Oosthuizen wins Open in dominating fashion

By Doug FergusonJuly 18, 2010, 11:33 pm

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Hardly anyone knew Louis Oosthuizen, much less how to pronounce his name. Not many will forget the performance he delivered at the home of golf to capture the British Open on Sunday.

A week after the World Cup ended, South Africa had more reason to celebrate, this from a most unlikely source. Oosthuizen, a 27-year-old who had only made one cut in his previous eight majors, blew away the field at St. Andrews for a victory that looked as easy as when Tiger Woods first won here a decade ago.

Oosthuizen made only two bogeys over the final 35 holes in a strong wind that swept across the Old Course. He led over the final 48 holes and closed with a 1-under 71 for a seven-shot victory over Lee Westwood of England.

Oosthuizen could not think of a more special venue to capture his first major. He just had no idea it would be this easy.

He never let anyone get within three shots of him in the final round, and he answered that brief challenge from Paul Casey by knocking in a 50-foot eagle putt on the par-4 ninth green to restore his cushion. Casey’s hopes ended with a triple bogey into the gorse three holes later, and Oosthuizen spent the final hour soaking up an atmosphere unlike any other in golf.

“That eagle on nine, that got me started,” Oosthuizen said. “It was a big change on 12 when Paul made triple and I made birdie. All of a sudden, it was mine to throw away.”

He finished at 16-under 272 and became the first player since Tony Lema in 1964 to win his first major at St. Andrews. With the fifth victory of his career, Oosthuizen moved to No. 15 in the world. And as a sign just how global golf has become, it’s the second time this decade that the four major championship trophies reside on four continents.

“Nobody was going to stop him,” said Casey, whose adventures in the gorse sent him to a 75 and a tie for third with Rory McIlroy (68) and Henrik Stenson (71). “He didn’t miss a shot today. I don’t know if he missed one all week. That was four days of tremendous golf. He didn’t flinch today.”

No, there was only that gap-tooth smile that earned him the nickname “Shrek” from his friends. And there was amazement across his face when he cradled the oldest trophy in golf, a silver claret jug with his name etched alongside Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, and the other South African winners –  Gary Player, Bobby Locke and Ernie Els, his mentor.

Louis Oostheizen
Oosthuizen cruised to a seven-shot victory at the Open Championship. (Getty Images)

Without the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation in South Africa, Oosthuizen, the son of a farmer, could not have afforded the travel required to reach the game’s highest level.

Some 45 miles (70 kilometers) away, Player was returning from a golf outing and listening to every shot on the radio, proud as can be. He saw the potential during a practice round they played at the Masters this year.

Player called Oosthuizen on Sunday morning and gave him a pep talk.

“I told him he’s got to realize that lots of people are hitting bad shots,” Player said, not know how few of those the kid would hit. “And I told them the crowd was naturally going to show a bias. But I reminded him when I played Arnold Palmer in 1961 at the Masters, only my wife and my dog was pulling for me. I told him he’s got to get in there and be more determined to win.”

Oosthuizen was relaxed as could be, putting his arm around caddie Zack Rasego after hitting off the 18th tee and walking over the Swilcan Bridge, thousands of fans packed into the grandstands, along the road and peering out the shop windows.

The timing could not have been better for a South African to claim a major –  that’s five majors for the Springboks since 2001. Not only is the country still buzzing, Sunday was the 92nd birthday of Nelson Mandela.

“It’s a proud moment for us, especially with the Old Man, winning on his birthday,” Rosega said. “Winning at St. Andrews, it’s unbelievable. He deserves what he’s just done.”

The 150th anniversary of golf’s oldest championship was memorable in so many ways.

It began with Rory McIlroy tying the major championship record with a 63 in some of the calmest conditions at the Old Course. It ended with someone other than Woods hoisting the claret jug in front of the Royal and Ancient clubhouse.

Woods tapped in on the final hole and removed his cap to salute the gallery, just as he did the last two Opens at St. Andrews. Only this time, the tournament was still two hours from finishing. Woods made two double bogeys on his way to a 72 and tied for 23rd.

It was his seventh tournament of the year without a victory, matching the longest drought of his career.

“I’m not going to win all of them,” Woods said after his worst 72-hole finish in a major in six years. “I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve won.”

No way he was going to win this one. Neither was anyone else.

Oosthuizen might have been nervous, but it didn’t show. Charl Schwartzel, his best friend from their junior golf days in South Africa, ran into him on Saturday and said Oosthuizen was showing him comedy videos on his phone.

“This was about an hour before he teed off,” Schwartzel said.

If anyone showed nerves, it was Casey. With the warm applause from a British gallery that had not seen one of its own holding a claret jug in 11 years, he hit wedge to 4 feet below the hole at No. 1 to send a message. The birdie putt caught the right lip, however, and it took until the sixth hole before Casey could make a birdie.

He wasn’t alone. Of the final 10 players to tee off, only Retief Goosen made a birdie on any of the opening five holes.

Oosthuizen plodded along with pars.

“He’s doing all the things he needs to do,” said Woods, who has more experience than anyone playing from ahead in a major. “He’s being consistent, putting all the pressure on Paul to come get him. He doesn’t need to go out there and shoot a low round today.”

Oosthuizen went 24 consecutive holes without a bogey until his streak ended on the par-3 eighth hole by missing a 6-foot par putt. That trimmed his lead to three, and Casey hit driver onto the par-4 ninth green.

Whatever momentum he had didn’t last long. Oosthuizen also drove the ninth green and holed his 50-foot eagle putt to restore the lead to four shots, same as when he started. And this Open effectively ended three holes later.

Casey drove into the gorse bushes left of the 12th, took a drop back toward the seventh fairway, came up short of the green and wound up making a triple bogey, dropping him eight shots behind.

Oosthuizen spent the final hour with a big grin on his face, although he started out that way, too.

The biggest smile came on the 18th green, with a hug for Rasego, and an embrace with wife Nel-Mare and seven-month-old daughter Jana. It will be years before the child can appreciate the magnitude of this moment.

“I will say, ‘That’s the day Daddy makes us the proudest,”’ his wife said. “And we’ll never forget it.”

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.