Charl Schwartzel met Jack Nicklaus for the first time when the two played in the Els For Autism golf tournament in South Florida early last year, an introduction brokered by the Sunshine Tour's Johann Rupert. Schwartzel made polite conversation about hunting, which he knew was one of Jack's interests, until Rupert suggested they discuss how to play Augusta National, which Schwartzel would see for the first time in April 2010. Jack talked; Charl listened.
The meeting paid big dividends at one of the wildest Masters ever Sunday, when nine players, including three Australians and Tiger Woods, had an arm in the green jacket. In the end it was the unheralded Schwartzel who birdied the last four holes to shoot 66 for a 14-under total and a two-shot win over Jason Day (68) and Adam Scott (67) at the 75th Masters.
"It's such a special feeling I don't even know where to start," said Schwartzel, who learned the game from his dad, a former club pro who now sells eggs and corn from his farm in South Africa. "This morning — you know I'd never been in that situation before in a major — I felt surprisingly calm."