Blogs & Opinion


Louis Oosthuizen has all-round game to stay at the top of world golf, says Rob Lee

Rob Lee Posted 14th November 2012 view comments

Louis Oosthuizen is probably the most natural golfer in the game.

He has an incredible action and, for a little fella, generates so much power into his shots, and I think he should be up there competing with the likes of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods on a regular basis.

Oosthuizen: the former Open champion finished runner-up at this year's US masters

Oosthuizen: the former Open champion finished runner-up at this year's US masters

The South African will be annoyed that he lost a play-off to Matteo Manassero in the Singapore Open last week, especially as he missed a four-foot putt to take the spoils, and that he was pipped by Bubba Watson at the Masters in April.

But I think that after a period of adjustment, Louis is now getting to grips with the fact he is a Major champion - he lifted the Claret Jug after winning the British Open by seven strokes at St Andrews in 2010 - and his level of play this year has been very consistent.

Louis has an incredible action and, for a little fella, generates so much power.

Rob Lee
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Oosthuizen has taken two titles in 2012 - the Africa Open in January and April's Malaysian Open - and will be very pleased with that, the fact he is up so high in the Race to Dubai standings and that he has broken into the world's top 10.

Louis has a fantastic all-round game and a very even temperament; he doesn't get too upset on a golf course and that is always going to help you in big-pressure moments.

He can be whatever he wants to be and with a fair wind behind him and an infinitesimal amount of improvement, I can definitely see him becoming a multiple Major winner.

Success

Oosthuizen is not playing this week, which means his countryman, Charl Schwartzel will be the favourite for the South African Open at the Serengeti Golf Club.

Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, is another wonderful golfer but he hasn't quite had the year he would have wanted. Golf is like that, though, and when you think you have got to the top of your game and further success will follow, you can be stung.

Branden Grace has had a terrific year, however, racking up four victories on the European Tour and one on the Sunshine Tour, and has advanced a bit quicker than some of the other South African twenty-somethings, such as George Coetzee and Jbe' Kruger.

Coetzee is a very consistent player, but he has yet to win in European company and we still don't know if he has the temperament, while Kruger, as talented as he is, can be a bit twitchy and slow on the course. Grace, though, seems to have every box ticked.

You can probably credit Ernie Els for this production line of South African golfers coming through, with Oosthuizen and co wanting to emulate the tremendous achievements and Major championship victories of such a great role model.

And with success breeding success, I see no reason why more South Africans won't come out of the woodwork; the nation keeps producing Major winners and that will certainly help generate interest in the game and show young golfers what is possible.

Dramatic

Last week's PGA Tour event was the Children's Miracles Network Hospitals Classic - and we certainly saw a miracle with Charlie Beljan winning the tournament in dramatic style.

The American required medical assistance after the second round on Friday and said he thought he was going to die - but given he was still holding his heart and had shortness of breath on Sunday, I thought he might keel over then, too!

Beljan, who shot 64 in his illness-affected second round and stayed in front from there on in, was probably focussing so much on his health that the importance of what was happening on the course was diminished, which, in an odd way, freed him up.

The troubles the Arizonan experienced has taken some of the attention away from what was a very good display of golf from a very good player. He drives the ball long and straight and showed a great degree of control in his short iron play as well.

Beljan's triumph capped off a memorable year on the PGA tour, but the two moments that stick in my mind from the American season are the fantastic wedge shot Bubba played from the woods in the Masters play-off, and the pitch that Tiger holed at the Memorial.

Tournament-wise, though, I would go for Rory McIlroy's comprehensive victory in the USPGA Championship. Before that some people were saying his bubble had burst - but that, and the form he has produced since, shows that is definitely not the case.

ROB'S SKY BET TIPS

Rory McIlroy played well last week to finish third in Singapore and I really expect him to press on again heading into next year. He won the Hong Kong Open in 2011 and I would back him at 5/2 with Sky Bet to repeat that feat on Sunday, although Paul Casey is a good each-way bet at 20/1. In the South African Open, meanwhile, I will go for George Coetzee; he has won in his homeland before and I think he can do so again for his first European Tour triumph. He's a 12/1 shot.

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