South African Louis Oosthuizen returns to the scene of his greatest triumph this week as he looks to emulate his stunning 2010 breakthrough on the Old Course when he won the Open by seven shots.
The soft-spoken 32-year-old was a relative unknown at the time, and had missed the cut in seven of his eight previous major appearances, before producing the best 72 holes of his life to coast to his one and only Grand Slam victory at St Andrews.
That win catapulted his career to new heights, although, after reaching a career high of world number four in 2013, Oosthuizen was struck by injuries that derailed his ascension to the top.
Looking relaxed and calm ahead of the big tee-off in the 144th Open tomorrow, he recalled the magic of 2010 and looked ahead to what he has to do if he wants to make it two wins in succession at the ‘Home of Golf’.
“It’s always great being back at St Andrews. You know, we always have the opportunity coming here in October playing Dunhill Links, but the Open at St. Andrews definitely is different, a different vibe, and just brought back a lot of memories playing 18 holes yesterday, and yeah, it’s really good being back,” said Oosthuizen, who finished second at the US Open last June, just one shot behind champion Jordan Spieth.
“Obviously I never thought that I was going to come that close to having a shot at winning the title,” he added after a disastrous first round at Chambers Bay.
“I was just trying to make the cut on Friday, and hopefully something was going my way. I think it all changed around with the eagle on the first when I turned, and played pretty decent from there on in, making the cut.
“I’m feeling 100 times better than what I was the last two years and working on things constantly to get stronger and get better. You know, all in all I’m happy where I am.
While Oosthuizen arrived on the east coast of Scotland in 2010 as one of the rank outsiders, he is now very much in the spotlight this week and enjoying the memories of that special weekend which led to his one and only Grand Slam title.
“My wife loves this town and my kids are having a great time. Just being here, all the memories comes back to me, just driving into St Andrews on Saturday and just seeing everyone on the golf course.
“So it’s just great to be back here. The biggest was I think Monday walking down 18, seeing the grandstands and remembering that moment walking in 2010 on Sunday afternoon.
“I played with Branden (Grace), whose caddie Zach was working for me then, and the two of us looked at each other, smiled, and said, it was great to just do that walk again and feel that bit of magic.”
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