South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen is back on familiar territory this week, as he tries to win his second Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews.
Oosthuizen returns to the scene of his earlier triumph in 2010, encouraged by an excellent performance in last month’s US Open at Chambers Bay, where he scored 66, 66 and 67 in the last three rounds, including a final back nine of 29, to tie with Dustin Johnson for second place, one shot behind winner Jordan Spieth.
Louis said: “My game is in decent shape, but the thing with golf is that form comes and goes and you just have to make the most of it when you're playing well.”
He still vividly recalls his win in 2010, when he led from start to finish. “Walking down the 18th and over the Swilken Bridge, knowing that I was about to join all the champions who had walked the same path. Then walking up the fairway knowing my family and friends were waiting behind the green. There is no feeling like it.”
Louis, who was nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after his victory, added:
“St Andrews is a very special place with many great memories and I always love returning. It will be even more special this time, being the defending champion at the Home of Golf.”
But he says he will not be thinking back to 2010 when he plays. “That experience will always be very useful and I will always hope to use it to my advantage, but you have to stay in the present.”
So if it is not past memories, what is the secret of winning at St Andrews? Louis said: “Keeping patient and out of the bunkers, getting more lucky bounces than bad ones, driving well, solid iron play, good putting. You need everything to be solid. I do have a fairly level temperament, but that's not to say I don't get annoyed some times.”
Why would a second Major Championship victory be important to Oosthuizen? “Majors go a long way to defining your career. Once you reach a certain level in golf, then Majors are what the season revolves around, so it would be fantastic to have another under my belt.”