South Africa has a rich history in the world of golf. Ernie Els and Gary Player are to the golfing world what Canon cameras are to the world of photography. Their giant-like status owes to their incredible achievements in the sport; but it should be borne in mind that South African talent is an ongoing project. This is to say that there are several up-and-coming local golfers who have begun to share in the limelight.
Who Are The Top 10 Golfers?
Like some of the hotels in Cape Town, Ernie Els and Gary Player are household names worldwide. There are, however, 4 other talents from South Africa who have landed in the top 22 of the world. They are Bobby Locke, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen, and Trevor Immelman. The other top 5 golfers are Charl Schwartzel, Tim Clark, David Frost, and Rory Sabbatini. However, special mention must be credited to an 11th golfer, Harold Henning whose performance on the course has been phenomenal.
- Gary Player is known for having completed the Grand Slam winning in the US Masters, US Open, British Open, and the US PGA. He shares this distinction with 4 other golfers making it the elite list in golfing history.
- Ernie Els is part of the Golf Hall of Fame after he was voted in last year. Els, at 41 years old, is the highest ranked South Africa golfer having reached 11th position in the world. He has numerous trophies from north to south making him a tough act to follow for anyone, not just a South African.
- Bobby Locke has been called the greatest putter the world has ever seen. He was the star in the 1940 to 1950s winning the British Open 4 times and the US PGA 13 times! He holds the record for 16 margin of victory in the PGA Tour and left the US in a huff after a wave of resentment from other players over his victories began to feel threatening.
- Retief Goosen is known for earning 14th place in world rankings and being the second highest earner among South African golfers. He won his first tournament in 2001 US Open and then again in 2004.
- Louis Oosthuizen won last year’s 2010 British Open and Africa Open and is currently ranked 18th. His early ankle injury caused many South Africans to worry but clearly, he’s back!
- Trevor Immelman was triumphant in the 2008 Masters and PGA Tour. He was also the first South African to win a Major championship. Unfortunately, he has sustained injuries which prevent him from competing.
- Charl Schwartzel won the Joburg Open and Africa Open in the same year, 2010 and is ranked 22 in the world
- Tim Clark won his first tournament last year at The Players Championship in the US. He holds 6th place in PGA Tour FedEx Cup
- David Frost from Cape Town and an ex cigarette salesman, is known to be a putter with double digit wins in the US PGA Tour. He won this 10 times including the Sunshine Tour in Japan and Europe. His wine business is thriving and becoming a world class product.
- Rory Sabbatini concentrated his golfing efforts on winning the US PGA which he succeeding in doing 6 times. Steady and dependable, he can be considered one of the most established older players from South Africa.
Golf plays an important role in the lives of many South Africans. Young South Africans are encouraged to buy golf equipment and take up the sport. Golf has become their identity; one they are extremely proud of, thanks to these 10 amazing sportsmen.