AUGUSTA, Ga. – While world-class players like Lee Westwood, Steve Stricker and Luke Donald continue to search for their first major championship, Louis Oosthuizen nearly won his second Sunday at the Masters.
The soft-spoken 29-year-old South African jumped onto golf’s radar two years ago when he smoked the British Open field at St. Andrews and won the claret jug. Echoes that week called the victory a fluke and many believed Oosthuizen wouldn’t be seen from on the major championship stage again.
But he’s won twice on the European Tour since that 2010 Open and was in contention this week to win a green jacket before losing to Bubba Watson on the second hole of a playoff.
“It's close to the jacket,” Oosthuizen said. “But Bubba played well. It was great. It was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. You know, we were going at it both, so it was good.”
Oosthuizen was inspired by friend Charl Schwartzel’s Masters victory a year ago and wanted desperately to bring another green jacket home to his country. He was lauded by on-air commentators all week for having one of the best swings in the field, a consistently repeatable swing that holds up under extreme pressure, which it did here at Augusta National.
Seems crazy, but one of the more difficult things Oosthuizen had to accomplish this week was recover from the double-eagle 2 on the par-5 second hole. It was such a great shot, that provided an emotional high, that Oosthuizen was in a haze for awhile, as evidenced by a silly bogey on the fourth hole.
“When something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it,” he said. “It was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.”