Garrick Higgo is South Africa’s latest sports sensation, and an overjoyed Gary Player says he has never been as excited as he was watching Higgo win his first USA PGA Tour title at the Palmetto Championship in South Carolina in the U.S. on Sunday night.
He declared Higgo (22) as being “destined for greatness”, judging by his form and series of titles to date, according to a media release from the Sunshine Tour on Monday.
“I don’t think I’ve ever in my lifetime been more excited about anybody winning a golf tournament. I had tears in my eyes,” Player said in a phone call to Higgo shortly after his one-shot victory at Congaree Golf Club, which was his first win in only his second PGA Tour start. He is the first player to achieve this since 1988.
Higgo is also the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Sungjae Im at the 2020 Honda Classic (21 years, 11 months).
And his victory from six strokes behind at the start of the final round is the largest 54-hole deficit overcome by a winner since Bubba Watson made up six strokes to win the 2018 Travellers Championship. Higgo also joins esteemed company as the second left-handed player to win on the PGA Tour this season, following Phil Mickelson’s triumph in the PGA Championship.
“You are beginning to believe it now. I think you’ve got that into your brain now that you believe you can be great. You are destined for greatness,” Player told Higgo.
It was an apt phone call to receive from the man who designed the golf course where Higgo claimed his first professional victory on the Sunshine Tour when he won the 2019 Sun City Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.
It’s been a meteoric rise since then for the former member of the GolfRSA National Squad. He followed that up with a second victory in the Sunshine Tour’s Tour Championship in February 2020, and in September that year he won his first title on the European Tour in the Open de Portugal. Then, in the space of three months this year, Higgo has won twice on the European Tour and now on the PGA Tour.
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It’s opened up a world of opportunities for the South African.
Higgo is now immediately eligible for PGA Tour membership through to the 2022-2023 season, and the 2021 FedEx Cup play-offs.
Higgo has also climbed to 39th on the Official World Golf Ranking, making him the country’s second-best ranked golfer after Louis Oosthuizen.
With Christiaan Bezuidenhout, South Africa now has three golfers ranked within the top 50 in the world.
Congratulations pour in on social media
Higgo’s fellow South African professionals were quick to congratulate him on his triumph on social media.
“Congrats @garrick_higgo. What a way to start your PGA Tour career!!” Tweeted Ernie Els.
“Proud to see another South African on the @PGATOUR. Congrats on your win @garrick_higgo! Here’s to many more,” added Oosthuizen.
“Well done @garrick_higgo. World class!” said Charl Schwartzel.
“So stoked for @garrick_higgo!! Unreal!! Lekker ou bul! @PGATOUR,” said Erik van Rooyen.
“Big congrats to @garrick_higgo on his 1st PGA Tour win. Well done!” said Branden Grace.