Sean Crocker will have to wait a little longer before he can tee up in the country’s flagship golf championship after being forced to withdraw from the 2018 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open due to commitments on the European Tour.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 21-year-old United States-based star was expected to take part in the R2 million Zimbabwe Open which tees off tomorrow at Royal Harare Golf Club, five years after putting on a superb show on his debut in the Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned tournament as an amateur.
NewsDay Sport can, however, reveal that Crocker’s agency informed the Zimbabwe Open organisers of his withdrawal after the player had received a European Tour invite for the €2 500 000 Hassan II Golf Trophy which also tees off in Morocco tomorrow.
Crocker’s agency, the Switzerland-based Impact Point AG, which also manages former Masters champion, Sergio Garcia, believe the Zimbabwean needs to concentrate on securing his playing privileges on the US-based Web.com Tour and the European Tour at this stage in his young career.
The player’s father, who is a former Zimbabwe international cricketer Gary Crocker, said his son was disappointed to miss out on the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open.
“Sean’s management team advised him to focus on the Web.com and European tour at this stage in his career as this was where his immediate future lies. He was very disappointed with this decision but agreed with it in principle,” Gary told NewsDay Sport from his US base.
“He was looking very forward to meeting up with everyone again and was hoping to give the local crowds a good show. He was determined to win his home tournament and even flew back there last month to practice at Royal Harare and felt confident that he had a real chance of winning it,” he said.
Crocker Snr said his son was now looking forward to make use of the opportunity to play on the European Tour before he shifts his attention to the Web.com Tour, which is the developmental tour for the US PGA Tour.
“He will be teeing it up at the Morocco Open on Thursday (tomorrow) on a European tour invite. Invites don’t come easy and it will be his last invite on the European Tour this year. He will then focus on getting a few starts on the Web.com. Tour before playing in the Open Championship in Scotland in July,” he said.
Crocker was only 16 when he charmed local golf in the 2013 Zimbabwe Open, going to finish as the top placed amateur in the field after carding rounds of 69, 74, 72 and 73 for total of level-par 288. Now aged 21, the star has continued to live up to the early hype and is already making a big impression as he tries to earn himself a place on the European Tour.
The Zimbabwe-born star has no official status on the European Tour and played his first five events of the season on invites, securing an impressive pair of top 10 finishes in Australia.
Crocker also managed another top 10 finish on the Asian Tour with his tie for sixth place in the SMBC Singapore Open earning him qualification for the 147th Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie, United Kingdom in July.
Although now based in the US, Crocker, who describes his participation in the 2013 Zimbabwe Open as his greatest golf moment, remains proud of his Zimbabwean roots and returns to the country regularly to reconnect with friends and family.