For anyone else, it would have been an impressive year, but expectations around Charl Schwartzel (@CA_Schwartzel) are such that 10 top-20 finishes in a season which has been curtailed by the birth of his first child seem like underachieving.
And the fact that half of those top-20s have been top-10s is also pretty impressive, especially when the latest of those came in last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on the back of a closing six-under-par 64.
So he goes into the year’s final major, the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, with form and momentum, especially since he is fresh from his best performance ever in the Open Championship where he shared seventh behind Rory McIlroy.
It’s a question of eliminating the one bad round – and, for the perfectionist that Schwartzel is, that means working again towards that ‘bogey-free’ place he inhabits when he wins. His blistering final 64 at Firestone Country Club included an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey.
His share of fourth there lifted him back inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings, his 19th spot one place lower than the 18th position in which he started the year, and three below his 2014 high of 16th. His career-high came in 2011, the year he won the Masters, when he was ranked as high as seventh, and he spent two other weeks during that year inside the top 10 – which is where he belongs.
Schwartzel is one of eight South Africans in the field for the PGA Championship which gets underway on Thursday.