Ranking South Africa's best golfers

South Africa has a long and proud golfing history and first achieved world recognition through the late Bobby Locke in the 1930's. 
Locke would achieve the majority of his success at The Open Championship and would really pave the way for Gary Player who'd go onto etching himself in the Hall of Fame as one of the best to ever swing a golf club. 
Ernie Els emerged to world fame in the early 1990's and South Africa have ever since produced a steady flow of world class golfers. Betway has ranked the country's top five men's golf players in a list which shouldn't cough up any surprises: 
Who misses out: Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, David Frost, Tim Clark and Brandon Grace. 

5. Louis Oosthuizen 

Louis Oosthuizen
The most difficult decision to make was who to include at the No. 5 spot. While most will agree on the top four golfers in South Africa's rich golfing history, any position below that is cause for much debate. 
Both Charl Schwartzel and David Frost have achieved more career wins than Oosthuizen with the latter named Frost having notched up an impressive 29 professional wins, in a largely under appreciated career which unfortunately failed to conjure any Major titles. 
Oosthuizen, though pips fellow one time Major winners Schwartzel and Immelman to fifth spot through his sheer performances at golf's elite events. 
The Mossel Bay-born golfer has achieved second placed finishes at the Masters Tournament, PGA Championship and U.S. Open with his Major success coming at the 2010 Open Championship. Oosthuizen is also currently South Africa's highest ranked golfer at 19th in the world. 

4. Retief Goosen

Retief Goosen 

 "The Goose" racked up 37 professional wins in a glittering career which included two major wins. 
Goosen's first PGA Tour win came in the form of the U.S. Open in 2001 and he'd win the tournament for a second time three years later with a three stroke victory over fellow ''Big Five'' member Phil Mickelson. 
The 2019 Hall of Fame inductee also achieved two second place finishes at the Masters, two fifth place finishes at the Open Championship, while his highest finish in the PGA Championship came in 2005 when he ended sixth. Goosen achieved a career high ranking of third while he nailed down a top ten place for over 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007. 

3. Bobby Locke 


Bobby Locke 

A name that won't be familiar amongst newer generations, Locke won 74 tournaments in an extremely successful career which included four Major wins. 
All four of Locke's Major wins came at the Open Championship (1949, 1950, 1952 and 1957). A prolific winner on home soil, Locke racked up 38 wins in South Africa and a total of 30 wins on the Sunshine Tour (3rd most of all time). 
Locke finished in the top four in 34 of the 59 PGA Tour events he participated in and was the second South African to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

2. Ernie Els 

Ernie Els

"The Big Easy" is not only a golfing great, but one of the most likeable characters in the sport.  
The 2011 Hall of Fame inductee surprised the golfing world when he clinched his fourth Major win with victory at the 2012 Open Championship, a win which rejuvenated his career. Els duly became only the eighth player to win major tournaments in

three different decades, having clinched his first Open Championship victory 10 years earlier 
Els held the world No.1 spot for nine weeks in 1997 after winning two U.S. Open titles within the space of three years. Until 2013 he also held the record for weeks ranked in the top ten with 788. 
In total, Els has racked up 71 professional wins, with 28 of his victories coming on the European Tour (7th most of all time). 

1. Gary Player 

Gary Player

The first South African to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Player transcends generations and is the epitome of what it takes to achieve a sustained period of success at the highest level. 
He will always be associated with two of the greatest players in the history of the game, in Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer with the three largely responsible for taking the sport to a new level. 
In total, Player racked up an incredible 163 professional wins. This includes 63 Sunshine Tour victories (1st all time) and nine Majors. 
Player is one of only five golfers to boast a career Grand Slam and the only non-American. His Major wins consists of three Masters, two PGA Championship, three Open Championship and the single U.S. Open victory in 1965. He like Els, won Major tournaments in three different decades. 
Player is thus not only South Africa's greatest ever golfer, but one of the all time greats of the sport. 

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Published: 04/07/2020