It's almost impossible to believe that Richard Sterne spent two years out of the game completely, frustrated by a back injury and countless visits to a number of doctors to try and solve the problem.
For 2010 and 2011 Sterne hardly touched a club. Then he returned for the 2012 Africa Open and finished sixth in his first competitive round of golf for about 10 months. And in February 2013 he shots rounds of 63, 65, 68 and 64 at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club to claim a seven-shot victory over Charl Schwartzel in the Joburg Open - his sixth European Tour title. That win came a week after finishing second in the Dubai Desert Classic.
Those results say everything about the supreme natural talent Sterne possess.
Despite being away from the game for so long, his 2013 season has been a remarkable one. He finished tied 12th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, tied ninth in the Volvo World Match Play Championship, second in the French Open, tied ninth in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and tied 13th in the European Masters.
Sterne entered the paid ranks in 2001 off the back of a stellar amateur career, and has been a rising force in the game ever since.
As an amateur, he became the first South African to win both the senior and junior national Stroke Play and Match Play titles. In 1999 he was the second best junior golfer in the world, finishing runner-up in the World Junior Championships.
His breakthrough professional victory was in the 2001 Rye Hill Championship on the Euro Pro Tour, and then in 2004 he won the Open de Madrid to set up his career on the European Tour.
Some of the finest golf he has played came during two historic weeks in the summer of 2008.
In 2008, Sterne won the Joburg Open in January and, in two straight weeks in December, captured the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the South African Open Championship. He topped the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit for that season, securing him his debut and to date only appearance in the 2009 Nedbank Golf Challenge.
"The South African Open was a great win because I had won so many of the big national amateur titles, and I was missing the SA Open as a professional. I always thought it would be the hardest one to win," he said.
"When I look back on those two wins back-to-back, I sometimes wonder how I did it. But at the time, it just felt good and didn't seem that difficult.