Louis Oosthuizen, who withdrew from the Open Championship after just seven holes of Thursday’s first round, has confirmed he will miss the next eight or nine weeks of the season to rehabilitate. This effectively concludes the South African’s PGA Tour season. He will miss the final Major of the year, the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in August, and is now highly unlikely to be fit for the Presidents Cup, which is being played at Muirfield Village in Ohio at the beginning of October.
Oosthuizen, 30, the 2010 Open champion at St Andrews, has suffered inter-connected neck, back and hip injuries for much of the 2013 season, and having arrived at Muirfield hoping to consign his injuries to history, it was a reaching yawn on Tuesday that triggered back spasms and put his Open start in doubt. After intense physiotherapy Oosthuizen was able to swing freely by Thursday morning, but then having teed off in the first round at 2.45pm with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell, the debilitating pain returned and forced Oosthuizen to accept the crushing inevitability that he could no longer continue.
“I warmed up pretty well on the range hitting balls,” Oosthuizen told Golf Monthly last night, while attending an event hosted by Mercedes-Benz at Muirfield. “As the round progressed though, the pain in my neck translated into my hips, and I just found it increasingly uncomfortable to walk. It got to the point when I could not get my lower body through the swing, and I was just swinging with my arms, so I had to make the decision to stop.”
Oosthuizen has been trying to recover while on Tour in recent weeks, but now he has accepted that an extended period of concentrated rehabilitation is the only answer. A training regime to improve his core strength also lies ahead.
“Now I am going to be off for quite a bit,” added Oosthuizen, who will join his family on holiday in Canada this week, before a fortnight at his Florida home and then a trip to his hometown of Mossel Bay, on South Africa’s Southern Cape. “For the next eight or nine weeks I will work with my physio to make sure I can get the problem fixed completely. I don’t want to play soon and go into a tournament worrying about the injury, or just hoping that I can finish. I need to be able to play pain-free.”
Robin Barwick travelled to Muirfield with Mercedes-Benz, Official Patron of the Open Championship. Mercedes-Benz – dedicated to the perfect drive