Five South Africans in the mix – The Citizen

Five South African players will tee it up at the Masters tournament at Augusta National from Thursday, but the bad news is that all but one of them have been going in the wrong direction in the world rankings and will be entering the first, and arguably most prestigious, Major of the year without good form behind them.

Erik van Rooyen

Van Rooyen is the South African golfer enjoying the best year thus far, playing with reasonable consistency to move from 65th in the rankings at the start of the year to 62nd at present, with five top-30 finishes in eight tournaments.

His best performance came in the Dubai Desert Classic when he tied for fourth, so he at least carries some momentum into the tournament and is considered a dark horse in some quarters, even with that weird facial hair.

Louis Oosthuizen

Though Oosthuizen is always the South African golfer who attracts the most attention, especially given his stellar record in Majors, this week he will have more eyes than ever in his general direction because he is
going to be playing in the same three-ball as Tiger Woods, who is making a dramatic return to golf following his serious car accident 14 months ago in which he suffered serious leg injuries.

ALSO READ: Oosthuizen paired with Woods; other SA players with Masters greats

Oosthuizen typically flies under-the-radar leading into Majors and has slipped from 13th to 15th in the world, with two top-30 finishes in only five events.

But SA’s highest-ranked golfer had an outstanding 2021 in the Majors, finishing tied-third, second, tied-second and tied-26th in the Masters. He was the runner-up at Augusta in 2012, famously won by Bubba Watson.

Charl Schwartzel

Another former champion who is going to be playing this week, the 2011 winner has dropped to 169th in the world rankings and has missed the cut in his last six tournaments.

Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel is in the field for this week’s Masters tournament. Picture: Getty Images

Schwartzel did, however, finish third in the 2017 Masters and has proved he can put up a fight.

Garrick Higgo

Another South African who is hoping to overcome a run of bad form as he has missed his last three cuts.

In fact, Higgo has not finished in the top-20 since his breakthrough win at the Palmetto Championship last year.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Bezuidenhout is at least going to the Masters with some reasonable form behind him, finishing in the top-30 four times in nine events this year.

He also made the cut in both his previous starts at Augusta.

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