De Beer: After finding TCU home, friends will be missed

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    Senior Johan de Beer is going to miss this.

    Next week, he will board a plane with four other members of the men’s golf team and travel to Kohala Coast, Hawaii to compete in the Amer Ari Invitational.

    Between playing practice rounds and competing against other universities on the course, de Beer said he and his teammates might go to the beach or grill steaks for dinner like they have done in the past. If they have time, they may even go snorkeling.

    But in four months, he will walk across the stage in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and receive a diploma from the Neeley School of Business with a major in finance. After that, he’s going back to South Africa— the place he calls home.

    De Beer has spent the past four years trying to make Fort Worth feel a little like home, he said that was hard at first.

    “For me, it was a huge change,” he said.

    Not only did de Beer have to get used to being on his own, he had to get used to another country entirely.

    “It was complete culture shock,” he said

    At first, he felt lost. But that experience taught him to be more independent, and eventually he found a place where he felt happy with himself and his environment, he said.

    De Beer has met plenty of people he will miss after May, which is what he said he will miss the most.

    “I just wish I knew that I’d enjoy it so much because it kind of took a while to start realizing that,” he said.

    Until then, he still has some golfing to do. He plans to take a swing at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in hopes of going pro after graduation.

    This season, he said he just wants to make it to nationals, and that takes hard work.

    Men’s golf head coach Bill Montigel said that de Beer was no stranger to hard work, though.

    "Every year he’s been at TCU, he’s worked extremely hard,” Montigel said. “He’s gotten a lot more consistent. I think he makes really good decisions out there on the golf course.”

    Montigel said he saw no reason de Beer could not play on the PGA Tour or any tour of his choice because de Beer had a passion for the game.

    “He can be as good as he wants to be,” Montigel said.

    More than that, Montigel said, de Beer is a leader. He is a team captain who leads by example and “one of the most likable guys you could ever possibly be around.”

    For now, de Beer’s goal is to win the Mountain West Conference and make it to regionals. And he has a national championship in mind.

    “We have the strength to make it all the way to nationals,” de Beer said. “We just have to pitch up and play.”