The rise of Eddie Pepperell from the depths of the official world golf rankings is one that inspires golfers the world over. The extent to which Pepperell is able to influence novice players is slightly different than that what Dustin Johnson is able to. Standing at 5'10 and weighing 73 kgs (160 lbs.), Pepperell is by no means your physical specimen.
The most notable attribute that makes Pepperell stand out from the rest of the tour players isn’t his physical makeup, but rather his eloquence. Despite being a deep thinker and an intellectual, it’s very easy for fans to relate to what Pepperell is saying given how transparent and honest he is when a mic is in front of him. It makes a welcome change to the robotic answers we have grown to expect from most of the tour pros.
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That’s why when Pepperell wins, it’s a win for golf as a sport as this is an individual who is likely to attract a host of new fans and sponsors, even if he doesn't have one himself just yet. Yes, that's right: Eddie Pepperell doesn’t have a hat sponsor. When you consider that a simple name on a cap can earn a tour player millions of pounds every year, it does seem mind boggling that he has chosen not to have one, but that’s Eddie Pepperell: different in every way.
The sponsors admittedly weren’t lining up to have their brand featured on Pepperell's head last year and as recently as May 2017, the young Englishman was outside the top 500 golfers in the world. Languishing in the doldrums of professional golf, Pepperell’s career was at a crossroads after he lost his tour card in agonising fashion in Portugal at the end of 2016 only to win it back at Q-School a couple of weeks later. Despite earning back his playing privileges it was turning out to be another season where progress just wasn’t forthcoming.
A top ten in June 2017 at the Nordea Masters was followed by a tie for 16th at the US Open, which kick-started something within the 27-year-old. Pepperell would claim his maiden win on tour after 129 starts in February 2018 as he won the Qatar Masters. More success was to follow with a second-place finish at the Scottish Open and sixth at the Open.
It was just last week that Pepperell won the British Masters, which illustrates yet again what a startling turnaround it has been from the depths of despair he found himself in during 2016 and half of 2017. Winning doesn’t seem to be a once off and Pepperell is proving his success isn't a flash in the pan.
So, what next – a major? Before anyone spits out their tea, you only have to look at Pepperell’s rise and performance at majors to think he has a good chance of winning one. The odds may not suggest it, with moplay.co.uk's listed odds for the 2019 Open Championship having Pepperell at 125/1 to win, but you shouldn't forget this is a man who finished sixth at the Open this year and did so whilst feeling the effects of a heavy night the evening prior.
The Englishman admitted to feeling hopeless the night before the final round at Carnoustie so he and his swing coach enjoyed a few too many glasses of wine. In his post-round interview Pepperell came clean and admitted he was hungover.
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Golf now has a champion we can all get behind and root for. There’s no flashy Instagram feeds, self-praise or regurgitated answers when it comes to Eddie Louis Pepperell. What you see is very much what you get and that is something golf has been crying out for.