His Sunday shenanigans – an eight-under round of 64 – pushed him up the leaderboard into joint fourth at the BMW Championships. He also sneaked into 30th spot on the FedEx Cup rankings, which is all set to go down at East Lake in a couple of days.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Fowler, who at least caught US captain Davis Love III’s eye as one of his three picks. Like BMW Championship winner Dustin Johnson, Schwartzel has his new putter to thank. The 2011 Masters winner had already parted ways with Nike even before their announcement that they would be leaving the world of golf equipment manufacturing early last month.
He made the switch to PXG just in time for the Open Championship in mid-July. But reading his comments after his sensational round, I don’t even think he’s quite sure which putter actually did the trick. “I went back to a putter I never used in my life. I’ve been going back to these putters that I think work, and I just said, give me that, give me a putter that I never putted with, I won’t even know what it putts like,” Schwartzel was quoted as saying.
I guess the only thing that matters is that it worked, and we at least have one South African player in the mix with both Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen missing out. The good news doesn’t stop there. It sometimes helps having friends inside the ropes. A little birdie at Glendower whispered in my ear that at least two big names have confirmed their participation at next year’s SA Open.
The biggest name won’t be too much of a surprise when the field is officially announced at the launch later this month. Let’s just say that South Africa’s national Open is about to step into a whole new realm and the wow factor multiplied tenfold. As far as career wins go for drawcard No 1, it’s pretty evenly split between the USPGA and European Tours, although his most recent “W” was on American turf.
This will be his third scheduled appearance although a bug of some sort prevented him from teeing it up the second time. Once the Tour Championships are over, he will be shining all his attention to the Ryder Cup which gets underway at the Hazeltine National Golf Club on September 30. Unlike the player just discussed, the other has been there and done that when it comes to winning in South Africa.
Major-wise, this forty-something year old has come agonisingly close to bagging his first and is considered one of the best not to have won either the Masters, US Open, Open or PGA Championship. As a Ryder Cup stalwart, he believes the Europeans have what it takes to continue their dominance. You may have guessed who these two are long ago, but until it’s in black and white, their names will have to swirl around in shades of grey … soon turning into silver linings.
One certainty is that 2017 SA Open tickets are set to become prized possessions so don’t waste any time in securing your attendance for what promises to be a spectacular start to the golfing year come Thursday, January 12.