by Jeff Skinner
On Sunday Louis Oosthuizen, the newly crowned Champion Golfer of the Year certainly didn’t look like the same golfer who had missed seven of eight cuts in his first eight major championships. He was the most consistent golfer all week and he looked like a golfer that had years of experience leading in the final round of a major championship. He drove the ball straight and long, put the ball in the right places, putted well, stayed out of trouble. When he did slip up with his first bogey on number eight he immediately recovered in the most dramatic fashion with an eagle at number nine. Fittingly the ninth hole is named “The End” and the championship was essentially over right there. Paul Casey had pulled to three strokes behind Oosthuizen but when Casey found the gorse on the twelfth hole and took triple bogey the engraver could start his work on the Claret Jug.
Afterward, a personable Oosthuizen displayed all the poise and sportsmanship we want in our major champions. He appears to be a confident but humble man with his family as his main priority. His life will change in a major fashion now that he has won his most coveted championship but his agent Chubby Chandler says he is sure Louie won’t be changed as a person.
It was an amazing display of solid golf on Sunday and Oosthuizen’s score of 16 under par and a seven stoke gap on second place is startling. If Tiger Woods had finished with those numbers it would be touted as an historic victory. As it is, Tiger was nowhere near the Claret Jug this week but the question remains: Is this Oosthuizen’s break through to being a threat at many majors to come or is he a flash in the pan? Will Louie stay among the elite golfers of his day or will he join the ranks of “one and done” Open Championship winners like Paul Lawrie, Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton?
It is hard to win a tournament on any tour. It is extremely difficult to win a major and that is why major victories are so cherished by the players. But there are dozens of players that have found a way to win a single major and then never been able to win another. It is that second major and beyond that truly separates a player and puts him in that immortal class of golfers. Louis Oosthuizen has taken that first step, a huge first step. Winning at St. Andrews is his dream come true. Now he’ll get to celebrate and relish his monumental win but the work towards his next major starts soon enough. One Open Championship win is historic but a second win will make a formerly unknown South African golfer immortal.