SA golfers poised to defend Major titles

2012-03-03 21:24

South Africa’s glittering array of golfing stars will have a hectic year as they gear up to tee off in five Majors in different parts of the globe.

The players who are likely to propel themselves into these exclusive showdowns include veterans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, George Coetzee, Rory Sabatini, Brendan Grace, Tim Clark, and Hennie Otto.

The players have been doing exceptionally well here and abroad under the auspices of the Sunshine Tours and the European PGA Tours.

The Majors – Masters, US Open, British Open, USPGA and the Ryder Cup – are regarded as being the ultimate in golf, and winning these titles is regarded as the biggest accomplishment for professional golfers worldwide.

The first big one to kick-start this year’s calendar is the Masters, which gets under way at Augusta National in Georgia, US from April 2 – 8.

Schwartzel impressively swept last year’s title by carding two strokes to come out unscathed. He will put his title on the line against a ­­star-studded field this year.

The big attraction is the US Open, which will get into full swing from July 14 – 17 in Daly City, California.

North Ireland’s wonder boy and world number two Rory McIlroy, captured last year’s event in an exquisite fashion. He will show South Africans on the tee box how to hit the ball.

Els and Goosen are previous victors of the Open, having each scooped it twice, in 1994 and 1997, and 2001 and 2004 respectively.

And having experienced a lull in big catches in a long time, both are brimming with confidence to let their shots do the talking on the course in this year’s edition.

The British Open, won by Ootshuizen in 2010 will be played at Royal Lytham and St Annes in Blackpool, England, from July 19 – 22.

Oosthuizen will be out to reclaim his title from last year’s victor Ireland’s Darren Clarke who will defend it.

But this year’s event will probably see a stiff chase from Grace, Coetzee and Clark.

Grace, one of the hottest golfer to emerge on local fairways in a long time, won two European Tour titles
back-to-back on home soil – the Joburg Open and Cape Town’s Volvo Golf Champs in January.

The USPGA will tee off from August 9 – 12 in Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, USA. American Keegan Bradley is the reigning champion.

But Clark and Otto will display their experience, particularly in chipping and putting when they show up in this contest.

The Ryder Cup, a team event featuring some of the world finest players against a US side, gets under way at Medinah Country Club, USA from September 28 – 30.

There is no doubt that a local golfer of Clark’s ilk might be selected to make his appearance against the Americans.

South Africans will also fight it out on the greens in other competitions abroad as well.

But it is in the Majors where they have their sight on glory, pride, and of course big money.

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