Charl Schwartzel Is the True Hottest Player in Golf Right Now

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 09:  Charl Schwartzel of South Africa hits his tee shot on the 9th hole during Day Three of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on February 9, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With all the publicity surrounding Brandt Snedeker’s hot start to the 2013 PGA Tour season, many have overlooked the true hottest golfer on the planet right now: Charl Schwartzel.

From Snedeker’s win at the 2012 Tour Championship through his win last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Snedeker has compiled two wins and five top-10 finishes.

Pfft, that’s nothing.

Schwarztel, winner of the 2011 Masters, has finished within the top five at each of his last six events, including two wins and two second-place finishes.

And not only has Schwartzel won two out of his last six events, but he also has been utterly dominating the fields.

Schwartzel won the Thailand Golf Championship by 11 strokes late last year. The very next week, he went out and won the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Scotland by 12 strokes.

When was the last time you saw any player win back-to-back professional events by 11 and 12 strokes?

Last week, Schwartzel finished second at the Joburg Open, and this week he is tied for sixth through 36 holes at the Northern Trust Open, just three strokes off the lead currently held by Sang-Moon Bae and Fredrik Jacobson.

The last time Schwartzel failed to break 70 in a round was back in early December 2012.

“Lucky,” a smiling Schwartzel said yesterday afternoon when asked to explain his recent success on the golf course.

He then elaborated by saying, via ASAP Sports: 

There's a whole bunch of things.  I fixed up my swing after the injury.  I've got no more pain when I swing the club.  That got me back to the consistency that I had going back just about the Masters time.  I obviously played some courses back down south which I'm familiar with and that always helps.  You know, so with the swing changes, that's worked, or the improvements, I should say; some consistency has come and some confidence.  So that was probably key.

Schwartzel may or may not win this week’s Northern Trust Open; we are only 26 holes into the 72-hole event. But another top 10 is likely in the cards for Schwartzel this week, and he would have to be considered one of the favorites, if not the favorite, heading into next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Schwartzel, like Snedeker, is currently in the midst of an incredible hot streak. Whether or not each player can ride his streak into the 2013 Masters, which is still two months away, is the big question.   

Winning majors is all about getting hot at the right time. If Schwartzel happened to stumble upon a bottle, and a genie popped out and granted him three wishes, you can be assured that Schwartzel's first wish would be to move the Masters from April 11-14, 2013, up to February 21-24, 2013, because golfers know all too well how quickly their games can come and go from week to week and month to month.    

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