The 2011 Masters Champion from Vereeniging, the helicopter pilot who ranked as high as sixth in the world. These are some of the identifiers that make Charl Schwartzel a true homegrown hero and this week at The Open he’ll look for a second major title before turning 30.
It’s been a tough season at the top for Schwartzel, who missed cuts at The Masters and the US Open, but he has more drive than most of the world’s best, which means he’ll have Royal Liverpool in his sights.
The 29-year-old has been prodigious since his youngest days. He had an illustrious amateur career winning both on South African soil and abroad, reaching the pinnacle of his amateur career in 2002 when he won the Indian Amateur and English Open Stroke Play Championships.
He then turned professional at 18 and, later that year, became the second youngest South African after Dale Hayes to attain his card for the European Tour.
In 2004 Schwartzel won the Alfred Dunhill Championship and began a love affair with that tournament: he has won three times and come second four times. After that first European win in 2004 he went on to claim the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
His big breakthrough came in 2011 when he defeated Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Adam Scott in a spectacular final round at the Masters.
A final career highlight for Schwartzel was playing in the World Cup of Golf with good friend Louis Oosthuizen, who won The Open in 2010. Schwartzel will look to win his own Claret Jug this year.