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Vincent Vesele Tshabalala (16 March 1942 – 3 June 2017) was a South African professional golfer. He won a number of tournaments organised by the non-white Tournament Players Association and in 1976 he won the French Open.

Vincent Tshabalala
Personal information
Full name Vincent Vesele Tshabalala
Born (1942-03-16)16 March 1942
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died 3 June 2017(2017-06-03) (aged 75)
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Nationality  South Africa
Residence Johannesburg, South Africa
Turned professional 1963
Former tour(s) European Tour
Southern Africa Tour
European Seniors Tour
Professional wins 9
Number of wins by tour
European Tour 1
Other 8
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship T56: 1977
PGA Championship DNP



Tshabalala was born on 16 March 1942 to Philip and Maria Tshabalala in Rietvlei and had eight siblings. He attended George Goch school and shortly thereafter completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic. Tshabalala was introduced to golf at Rietvlei Golf Club, where he worked as a caddie after school, and saved up for golf clubs to pursue his passion for golf, a sport that was historically a white sport. When he turned professional it was with a mixed set of clubs bought 1 by 1.

Tshabalala started competing professionally in the 1960s on the Non-European Tour, where he had six wins, four second-place finished and third place once.[1] He was barred from the Southern African Tour in his prime during the 1970s as a result of apartheid; however with assistance from Gary Player he gained entry to tournaments on the European Tour. He made his European Tour debut at the Madrid Open at Puerto de Hierro on 28 April 1976, finishing tied for 45th place. The following week, he claimed a shock victory in the French Open at Le Touquet while pulling his own bag, finishing two strokes ahead of Salvador Balbuena, winning £3,570.[2] That season, he played nine events and would finish joint 7th in the Sumrie-Bournemouth Better-Ball (with John O'Leary), 17th at the Italian Open and joint 21st in the Piccadilly Medal.[3]

Later in 1976, Tshabalala was selected in to partner Gary Player in World Cup but refused for political reasons.[1] He also played on the Southern Africa Tour after racial restrictions preventing black golfers from playing the tour were removed in the early 1970s.[4] He finished in the top-10 10 times and in the top-15 16 times, counting both regular and senior events.[5] In 1982, Tshabalala became a member of the PGA and as president of the PGA in 1990, he played an integral part in uniting the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and Tournament Players Association (TGA).

Tshabalala played on the European Seniors Tour from its formation in 1992. He was twice runner-up; behind John Fourie in the 1992 Belfast Telegraph Irish Senior Masters and behind Maurice Bembridge in the 1996 Hippo Jersey Seniors.[3] He won the Nelson Mandela Invitational in both 2004 and 2005, playing with Ernie Els in the former year and with Tim Clark in the latter year.

Tshabalala received several national awards including a Presidential Sports Award from President Thabo Mbeki, inducted to the Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame in 2010, a lifetime achievement award from Union of Golf Societies in 2005, a certificate of recognition from City of Johannesburg in 2003 for his dedication to overcome racial barriers in sport and a golf award from SABC Sports for his excellent contribution to the promotion and development of golf as the premier sport in South Africa.

After his active career he became a dedicated teacher of golf, more of interest to help and see people gain than to earn money. For four years he worked as pro at Mälarbadens GC in Sweden during the summers.

Tshabalala played his full shots cross-handed.

Tshabalala died on 3 June 2017 at the age of 75.[6] He is buried at Avalon cemetery in Soweto.

Professional wins (9)Edit

Non-European Tour (6)Edit

  • 1965 South African Non-European Open
  • 1971 South African Non-European Open
  • 1972 Transvaal Non-European Open, Natal Non-European Open
  • 1977 South African Non-European Open
  • 1983 South African Non-European Open

European Tour wins (1)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 9 May 1976 French Open −16 (69-70-66-67=272) 2 strokes   Salvador Balbuena

Southern Africa wins (2)Edit

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1976 1977
The Open Championship CUT T56

Note: Tshabalala only played in The Open Championship.
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied


  1. ^ a b "Vincent Tshabalala". Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Torrance finishes joint third". Glasgow Herald. 10 May 1976. p. 19. 
  3. ^ a b "Vincent Tshabalala – Career Records". PGA European Tour. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "The Long Road to Non-Racial Golf in South Africa and the Trail Blazed by Papwa Sewgolum". South African Golf association. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Vincent Tshabalala – Career Highlights". Sunshine Tour. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Former SA golfer Vincent Tshabalala dies". SABC. 4 June 2017. 

External linksEdit