Who will emulate Clark in the US?

2015-01-25 15:00

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With the new year having started in earnest, seven South African golfers competing in the US PGA tour will be hoping to take their cue from Tim Clark.

Clark, from Umkomaas on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, broke the dry spell of Mzansi players dominating the US fairways by lifting the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey golf course in Ontario last year. He took home over $1 million (R11.6 million) for his efforts, beating American veteran Jim Furyk by a stroke.

It was Clark’s second PGA tour title and his first victory in more than four years, after he lifted the The Players Championship trophy at Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, US.

Local players who will showcase their clubs alongside Clark, on what is arguably the world’s most prestigious tour, are Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Richard Sterne, Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini and Tyrone van Aswegen.

Els, potentially the country’s most celebrated golfer after the legendary Gary Player, has been going through a bad patch on the greens.

The Big Easy last posted a decent victory on this competitive tour in 2012 by winning the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire, England, by beating Australian Adam Scott by two strokes.

It was Els’ second British Open victory and his fourth major in all. Other wins include the US Open titles, which were won in 1994 and 1997.

But the going has been particularly rocky of late for the towering man, who is revered for his trademark easy swing style that enables his tee shots to accurately travel a distance on the fairway.

Els last won the BMW International Open on the European tour by one stroke in Munich in 2013. But whether he will rise to the occasion in the demanding US circuit this year, remains in question.

Schwartzel won the US Masters in 2011, which was his last victory on the PGA. His notable win in Europe was the Alfred Dunhill Championship, which he successfully defended at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane in 2013.

Oosthuizen has been battling to make a mark on the PGA. His last victory was the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews in Scotland.

It will be interesting to see who will raise the South African flag in the US this year.

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