29th June 2022 | Big Easy Tour
Sandys overcomes misfortune to compete on the Altron Big Easy Tour
It is not how many times you fall that matters but how many times you rise.
This old adage rings true for Sunshine Tour veteran, Omar Sandys, who has seen it all on Tour. With a professional career spanning 23 years, the Schoeman Park Golf Club member has been one of the mainstays on both the Sunshine Tour and the Altron Big Easy Tour until a near-fatal accident threatened to abruptly end his long career last year.
“I was coaching 14 kids in the North West,” Sandys recalls, “my work now is coaching kids and changing their lives. On my way back, after 6 pm, there was a steenbok in the road and it was moving out of the way but for some reason when it got closer, it jumped under my front and back wheel on the left.
“Before I knew it, I was on the side of the road where the tree was about 15 meters from me. I hit the tree, my body was just past the tree and the car tilted with the roof of the back seat into the tree. When the car landed on its tires, trying to get my breath back, I said to myself: “Omar you need to do something now so I went straight down and I prayed. I had broken my collar bone and I could not move.”
Shocked and afraid, Sandys’ long career looked set for an unceremonious end.
“I couldn’t stand straight,” adds Sandys. “and after 12 days I went home, walking with my hands on my knees because some tissues in my ribs got injured. But on one Saturday morning, my wife went outside to check the laundry, my daughter went to check the water and the oil of the car and my son went to swing his golf club because he was on his way to play golf. When they came back, I was dancing.”
Not for the first time in his life, Sandys had risen through adversity. His career on the Sunshine Tour has been defined by joy, struggle, pain and survival. In the latter years of his career, Sandys has often found himself having to battle through Qualifying School and the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament to earn his playing privileges. But he never let up.
“The one thing that’s kept me going, other than faith, is knowing that a man is defined by how many times he rises above problems, not how many times he falls because of them,” he says. “I’m still walking with the catheter even now but I will not let these struggles get in my way. The main thing for me was to get back on the Sunshine Tour and to also show the kids that I’m coaching that it’s not how you fall but how you stand up. How you fight forward and have a better mission in the future.
“Even getting back on the Big Easy Tour is to say to all the youngsters who are on the Big Easy Tour, especially those of colour, there’s a lot of things that came through for them, a lot of good things. I want them to stop complaining and go out there and do what they’re here for which is swinging the golf club and playing golf. Altron has come on board and there is now more to play for in terms of money and opportunities. Make use of the opportunity.”
When he is not teeing it up on the Altron Big Easy Tour, Sandys is happy to spend hours at his golf range where he teaches golf to young girls and boys in the North West.
“We use golf to change children’s lives,” Sandys explains, “we’re trying to give the kids more opportunities and change their golf and their whole world and also give them the opportunity that my kids are having.”
Having turned professional back in 1999, Sandys boasts 366 starts on the Sunshine Tour while making over a million-rand in earnings while his best finish on the Order of Merit is the 18th position he obtained in the 2007 season.