MARANA, Ariz. – George Coetzee confesses he partied too much for his own good while going to school in the United States, but he wouldn’t mind one more good party this week.
The fun-loving South African wouldn’t mind celebrating an upset of Rory McIlroy on his way to a good showing at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Though Coetzee will play for the first time professionally in the United States when he takes on McIlroy in the first round, he’s no stranger in America.
Coetzee, 25, played for Phil Mickelson’s brother, Tim, at the University of San Diego, for a brief but wild time in his life. He lasted one semester.
“There’s a good reason why I only lasted four months,” Coetzee said.
Coetzee liked his fun.
“We partied too much,” Coetzee said. “I think we went to Tijuana one night. I don’t know if the coach knows it, but I guess he will now. We got back very late, and I got into trouble. I don’t think I should go on from there.”
Coetzee said he had so much fun in San Diego, he couldn’t break 80 by the time he left.
“I came back [to South Africa] and had to play in my National Open,” Coetzee said. “I played with Retief Goosen and Tim Clark because I’d won the National Amateur that year. I shot 88-85. So I had to kind of make a decision, either play golf, or go back and take my studies seriously.”
Coetzee is taking the golf pretty seriously now. Though he is looking for his first European Tour title, he finished second once last year and was third four times. He finished fifth this season at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and sixth at the Abu Dhabi Championship.