Still in shock Oosthuizen contemplates future

By Doug FergusonJuly 19, 2010, 4:31 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Louis Oosthuizen never let the silver claret jug out of his sight as he celebrated into the morning hours at the Jigger Inn across from the 17th fairway at St. Andrews.

If his seven-shot victory in the British Open felt like a dream, reality arrived when he awoke Monday.

“I put it next to my bed last night, and I woke up this morning and I looked at it, and I immediately grabbed the phone and texted Chubby Chandler, my agent, saying, ‘I’ve got this funny old jug next to my bed,’ Oosthuizen said.

“Man, oh, man. That was special waking up next to it.”

Equally special was his victory at the home of golf, a performance so pure that he never trailed over the final 48 holes and only hit into one bunker on the Old Course, on the 14th hole Sunday when the championship had already been decided.

Oosthuizen became the fifth player in the last six Grand Slam events to win his first major, and the question sure to follow is whether he is capable of winning more or if he happened to play his best golf during an important week.

Louis Oosthuizen
Oosthuizen celebrated his victory at the Jigger Inn. (Getty Images)
The margin of victory is what makes this stand out.

Until his conservative play on the 17th to make bogey, Oosthuizen was poised to tie the Open record over 72 holes with an eight-shot victory, last achieved by Tiger Woods a decade ago.

Seven shots is no less impressive. In the 150 years of major championships, only 14 players have won by seven shots or more (Woods has done three times, Jack Nicklaus twice). Of those players, only two of them – Fred Herd in the 1898 U.S. Open and Willie Smith in the 1899 U.S. Open – never won another major.

Where does Oosthuizen fit in?

“I think based on the margin of victory, his demeanor on the golf course, the quality of his game and steady progress that he’s been making in the world rankings and in tour events, I think very much mark him as a player on the rise,” Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said Monday. “Every great Open champion has to win for the first time. And I for one would not be surprised to see him win again.”

That would be the plan for the 27-year-old South African.

In this age of players turning pro earlier and winning tour events immediately, from Ryo Ishikawa to Rory McIlroy to Anthony Kim, Oosthuizen might be a late bloomer.

Ernie Els noticed his skill immediately when he invited Oosthuizen to be part of his foundation, which helps promising juniors who need financial assistance. Oosthuizen wears “57” on his sleeve, the name of his own foundation, as a tribute to the score he shot on his home course of Mossel Bay along the Garden Route in South Africa.

“The wind blows so hard there that the sea gulls walk,” Chandler said.

Yet the self-belief was lacking until Oosthuizen won the Andalucia Open in Spain earlier this year, his first European Tour victory. And while he wouldn’t have predicted a victory in the British Open, he knew he was capable.

The key to his victory came in the second round. Oosthuizen began in the wind and rain, and he has never liked playing in wet weather. He managed to get through the rough part without dropping a shot, and wound up with a 67 just as the wind turned fierce.

He figures the seven years he spent on the European Tour toughened him up, and winning in Spain did nothing but boost his confidence.

“I want a few more of these,” he said, his eyes rarely wandering from the jug. “I think winning one just wants you to get to the second one, and winning a second one and then get to the third. Yeah, I’m going to work a bit harder probably from now on and just try and get up there with as many majors as I can.”

During a night of celebration at the Jigger Inn, he stepped outside into a garden and looked over the stone wall toward an empty Old Course, wanting to walk the links and soak in all he had accomplished.

Part of him still couldn’t believe what he had done.

While not well-known on a global stage, this victory was not as surprising as Ben Curtis winning in 2003 in his first major at No. 396 in the world, or Paul Lawrie winning at Carnoustie in 1999.

“I thought long before anybody had heard of him that he was going to be an exceptional player,” Els said. “He shot an absolutely stunning 57 at Mossel Bay, which will neither be equaled nor bettered. You have something special when you do that. Louis is now the Open champion. His life will change. He won’t.”

That was the message from Gary Player, South Africa’s greatest golf champion, who called Oosthuizen on Sunday morning for a pep talk. Player doesn’t know as much about Oosthuizen as he does other South African players, yet he won’t forget his last time playing the Masters, how Oosthuizen came out to the 18th green to watch him finish.

“He is so respectful,” Player said. “It’s very nice when you get a young man like this that has no sense of entitlement.”

Oosthuizen took that respect to a new level when it comes to golf’s oldest trophy. British Open champions keep the claret jug for a year, and usually return with stories of what all was poured out of it. Stewart Chink started with Guinness, and the rest of the liquid ranged from soda to wine to barbecue sauce.

For now, the jug is as clean as when Chink returned it.

“There was nothing in this,” Oosthuizen said. “To me, it’s too special. I just looked at it and held it in my arms all night.”

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.

Getty Images

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?

Getty Images

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.