Charl Schwartzel plays a shot from a bunker on the 11th hole during the second round of the Zurich Classic in April, the last tournament round he played before going on hiatus to let a wrist injury heal. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — After having his 2018-’19 season cut short because of a wrist injury, Charl Schwartzel could be ready to return to action in about a month if all goes well for the South African.
On Tuesday, the 2011 Masters champ played just his third round of golf, participating in the Bahamas Strong Pro-Am at Old Marsh Golf Club, since announcing on June 9 that he would be taking the remainder of the season off to let the injury heal.
“It’s been a long time off already,” Schwartzel said at the charity outing put together by Brad Faxon, Justin Leonard and Seth Waugh to raise money for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. “I’m itching to play. If I can get through two or three weeks of playing constantly with no pain then I’ll give it a go.”
The 35-year-old, who Ernie Els had already ruled out for this December’s Presidents Cup, says he will take a cautious approach, however. Though Schwartzel has been able to practice and play in recent weeks, he emphasized that there is no need to rush back if there is any lingering pain. On Tuesday, at least, he showed no ill effects, playing in the 18-hole event without any signs of pain.
Schwartzel, who will be playing on a medical extension when he does return to the PGA Tour, last played in April at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, missing the cut with his partner Louis Oosthuizen. It was his eighth missed cut in 13 starts, with Schwartzel’s lone top-10 last season coming at the Puerto Rico Open, where he tied for sixth. Since being out, Schwartzel has fallen to 191st in the Official World Golf Ranking, his lowest position since 2004.