South Africa has had more US Open champions than any other country besides the US itself in the last 50 years. Ernie Els and countryman Retief Goosen — both participants at Chalmers Bay this week — each won two Open crowns. And 50 years ago in 1965, South African Gary Player won his lone US Open title. (One of Player’s nine majors.)
27-year-old Branden Grace hopes to add his name to the rich South African golf tradition this week in the Pacific Northwest, joining the illustrious group that begins with the globe-trotting patrimony of Gary Player. Grace’s highest finish in a major championship was a tie for 18th at the Masters in 2013, but he finished in the top 50 at both the US Open (T36) and the PGA Championship (T46) in 2014. Grace is a six-time European Tour winner. He’s got the game to win at Chambers Bay.