SA will break PGA Championship drought 'sooner or later' - Erik van Rooyen

Erik van Rooyen
Erik van Rooyen
Getty Images
  • Erik van Rooyen will be appearing in his second PGA Championship.
  • The PGA Championship is golf's first major of the year and is scheduled to get under way on Thursday.
  • Van Rooyen will be one of six South Africans competing at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

The last time a South African golfer lifted the Wanamaker Trophy was in 1972 when Gary Player won his second PGA Championship title.

It's a major no other South African golfer has won.

SA golfer Louis Oosthuizen came close to clinching the 2017 PGA Championship, finishing in second place at Quail Hollow. He fell two strokes short of American Jordan Spieth.

Six South Africans will be competing in this week's PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in golf's first major event of 2020.

Erik van Rooyen will be appearing in his second PGA Championship. While many won't see him as a threat, last year, in his PGA Championship debut, Van Rooyen turned heads as he finished tied for eighth at Bethpage Black in New York.

Van Rooyen, who is the second-highest ranked SA golfer at 44th, believes "sooner or later" a South African golfer will lift the coveted Wanamaker Trophy.

"To be honest, I have not thought about that history. All I know is we have a ton of talented South African players coming through and sooner or later someone is going to win one," Van Rooyen told Sport24.

American Brooks Koepka has the opportunity this week to become the first player to win the PGA Championship three years in a row since 1958.

The PGA Championship was rescheduled after being postponed from its original slot in May due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be played without spectators.

Van Rooyen revealed he is elated to be playing at the tournament despite the pandemic putting a strain on golfers.

"I'm very excited. With all the events being postponed, that excitement has only built over the past few months. It's a privilege being able to play golf with the current times we're living in," said Van Rooyen.

This past weekend, Van Rooyen earned a PGA Tour special temporary membership card for the remainder of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

Van Rooyen has played six of the eight weeks since the PGA Tour returned and finished T20 in last week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, is South Africa's top-ranked golfer in the field this week at No 22.

The other South Africans in the field include Charl Schwartzel, Dylan Frittelli, Shaun Norris and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout, 26, will be making his PGA Championship debut in San Francisco.

Branden Grace was meant to appear but had to withdraw after testing positive for the coronavirus last week.

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