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July 17, 2010

Louis Oosthuizen


LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by Louis Oosthuizen, who scored 3-under 69 for a three-round total of 201 to lead the Open Championship by four. Louis, you set yourself up in pole position going into the final round of the championship. Please give us your thoughts on your performance today.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I feel like I started off a bit slow. I was quite a bit nervous on the 1st. That putt I was quite nervous knocking it ten feet past. But during the round it was great. I got myself together and made a few good par saves, and my first birdie on 7 just got me going, really. I felt like I swung it really well all day and probably left a few more birdies out there. But 69, I'm really happy.

Q. Are you feeling like a major champion today where you're capable of doing this? Because you looked pretty cool and calm, especially that back nine.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, you know, I felt -- I'm swinging it nicely, and I couldn't wait to get to the back nine or to get to the 12th because I knew there was actually more birdie chances out there than the front nine today. But there's a lot of holes left. Paul played beautiful today. I was watching him from the fairways the whole time making putts.
Yeah, I'm swinging it nicely, and I'm looking really forward to tomorrow.

Q. Paul just said in here just now that he really enjoys your company playing, and he's hoping that you both go out and have a fun day. Is that the way you're going to approach it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Oh, definitely. It's not every day you play in the final group leading the Open Championship. You know, I think by going out there and just enjoying the moment really and just not thinking about everything else is just going to make your day really nice. Yeah, we'll probably have a good time together on the course tomorrow, the two of us.

Q. Do you think it's likely that the home crowd is going to be with him?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, not at all. I'm going to try and do my own thing, really. Maybe one or two clips from the crowd, but I hope they will applaud one or two shots.
No, they were great today. There's a lot of South African fans out there, as well. Yeah, it should be fun tomorrow.

Q. Were you stung by a bee early in the week?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, Sunday by I think a bumblebee.

Q. Did you treat that?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, it was fine. My forearms looked a bit like Paul Casey at that stage (laughter), the right one. You've got pretty big forearms. But it went down, the swelling, and I don't really feel anything. It just didn't look too good, but it was fine.

Q. I had two questions for you: One, just curious what you had in on 17? And that being kind of your last big test of the day, how did you choose to play the shot?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I had a bit of an uphill lie in the fairway. I was planning on -- I always said to that pin I want to run it up there, but the lie I had, I just couldn't do it. It was always going to come down soft, and I was just bringing that bunker into play.
With the wind, with the lie, with everything, I was always going to turn it over, but I said to my caddie, you know, I know it's going to turn over. It's just a matter of getting to pitch it on the perfect spot, and I don't care that it went long to the 18th tee. It was a bit of a risky shot, but the lie that I had and everything was just favoring that shot, and the other shot I don't think would have been on.

Q. The club was what?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It was a 5-iron.

Q. Secondly, I know you've been on good form in the spring, but are you at all surprised to be where you are right now?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Not really. You know, I played well, like I said -- I felt like I played really well last week. I was swinging it really nice at Pebble Beach, but I just made so many mistakes. I made two triple bogeys, a double bogey to miss the cut by two, and it was very disappointing for me.
But it's just a matter of believing in myself. I just feel like I'm hitting it nicely.

Q. Did you have any sense that people were expecting you to tumble off this week or today because they never thought you got a break with the weather and once you were out with the wind it would be more difficult?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, probably when they saw my first putt on the 1st (smiling). It was tough the front nine, and I knew you could so easily just lose it. But I kept really positive and made good par saves, two good par saves there on the first six holes. You know, it's just -- I knew there was a few birdies still out there.
I spoke to Charl Schwartzel this morning when he finished. He said, the pins are a bit more friendly than yesterday. You know, it was, definitely. Yesterday was -- especially for the guys playing in the afternoon, it was brutal, and the pins were just really tough. But yeah, all in all, 69, over the moon, really.

Q. Does it make it more satisfying, the fact that people maybe will look at you differently now going into the final round?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah. You know, I'm really happy with myself, you know, keeping my emotions intact, playing the last round Saturday, leading, and the way I played. I was very happy with the way I handled myself out there. At the end I could only control myself. If someone came through shooting 64 or something, there's nothing I can do about it.
Tomorrow I'm probably going to do pretty much the same and just go out there, hit shot for shot, and never get ahead of yourself.

Q. This morning the 1st hole you took a bogey there, and you seemed to have numerous long putts to grab back par. Were the greens particularly tricky, or was there a little bit of adrenaline, a little bit of nerves and then you settled in beautifully after that?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I struggled with -- I think the putt on the 1st was a bit of nerves. I wasn't sure what the speed was going to do, and then I felt like I settled in after that. The first three holes, really, my speed wasn't that great. You know, it was a bit tricky because I felt like they probably didn't cut the few greens that much as they did maybe the first or something because of the wind yesterday. So some speed downwind, you know, you were thinking it's going to be quick, and it weren't, and then you get the ones into the wind and they're so slow.
But yeah, it took me a while, but I felt like I settled in nicely.

Q. You had a lot of time before you teed off this morning, how did you spend the day? How will you spend tonight? And what will you do tomorrow morning before coming to the course?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It felt like a week and a half, really, I had yesterday lying around. There's just so much of lying around you can do. But yeah, I watched a bit of the golf, and this morning, you know, I watched New Zealand beat South Africa in the Tri Nations really bad in the rugby, so it wasn't a good start. But after that I just relaxed. It's tough playing that late. I only got to the course at 3:00.
Yeah, I think by the time I get to the house now, I'm just going to go straight to bed, and tomorrow, you know, try and have a little sleep-in. It all depends on my little girl, what she's doing in the morning.

