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July 16, 2010

Louis Oosthuizen


LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Louis Oosthuizen who scored 5-under 67 for a 12-under par total to be atop the leaderboard. Fantastic round today. How do you feel about your position going into the weekend?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, it's probably the position anyone wants to be in playing a major on the weekend, and I think it's what we work to achieve, and I'm just very happy with the two rounds I put together.

Q. First of all, could you tell us exactly how you would like your name to be pronounced, please?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Louis Oosthuizen.

Q. Where did this all come from, these last two rounds? You have not done well in majors before.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, I think the win earlier in the year in Spain got my confidence going quite a bit, and I've been playing well all year, really. You know, it's just a matter of making crucial putts, I think, and yesterday I made a few crucial ones. Today I missed a few, but I made good ones, as well.
I'm very confident the way I'm playing. I'm hitting it well, and you know, I'm just having a lot of fun, really.

Q. The weather is going to be a big factor here. Do you think you got the best of it today, or do you think it's going to be better later for those still to go out?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: To be honest with you, when we started off, we had the bad wind, because the front nine was tough. From the 2nd hole to the 7th hole was really tough. The rain stopped. The wind was still up, though, and we got to 10, and it started raining again. And then it just dropped completely, the wind, and from 14 we had the last five holes downwind, which is a huge difference.
If we played that front nine wind on 14, it was probably a good three-shotter hole, and I was hitting 5-wood in there today. It's definitely -- you never know around this course, I think. Playing the Dunhill here every year, you can get it into the wind the front nine and into the wind the back nine, so it's always a factor around this course.

Q. The whole course is obviously world renowned. What would it mean to you to win an Open at St. Andrews, the home of golf?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, you know, St. Andrews is where it all started, and it's just -- I think it's everyone's dream to win the Open Championship, just to win the Open. But to win it at St. Andrews is just -- never really think it'll happen.

Q. Can we expect to hear the sound of vuvuzelas as you come up the 18th on Sunday?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I don't know, but I don't think you will.

Q. Do you approve of the vuvuzelas? What's your view?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: On the golf course, no, not on the golf course.

Q. A couple questions: With some wind behind you coming down, you still played some shorter clubs off the tee than you could have. I just wanted to get your reasoning on that.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, you know, I'm trying to take the bunkers completely out of play. You know, seeing Tiger in 2005, I didn't think he went in one bunker. To me if you go in a bunker, that's a bogey or it's going to be a very good par. So I've got that strategy almost. I'm trying not to take them on, really.

Q. Secondly, what is your history with Ernie and his foundation as a junior?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: When I was 17 years old I became a member of Ernie's Foundation in South Africa, and it was unbelievable what he did for me traveling around the country, helping with expenses, things like that. You know, he's such a good mentor, and probably without him, those three years I've been in his Foundation, I wouldn't have been here.

Q. Can you talk about your history in the majors. It's not been the most successful. How do you deal with the perceived pressure the last couple days when you've not really faced this situation before in a major?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it wasn't very great, was it? But like I said, again, it was a matter of not believing in myself, I think. Everyone around here is telling me, you've got the shots, you're playing well, and again, that win earlier this season just got my mind set in a different way, and I'm reading it really nice and looking forward to it from here on.

Q. Yesterday we were talking to Rory about being in the zone, that old cliché when things are just going too well. Are you in a zone right now with these two great back-to-back rounds? And how well do you feel like you're playing? And what's it like when things are going so well for you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, I'm trying to go shot for shot, really, and make the best possible swings every time. But it's -- you don't really want to get ahead of yourself, especially not on this golf course. I think it's very important staying in the moment and thinking properly on what you're doing out there and not making thinking errors.
The swing I feel is there. You know, today to me I achieved actually more than what I was -- not capable of, but I struggle in rainy situations, really, and today I got my head around it. And I'm just very proud the way I handled it out there, and I just proved to myself that I can play in rain.

Q. Where would you rank those two rounds against one another? Yesterday afternoon you were really in the toughest of the conditions, and that was a great score then. But you just said that the rain you don't like, either. Which was the tougher for you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Today to me was by far tougher than yesterday, and having a good round yesterday makes it a bit more tougher going out there. When I got to the 2nd and it started raining, I really had to get my head right, and I'm just very happy the way I went around that front nine especially.

Q. A lot of players don't mind the rain because it often will soften up the greens, but the wind will play havoc with the ball flight.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think if it's just rain, it's okay, but the wind was blowing really hard. You've got to focus on where you're pointing the umbrella, otherwise you don't have one. (Laughter.)
It's everything around it, I think. But yeah, it's -- I think just rain is okay, but -- we got the draw, who does what, and when he takes the umbrella, yeah, I think we got the right draw going.

Q. Given the fact it was pouring with rain and it was like a swamp out there, I guess, has someone called Shrek? Have you still got him in the bag, still got the head cover on there?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, the head cover, my caddie said it's bad luck, so I didn't want to go against him. It's not a very good nickname, but it's fine.

Q. I think a lot of casual golf fans in the States probably woke up this morning, turned on the TV and didn't know the name on top of the leaderboard. Are you okay with that? And what would you like casual fans to know about you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I'm okay with anyone waking up and seeing my name on the top. I think I'm trying, I'm trying to just -- I think it's very important still enjoying yourself on the course. I think in weather like this especially, you know, it can get tough. But it's going to be tough for everyone. You've just got to get your head around it and just enjoy it.

