Garrick Higgo Profile
|Born||May 12, 1999|
|Birthplace||Johannesburg, South Africa|
The legendary Gary Player says that his protege is "destined for greatness".
South Africa's Garrick Higgo had already made a quietly impressive start to his professional career when, in the early summer of 2021, he dramatically won twice in Europe and then also in America, all in the space of just two months.
The Johannesburg-born left-hander had enjoyed a fine amateur career which included two years at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and was well thought of when he turned professional, but his swift progress was still something of a shock.
He quickly won a minor tour event in South Africa in 2019, added more success on the Sunshine Tour within weeks (and also in early 2020), before he claimed the European Tour co-sanctioned Open de Portugal later in his second season.
In April 2021 he won twice in three starts on the European Tour in Spain fuelling a leap up the world rankings that earned him a first Major Championship start.
A week later, playing his first regular PGA Tour event on invitation, he maintained his swift progress by winning the Palmetto Championship.
Higgo was the number one ranked amateur in South Africa and earned plenty of titles in his home country.
Internationally, he became the first South African to qualify for, and play in, the US Amateur and US Junior Championships in the same year. He also attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018.
Higgo met Gary Player when he was 9-year-old and the two have remained in touch ever since, with the nine-time Major Champion offering advice, particularly about the mental side of the sport.
Higgo joined the pro ranks in early 2019 and had another helping hand from one of his nation's finest golfers when he won on the Big Easy Tour, a circuit set up by Ernie Els to help young South African golfers.
In his very next start, appropriately at the Gary Player Country Club, he won the Sunshine Tour's Sun City Challenge.
Early in 2020 he would add the Southern Africa Tour Championship and he was all set for a summer on Europe's Challenge Tour, but Covid interrupted his progress.
Not for long, however.
He knew he would have limited opportunities in Europe that year and he was about to make the most of them.
In June he finished tied sixth at the Euram Bank Open, then in September he logged tied seventh at the Northern Ireland Open followed by victory in the Challenge Tour/European Tour co-sanctioned Open de Portugal.
After his first victory in South Africa, Higgo had hit a relatively lean patch before he confirmed his promise with that second triumph. It was a pattern that repeated itself a year later.
In his first 15 starts as a full European Tour member he landed six top 30 finishes, but also missed eight cuts.
Then a sparkling start to the summer was kicked off with tied fourth in the Austrian Open before he flew west for a three week swing in the Canary Islands.
The scoring in those three tournaments would be low, but none would go lower than Higgo who broke 65 in seven of his 12 laps as he won the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open by three shots and the Canary Islands Championship by an imperious six blows, with tied eighth at the Tenerife Open in-between.
Instantly, his career was transformed.
Major debut and PGA Tour breakthrough
Conditions at Kiawah Island for his first experience of Major Championship golf were very different to the resort golf he had been playing in Spain.
But Higgo proved his versatility to make the cut and eventually finish T64th.
He spent the next two weeks at the Sea Island Resort, knowing he was invited to the Palmetto Championship ahead of playing the US Open.
His prep went well and he made a bright start at Congaree GC, sitting T10th heading into the weekend before a Saturday 68 moved him into a tie for fourth, and another 68 set a clubhouse target no-one could match.
"I'm just proud of the way I hung in there," he said afterwards. "Definitely didn't have my A game in terms of off the tee, but I like that sometimes.
"I like not having to play perfect golf. I enjoy scrambling and making a couple putts, which I did, it was awesome."
When Higgo was just 9-years-old his father Michael died following a car crash.
Player lost his mother at a similar age and Higgo has acknowledged that this connection has strengthened their bond.
He has a sister, Calista, and a brother, Michael.
Garrick Higgo's net worth
His victory in the Palmetto Championship earned him $1.3million, comfortably the biggest cheque of his career.
In fact, his European Tour career earnings, when he won in America, were yet to top $1million, but that is likely to change very quickly.