Q. How much pressure is there on you tomorrow being in front, having a few-stroke lead going into this final round of a major?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, you know, I don't think anyone was thinking I was going to be up there. I mean, you've heard yourself, no one can actually say my surname, so they don't even know who I am out there.
Yeah, it's great being up there. I just want to enjoy everything about it. I loved it out there. It was great fun for me. And hopefully tomorrow will be the same.

Q. And how much do you want to win a major championship? I know everyone wants it, but can you put into words what it means?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it means everything to everyone. But the Open at St. Andrews would be something special. It's one of those things you dream of.

Q. You seem totally relaxed here, you seemed totally relaxed out there. How do you explain it? Is this just your nature or what?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I don't know. You know, I don't know if I said it yesterday, but I was quite -- I lost my temper quite a bit four or five years ago on the course, and you know, I got to the stage where I'm realising it's not helping anything.
It's a matter of, you know, just enjoying yourself, I feel. You know, today I felt like I went out with a really good temperament, and my caddie helped me quite a bit on it. It's also for him a big thing. You know, tomorrow I think for the two of us it will be a great experience.

Q. Also, did you have a lot of experience playing in the wind when you grew up in South Africa?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I grew up in Mossel Bay Golf Club. It was a windy place. So I like playing in wind. It's just wind and rain together is a bit tough. But yeah, I like playing in the wind.

Q. The worst example of losing your temper, first of all?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: When I start losing my temper on the course, it's not breaking clubs, but it's getting myself so out of the golf, really, and hitting three, four shots and then realising actually what I'm doing, what I did three holes ago. It's things like that.
You know, I'm glad I actually stopped that, because it just got my head around. It's not helping, and if you're still worrying about something that happened two holes ago, it's not going to help you on the shot that you're hitting.

Q. No Hennie Otto stories then?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, no Hennie Otto stories.

Q. What were your earliest memories of The Open? And how much have you spoken to Ernie about his win?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, Ernie gave me a ring this morning saying, just have fun, enjoy it. You know, watching I think it was in '04 Ernie won -- I'm not too sure, '02 he won? You know, watching that at home, it was something special. The end of that year, we had the Ernie Els Invitational at Fancourt. There's a big screen and they were showing the highlights of everything, and we were actually getting goose bumps, the bunker shot he shot on 18 and things like that. Yeah, just seeing that on telly, it was just -- you're always thinking, now, I hope that happens to me and things like that. That's why tomorrow I'm just going to enjoy the moment and just go out there and have a lot of fun.

Q. After revealing yesterday your Shrek nickname, whose idea was green today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You know what, I've got a green and white pair of shoes, and I was planning on wearing that today. I thought by myself, being called an ogre, I don't want to look like one. So I left the -- I actually had a white hat with green Ping writing on it, as well. I'm actually very glad in a way I didn't do that. Yeah, it was just -- I don't know, it was just by chance probably.

Q. What is it about you South Africans winning all these majors for so many years? And have you heard from Mr. Player?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Mr. Player did leave a message, and you know, I'm probably going to get a ring from him a bit later. Yeah, it's always special hearing from him. What he's done for golf in South Africa is just unbelievable.

Q. Do you think getting married and having the baby has sort of settled you in your life off the course, has helped you in feeling calmer on the course?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Oh, definitely. You know, it took my whole perspective on life, really, a bit different, especially having a little baby. And I'm just very blessed. I just thank the Lord for that, and it's just brilliant having a family.
You know, it definitely helped my golfing career.

Q. I'm sure you were focused on playing your own game today. Were you at all involved in Calc's adventure on the 5th hole with the provisional and all that? And did you know what was going on? Can you kind of explain it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I hit my third shot, and I don't really know what was going on because I saw him walking back. They were saying he lost it, and I thought, well, he hit a provisional -- I thought the rule -- I don't know, I just know he made a 9. I also thought the rule if you pick up your provisional, you can take a penalty drop again right now. I'm not sure of the rule right.
But yeah, it was -- I don't know how to say it, but I saw everything, but I was very relaxed. I was doing my own thing, really. It was unfortunate for Calc there, and he had a tough few holes. He started off rough, and he came back nicely, made very nice birdies there in a run there on the back nine, and it was just a nice day out there, really.

Q. Did you have to ask him the score after the hole?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I don't think I would have immediately. The official walked over and asked him if that was -- he just wants to confirm that being a 9, and then I knew it was a 9.

Q. Just going back to Ernie, you said he spoke to you this morning, and we know you were in his foundation, but how much has he helped you in your professional career, and how much contact do you have with him while you're playing on Tour?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I visit him a few times at his home in Florida, whenever we're over there. But it's more on a casual meeting him and -- it's more about watching what he's doing when we're playing practise rounds and things like that. So I think you learn in that way, and just him being off the golf course, how he handles himself off the golf course. Yeah, it's in a way definitely helped me quite a lot, yeah.

Q. One thing about your caddie, you said it would mean a lot to both of you. Would you describe yourselves as friends? Do you guys have a close connection or is it more of a professional relationship?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: We've been together -- I think we've got a very good professional relationship, which I also think is important. We've been a long time together. He's a great person, Zack, and he's just a good man.
LYNN WALLACE: Thanks for joining us, Louis. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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