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erik van rooyen

‘It really didn’t matter’: Erik van Rooyen has us in tears after PGA Tour win

Erik van Rooyen won his second PGA Tour title in Mexico on Sunday, but he has bigger things at stake in his private life…

 

Golf doesn’t matter much to Erik van Rooyen right now.

He might’ve just secured his PGA Tour card through 2025 with a win in Mexico, but there are bigger things at stake.

Van Rooyen revealed his close friend and best man at his wedding, Jon Trasamar, has “six to 10 weeks left” to live.

Jon was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma about a year ago according to van Rooyen and despite becoming cancer-free back in April, the disease soon returned.

“I was calm because there’s bigger stuff in life than golf,” he said after winning the World Wide Technology Championship.

“If you look at my ball, there’s a little music note on there and the initials JT and it’s for Jon Trasamar, my best friend, who’s got Melanoma and he’s not going to make it.

“Every shot out there today was for him, and when you’re playing for something bigger than winning some silly trophy, it put’s it into perspective and at the end of the day, whether I won here or whether I lost here, it really didn’t matter.

“When something motivates you like that, whether you make a putt or miss a putt, who cares?”

The 33-year-old, who also won the 2021 Barracuda Championship, shared a room with Jon for three of the four years he was at college.

After picking up his second tour trophy, he told the poignant story of Jon and his family meeting him at Minneapolis airport in 2009 when he first left his small home town in South Africa.

“When I’m 80 years old, if I get to that age, and I look back, if I lost it I certainly wouldn’t remember it,” he said.

“I’m going to remember the people that I spent time with, the people that I love and he’s certainly one of them, so I look forward to it.

“I hope he’s watching,” he added later. “We’ve texted. I’ve just told him how much I love him and how much I miss him. All I want is to go play nine holes with him somewhere.”

Van Rooyen kept his emotions in check after opening the final round with a bogey at El Cardonal in Los Cabos, the Tiger Woods-designed track.

He completed the back nine in just 28 shots, with a clutch eagle on the 72nd hole, to beat Matt Kuchar and Camillo Villegas to the title by two shots on 27-under-par.

By winning in the Fall Series, van Rooyen has secured a spot at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Players Championship in 2024, as well as rising to 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings having floated around the top-125 bubble beforehand.

But all of these accomplishments felt somewhat redundant as Jon was the only thing occupying his post-victory thoughts.

“That puts all of this into perspective. Is it fun to win golf tournaments? Yeah, it’s fun. I’ve been playing golf since I was 8 years old, extremely competitive and we want to win,” he said.

“But it doesn’t matter. When I kick the bucket one day, whenever that might be, this is not what I’m going to be thinking about. I’m going to be thinking about the people that I love the most and Jon Trasamar is one of those people.”

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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