Oosthuizen back on PGA course after more frustration

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South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen acknowledges the crowd at the end of his final round on day 4 of The 149th British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George’s, Sandwich in southeast England on July 18. AFP

After another major near-miss at Royal St. George’s, disappointed South African Louis Oosthuizen returns to chasing his first US victory at this week’s PGA 3M Open.

The 38-year-old from Mossel Bay won the 2010 British Open but has settled for six runner-up major finishes and two more third-place efforts since his lone major triumph at St. Andrews.

World number nine Oosthuizen arrived for Thursday’s start at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, after sharing third place Sunday at the British Open behind US winner Collin Morikawa.

“Very disappointing the way I played the stretch of holes there in the middle of the round,” Oosthuizen said Wednesday.

“Gave it a good push on the back nine. In the end I was just too far behind, needed to force things and couldn’t make up the shots.”

Oosthuizen departed without speaking to reporters about his latest frustrations, but said his feelings were what one would expect after having also shared second behind Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship in May and taken runner-up spot behind Spain’s Jon Rahm in June’s US Open.

“You don’t want to always talk about close again, finishing second, finishing third,” Oosthuizen said. “I wasn’t really up for that conversation right there. It was disappointing walking off the golf course.”

This week’s key question is how well is he for the challenge of getting back into a tour event when his next major test won’t come until the Masters next April.

“You’re a little bit more tired,” he said. “I’m not doing much this week on the range. Just resting up and waiting to start and just try and get the mind as fresh as I can.

“I know the game is there, I’m swinging well and I’m putting nicely, so I just need to not make that many thinking errors. That happens when you come off a major week. You’re a little bit out there with the few decisions you make, but it’s the one thing I’m trying to avoid this week.”

Chasing another title could be the best medicine after another major failure, Oosthuizen said.

“I think I’m glad that I entered in this event to sort of get back in there and play and not really sit around at home and thinking about the disappointing Sunday last week,” he said.

Oosthuizen said Covid-19 restrictions helped push him to skip the Tokyo Olympics.

“It was not an easy decision. I was very keen on going to the Olympics, but they didn’t really make it easy for us,” he said. “There was no way of me working with my physio there that week. He couldn’t go, so that made my decision a little bit easier.”

‘I’ll take motivation’

Oosthuizen said he was proud of his major efforts in 2021.

“Being able to perform at majors is what it’s all about, but yeah, being that close, you want the second one,” he said. “You also look back and look at it as you came that close and you couldn’t get it.

“But I’ll still have hopefully quite a few majors in me and hopefully I can get another one under the belt.”

Oosthuizen is glad to have a break from majors after seven in the past year.

“It’s great if you felt like your game was really good and you’re playing well,” he said. “But it’s nice to take a bit of a breather.”