Seven South Africans eye green jacket at 2020 Masters

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There will be seven South Africans in the field for the delayed 2020 Masters to be played at Augusta National later this week.

The tournament, which will take place from November 12-15, was originally scheduled for its usual April slot, but the coronavirus pandemic put pay to those plans.

SOUTH AFRICA BOASTS A RICH HISTORY AT AUGUSTA

South Africa has a rich history at the Masters since the first tournament was played back in 1934.

Gary Player, South Africa’s greatest ever sportsman, donned the famed green jacket on no fewer than three occasions – 1961, 1974 and 1978.

Trevor Immelman held off Tiger Woods to triumph in 2008 and Charl Schwartzel joined the winners’ circle three years later in 2011.

As past winners, Immelman and Schwartzel are exempt into the field once again this year and they will be joined by five compatriots eager to lift the trophy.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Erik van Rooyen will be playing in their first Masters tournament, while Dylan Frittelli, Justin Harding and Louis Oosthuizen will look to draw on the experience of previous visits to Augusta to contend for the title.

PAR-3 CONTEST ALWAYS A FUN EVENT

While Player won’t be playing, he will join close friend Jack Nicklaus in hitting ceremonial opening tee shots to get the tournament under way.

Defending champion Tiger Woods returns to the scene of his last Major victory – and 15th overall – short of the form he displaying in winning last year.

However, one would be foolish to count out the five-time Masters champion as a contender, even as he approaches his 45th birthday.

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