Aussie pro is no nine-day wonder
Day has bright future; Stenson and McIlroy’s is even brighter, while SA’s golfers should have stellar 2017
All eyes will be glued on Henrik Stenson next year as he is expected to have another brilliant season. The 40-year-old Swede was named the European Tour golfer of the year after an impressive campaign this year. It was the second time he won the prestigious golf award.
Stenson claimed a big scalp at the British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, in July after beating American Phil Mickelson by three strokes. Stenson was the first Swede to win a major.
This came after he had lifted the BMW International Open in Germany a month earlier.
As if that was not enough, he lifted the Road to Dubai trophy for the second time after a brilliant final round at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai confirmed his status as the European Tour’s number one.
He wrapped up his season with a seven under-par 65 in the DP World Tour Championship last month.
The Road to Dubai affords golfers an opportunity to amass points during the tour season, with the player who finishes the year with the most points being declared the victor.
Stenson’s star is expected to continue shining brightly on the fairways next year as his form is remarkable. But he will not sparkle alone on the golf circuit next season as there are a number of good players from various tours who gave a good account of themselves this year.
They are expected to continue proving their mettle next year (see graphic).
Australian Jason Day is not the world’s number one golfer for nothing, and he’s continued to conquer the greens with aplomb.
His demeanour while executing bunker shots stood him in good stead, resulting in his winning three events. He should maintain his top spot and capture more tournaments next year.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy recovered fully from an ankle injury sustained last year to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which he hosted in March.
He later won the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship in September. With the sizzling form that has made him number two in the world, McIlroy should have a great golfing run next year.
But South African golf players will also enjoy scintillating golf next year, given their impressive showing on the Sunshine Tour this past year.
Brandon Stone set the pace with a breathtaking display to reign supreme at the South African Open at Glendower Golf Club in January.
Stone closed the calendar in style by lifting the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in Malelane two weeks ago to collect his second European Tour silverware this year. With such remarkable long drive and putting, he will be a drawcard on international and home courses next year. His future in global golf looks rosy and he is the man to watch.
George Coetzee has been consistent, as his long drives proved during big events locally.
Jacques Blaauw has had a good year in South Africa. His iron play has been consistent and, if that is anything to go by, he should have a good year on the greens next season.
Jaco Ahlers looks set to have a wonderful year by virtue of having acquitted himself well at home last season. He was consistent in all the Sunshine Tour matches.
Renowned overseas-based stars Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel will look to next year as the year that will bring them glory and help them win some majors, as they have done previously.
Both these golfers won a single tournament apiece abroad this year. Next year will also usher in top events locally and abroad.
Opening the calendar at home will be the South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 12.
The first major that will be played is the US Masters, which will be contested at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia during the first full week of April, and it is the first of the majors to be played each year.