Open Championship 2013
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, is coming into this year’s Open at Muirfield from beneath radar detection.
The 30-year-old South African has endured injuries in 2013 that have reduced his schedule and affected his form, but now he hopes the Open Championship can represent a new dawn.
Oosthuizen was forced to withdraw from the US Open in June with a strained hip flexor in his left leg, and a neck injury has also reduced his playing time this year.
“I have had a rough season so far with injuries and it has been very frustrating,” starts Oosthuizen, talking exclusively to Golf Monthly, who cruised to a seven-shot win at St Andrews in 2010.
“I have been struggling a little bit, but now I am getting back to where I want to be and my body is feeling good this week. Hopefully this week can change my season.”
Perhaps the best medicine for Oosthuizen, who last won at the Volvo Golf Champions tournament in South African in January, is a return to the tournament he cherishes most.
“It is always great to be at a major, but particularly the Open for me, as a past winner of the Claret Jug,” says the world number 11.
“It is great to be a part of Open history and this is the tournament I want to win the most. The golf course looks great – really tough though – but Muirfield is just a great spot for golf.
This is my first time here, although of course I remember watching on TV when Ernie won in 2002.”
Els’ victory in 2002 is particularly poignant for Oosthuizen, as he was a 19-year-old amateur at the time, and in the middle of a three-year spell in the Ernie Els Foundation, in preparation for joining his mentor on tour.
“Being in Ernie’s foundation helped me a lot,” he says. “The support helped me to play more golf and more tournaments overseas.
I simply could not have had such ideal preparation for my professional career without Ernie’s help – becoming a professional would certainly have been a much slower process.
To have Ernie as a mentor was a great privilege, and what Ernie has achieved in golf, and for South African sports, is really special.”
Oosthuizen’s first two rounds certainly won’t be off radar. He tees of at 2:45pm in the first round tomorrow with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell.
Robin Barwick travelled to Muirfield with Mercedes-Benz, Official Patron of the Open Championship and a partner of three Major championships