Akani Simbine arrives for his mixed-mixed doubles match on Day 5 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Maracanã Stadium. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Akani Simbine, from South Africa, is the first Black professional golfer to have gained top-60 status in the world rankings. Simbine is a quiet and straight-laced young man who enjoys golf and a good conversation. And he has more in common with one of golf’s greatest names than he might realize. He has been compared to Tiger Woods, whose impeccable performance on the golf course was studded with numerous accomplishments off it. Simbine might have reached the top of his game with a name as memorable as his.
Only 28, Simbine began his pro career in 2015. He had just finished his sophomore year at University of Illinois when he decided to leave college behind. He already had qualified for the top 60 at the end of the 2015 season, and had career earnings north of $1 million. Simbine credits his parents and older brother — who also broke barriers in professional golf and later earned PGA Tour status — with instilling in him the desire to pursue his professional golf career. Simbine began working as a caddie when he was 15. “When I was a little kid I really wanted to learn how to play golf,” he told Golf Digest. “I wanted to learn how to play on my own and I liked to compete and I like being out there and in the spotlight. So it really wasn’t that difficult for me to figure out that I wanted to do that.”
Already the course at Gleneagles in Scotland is named after PGA player Keith Baldus, and Baldus also played at the club at some point, The Telegraph reports.
Read the full story at Golf Digest.
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