When Charl Schwartzel pictures Glendower Golf Club he does not see the agony of his final round collapse and playoff defeat against Andy Sullivan in the South African Open in January this year or his surrender of the lead in the previous edition of the second-oldest national open.
He sees a course he likes and has played well on, a course that suits his strategic approach to golf.
“I’ve finished second a few times in the South African Open and the title evaded me the last two years here, but Glendower is a course that suits me well and I don’t look at it as two disappointments here. I’m excited that I can come back to a place where I know I came close in the past, I have another opportunity on a course that has treated me well.
“Two years in a row I’ve had chances to win but there are a lot of good players out there and I know the more times I contend, I will eventually break through. But it’s a positive that I’ve come close at Glendower and I’ll come here in early January and prepare well. You have to play cleverly here, think your way around, it requires a lot of strategy and thinking, which is right down my alley,” Schwartzel said at Glendower on Wednesday when the classic old course was announced as the South African Open venue for the third straight year. The 2016 tournament will be from January 7-10.
Schwartzel squandered four shots in the last five holes of the 2015 SA Open and then lost on the first hole of the playoff to Sullivan. The previous Glendower SA Open saw Schwartzel leading by three shots four holes into the final round, before he faded to a 71 and finished three behind winner Morten Orum Madsen.
But the local favourite says he is not chained to the past and is looking forward to starting a fresh year at Glendower in the second week of 2016.
“I’ll have a good break now, I’m not playing any tournaments in December so it will be a nice long break and I feel that I need it. The physical factors are there, my long game is better than ever, but I need to build my confidence back up because you need confidence to win,” Schwartzel said.
The 31-year-old said he hopes the South African Open will continue to be the sort of tournament fathers tell their children about when they’re sitting on their knee, and he was delighted with the announcement of BMW as the new title sponsors.
“It’s even better news that BMW are now involved. When you see the passion of Ernie Els [tournament host] to play in it, it’s inspiring for the future generations. I hope guys like Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace feel the same as me, because I’m going to keep coming back and give it my all. I hope it works out this time, but if it doesn’t, I’ll try again,” Schwartzel said.
With South African golfers desperate to avoid a hat-trick of overseas winners, the fur is sure to fly at Glendower in January, especially if rumours of some huge foreign names coming to play turn out to be true.