Cape Town - The Big Three. The Big Five. Faldo versus Norman. Woods versus Mickelson. Koepka versus McIlroy. Golf loves a good rivalry.
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And in 2020, the trio of Oosthuizen, Schwartzel and Grace will keep pushing each other, beating each other - and in their off weeks braaiing with each other as they have done since their amateur days.
The close friends that Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace are off the course certainly doesn’t get in the way of their competitiveness inside the ropes.
“We’re good friends, but when you’re on the golf course you play for yourself,” Oosthuizen said at this week’s South African Open hosted by the City of Joburg.
“You don’t wish the other guy bad things, but you do your thing and hopefully you beat him by one shot at the end of the week. You have to have that. I think that’s very healthy in any sportsman to have that approach.”
Oosthuizen was the first in the group to win a Major with the 2010 Open Championship. Schwartzel followed soon thereafter with his 2011 Masters. Grace has come close but is still waiting for his Major breakthrough. But he will add with a smile that he’s the only one in the group to have won “Africa’s Major” - the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
“I know Charl and Louis want to win that one badly,” he said.
At this week’s South African Open at Randpark Golf Club, Oosthuizen has the bragging rights having put his name on the famous SA Open trophy first. When he won, it was Grace who rushed onto the 18th green and sprayed him with champagne. But you can bet the other two want to join Oosthuizen as soon as possible.
“It’s been a quest of mine for quite some time. I’ve come real close a lot of times. Hopefully I’ll break through. It’ll be a dream come true. As a South African, it’s definitely high on the list,” said Schwartzel.
Grace is even more direct, listing the South African Open as the one title escaping his personal list of everything he wants to win in South African golf.
“This is the one that I’m missing. This is the one that I need. I’ve been close a few times now so hopefully the time is ticking on for me to put my hands on this one. It would mean the world,” he said.
At the start of the New Year, each one of the three will have their own goals and objectives they want to achieve. But each one will have an eye on the other as well.
“With the three of us, if the one’s playing good it pushes the other two to work a little harder. You need that between the bunch of you to keep you motivated,” said Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen versus Schwartzel versus Grace. The friendly braaivalry of South African golf.