17 June 2021 – With the final date for Olympic qualifying on June 21, Garrick Higgo’s ascension to 39th on the Official World Golf Ranking means he has become a probable pick for South Africa to take part in the Games which are set to start on July 23.
The GolfRSA National Squad graduate’s climb on the world list is as a result of his victory on the PGA Tour at the weekend in the Palmetto Championship in South Carolina, and he climbed 15 places from last week’s ranking when he took the title.
Qualification for the men will be based on world ranking as of 21 June, with a total of 60 players qualifying. The top 15 players will qualify, with a limit of four golfers per country that can qualify this way.
Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
Right now, South Africa’s top-ranked player, Louis Oosthuizen, will be the other player to don the green and gold in Tokyo, but given his decision to not play in Rio in the last Olympiad, and the health issues surrounding the games – if not engulfing the world – it seems likely that the second pick will probably go to Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who was supplanted as South Africa’s second-best player by Higgo in the latest rankings.
It was a good week for South Africa on the list, with only Bezuidenhout amongst the top 10 slipping. His two-spot descent was a result of his not playing in the Palmetto Championship, preferring to practice in the week ahead of the US Open.
Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Dylan Frittelli and Dean Burmester were all unchanged inside the world’s top 100, while Higgo, Daniel van Tonder, Erik van Rooyen, Brandon Stone and George Coetzee were all up – Coetzee’s two-position rise taking him to 101st, and on the verge of re-entering the world’s top 100.
Fellow GolfRSA National Squad graduate Wilco Nienaber also continues to trend towards the top 100. A tie for 14th in his PGA Tour debut in the Palmetto Championship lifted the big-hitting Bloemfontein golfer to 141 in the latest ranking. He will be teeing it up alongside Higgo and seven other South Africans in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines this week.
South Africa’s top 10:
Louis Oosthuizen 18 (unchanged)
Garrick Higgo 39 (up 15)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 46 (down 2)
Branden Grace 71 (unchanged)
Daniel van Tonder 80 (up 1)
Erik van Rooyen 86 (up 2)
Dylan Frittelli 89 (unchanged)
Brandon Stone 90 (up 2)
Dean Burmester 91 (unchanged)
George Coetzee 101 (up 2)
Written and released by Mike Green for SA Tour Golf (www.satourgolf.co.za)