About Hennie Otto

By J.D. Chi

Golfer holds driver behind back
A South African golfer who turned pro in 1998, Hendrik Johannes Otto has had little success on major golf tours, but he has won seven times on the second-tier Sunshine Tour, based in South Africa. Otto's best finish in a professional major was T10 at the 2003 British Open. He also has one win on the European Tour.

European Tour

Otto won the 2008 Italian Open on the European Tour to mark his first big-time professional golf victory. The same season, he had three other Top 10 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Madeira Islands Open BPI in Portugal. The 2008 season was Otto's best, and he finished 37th on the European Tour Order of Merit (money list). Otto has played regularly on the European Tour since 2003, when he needed a medical extension. Otto's 2003 British Open (T10) and Trophee Lancome (T5) finishes allowed him to earn his European Tour playing card.

Sunshine Tour

Of Otto's seven Sunshine Tour victories, the most notable were his 2002 Nashua Masters and 2003 Tour Championship wins. In his first full season as a pro, Otto won three times at the Challenge Tour's Philips Challenge Xacobeo and the Sunshine Tour's Pietersburg Classic and Vodacom Series: Kwazulu-Natal. His only other multiple-victory season was 2002, when he won the Limpopo Industrelek Classic in addition to the Nashua Masters.

In the Bag

Otto plays TaylorMade clubs, including the Burner driver (10.5 degrees), r7 fairway wood (15 degrees) and irons. He plays a Srixon ball.


By European Tour standards, Otto is a middle-of-the-road player, averaging about 285 yards off the tee and averaging 1.77 putts per round. Accuracy is his biggest nemesis. For his career, he hits an average of less than 60 percent of fairways in regulation and less than 68 percent of greens in regulation.


Born on June 25, 1976, in Boksburg, South Africa, Otto was also an avid rugby player in his 20s. He had the opportunity to represent his country in a scrum-half but declined due to a conflict with a golf tournament. He lives in Boksburg with his wife, Liezel and son, Hendrick, who was born in 2005.

About the Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.