CHARL’S AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH DEBUT WIN
When I spoke to Charl Schwartzel’s father recently, I told him I expected his son to win by the end of February.
Charl showed just how conservative I had been when he claimed the Dunhill Championship last weekend to gain his first triumph on the European Tour.
Just like London buses, we waited a while for one winner to come and then three arrived all at once with Richard Sterne and Darren Clarke taking top honours before Charl’s success at Leopard Creek.
At 20, Charl is the youngest winner since Aaron Baddeley’s success as a teenager in the 2001 Greg Norman Holden International and it means he will not have to qualify again until the 2008 season.
I doubt that Charl will have and worries about qualifying again because from the moment I first saw him as a 17-year-old, I was convinced I was looking at a very special talent. He looks certain to follow in the footsteps of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen as a South African of major standing.
I do not think it is a coincidence that Charl has won so soon after his good friend Richard Sterne and Louis Oosthuizen will undoubtedly follow in the near future to give us a hat trick from the southern hemisphere.
The holiday season is now upon us and the annual ISM party heralded the start of it while yours truly and Lee Westwood had a great time when attending the final of the X-Factor followed by BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Seven of the Ryder Cup team were there - five ISM clients - but the rowers pushed them into second place in the team event.
It was great to see England cricket skipper Michael Vaughan and Freddie Flintoff in a live link up from South Africa. Fred’s third place behind Kelly Holmes and Matthew Pinsent in the sports personality of the year section proved just how popular he has become.
That’s all for 2004 from this column apart from to say a big thank you for logging on to golfism, sportism and cricketism throughout the year and all at ISM look forward to hearing your views in the new year.
Have a very good Xmas and prosperous 2005.