South Africa has truly been one of the strongest producers of golfers throughout the world. They have not only dominated the local sunshine tour, but has also been forced to reckon with in the international competitions.
From the Black Knight, who entered onto each golf course like a valiant knight going into battle, to the Big Easy with his elegant swing, we have produced some of the best golfers in history! From making their own dents on the PGA tour to their amazing wins in our very own Sunshine tour, these three men have truly shown the world what South African golfers can do!
Take a look at our best golfers since the year 1917:
#1 Gary Player
Gary Player is South Africa’s most prolific golfer ever, and has redefined what the word ‘ world golfer’ really means.
He has won worldwide tournaments including 24 times on the PGA Tour, 63 times on the Sunshine Tour, 18 times on Australasia’s PGA Tour, and numerous others in nations such as Brazil, China, Japan, and so on.
He is also one of the very few golfers who finished the Grand Slam Career by winning all four major championships. A proud South African, he also represented the country 16 times in the World Cup.
Tour Wins: 163
Majors: 18 (9 Major wins and 9 Senior Major Championships)
#2 Theodore Ernest Els
He goes by the name Ernie Els on the golf course, and is the man with one of the most aesthetically pleasing golf swings.
He had a tremendously successful career made even more impressive by the fact that he was playing during the dominance of Tiger Woods.
In total, Els won 71 times as a professional including four Major Championships (two U.S. Opens and two Open Championships).
He twice won the European Merit Tour Order and finished in World Number One.
During the Presidents Cup, he has played eight times for the international team, with the 2003 edition being of particular note.
Both teams were tied at 17 points, and in a sudden-death playoff, Ernie fought Tiger to decide the winner. Before a draw was decided due to bad weather, the pair halved three holes.
Tour Wins: 71
#3 Bobby Locke
Throughout his playing career, Arthur D’Arcy ‘ Bobby ‘ Locke was a very prolific winner, particularly at the Open Championship. He won the Major four times in a nine-year stretch from 1949-1957, including four other top-10s.
Locke ranks third all-time in his native South Africa with 30 wins for the Sunshine Tour. The only players in front of him are Gary Player and Mark McNulty (Irish/Zimbabwean). Even Gary Player once said of Locke himself; “For my life, a six-foot putt? I’m going to take Bobby Locke. I saw all of them, and there never was a putter like him.”
Tour Wins: 74