Charl Schwartzel will be a first-timer in San Antonio this week on the PGA Tour ahead of the Masters, but the 2011 champion at Augusta National can use the Valero Texas Open to fine tune his game ahead of the yearÂs first major.
While the extraordinary brilliance of his closing victories in 2012 has not been a feature of his 2013 start, there is no doubt that he has narrowed his focus onto the majors this year, and as he gets closer to Magnolia Lane next week, he will be getting sharper every minute.
He has consistency already: He has finished no worse than shared 16th in his last 11 stroke-play tournaments around the world, and he tied for fourth two weeks ago in Malaysia.
As he finished 2012 with his 12-stroke victory in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, he gave an indication of just how good he can be Â but more importantly, he began to articulate a desire to achieve a level of playing that is unimaginable to ordinary golfers.
He achieved that victory while complaining that he wasnÂt hitting the ball that well, saying that he was quite aware how bizarre that sounded, but that he knew what he could do when he got his ball-striking on track.
But he developed a way of doing things that made him virtually impossible to catch. ÂI wonÂt hit a shot that I donÂt feel comfortable with. If I stand there and donÂt feel comfortable with the club IÂll change it,Â said Schwartzel. ÂWhether itÂs aggressive or safe, you have to take it as it comes.Â
An indication of just how good that can make him is that heÂd lead the PGA Tour in scoring if he had logged enough rounds to qualify.
His 2011 Masters victory was built on the back of some sublime putting. So he will be working on that aspect of his game in Texas this week Â and a good showing will give him the kind of momentum he seeks as he heads for Georgia.