Oosthuizen: 'It was a battle to keep calm. Having such a big lead was difficult'
Monday 19 July 2010
With the first line of his victory speech Louis Oosthuizen wished a happy 93rd birthday to his former president Nelson Mandela last night and then went on to describe his amazement at winning the Open by the second biggest margin in 97 years.
"It's unbelievable – just amazing," said the South African after collecting the winner's cheque for £850,000. "It's probably going to hit me tomorrow or the week after. I felt like I played well all week and the biggest goal for me was to stay cool."
While that is exactly how he looked on the way to his seven-stroke triumph, the 27-year-old revealed that he did have to keep his nerves his check. "I'm glad I had a seven-shot lead on the 18th," he said. "I think I cramped up a bit with the putter on the last as well. It was a battle for me to keep calm round this course. I'd like to have kept the record of not going in the bunker [as Tiger Woods did in 2000), but I went in one on the 14th. It became a bit difficult having such a big lead."
Oosthuizen's stunning win was welcomed by his countrymen and European Tour colleagues alike. Retief Goosen is now one of four South Africans to win majors this century and said he was not "too surprised" to see the professional from the Western Cape prevail. "Shrek is on the move," he said referring to Oosthuizen's nickname. "We knew he had a lot of talent. He grew up in an area that's very windy, so for him these conditions are normal. The guy's got one of the best swings on tour. I think he'll be around for many years to come."
Ian Poulter agreed with this assessment. "Maybe I wouldn't have backed him at the start of the week but a lot of us on the European Tour would have thought of Louis as an underachiever," said the Englishman. "When you swing it that well, hit that long and straight then whenever you have a good putting game your going to have a chance. He probably did have the best of the draw in the first two rounds, but he was faultless on the weekend. It's obviously great for Louis but also great for the European Tour."
Meanwhile, the runner-up took consolation from the fact the winner had performed so expertly. Lee Westwood, who lost by one after a closing bogey at Turnberry last year and was second to Phil Mickelson at The Masters in April, is not going to be too hard on himself. "I know what I've got to do – improve," he said after his 70. "I'm showing a lot of consistency, but it's not quite good enough. I keep putting myself in position and in contention – that's all I can do. The pin positions were tough. This is not an easy course when there's a 20mph wind blowing. And Louis is obviously playing really well."
In reality, Paul Casey will spend far more time than Westwood considering the might-have-beens after starting four shots off the lead and slumping to a 75. Rory McIlroy also confessed last night that he, too, was harking back to the low moments despite finishing the weekend 69-68 to climb back up to a tie for third. Yet he had started off with a record-equalling 63 and followed it with an 80 in Friday's 40mph winds.
"I couldn't help but think about it going up the last hole," said McIlroy. "You know, if I had just sort of stuck in a little bit more on Friday and held it together more, it could have been a different story. But it's not going to give me nightmares. I'll wake up in the morning and just look at the fact I was 16-under for three rounds around St Andrews in the Open. I had just one bad round. It's fine."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account