The Sunday Mail
RYAN CAIRNS and Scottie “Scotty” Heathcote were more than just cousins, their shared love for golf and music saw them developing a bond that ran deeper than blood.
As Cairns was making shockwaves as a promising rookie on the Sunshine Tour, back in 2012 when he won his first major title, the Vodacom Origins of Golf in Simola, Heathcote, was showing the early signs of a promising young golf protégé.
The two frequently kept in touch, meeting up here and there for a couple of jam sessions with their acoustic guitars, to exchange notes and play a few rounds of backyard golf.
Sadly that all changed three years ago when Scotty was diagnosed with a tumour on his spine, which would claim his life three years later.
Last weekend, Cairns paid the ultimate tribute to his last cousin by winning the National Aids Council Pro-am Golf tournament.
In one of the 34-year-old’s better, if not best, performances to date; Cairns left a fully packed Royal Harare Golf Club speechless during his come-from-behind march towards victory at the third edition of the tournament.
After a terrible first round, during which he carded a three-over-75, the former St Georges College student shot a 67 and a 66 to finish eight-under-208.
“It was a very emotional and draining couple of days, to be honest,” said Cairns.
“I remember getting off the course, after the first round, very upset. Things just didn’t go my way, and I remember one shot hit a tree and went about 40 meters off course.
“After that I simply couldn’t get my rhythm back. Fortunately, I managed to recover during the last rounds, carding a 67 and a 66 and the very first person I thought of was Scotty.
“NAC (National Aids Council), while their work is mostly centered on HIV and Aids, have been doing some great work in cancer too so after the tournament, it just felt right that I pay tribute to Scotty.”
Cairns has also tried to keep the memory of his cousin alive through their other shared passion — music.
“Well, I still play a little acoustic guitar and sing a little,” said Cairns.
“At the moment, it’s still mostly a hobby but the plan is take up music seriously after I retire. I am building a little studio at home, and have already penned about five or six songs.
“Right now, golf takes up most of my time. if I am not at the range practising or playing a tournament, I am working at the Pro Shop (located at Royal Harare).”
Meanwhile, music also helped Cairns bag the love of his life.
“I met my wife (Engelize) through mutual friends when I was still in South Africa and told her that I play some guitar.
“She then said if I played a song she liked, which she wrote on a napkin, she would marry me. I rushed to get my guitar, played one of my favourite songs, “Run” by “Snow Patrol” and coincidentally that is her favourite song. The very song she had written on the napkin!
“Five months later, we got married and have been together for four years now,” said Cairns with broad smile.