with my family. The boys are in good schools there, and I can focus on my golf.”

The focus this week will be on a Glendower Golf Club course that has always been one of Otto’s favourites. He finished second in the SA Open played there in 2013 and also second in the BMG Classic the same year.

“It’s an old-style golf course. I always get a great feeling playing there. You have to actually play that golf course and think your way around it, you can’t just bomb it off the tee. If you can get it going there, you can score really well.”

There will be an added incentive for Otto this week: Hennie jnr will be on his bag caddying for the old man.

“He is a diabetic and our doctor advised me not to send him back to school because of the coronavirus. So he’s doing online schooling but also travelling with me and caddying for me on this Rise-Up Series.”

And every evening, they will braai together. “You know me. Every night is braai night for me. It’s like I always have a fire on. I just add more wood every night and keep it going.”

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.