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 at the moment, 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 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 hoping to bring his talents to the PGA Tour on a full-time basis.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout nearly died at the age of two after drinking rat poison

Christiaan Bezuidenhout tees off during the first round of the 2021 edition of The Masters
Christiaan Bezuidenhout | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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 on the ground unconscious as he’d apparently ingested rat poison, not the Coke he was expecting. 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 as he feared being laughed at by his classmates and it 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 hopes to soon play on the PGA Tour on a full-time basis

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, and he’s now hoping to soon become a full-time member of the PGA Tour.