Chances are, when James Hart du Preez needs a new set of golf clubs, he doesn’t buy them off the rack like the rest of us. Du Preez is a 6’9, 260-pound newcomer who made his PGA Tour debut this week.
Currently ranked 1,319 in the world, the 26-year-old is participating in The American Express, thanks to a sponsor exemption.
“A lot of people want to be tall, but they don’t understand the things that come with it, because your body accelerates so quickly and the forces you can generate are hard to control,” du Preez told Golfweek.
— Michael Farley (@michaelfarleyza) January 21, 2022
Du Preez hit the course for the first time Friday with mixed results. He shot a 4-over 76, but also hit two drives over 400 yards – 41 yards longer than the next closest golfer. Not surprisingly, it’s du Preez’s long game that’s become the stuff of legend around the links.
While playing on The Sunshine Tour in South Africa last year, du Preez averaged better than 373 yards per drive. And yet he says that’s still not the best part of his game.
“When people see me, obviously they don’t see 6-9 golfers come around very often, so the first thing they gravitate towards is the long-hitting. But funny enough, putting is the best part of my game and has been since I was a little kid,” du Preez told Golfweek. “I didn’t grow until late in my life, until about 16 or 17, so before then, I never hit the ball far. So I had to learn how to score chipping and putting.”
Now that he’s made the Tour (albeit, via exemption), he’s hoping to stick around for a while, telling Golfweek: “For me, the goal is I hope to prove, more to myself than to anyone else, that I can play with these guys. It can be a little bit dangerous to only consider titles and winning as a measure of success. You can tick a lot of boxes along the way, and I’m just looking to tick some of those boxes this week.”
Du Preez then added, “Being on the PGA is the goal.”
A tall task no doubt, but Du Preez so far seems to measure up.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF