Oosthuizen making a name for himself at Old Course

By Doug FergusonJuly 16, 2010, 5:49 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The name on his passport – Lodewicus Theodorus – sounds like it belongs in a Wagner opera.

His nickname among friends – Shrek – is not much better.

Louis Oosthuizen found a better way to make a name for himself Friday at St. Andrews, where he carefully navigated the Old Course through light wind and short spells of rain for a 5-under 67 to take the early lead in the British Open.

A long putt through the Valley of Sin on the 18th hole, and the birdie putt from just inside 15 feet that followed, put the 27-year-old South African at 12-under 132. He was three shots clear of Rory McIlroy, who had to face increasing wind in the afternoon.

“It’s probably the position anyone wants to be in playing a major on the weekend,” Oosthuizen said.

It’s a position he doesn’t know very well.

Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hy-zen) had played eight majors when he arrived at St. Andrews. He missed the cut in seven of them, the exception coming in the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, where he finished last.

“It wasn’t very great, was it?” said Oosthuizen, flashing the gap-tooth grin that earned him the Shrek moniker. “It was a matter of not believing in myself, I think. Everyone around here is telling me, ‘You’ve got the shots, you’re playing well.’ And again, that win earlier this season just got my mind set in a different way.”

He won his first European Tour event in Spain this spring, his fourth victory worldwide.

The South African most would have expected atop the leaderboard was Ernie Els, and in a way, Els was a part of this. If not for the Ernie Els Foundation in South Africa, Oosthuizen might not be at St. Andrews, or anywhere in golf.

Oosthuizen comes from a tennis-mad family, but quickly switched to golf when he put a club in his hand. The trouble came with finances, for the travel required to develop his game proved to be too much for the son of a farmer. That was about the time the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation began to identify young South Africans from families of limited resources.

He was 17 when he began with the foundation, leaving when he turned pro.

“It was unbelievable what he did for me, traveling around the country, helping with expenses, things like that,” Oosthuizen said. “He’s such a good mentor. And probably without him, those three years I’ve been in his foundation, I wouldn’t have been here.”

Els identified talent, all right.

Oosthuizen teamed with Charl Schwartzel to win the 2000 World Junior Team Championship. Two years later on his home course at Mossel Bay Club along the famed Garden Route, he shot a 57.

That was great pressure knowing what was at stake, even though he was playing with friends. Oosthuizen needed to birdie one of the last three holes for a 59, and instead he chipped in for eagle on the 17th and birdied the last.

Now comes more pressure, and he appears up for it.

“I like the way he’s playing right now,” said his longtime caddie, Zach Rasego, who talks strategy on every tee in Afrikaans with Oosthuizen. “He doesn’t get frustrated by anything.”

The start of his back nine could have gone different directions.

Oosthuizen drove the par-4 10th green for a two-putt birdie, only to three-putt the next green for a bogey. After a chip-and-putt birdie on the 12th, he came up woefully short on the 13th and couldn’t get up-and-down for par.

He never looked flustered. And he never gave up on his plan.

Oosthuizen can bash it out there with the best of them, yet even with a breeze at his back, he laid back in the fairway on the 15th and 16th holes, playing longer irons into the green.

“I’m trying to take the bunkers completely out of play,” he said. “Seeing Tiger … I don’t think he went in one bunker. To me, if you go in a bunker, that’s a bogey or it’s going to be a very good par. So I’ve got that strategy.”

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.