Dean Burmester finished seventh in the Alfred Dunhill Links championship, with two great rounds at St Andrews in October. In July he will be back on the Old Course for the 150th Open Championship and says his experience from the Dunhill Links will be a massive help. His greatest goal is to become the next South African winner of a Major Championship.
Question: As the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews draws nearer, you have been very clear on your Major ambitions and the role that the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship plays in this?
Dean Burmester: The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is a massive week for me. If you want to win The Open, you need to learn how to play links golf and we’ve got three great links courses we play in that tournament. My goal is to definitely to become South Africa’s next Major champion. I’ve got two Majors this year, and hopefully three. I want to be challenging in the Majors.
Question: What are your memories from Royal St George’s last year?
Dean Burmester: Last year in The Open I had a flash and was in the top five for about nine holes which was great. I saw my name up there. As a boy growing up, that’s where you want to be. You dream of standing at The Open with the claret jug, or at The Masters with a green jacket on come Sunday. I want to give myself a chance in a Major on the back nine on a Sunday. I’d be pretty happy just to have that chance right now.
Question: You certainly seem to enjoy links golf. You finished tied seventh in last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and were the leading South African in the field?
Dean Burmester: To finish as the top South African is quite an honour because we had a pretty strong South African contingent, as we always do there. I had a great week. I loved my time at St Andrews. I played two great rounds on the Old Course, and to cap it off with seventh place was awesome.
Question: You again showed your love for links golf when a few weeks later you won the South African PGA Championship at the St Francis Links course?
Dean Burmester: The South African PGA Championship is one I’ve had on my list for a long time. To put my name on a trophy with what must be ten or more Major champions is great. As I said, hopefully I can be South Africa’s next Major champion.
Question: Speaking of South African Major champions, you played your first competitive round of golf with double US Open champion Retief Goosen at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Challenge Tour in February this year. How was that experience?
Dean Burmester: It was my first round of golf with Retief Goosen. It was nice to watch him up close. He oozes grace and charisma and the game is still there. He’s got one of the best mental games out there. He’s always had that. We spoke about the Champions Tour and the fire is still clearly burning in him. I’m sure he wants to win a few senior Majors. If he keeps playing like he’s doing he’ll definitely have a shot at them.”
Question: How much are you enjoying being part of a great generation of young South African golfers who are doing well around the world?
Dean Burmester: It’s a massive time for South African golf. Our pro’s and our amateurs are doing well. Golf in South Africa in general is in a good place. We’ve got seven golfers in the top 100 in the world, and at times this year we’ve had even more. I think we had 13 of our golfers competing at the PGA Championship last year, which was a record. If we can keep moving forward like this we’ll see more and more young talent coming from South Africa.