Centurion - Three of the SA golfers which took part in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf series event in London last week, will tee it up at The US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, starting on Thursday.
Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Shaun Norris played last week in the LIV event and were paid handsomely. Although the PGA Tour announced its members would be banned for taking part in LIV events - The US Open clarified that it would be unfair to ban players who had already qualified for the tournament.
That opened the door for the SA trio, to jet off to the US to play in the year’s third major. It also meant big name US players like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson will be also allowed to compete.
Depending on if the ban stays in place, it will be one of the last tournaments for Oosthuizen and Grace to live up to their mantle as top US major contenders - from an SA perspective.
Oosthuizen, as the top-ranked SA player in the field, will be the favourite among the Rainbow Nation players.
Since Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews, he has notched up another six runner-up finishes in the majors. That includes a ‘full bag’ of seconds at every major. Since Ernie Els’ victory in The Open in 2012, Oosthuizen - who turns 40 in October - has been SA’s best bet in the majors.
Oosthuizen also had a tidy tie for 10th in the LIV event last week, which earned him R8.19m ($516.66k). He also pocketed R11.89m ($750k) for being part of the four-man side which won the team event. It meant total earnings for the week of R20.07m ($1.26). As a matter of interest, Oosthuizen will need to finish second or first to earn more this week.
Grace has the best major pedigree among the rest of the SA contingent with six top-10s in the 35 big four events he’s competed. Grace, though, has little form to suggest he will be a threat at the US Open with seven missed cuts from 12 events (excluding the LIV golf series event in London) in 2022 and a best finish of 33rd.
Grace also was in contention in the LIV event in London. The 34-year-old earned R20.21m ($1.27m) in the individual competition for his third place, and R11.89m ($750k) for a total of R32.1m ($2.02m) for the week.
Norris, meanwhile, finished 22nd last week. That meant earnings of R2.7m ($170k). Interestingly, Norris will need a 17th place finish or better at the US Open to improve on his payout last week.
MJ Daffue and Erik van Rooyen complete the five SA players in the US Open field.