Schwartzel's dad didn't miss this victory

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By

JOHANNESBURG --- It was 12:48 a.m. Monday in South Africa when Charl Schwartzel sealed his first major title with a birdie on the last hole at the Masters Tournament.

Back home on the family farm near Vereeniging, a city just south of Johannesburg, Charl's father, George, watched every moment.

That's a big change for a man who describes himself as "a nervous wreck" every time his son plays, and who has previously gone to sleep to avoid the agonizing tension of watching Charl in action -- especially in a final round.

"I was going to take another pill but my wife wouldn't let me. We watched it all -- I still haven't gone to bed," George Schwartzel said nearly 12 hours after Charl's triumph at Augusta National.

The elder Schwartzel took a sleeping pill and went to bed when Charl finished second at the WGC-Cadillac Championship last year after battling with Ernie Els down the stretch.

"I told my family to wake me up when it was over," he said.

At the 2005 Alfred Dunhill Championship, played in Dec. 2004, he napped under a tree on a deserted front nine at Leopard Creek Golf Club -- and missed Charl claim his first European Tour title on the back nine.

"I had to find somewhere to lie down. I couldn't take it. So, I found a quiet tree on the front nine."

It could have been the same Sunday night, except for his wife Lizette's intervention.

George might have missed it.

"My dad was stressing again, he couldn't watch it," said Attie Schwartzel, Charl's younger brother and also a pro golfer on South Africa's Sunshine Tour. "He's such a nervous wreck. He wanted to take another pill but Mom wouldn't let him."

By contrast, his 26-year-old son displayed the coolest of temperaments in the final round at Augusta National.

He had just a single bogey and finished with four consecutive birdies for 6-under 66, the best final round by a winner in 22 years. Schwartzel won by two shots over Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day, calmly rolling in a birdie putt on the 18th.

"My daughter was crying about half an hour before he won, then I was crying when he won," George said. "My wife was happy but she wasn't crying. She never cries or gets too emotional.

"Charl has got her temperament, luckily."

Charl's easy manner was epitomized in his own description of Sunday's final hole, published on the Sunshine Tour Web site.

"Driver up 18, 133 yards, pitching wedge to about 14 feet. Sounds pretty simple if you think about it like that," he said.