When Erik van Rooyen tees off on the first at Pebble Beach on Thursday morning, he will lead a group of eight South African professionals into action in the first round of the third major championship of the year, the US Open.
He will be joined at the same time off the 10th tee by Dean Burmester, another of four South Africans who played their way into the field in Sectional Qualifying last week. Like Burmester, Justin Walters and Merrick Bremner hit the jackpot in England, while Van Rooyen got into the field via one of the Sectional Qualifying events in the United States.
The highest-ranked South African in the field is Louis Oosthuizen, who is 22nd on the Official World Golf Ranking, while Justin Harding is 47th this week. Branden Grace as slipped to 54th in the world, but he has had some close shaves in the US Open – notably in 2015 when just a single wayward tee shot probably cost him victory.
Ernie Els, the 1994 and 1997 US Open champion, scored an invitation to Pebble Beach this year and he is joined in the field by his nephew, South African amateur star Jovan Rebula.
It’s not certain whether it’s accurate to call Slovakian (by way of Durban) Rory Sabbatini South African any more, but he is also in the field at Pebble Beach.
And there is certainly reason to keep an eye on 2018 Cape Town Open winner Rhys Enoch, the Welshman who has been playing on the Sunshine Tour for a number of years. He also qualified for the US Open at Walton Heath in England.