Charl Schwartzel has been keeping a low profile over the last several weeks. He hasn’t played a competitive round of golf since he finished all alone in 14th place at the U.S. Open in mid-June. Just because he hasn’t been around much doesn’t mean that he has neglected his game. I fully anticipate Schwartzel to come into the British Open at Muirfield with guns blazing.
The South African is currently ranked 14th in the official world golf rankings and is a very respectable 37th in the FedEx Cup standings – he’s achieved that position in only 11 PGA Tour starts this year. In those 11 starts he has managed to record eight top 25 finishes, four top 10s and a pair of third place results. Schwartzel has finished inside of the top 15 in three of his last four starts, so he certainly has his game firing on all cylinders right now.
Even though he missed the cut at Royal Lytham last year, Schwartzel is no stranger to overcoming the pressure of major championship golf. If he were not able to hold up under intense pressure there’s no way he could have won the 2011 Masters. It sounds odd to say that someone who missed the cut at this tournament last year has enjoyed moderate success over their career, but that is the case with Schwartzel. In eight career starts he has three top 25 finishes, including 16th in 2011 and 14th in 2010.
He is currently ranked third on the PGA Tour in scoring average at 69.374. That number is likely to be a bit higher this week, but he the fact that he is able to find way to convert scoring chances is reassuring. Schwartzel also ranks 29th in total driving, 28th in greens in regulation and 29th in strokes gained – putting. When you can crack the top 30 in all of those categories, there is a good chance that you are going to be around to contend for titles.
I don’t expect Schwartzel to come out and shoot anything incredibly low this week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his consistency keeps him in contention over the weekend.