One way to finish a round: Caddie gets down on one knee at Dubai Ladies Masters

Caddie and player get engaged on 18th green at Emirates Golf Club, much to the surprise of the latter.

Ashleigh Simon of South Africa plays a shot during the second round of the Dubai Ladies Masters on Thursday. David Cannon / Getty Images / December 10, 2015
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DUBAI // Ashleigh Simon noticed the crowd gathering at the back of the 18th green at Emirates Golf Club and thought someone in the group behind must have been going low around the Majlis.

The South African was finishing her Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and therefore her 2015 season, about to sign for a 4-over par 76 and place some way down the leaderboard, but she was still about to get a rather unexpected prize.

Ball holed, Simon turned to face her caddie and boyfriend David Buhai, who promptly dropped to one knee and did the needful. Fortunately, it was a “yes”.

“I definitely didn’t expect this,” Simon said, shaking. “He fooled me and said we have to go to the players’ party tonight because one of our friends is going to get engaged’. I was like, ‘okay, if we have to go’.

See more: Marriage proposal at the 18th green – in pictures

“I saw all these people behind the green on 18 and I’m thinking someone behind us must be having a really good round – I’m thinking why is everybody here. Yeah, I really didn’t expect that at all.”

It has been some time in the making. The couple, both from Johannesburg, have been together for almost nine years, with Buhai on the bag for the past six. Taking the next step in their relationship had become a recurring theme among peers on the Ladies European Tour, to such an extent that Buhai had jokingly set 2023 as a likely date for the proposal.

“Yesterday I said to Ash, every birdie she makes we’ll knock a year off it,” he said. “She obviously didn’t want to because it went backwards, quite a few bogeys. But I’m glad to have that pressure off my shoulders and put it on somebody else’s.”

Simon soon had a nice rock on her finger, which was purchased from Buhai’s sister. Fortunately, she runs just the right sort of business back in South Africa, which presumably meant she could afford to offer sibling’s rates.

“It’s amazing, very amazing,” Simon said, looking down at the ring. “He’s done really well. I’m very lucky that his sister is a diamond dealer. Hopefully she gave him a good deal and it didn’t break his bank account too much.”

Keeping it quiet almost broke Buhai during Saturday’s final round.

“The ring was in the bag and I was pretty nervous because she kept going into the bag,” Buhai said. “I was like, ‘this is my bag, what do you need out of it?’. She was starting to give me a strange few looks.”

So, nine years after getting together and eight years before the provisional date, when is the actual big day?

“I don’t know when it will be,” Buhai said. “I’ve got to speak to the boss.”

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