2015 Preview: Charl Schwartzel
Welcome to the 2015 Golf Preview, where I’ll take a look at selected golfers and examine what to expect over the next twelve months. Today, we look at Charl Schwartzel.
Coming into the 2011 Masters, Charl Schwartzel was a player that was on the radar for serious golf fans, but he certainly wasn’t considered a favourite at Augusta National. The then 26-year old had won six times in his first seven years on the European Tour and that combined with a string of good finishes, mostly in his native South Africa, allowed Schwartzel to climb to 29th in the Official World Golf Rankings before the first major of 2011. Schwartzel started strong with a 3-under par 69, but was four shots back of Rory McIlroy after the opening round, and had the same deficit heading into Sunday.
These days when people look back on the 2011 Masters, they remember it as the tournament that McIlroy blew on Sunday with a final round 80, opening the door for anyone else in the field to grab the green jacket, but Schwartzel’s 66 was tremendous. He was 3-under for the day after the first two holes and then birdied the final four holes, something which had never been done in the history of the tournament, to post a 14-under par score that would eventually give him a two-shot win over Jason Day and Adam Scott. He’s been remarkably consistent since that Masters title, picking up three wins worldwide and his current rank of 37th in the world is the lowest it’s been since December of 2010.
ESPN’s Charl Schwartzel Headshot
ESPN.com has a lot of great golf content, but their player headshots are, shall we say, a little outdated, with Ryan Moore leading the way. As such, I’m introducing the Ryan Moore headshot ranking system. Each player will get a ranking from 1-10, with 10 being the most outdated possible.
This one’s tough because it’s always seemed like Schwartzel has looked the exact same for the last decade. The only thing I can take away from this is that the shirt he’s wearing really, really doesn’t look like something Nike would produce, so considering that he signed on with Nike back in 2008, we could be looking at a photo that’s at least seven years old. Still though, nothing crazy here.
On a side note, if the USGA needs more rough for Chambers Bay in June, it looks like they could definitely just shave Schwartzel’s chest.
Why You Should Watch
We’ve already talked about Schwartzel’s consistent play over the last four years, and most of that comes down to how good of a ball striker he is. From an aesthetic point of view, his swing, much like fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen, is absolutely gorgeous and he’s also one of the more aggressive players out there. I mean, there aren’t many people who would not only attempt but also pull off this shot:
This one wasn’t bad either, drawing it around and over the trees:
Of course, Schwartzel is known to lose his temper from time to time as well, which is the absolute best:
Schwartzel in one GIF
Dead. Solid. Perfect.
Why doesn’t he win more?
I’m the first one to point out that at this level, every player in the field is good enough to win the tournament that week. All of these guys are capable of going out and firing four 66’s and winning by seven shots, so the idea of a player who doesn’t win more often doesn’t usually hold a ton of value for me, but man, it really seems like Schwartzel should have more than one PGA Tour win. I know that he splits time between Europe and the U.S., and that his win was kind of a big deal, but a guy with his talent should probably be having more success. Take a look at his nine career wins on the two major tours:
No offense intended to those tournaments, but outside of the Masters, those aren’t exactly events that are known for their quality fields. Don’t get me wrong here: Schwartzel is a great player, and at 30 years old, he’s got a ton of time to win more tournaments but I just feel like there’s so much more there.
Maybe 2015 is when we’ll start to see some of it.