Christiaan Bezuidenhout Nearly Died After Ingesting Rat Poison but Was Then Banned From Amateur Golf For Medicine He Needed Afterward
Easily one of the most underrated golfers in the world, Christiaan Bezuidenhout certainly didn’t have the easiest childhood growing up in South Africa.
The three-time European Tour winner nearly died at the age of two after ingesting rat poison, which led to multiple medical issues, and was then banned from amateur golf for the medicine he had to take to combat those issues.
But he obviously fought through all of it to get where he is today and is now a full-time member of the PGA Tour.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout nearly died at the age of two after drinking rat poison
Born in Delmas, Mpumalanga, South Africa, in May 1994, Christiaan Bezuidenhout nearly didn’t live long enough to even swing a golf club as he nearly died when he was just two years old.
On a trip to the grocery store one day with his parents, Bezuidenhout spotted a soda bottle on the ground, somehow managed to open it, and took a quick swig.
By the time his parents turned around, young Christiaan was lying unconscious on the grounds as he’d apparently ingested rat poison, not the Coke he had expected. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, and his parents were informed that they’d arrived just in time, as even a few more minutes would have proved fatal.
Bezuidenhout spent weeks in the ICU as the poison had ravaged his nervous system, which led to multiple medical issues as he grew up.
He was once banned from amateur golf for a substance in his medication
Among the issues Christiaan Bezuidenhout was forced to deal with following the poisoning incident was a bad stutter. As he once told Golf Digest, he was afraid to speak up during class because he feared being laughed at by his classmates, which also affected him at golf tournaments.
Bezuidenhout first swung a club at the age of four and began playing tournaments when he was eight. As the years went on, he started winning a lot of these tournaments, which meant he had to give a victory speech afterward, which he says was really difficult as he would tense up, leaving him unable to speak. The stammer caused him to develop severe anxiety, and in addition to the medications he was already taking, he was prescribed beta-blockers, which he says helped.
At the 2014 British Amateur, Bezuidenhout was given a drug test, the results of which altered the course of his career. Apparently, the medicine he was taking contained a banned substance that he wasn’t aware of, which led to him being banned from amateur golf for two years.
He’d remained an amateur longer than he needed to as he wanted to compete for the Eisenhower Trophy in his home country, which was no longer an option. The ban was later reduced to nine months, but he had to deal with the stigma of being a cheater, which he obviously wasn’t.
So he just continued to work on his game during his time off and decided to just go ahead and turn pro in early 2015.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout has three European Tour wins and is now one of the top 100 players in the world
Christiaan Bezuidenhout spent the early part of his professional career on the Big Easy Tour in South Africa, a developmental tour for the Sunshine Tour, where he earned two victories as a rookie and won the Order of Merit. He then won the Sunshine Tour Q School to gain full-time status and won his first event in 2016 on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors.
Bezuidenhout then started playing more and more events on the Challenge Tour, the developmental tour for the European Tour, and gained full-time status on the main tour in 2018.
Since then, he’s won three times on the European Tour, including back-to-back victories in late 2020, which vaulted him into the top 35 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Bezuidenhout earned full-time status on the PGA Tour ahead of the 2021-22 season. Since then, his best finish was a tie for second at the 2022 edition of the John Deere Classic.