HOT | Jayden Schaper on how his South African upbringing is helping him compete on the European Tour

Article credit: CNN’s Living Golf

In an interview with Shane O’Donoghue for CNN’s Living Golf, South African golfer Jayden Trey Schaper discussed how he wants to translate the success from his glittering amateur career into the professional game.
The 19-year-old turned pro in 2020 and told CNN that he owes much of his success to his father and coach Grant Veenstra. Schaper was the first player to win the ‘grand slam’ of junior titles in South Africa and he spoke to O’Donoghue about adapting under the increased pressure of events on the European Tour. Schaper also talked about his golfing influences, including Rory McIlroy, who the South African says he based his game off.

On adapting to compete at the highest level on the European Tour

“I’ve always loved the pressure of competing and being up at the top and once you turn professional, your amateur career, you can kind of pretty much forget about that. You start from the bottom. So, there you feel like it is a lot of expectations, but you just got to keep on going and kind of just learn from every tournament, every round, every shot you play. I’ve always loved the pressure. I love being in the moment, but yeah, there definitely is a bit of pressure to be out there and performing to prove yourself.”

 

On whether he considers Rory McIlroy to be an idol

“Definitely. I mean, I’ve followed him for quite some time I’d say ever since he came onto the circuit and he started winning majors and I’ve just loved how he is. He’s not the biggest guy out there. He’s just one of the hardest workers. He’s a great ball striker. So, I’ve kind of based my game off of his, I just love the way he plays on and off the golf course.”

On the influence of his coach Grant Veenstra

“He got to know me as a kid, as a player. So, my coach and my dad are the two people that probably know me the most out of anyone. He’s been more of a mentor than a coach. It’s just been more of a friendship than anything, we’ve travelled around the world together. He’s caddied for me, he’s been coaching me for so many years, so he knows exactly how I work, how I process things.”

 

On the role of his family and competing for junior titles in South Africa

“My dad has always told me that the minute I started walking, he put a golf club straight in my hand and kind of just took off from there… I was competing straight out the block and I think I won my first [tournament] was when I was seven and from then on just kept practising, going to the range every day. My dad just kept it as fun as possible for me, I was still a youngster and I won my first national event when I was 11 years old in the SA Boys Under-13.”

About Simone Anderson

Simone Anderson is the owner and founder of the JUNIOR GOLFER SA magazine as well as Simone Anderson Design and Layout Solutions.