For Charl Schwartzel the numbers look good. The South African sits 23rd in the Official World Golf Ranking as well as the FedEx Cup heading into the week, and although he only has 14 starts to his name on the PGA Tour this year, Schwartzel has already notched up one victory, three top 10s, and 13 out of 14 cuts.
Schwartzel’s victory at the Valspar Championship was his first on the PGA Tour since he claimed the Green Jacket at the 2011 Masters, and it has cemented an already impressive season.
Coming off a share of 7th at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, Schwartzel looked primed for the Open Championship – and he didn’t disappoint. Carding rounds of 72, 66, 73 and 73 Schwartzel finished in a share of 18th in extremely tough conditions and what some might say was an unfavourable draw.
After the links-style golf Schwartzel implemented around Royal Troon, it’s taken some intense practice to build his swing back to the ‘normal’ playing conditions destined to greet the players this week.
“Yeah, it’s going to take a week to go build the swing back up to what it has been. You do get some bad habits out of a week like this, but I’m sure it won’t take me too long. I’m looking forward to it,” said Schwartzel ahead of the week.
For the first two rounds Schwartzel will be paired with Englishman Justin Rose and two-time major winner Zach Johnson.
Five other South Africans are set to tee it up, including Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els, George Coetzee and PGA Championship debutant Brandon Stone.