Coetzee looking to earn a return trip to Augusta
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
DORAL, Fla. – The Masters is over a month away, but the aura of playing at Augusta National is hanging over 11 players at this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship.
George Coetzee is among those 11 players, as he is ranked 58th in the Official World Golf Ranking and has only two ways to return to the Masters – either win on the PGA Tour over the next month or get back into the OWGR'S top 50.
With winning so difficult on the PGA Tour and that he may only play this week in the U.S before the Masters, the South African knows that this week is very important, but tries not to think about it.
PHOTOS: Equipment on range at WGC-Cadillac Championship
Check out photos from our David Dusek from the range at Doral prior to the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
“The idea this week is just to play well and enjoy myself and hopefully post a couple of good rounds because I feel like I'm playing well and my game is coming along nicely,” Coetzee said. “I don't want to play for other things rather than just play for what I'm here to do this week.”
Coetzee entered the 2014 calendar year in the mid-90s in the world rankings, but has skyrocketed up with a fourth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, a fifth at the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, a win at the Joburg Open and then the ninth-place finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
The high finish by Coetzee in match play moved him all the way to 53rd in the world and on the cusp of making it back to Augusta, but last week's 50th at the Tshwane Open dropped the South African back to 58th.
“I guess it just shows that I can compete with these guys,” Coetzee said of his match-play performance. “It wasn't really a question of how my game works in the States because I think I've played enough here to know how to play proper golf, and hopefully this week it'll pay off.”
The Masters last qualification category is for a player to be in the top 50 in the world the week before the Masters, which would be the Monday of the Shell Houston Open. So unless a player wins on the PGA Tour this week, at Tampa, Bay Hill, Valero or Shell, then they must be in the top 50 in the world rankings.
For Coetzee his path to Augusta is unclear and depends a lot on this week’s performance.
If he plays well this week he will stay in the U.S. and play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. If he doesn’t have a good week, Coetzee has his ticket for Morocco booked to play in the Trophee Hassan II event and then back to South Africa to play in the Investec Cup, his last chance to earn enough points to move into the top 50.
“I've got no expectations, and nobody is expecting anything of me except myself,” Coetzee said. “And I guess that's kind of a good thing coming to the States.”