Christiaan Bezuidenhout Profile
|Short Name||C Bez|
|Born||May 18, 1994|
|Birthplace||Delmas, Mpumalanga, South Africa|
Blessed with a superb short game, the South African is rising through the world rankings after overcoming a childhood trauma.
There is a composure and coolness under pressure about Christiaan Bezuidenhout which might be the consequence of the many difficulties he faced as a child and then in the amateur golfing ranks.
As a two-year-old he drank from a bottle of Coke not knowing that it contained rat poison and was only saved by a frantic journey his parents took to the hospital.
His nervous system was immediately in peril, but he recovered only for a stutter to materialise, one which left him a frequent butt of teenage jokes.
He had discovered a rare ability at golf and this became his escape, but it was also set to add to his problems when he was banned for two years when taking beta blockers prescribed for his ailments at The Amateur Championship.
That event took place at Royal Portrush and, when the R&A next visited that Northern Irish course, Bezuidenhout was an established European Tour performer and able to return to for the 2019 Open.
Before then he had plied his trade on the Sunshine and Challenge Tours before making a breakthrough at the 2019 Andalucia Masters.
Eighteen months later he would add another two victories on the European Tour and he was also now playing consistently on the PGA Tour.
In 2021 he missed just one cut and began to establish himself as one of South Africa's brightest young stars.
What has always been obvious is that he is blessed with a startlingly good short game, both from around and on the greens.
Bezuidenhout spent six years as part of the Ernie Els Foundation and legendary Big Easy remains a close confidante of his younger compatriot.
He has not taken beta blockers since his ban and has used the experience as motivation because he was aware that some competitors and their family members gossiped that he took them to enhance performance rather than to deal with medical problems.
He's said of the incident: "I was playing in the British Amateur at Royal Portrush in 2014 when, after my first round, I handed my scorecard in and was told that I'd been nominated for a drugs test.
"I wrote the medication down on the form prior to the drugs test, making no secret of the fact I was using this medication.
"Two months later I was back home practising for the Eisenhower Trophy where I would be representing South Africa when one afternoon my Dad phoned me to tell me I needed to come home immediately. I drove straight from practice and he broke the news to me that I had been suspended. I just broke down."
The stutter has remained and he admits that he has avoided many situations where he might have to talk, although he has shown courage when asked to complete television interviews.
He joined the pro ranks in 2015 and tasted early success on the Big Easy Tour, a mini circuit in his home country and another example of Els' dedication to the growth of the game.
Early in 2016, he came close to a swift breakthrough on the European Tour when second at the South African Open. It earned him some Challenge Tour starts and at the end of the year he claimed a first Sunshine Tour victory.
He played a little more European second tier golf in 2017, but he earned his promotion to the main tour with 25th place at the Qualifying School in November.
He retained his card, but only just.
European Tour success
He made a bold start to the 2019 season, finishing second in the Qatar Masters and fourth at the Indian Open.
In late June he added third place in the BMW International Open and a week later he rode the wave to win the Andalucia Masters by six shots at the prestigious Valderrama where his composure and stellar short game skills came to the fore.
He closed the year out with third place at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and a top 20 finish in his first World Golf Championship event, the 2019 HSBC Champions in China.
He then opened 2020 with play-off defeat in the Dubai Desert Classic and victory on the Sunshine Tour before Covid interrupted his progress.
Crossing to America
He had finished top 30 in both the WGC Mexico Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational (as well as made a smart start to the cancelled PLAYERS Championship) prior to lockdown and it earned him a crack at America.
In all, he made six top 30s in 10 starts which earned him a return the following season and he closed out the year with back-to-back victories on home soil in the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship and South African Open.
He didn't add to his win tally in 2021, but his consistency was impressive. He missed just one cut in the calendar year in America, retained his PGA Tour card through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, and challenged again at the BMW PGA Championship.
Bezuidenhout's personal life
His father is Conrad and mother is Margaret. Conrad was a scratch golfer.
He has a brother, also called Conrad, and a sister called Chane.
He is married to Kristen Hart.
Bezuidenhout's net worth
His career earnings as of November 2021 are $6million. He is signed to a Callaway equipment deal.