Q. Can you elaborate on your relationship with Ernie beyond the Foundation? Did he help you with your game, practise rounds? Can you talk about maybe where that might have started?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The three years I've been in the Foundation, you know, you meet him, and when we got clinics and things like that, he's there. But it was more of the mentor side, looking up at Ernie, what he's achieving. You know, every year we go back to his Ernie Els Invitational at Fancourt, which is always nice just to spend some time with Ernie, and played a few practise rounds with him this year, and it's just nice knowing him. He's just a great, great guy to be around.

Q. One more thing about the Foundation: How did you get involved in it? And are you saying had you not gotten involved in it, your family might not have been able to afford --
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was very expensive. My dad is a farmer, and at that stage things probably weren't going that great on the farm, and we just heard of this, and the Foundation had just started, and I got into it. You know, it was just unbelievable. I was in the Foundation until I turned pro in 2002, so I was in it for three years.

Q. How old were you when you first joined?

Q. What is your caddie's name and how did he and he got together?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Zack Rasego. In 2003 I played Challenge Tour. I didn't have a caddie. My brother was over here helping out, and I asked my management -- I think it was December of 2003, and we've been together ever since.

Q. The progression of South African golf, most people talk about Bobby Locke and then Gary Player, Ernie, Retief Goosen, people who have won majors. For a kid growing up there, do people say, are you going to be the next Ernie Els, Gary Player? What is expected of a young golfer there?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think we've got a very good junior foundation, and then going into amateurs in there. So they do a great job there. I grew up with Charl Schwartzel. We played junior golf together. We were always rooming together and played amateur golf together, so we're very good friends. Then you've got Richard Sterne, so there's quite a few young guys also coming through now.

Q. When people say, hey, this guy won the Open, this guy won the U.S. Open, what do they think?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think they probably expect me, Charl and Richard, and as well you have Thomas Aiken as well coming through now, because they just love golf over there. It's just such a big sport in South Africa, and I think they'll just always expect that from us.

Q. Two things: What courses did you grow up playing the most in South Africa? And also, what was your feeling about the World Cup that just finished up in your country?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I grew up at Albertinia. It's a little town outside of Mossel Bay on the Garden Route. The Mossel Bay Club I'm still a member of. It's really windy. I like in a way playing in wind.
But playing in Europe for a while now, you get used to the courses and things like that. I enjoy links golf a lot. I like to see my shots, work out the shots, what I want to do around the greens.
And your other question, the World Cup, unfortunately I couldn't be there, but I just hear great things about what happened and what it did for our country, and I'm just very proud of being South African.

Q. Could you please pick out one piece of advice you've had from Ernie that rings through your ears from time to time?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, that's difficult. Stay and play probably. That's the biggest one, staying and playing. To be honest with you, when we're out there playing and we're all doing our own thing in practise rounds and things like that, but I think just how Ernie handles himself on the course and by what he's doing, he's already setting an example for us.

Q. When he says "staying and playing," does he mean don't hit out of bounds or just staying in the moment? What are we talking about?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Probably staying in the moment, really.

Q. You're a handsome chap, why on earth are you called Shrek? And what do you think of it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It's the gap in the teeth (laughing). No, my friends say I look like Shrek, some of my friends, and you can't choose your friends, so what can I say? (Laughter.)

Q. They're not very nice friends, are they?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, it's fine.

Q. Obviously you have a great attitude. How much does that help you out on the golf course, especially in these kinds of conditions? Are you just able to enjoy the round, have fun with it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I was very frustrated the last four years probably on the golf course because I knew I could win in tournaments or I knew I could win a tournament on the European Tour. I won five in South Africa before, and it just never happened. I kind of set my head around it, just have fun. You're not enjoying yourself, just at least do that.
For the last two years I got my head pretty good around that. You know, life isn't just about golf. You know, there's a lot out there.

Q. Are you going to be able to walk out of hereafter this, after we bother you here for a few minutes and go in there and go, "I'm leading the Open right now"?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Everybody would probably. Why not? So I'm going to have fun with it.

Q. Given your record for missing cuts, did you actually plan to stay in St. Andrews for the whole tournament? Have you booked accommodation for the whole weekend?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I've booked a house until Sunday night, so yeah, I was planning on making the cut.

Q. You did have a bad back, though, you pulled out of France a couple weeks ago. How worried about that were you? On Tuesday it was still bothering you.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, when I make bad swings, really, my swing has got a bit of a twitch in it sometimes, and then I can feel my back. But I've been working quite a bit now on it with my physio, and it's much better. It was not good at France. It was a bit hurting me last week. But we did a bit of work, and I can still feel it out there, but it's not close to what it used to be. So it's fine.

Q. And you mentioned how long you've got before you play again. I presume the baby is with you, and that will help?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, she will definitely occupy me for the next day. We'll go and get her out of the crib now and probably watch a bit of golf on TV.

Q. Is it right that you were a top tennis junior and it was a choice between tennis and golf at one point?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Very early. I'm glad I took this route and not tennis. Yeah, I was nine, ten years old. I played for my province, tennis, and my dad was a very -- he loved tennis, so he wanted me to play tennis, but I just picked up a club and I could hit it, and I just wanted to do golf.

Q. And your name, Lodewicus Theodorus, is that right?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's my grandfather's name.

Q. Anybody still call you Lodewicus?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, they call me Louis now. I won't talk to them if they call me that.

Q. When did it become Louis?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, that's a passport name, like I said, Lodewicus Theodorus, but my name is Louis, right from the beginning.

Q. Why are you so glad that you didn't opt for tennis?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, I feel like I'm doing pretty well in golf. Yeah, it's a tough question. I don't know where I would have gone in tennis, so it's a tough question.

Q. It was nothing to do with the way they sort of dealt with tennis in South Africa or anything?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, no. At that stage I just -- I loved golf.
LYNN WALLACE: Thanks, Louis, for joining us.

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