Charl Schwartzel is on an Open mission: The 2011 Masters champion has put in a little more effort than usual in his preparation for the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club which gets underway on Thursday.
The 31-year-old is looking to add to his sole major championship, and The Open is one that challenges him more than any other. “I figured if I want to win The Open I have to find a way to play links golf better. You need to adjust. The same ball flight and swings don’t necessarily work over here. I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
And Schwartzel is the kind of player who relishes that kind of challenge more than most, and will find a way to make the adjustment. “I came a little earlier this year and I really want to find a way,” he said.
“It reminds me a little of St Andrews, but it isn’t as open. When we played yesterday it was soft, and I think it will play very differently if it dries up.
“I’ve always been a feel player, so I’m trying to use a bit of my creativity. The challenge lies in that your hands get so cold that you lose feel! I have as many jerseys on as I can,” he added.
He didn’t do too well at St Andrews last year, finishing in a share of 68th, but he has finished in the top 20 four times in The Open since 2010, with a best of seventh in 2014.
His form this year has been showing that another major is not an entirely unlikely proposition. “I’ve had a really good year – won three times and had a few top 10s. The game is really consistent and feels solid. My mind is in a good place, and I’m looking forward to this week,” he said.
Schwartzel is one of nine South Africans in the filed this week. He joins two-time Open champion Ernie Els, 2010 winner Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Richard Sterne, and three of the South African young guns in Brandon Stone, Haydn Porteous and Zander Lombard.