Charl Schwartzel became the fourth South African to win on the European Tour this year with his victory at the Open de Espana on Sunday. The 22-year-old is now in his fifth season on tour and last weeks victory marked his second success, following his maiden victory at the dunhill championship two years ago. As Ive written before in this column, the South Africans must be pleased with the young crop of talent which is emerging for their nation. Schwartzel had Ernie Els old caddie, Ricky Roberts, on the bag, but the young maestro reminded me of another great modern day champion, Tiger Woods. Im not sure if you noticed it at home, but when I watched Schwartzel swinging on Sunday, especially from the low angle in front of the tee, I was reminded of the way Tiger swings it at his best, when hes really in control. It was most prevalent from impact to finish, that majestic follow through when player and weapon look at one.
I was quite disappointed to see the names of Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal missing from the entry list of their national open. Garcia chose to play in the United States and continue his preparation for golfs fifth major, THE PLAYERS, which takes place next week in Florida. Olazabal didnt play at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship but is on the final field list for this weeks Wachovia Championship. Garcia captured the Spanish Open title in 2004; Olazabal, despite 20 seasons on tour, has never managed to take home his national open.
The Ladies are Back:
The Ladies European Tour returns to action this week having had a lengthy three-month break since their last tournament. Karrie Webb opened the season with two wins Down Under and now the tour is back with the Tenerife Ladies Open in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. In this Solheim Cup year, more attention should be focused on whos making waves on the European side of the Atlantic. Headlining the field on Tenerife this week is last years New Star Money List runner-up Gladys Nocera, seven-time Solheim Cup player Trish Johnson, and five-time tour winner Iben Tinning. Unlike this weeks LPGA Tour event in Oklahoma, the ladies in Tenerife will play 72 holes.
The LET has announced a new event for the 2008 schedule. The HypoVereinsbank Ladies German Open will take place from 29th May-1st June at Golfpark Gut Hausern near Munich. The event has been missing from the schedule since 2001, but has been played as part of the LET on 15 previous occasions.
Marathon Man Wolstenholme:
English amateur golfer Gary Wolstenholme will make a record 200th appearance for his country in Englands match against Spain on the weekend of the 12th/13th May. Gary was awarded an MBE for his remarkable amateur career by the Queen earlier this year and now the 46-year-old from Leicestershire will become the most successful amateur in the history of English golf. He first played for England in 1988, against France at The Berkshire, partnering with another legendary amateur, Peter McEvoy, but the pair lost their foursomes match.
Tom Abbott will host the LPGA Tours SemGroup Championship Presented by John Q. Hammons this week, live coverage begins on Friday at 8pm on Sky Digital Channel 423
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