The Great Gary Player Completed a Career Grand Slam
Arguably the best-known golfer to have emerged from South Africa is the great Gary Player. The wee man in black mixed it with Arnie and Jack, as part of the Big Three back in the sixties and seventies. Player won an incredible 163 times around the globe and this included 9 Majors and 24 wins on the PGA tour. Gary Player completed a career Grand Slam of Major wins, which is a rare feat indeed. Next on my list of the greatest golfers from South Africa would be Bobby Locke. Arthur D’Arcy Locke was one of the best putters of all time, hooking the ball into the hole with incredible regularity. Bobby won The Open 4 times from 1949 to 1957.
Ernie Els is a True Champion of the Game of Golf
Who can deny that Ernie Els, The Big Easy, is one of the all-time great golfers hailing from South Africa? The likeable Els has had victories in 4 Majors, including 2 US Opens and 2 Opens. Ernie was and is a gentleman on and off the course. His wins came on tough circuits, usually in tough conditions. Ernie Els is a true champion of the game of golf. Retief Goosen is another top South African golfer who has achieved greatness in the hardest game of all. Retief has ground out 2 Major victories in the US Open on very testing tracks in 2001 and 2004.
More recently, Charl Schwartzel has competed in the Majors again and again, winning The Masters in 2011 in fine style. Louis Oostihuizen has a Major to his credit, with victory in the 2010 Open at St Andrews. David Frost did not win a Major but was a feisty competitor on the PGA tour, where he won 10 times. Trevor Immelman scored a wonderful triumph in the 2008 Masters over Tiger Woods. Tim Clark duelled with the best in America and elsewhere winning 12 times globally. Brandon Grace is another regular competitor in the Majors and has amassed a dozen victories to boot.
Other notable mentions are Erik van Rooyen, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Brandon Stone, Justin Harding, Shaun Norris and Dylan Frittelli. Great South African women golfers include Ashleigh Buhai, Stacy Lee Bregman, Lee-Ann Pace, Sally Little, Paula Reto, Connie Chen, and Monique Smit. There are so many top South African golfers emerging on the scene today that it is sometimes hard to keep up with all their fine achievements. I have always thought that a Rider Cup style biannual competition between African golfers and Australasia would be an event worth watching.