South Africans at The Masters: Can The Drought End?
By BET Contributor
It has been nearly a decade since a South African lifted one of golf’s four biggest trophies. Ernie Els’ win at The Open in 2012 was the last of the three wins inside three years as Louis Oosthuizen (The Open in 2010) and Charl Schwartzel (The Masters in 2011) emerged as champions at the highest level.
Since then, it has been Oosthuizen and to some extent Branden Grace challenging on a few occasions.
With Grace absent due to a slump in form, it is a case of more of the same as Louis Oosthuizen remains the country’s biggest hope. But that is not to say that Dylan Frittelli (a winner on the PGA TOUR), Erik van Rooyen (now a fully-fledged PGA TOUR member), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (winner at Valderrama in 2019) and Justin Harding (who made headlines with his good showing at Augusta last time around) cannot spring a surprise.
The season’s disjointed nature means that only a handful of players have solid form to bank which could yet mean a South African bolts from the pack.
Oosthuizen remains a punter’s dream player with his strong track record as well as a player who ticks the boxes when it comes to the metrics of putting at Augusta, being long enough off the tee and having a good approach game.
The Players Are…
A punt on King Louis – who was so close with a top 3 at the US Open at Winged Foot – makes sense, especially at 37.75-1 odds.
At 150-1 Erik van Rooyen is next best with Dylan Frittelli, Charl Schwartzel and Christiaan Bezuidenhout all listed at 200-1. Frittelli’s case for a big week was offset by a missed cut at the Houston Open where he failed to kick on after his T11 the week before. For Bezuidenhout, the fact that he hasn’t played pro golf since the BMW PGA a month ago means he will start on Thursday with no course experience and a little underprepared in many’s views.
A birdie at the 72nd hole at the 2019 event helped Justin Harding, who like Van Rooyen finished middle of the pack in Houston, book a return ticket but he is priced at 300-1.
The prices may indicate that only Louis has a chance of ending the Major drought but as South African sports fans know only too well not to write off our countrymen.
A win may be a stretch too far but backing a few of our stars to place might be a good second prize to consider.