Became only the second South African, after his mentor and role model Gary Player, to win the Masters Tournament after his courageous wire-to-wire victory at Augusta National in April 2008. The following season was blighted by injury, though, with tendinitis in his left elbow and wrist keeping him out of the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the US PGA Championship after a promising performance in the first Major of 2009 – The Masters – where he finished tied 20th. Won three titles on the European Tour before making his US PGA Tour breakthrough with victory in the 2006 Cialis Western Open. That helped him finish seventh on the Money List to become the first rookie since Jerry Pate (1976) to finish in the top ten as he claimed Rookie of the Year honours. Followed in the footsteps of Player in January 2004 when he became the first golfer since the legendary Black Knight in 1976-77 to successfully defend the South African Open Championship. The victory a year earlier had proved a pivotal moment in his career when he won his maiden European Tour title in emotional circumstances in front of friends and family at his home Erinvale Golf Club in the Western Cape, the place where he learned to play the game. Ever since he started swinging a club at the age of five, he wanted to be a golf professional and followed in the footsteps of his older golf teaching brother Mark. Accorded Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in 2008.