Monday, July 19, 2010

Oosthuizen a successful product of the Ernie Els Golf Foundation

The winner of the 2010 British Open Championship: Louis Oosthuizen!

Huh? Who?

That was the reaction from most people who didn't watch the 2010 British Open. For those who did, they saw a golfer with a beautiful swing, calm demeanor and soft touch on and around the green. Oosthuizen fought terrible conditions at the Old Course throughout the Open Championship and ended his weekend winning by seven strokes with a -16. His ability to overcome the high winds and Hall-of-Fame field shows that there might be a new force to be reckoned with on the links.

Where did this guy come from?

Before this weekend, Oosthuizen was unknown. In the previous seven Major Championships that he played, he was cut. Oosthuizen didn't let that get him down, though, he used it as motivation to get better; a quality he adopted from his mentor, and the guy who truly gave him a chance, Ernie Els. As I was watching this tournament, I noticed a lot of similarities between Oosthuizen and Els. They both have very sweet swings, they never get too high or too low, and they are both very soft around the green.

In 2000, Louis Oosthuizen was accepted into the Ernie Els Golf Foundation. The Foundation is set up to give underprivileged kids with talent, dedication and a love for the game of golf a chance to develop their skills. Oosthuizen's early career was supported morally and financially by the Ernie Els Golf Foundation for three years, and rightfully so. Els saw something in Oosthuizen that was more important than how long he was off the tee, or how many fairways in regulation he could hit; Els saw a good kid with a true passion for the game of golf.

Oosthuizen blossomed under the tutelage of Els and his staff at the foundation, he won the Junior World Championship in 2000. He went on to win five more events on the amateur tour before he turned pro In 2004. Oosthuizen's first professional win came in the Sunshine Tour in 2004, he won the Vodacom Tournament at Arabella, he went on to win four more titles on the Sunshine Tour through 2008.

Oosthuizen's success in the Sunshine Tour didn't necessarily mean he was going to have success at the highest level of Professional Golf. In his first eight Major Championships, Ooshtuizen missed the cut seven times. Louis stayed positive through the tough times however, and continued to work on his game. Finally, on March 28 of this year, Louis Oosthuizen won his first big tournament on the European Tour at Andalucia. It seems as if the great golf he played in that tournament carried over into the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Oosthuizen's performance at the 2010 British Open, to me, was legendary. The conditions at the Old Course were as bad as ever and the field was a glamorous one, but the 27 year-old Louis Oosthuizen, nicknamed 'Shrek', never took his eyes off the prize. What made his performance so moving for me was his attitude about it. As you watched him at each tee, he was confident, but nowhere near cocky. As he trotted down the fairway, he had a pep in his step, but no swagger. When he knocked in that putt at the 18th to secure his first Major Championship, he tipped his hat and shook his playing partners hand. Louis Oosthuizen embodies what the game of golf is all about, The Gentleman's Game, he even bought champagne for the press after his victory.

From humble beginnings he came, and humble he stayed throughout the biggest moment in his life. I hope this is just the beginning for Louis Oosthuizen.

No comments:

Post a Comment