SA golfers fail the test

2014-05-18 15:00

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The performance of South African golfers on the big stage has dropped alarmingly compared with the last two years, when they showed class and character.

Their disappointing showing on the fairways is reflected in their official world rankings.

This points directly to the downward spiral of the country’s top three players – Charl Schwartzel (ranked?18), Louis Oosthuizen (ranked 39) and Ernie Els (ranked 48).

The trio did the country proud by winning majors a few years back, but they are now seemingly clutching at straws to make a mark on the international stage.

A glance at the latest global ratings reflects that Schwartzel, who is ranked number 1 in Mzansi, has now dropped one notch in the world rankings from

his 17th spot last week, taking him back to where he started at the beginning of the year.

This is a bad sign for a player who won the US Masters in 2011 and occupied a commendable sixth spot in the 2012 global rankings.

This time last year, things were rosy in the global arena for Oosthuizen as he was ranked the fourth best in the world – his highest ever.

King Louis shot to fame after winning the 2010 British Open.

His cool head on the global stage continued unabated when he came second to Bubba Watson in the dramatic 2012 US Masters, which saw him score a rare albatross.

But Oosthuizen’s nagging back injury and inconsistency since has seemingly perturbed him to the point where he now finds himself lying in 39th – five spots below where he ended last year.

His last victory was in January at the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban. But it is tough for him now to make the grade in the global arena.

Unbelievably, South Africa’s darling, Els, is now ranked 48th. He is the country’s most successful golfer to date, having captured four major titles – the US Open (1994, 1997) and the British Open (2002, 2012).

At one stage, The Big Easy held the global number one spot and also occupied a position in the top 10 for a long spell that only ended last year.

His British Open victory in 2012 was the last major won by a South African.

His last win on the tour was when he lifted the BMW International Open trophy at Golfclub München Eichenried, Germany, last June.

Other local golfers who are lying distinctly low in the world rankings are Richard Sterne (ranked 56), George Coetzee (ranked 59), Branden Grace (ranked 67), Thomas Aiken (99).

It remains to be seen if the current contingent of local players will up their game or continue to slide downwards towards relative obscurity.

Schwartzel failed to make the cut in the final round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, US, last week. The tournament was won by Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

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