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  • Paul Graham-Fielding


Charl Schwartzel hasn’t had the most blistering start to 2019 but the man with the biggest smile golf has something to look forward too, the Masters is just around the corner.

In the busy days surrounding the Honda Classic he kindly gave up his time to talk to us about his current game, and although only tying for 16th Charl was happy with his efforts and is looking forward to visiting the setting of his most famous victory to date.

You mentioned that you are already back working on the game were you not happy with last week’s results and your game?

No I’m happy with my game, I felt like my form was pretty good. I was playing good golf but sometimes your opponents are just better than you on that particular day, you can roll the dice and sometimes it just doesn’t come off.

It’s been a stutter start to your year, what does that do for your confidence when the first major is only 4 weeks away?

Nothing gives you confidence like winning tournaments but it doesn’t happen week in week out. Last week’s result was a step in the right direction and it’s nice to know that when you are playing good golf you can take your chances, confidence breed’s confidence and you need that when you’re heading to Augusta. Even though I have already won there you need to call on all of the instruments you have available to you to play well at the Masters.

Your putting helped you out last week, is this a part of your game you have specifically worked on?

Augusta is a lot about the putting but it tests your whole game. When the greens get fast the speed becomes such an important factor, and it’s something you have to get right in your putting.

The year that I won there I only had one three put all week, the person who gets their speed dialled in will make a big impact on the field.

The tee’s at Augusta can’t go back any further and you guys on tour are driving further and further each year, is Augusta all about your short game now and not what you can do with your driver?

(Charls Chuckles) Err no, not really! When the golf course gets firm you still have to be accurate with all of your iron play, and it can get firm at Augusta! First of all your drives have got to get you to the right spots on the fairways, the target areas for your iron shots get so small so it really does test every swing. It really tests the mental part of your game too.

Does that mental part become easier now you’re a previous winner?

There’s definitely a difference but it’s not easier. I feel honoured coming here as a champion, knowing that I have pulled off the win in one of sport’s greatest events. I have already been there to check out the course and it still gives me goose bumps heading up Magnolia Lane. Winner or not here, every time you arrive it’s special.

The field this year is probably the deepest it’s been for a number of years, tour wins are being shared by a number players rather than one figure having dominated for a sustained period. Do you think this creates more opportunity to win as the field will be so compact? Or does it make it harder as your fighting on more fronts?

You know, there is allot of guys that are playing well right now so it’s going to be an exciting Masters, but in saying that every week only around 15-20% of the field really finds their game. It all depends on who discovers it. You don’t play well every year and I have always said that if I’m playing well, it’s up to me to take the opportunity, it won’t get given to me.

You have had a huge amount of success in previous years, infact you’ve won all over the world but do you have to change your game specifically for the grasses at Augusta?

No I’m really fortunate, at Augusta I don’t have to change anything. The course really suits my ball flight, and the way I use my imagination when I play really lends itself to the course. It’s The Open championship where I have to change my game the most.

Whys that?

I struggle with the cold weather! I naturally have a high ball flight so I have to work really hard to keep the ball down and get control of it. I’m not used to playing with a lot of layers on, it takes allot of preparation and mental effort to get right for that one.

I have seen the weather in the UK at the moment, I’m glad I’m not there right now!

You obviously go back to Augusta as a champion now, and as part of the tradition you have your Champions dinner, are you looking forward to Patircks menu?

I think he is doing some sort of steak? I’m looking forward to it, it’s one of the best evenings of the year. When you’re there and you look around at the company you’re in you realise just what you have achieved, so few people on the tour will never get to see that. It’s real honour and an amazing evening.

Do you get to choose where you sit or are you given your orders?

No you can sit where ever you want, only the champion and the chairman sit at the head of the table and have dedicated seats. We can mingle and spend time with whoever we want, there’s obviously some real legends there.

It’s been a difficult start to 2019 for Charl, but with wins on both tours and a Masters optimism we could well see him slip on yet another Green Jacket.


Best ever shot at The Masters?

My chip in at the first hole on the final day in 2011.

Favourite hole?

I love 16, it’s such a beautiful little hole.

Fantasy Fourball (past & present)?

I had a fantastic time there with my dad and my brother a couple of years ago, but if I had to pick some golfers then it would have to be Jack Nicklaus, Gary player and then my dad or brother.

Golfing Idol?

That would have to be Ernie and Nick Price. I obviously have a huge respect for Gary but he was a little before my time so I never really got to see him hit a golf shot.

What snack is in the bag?

Protein bars!

Favourite non golf sporting event?

I love cricket and the Rugby.

Charl Schwartzel random fact?

I fly planes and helicopters!

#TheMasters #CharlSchwartzel #GolfFocused

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