A Belgian, a South African, a German, a Spaniard, and a Dane walk into a bar. Whaddya got? Just another week in the clubhouse pub at the most recent European Tour stop. In all seriousness though, the group below are all ranked in the top 90 in the Official World Golf Rankings, are all proven winners, and all have bank accounts worthy of your envy.
The Euro Tour is often forgotten by those of us stateside, who tend to care very little about any tournament unless Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or Rory McIlroy is in contention. But to me, the Euro Tour is about as sexy as it comes. What could be cooler than running around Europe, with a bunch of Europeans, playing golf? Not a whole lot. While the PGA Tour has the flash and the prestige, we’ve seen several “unknown” major champions come from the Euro Tour as of late – Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen immediately come to mind. You may surprised to see these guys winning majors, but I can assure you their peers are not. The Euro Tour prepares professional golfers exceptionally well, with the players having to deal with less manicured courses and brutal travel schedules just to eek out their millions. Don’t be surprised if the names below pop up and win a big one soon – I for one would like to see each of them play a bit more here on this side of the pond.
1) Nicolas Colsaerts – A rare Belgian golfer, Colsaerts is currently 8th in the Race to Dubai (the European Tour’s money list) and is ranked 33rd in the world. That’s right, 33rd. That’s higher than the likes of David Toms, Geoff Ogilvy, Vijay Singh, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen, just to name a few. He’s won twice on the Euro Tour thus far but is perhaps best known for his length – he’s averaging an absurd 316 yards off the tee this year. Best of all, the man loves to rave and considers house music among his most important hobbies.
2) Branden Grace – At 24 years old Branden Grace has already had a career nearly all young South African players could only dream of. A product of Ernie Els’ golf foundation, Grace’s game has already drawn compliments from Gary Player. Better yet, he’s already beaten countrymen Ernie Els and Retief Goosen head to head (am I the only one wondering aloud if they let him win for the good of South African golf?). Branden is currently 11th in the Race to Dubai, and is just outside the top 50 players in the world coming in at number 51. Grace has won 3 times on the Euro Tour, with each of those victories coming this year.
3) Marcel Siem – A tall lanky German with a pony tail, Marcel Siem is not lacking in the personality department. He’s a veteran amongst this group, and has won twice on the Euro Tour. Siem also teamed up with Bernard Langer to win the World Cup of Golf in Barbados in 2006. He’s currently 13th in the Race to Dubai and 60th in the world.
4) Rafa Cabrera-Bello – A Spaniard who is 45th in the world, Cabrera-Bello has won twice on the Euro Tour. One of those victories came this year at the prestigious Dubai Desert Classic. After taking up the game at 6 years old, Rafa would go on to win the Spanish National Championship in the under-7 age bracket. He’d continue to win the same title each year all the way through the under-18 age bracket. His sister also competes on the Ladies European Tour.
5) Thorbjorn Olesen – Thorbjorn is a 23-year-old Dane, whose golfing idol is more-known fellow countryman Soren Hanson. This kid has one Euro Tour win under his belt, and is currently 85th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Better yet, he’s still improving – Olesen improved his game in almost every statistical category from 2011 to 2012 including dropping his stroke average by over a full stroke per round. With Thomas Bjorn getting up there in age, Danish golf needs a new king – why not Thorbjorn? His name is very much a combination of Thomas Bjorn’s anyways…
Keep an eye on these guys – you may just see them on a leader board soon. You can also catch Colsaerts in the upcoming Ryder Cup, as he was just asked by captain Jose Maria Olazabal with a captain’s pick.
All statistics courtesy of http://www.europeantour.com/.