BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Stinger GC’s Charl Schwartzel was mad at himself following a double bogey midway through Sunday’s final round at LIV Golf Greenbrier.
So he did what many golfers of all levels have done out of frustration through the years. He kicked his bag.
Unfortunately this time, the bag won.
Schwartzel broke the big toe on his right foot, forcing him to withdraw one hole later. Left with just three active players in the lineup, the Stingers held on for third place – the fifth podium finish for the South African team in the last seven tournaments. It was a result worth celebrating, but Schwartzel was hardly in the mood as he struggled to climb the stairs at Greenbrier that evening after receiving treatment.
“Not a good moment,” he recalled Thursday.
There is good news, though. Schwartzel will be in the lineup this week, teeing off Friday with the other Stingers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Although still painful to walk, Schwartzel said there’s almost no pain when he swings a club. That was the deciding factor when he told Stinger Captain Louis Oosthuizen he was ready to go.
“He played nine [holes] yesterday,” Oosthuizen said. “He’s a lot better. He strapped it up. He’s fine.”
“No restriction in my golf swing,” Schwartzel added. “Walking is the hard part but we can suffer through that.”
There will be one significant change for Schwartzel this week. He’ll be wearing different shoes.
More to the point – sturdier golf shoes.
Schwartzel has worn FootJoy shoes for years but about five months ago, he switched to Nike Air Jordans. He was happy with them … until the realization Sunday that they weren’t made for kicking a golf bag.
“Those Nike Jordan shoes, the real soft ones, are almost like slippers,” he said. “That thing’s got nothing on the toe. When I kicked it, I realized that was a mistake. One hole later, I couldn’t walk. Couldn’t swing. Something was seriously wrong.
“I’m not proud of kicking the bag. Just frustration, which I’ve done many times at the bottom. But there’s just no support on the shoes. It’s like kicking barefoot.”
Said Oosthuizen: “We’ve all been there, done that. He was just wearing the wrong shoes to do that.”
Schwartzel, who won LIV Golf’s inaugural tournament last year in London, will return to his FootJoys this week. He said they offer more support and protection on his toe when he swings. He tried wearing the Air Jordans but his toe is too sore.
“The FootJoys with the support takes all the pressure away from the toe,” he said.
But at some point when his toe is fully healed, Schwartzel will return to the Air Jordans.
“Oh, I’ll go back to my other shoes, the slippers,” he said. “But I won’t kick the bag again.”