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Louie, Louie: Fresh Face Dominates The British Open

Posted on July 18, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Louie Oosthuizen, the 54th ranked golfer in the world, ran away from the field to claim the 2010 British Open.

American journalists spent most of the weekend struggling to pronounce his last name, but no matter how you pronounce it, Louis (Louie) Oosthuizen is a major champion after his dominating performance during the 2010 British Open.

While all watching kept waiting for the 27-year-old South African to remember that he is only the 54th ranked player in the world, Oosthuizen cruised around the famed course at St. Andrews for four days as if he were the champion of all champions.

His opening round score of seven-under par (65) was generally overlooked because of the record-tying 63 posted by Rory McIlroy. However, Oosthuizen seized control of the tournament with a 67 in round two and never looked back.

While other more distinguished players took turns falling victim to the winds, bunkers and other challenges of St. Andrews, Oosthuizen just kept plugging away.

After starting his third round with a bogey, Oosthuizen settled down and posted his third straight round in the 60s to enter the final round with a four stroke lead.

Even in the final round when he lead shrunk to three and it looked like Paul Casey might cut the lead even further, Oosthuizen responded with an Eagle that pretty much sealed the tournament.

By the time he finished his one-under par round of 71, Oosthuizen had a grin that stretched from ear to ear and a dominating seven-stroke victory.

His victory marks the fifth time in the last six majors that a first-time major winner has been crowned.

Rory McIlroy stole the show in the opening round of the 2010 British Open.

While some (especially U.S. television executives and golf analysts) argue that having unknown players like Oosthuzen snatching major titles away from Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and other established stars isn’t good for the spot, I personally find it interesting and refreshing.

In his interviews before and after rounds in the tournament, Oosthuizen sounded like a regular guy who was dealing with the nerves, but overall was having the time of his life. Sure golf is his profession, but unlike Mickelson, Woods and some of the other top players, he seemed to actually be enjoying himself and actually gave interviews that didn’t sound like rehearsed sound bites.

Of course shooting 16-under par probably helps with that mood, but regardless, Oosthuizen and some of the other young players like Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell and Y.E. Yang who have claimed major titles in the last year have been great stories and fun to watch.

I know that some will argue that ratings remain higher when familiar names like Woods and Mickelson are at the top of the leaderboard. That may indeed be true, but for those of us who are going to watch regardless of who is winning, guys like Louie Oosthuizen are much more fun to root for.

Oosthuizen is the 27th golfer in history to make the British Open his first major championship. Of the first 26, 17 never claimed another major championship.

It is likely that we will never again hear from Louie Oosthuizen at a major championship, but as they say, we will always have that wonderful weekend at St. Andrews.


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