Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship on the PGA Tour earlier this month. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images via AFP
Garrick Higgo won the Palmetto Championship on the PGA Tour earlier this month. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images via AFP

Boost for Team SA as red-hot Garrick Higgo commits to Tokyo Olympics

By Michael Sherman Time of article published Jun 23, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Garrick Higgo on Wednesday confirmed he will take up his position on the Olympic golf team, alongside Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

The field for the Olympic golf event was announced on Tuesday, and the name of SA’s top-ranked player - Louis Oosthuizen was omitted as he declined the invitation. The Tokyo Olympics golf tournament will take place at Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1.

ALSO READ: Garrick Higgo, Christiaan Bezuidenhout qualify for Tokyo Olympics

Higgo said: “I will play in the Olympics. Any time I can represent South Africa is a massive honour. It’s going to be awesome playing with Christiaan.

“I know him and his caddy very well. Hopefully one of us can get a gold. It will mean a lot for the country after what people in South Africa have been through.”

Higgo is the new sensation in South African golf. At 22-years-old he is a three-time winner on the European Tour, and two weeks ago he won on the US PGA Tour for the first time - at the Palmetto Championship.

ALSO READ: Garrick Higgo’s rapid rise to success was not unexpected

His victory earned him membership on the US PGA Tour until the end of the 2023 season, and playing on the premier golf tour in the world will help the young prodigy keep improving.

“America is obviously a lot stronger. Anyone out here can win. I’m looking forward to playing over here a lot, I’ll also play in Europe and South Africa. I’ll have to sit down and see which events I’ll play, but the majority will be over here. I’ll try my best to play a couple events back home.”

The US Open came the week after Higgo won the Palmetto Championship, and though he admitted to being mentally tired he only missed the cut by two.

ALSO READ: South African golfers leading the way with Garrick Higgo, Wilco Nienaber

“I learnt a lot from the US Open. It was tough that I won the week before a US Open, it would have been nice to win the week before a regular event. I can take positives out of the fact that I didn’t play my best, and I only just missed the cut. I did pretty well considering I was mentally drained, and I was playing with a different caddy.”

Christiaan Bezuidenhout will partner Garrick Higgo at the Tokyo Olympics Picture: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour via Gallo Images

As for playing with fellow SA youngster Wilco Nienaber (21), who ranked as the longest hitter at the Palmetto Championship by over 18 yards - with his massive average driving distance of 361 yards, the pair spur each other on said Higgo.

"I wouldn’t say we have a rivalry, we’re really good friends. We want to beat each other, but I want him to do well as much as I want to do well myself. We learn from each other. We play a lot of practice rounds together, I ask him questions like how to hit it further and he asks me questions.”

ALSO READ: Garrick Higgo up inside top 40 in world rankings

Though he missed the cut at the US Open, Higgo made the weekend in his debut appearance in a major at the PGA Championship in May. Higgo, it seems, is steadily raking up the experience in the majors which may be an ominous warning for his competitors.

“You have to have all parts of your game working, you have to do everything really well. You can’t lose your focus, you can’t hit it slightly offline because you’ll be punished. The more you play the majors, the better you get. You learn to tighten up your misses. You just become more comfortable out there.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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