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July 19, 2010

Louis Oosthuizen


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll make a start. We're joined by Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 Open Champion, still true this morning. How does it feel after I'm sure what was a night of celebration? Have you had a chance for it to sink in and know what it means to be this year's Open Champion?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was good. I mean, I woke up -- I put it next to my bed last night, and after my friends and everyone had it, and I woke up this morning and I looked at it, you know, and I immediately grabbed the phone and texted Chubby Chandler, my agent, saying, "I've got this funny old jug next to my bed." Man, oh, man. So you know that was special waking up next to it. It was good.

Q. You talked the other day about when your dad had the farm and there wasn't a lot of money about at the time. If you hadn't gone to the Ernie Els Foundation, what situation would you have been in? Would it have been possible for your father to have supported you at all financially?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I think my father, he would have done anything to make me play, but it was just like -- it was perfect timing when the Ernie Els Foundation started and came along. You know, we took a big shot asking for -- to get into the foundation, and Ernie immediately accepted. At that time I wasn't playing for South Africa, I was still just playing for Southern Cape, which was the provincial side where I grew up, and about six months after I was in the foundation, I got picked for SA Juniors and then eventually SA Seniors. And it went on from there.
I just think I had a good two years after school. So no, it was good. No, my dad would have done anything to supported me. But Ernie Els, it was amazing what they did for me.

Q. Just to follow on from that, was there a point where you thought, I might have to take a different path, I might not be able to keep playing golf?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You know, not really, because I was -- at the stage in the Southern Cape I was No. 1. Whenever I played events, I beat most of the guys and things like that. Since junior -- I grew up with Charl and everyone like that, and it was always me, Charl, Thomas Aiken, Richard Sterne really coming through. I didn't know what I was going to do probably in 2002. I had no idea. I wasn't even thinking about turning pro, things like that. I didn't really know what was going on, to be honest.
And then I met -- I asked them, and they said, well, play a few amateur events, and I won the Irish Amateur that year, and just things like that. So it worked out pretty good.
Turned pro in October of 2002 and had a good first season on the Sunshine Tour. Unfortunately I couldn't get my card in Europe, played Challenge Tour in 2003. But yeah, after Challenge Tour, I think that Tour just makes you a bit tougher. It was good since then.

Q. Have you received any messages of congratulations or calls from anybody who particularly pleased or amazed or touched you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Mr. Rupert came in especially to the Jigger yesterday, so that was quite good. We had the whole Sunshine Tour, so we had Theo Manyama, Gareth Tindall, Grant Wilson and all those guys, everyone was there, so it was really special. I spoke to Ernie last night, as well, and it was just nice hearing from him. I could actually see him speaking to me. He was probably on the couch in shorts and things like that and just relaxing. It was good. It was nice.

Q. What did he particularly say to you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, he's just very proud, just that coming through his foundation and everything. So I think he was very proud, so it was nice.

Q. One of the things Ernie said was that it will change your life. I mean, how do you want it to change your life? What plans have you got, to switch to America now that you're able to?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, at the moment I've got no -- I'm playing my schedule like I would have done. The only difference is probably Akron now. I wasn't before this week. I'm playing Sweden this week. I'm off on Wednesday morning to Sweden. Then I'm going to have a quick stop in South Africa for five, six days just to say hi to everyone. And then, yeah, Akron and PGA.
After that everything is probably the same. Two weeks off, I think Omega Masters, Holland. You know what, I'm going to take one thing at a time to see where it takes me and have a lot of fun with it.

Q. How many hours of sleep did you get last night? What sort of liquids were in there? And does the belt fit?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The belt is a bit big for me, but I had it on anyway. There was nothing in this. To me it's too special. I just looked at it and held it in my arms all night. Yeah, I went to bed at 3:00. But yeah, it was quite good. To be honest with you, I feel very good. You didn't have much time for anything. It was a picture here, picture to here, talking to that. I had the jug in my hand. I didn't want anything else in my hands. That was it for me.

Q. Did the baby sleep at all?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, the baby did. She was between me and my wife this morning, and I put the jug next to her and took a few pictures, and she just grabbed it and took it straight to the mouth. Yeah, she loves it.

Q. Was there an instance of golf in your family, other members of the family play golf? And was there one point in your life when you said no to tennis and yes to golf?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The tennis thing, you know, was very early stage. I was 19 years old. So at that stage it was just, I liked golf more, so as a kid you just want to do that and leave tennis.
Sorry, what was your first question?

Q. Your family.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Oh, the family thing, there was no one before me. My brother started it, and then a year after him, I started it. My dad was very cross with us. He was a big tennis player. He's playing tennis, and me and my brother liked golf. He refused to take us to the golf course because he wanted to play tennis, and we'd walk past the tennis courts and he's on the tennis court and he just looked at us, and we walked past to go and play golf. And two years after that he started golf, as well. And he still plays golf, doesn't play tennis anymore.

Q. Everything appeared to click for you this weekend. Did you think coming into the Open that you could become a major champion this weekend?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I didn't. But I think during my first round, I felt the way I was playing -- and the second round to me was very special, really, in the rain. Like I said, I'm not a big fan of playing in rain and wind. So that 67 got me going nicely.
I was very nervous Saturday morning, long wait and everything, and on the course, started a bit dodgy but finished off well. I was actually very fine yesterday on the course. You know, the last few holes there, I kept -- I had to keep focused to keep my composure there because having such a big lead, it was mine to throw away, really.

Q. Kind of two questions. You spoke all week about your confidence and your self-belief. What took this long for you to feel this way?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The win in Malaga was the biggest part of it.

Q. Before, though.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I won in South Africa, but you wanted to win in Europe just to get that big step, that monkey on your shoulder. You play in South Africa and you're comfortable on the courses. It's not that tough as it is in Europe. I just needed something to -- top 5 and seconds and thirds weren't good enough, I needed a win. And the second in Morocco just got my head a bit -- I was a bit -- what can I say, very disappointed after that, but I was outplayed. Rhys Davies played unbelievable.
And then the next week I was very confident the way I played, and I played beautifully. That just got my mind in a different mindset. Even coming down the last stretch here, I know it's the Open Championship, but just that win there, I knew I could win a tournament in Europe.

Q. You've always been very skilled, but listening to some of your stories, what took that five years or so to Malaga to get your head around the idea that you're capable of doing great things?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I don't know. I think probably wife and kids got something to do with it, as well, just relaxing, really, and not just think about the golf and things and just go and play and have fun. Yeah, it was -- I think the family part of things got me settled a bit even better.

Q. To follow that, how much farther can you go? How good can you be do you think?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, I want a few more of these, and you know, it would be great to get a few more. Yeah, you know, I think winning one just wants you to get to the second one and winning a second one and then get to the third. Yeah, I'm going to work a bit harder probably from now on and just try and get up there as many majors as I can.

Q. To follow on to that really, both Retief Goosen last night and Peter Dawson this morning said they believe you have the game and the temperament now to win more of these majors. How will you deal with that pressure of expectation? Do you feel you're now equipped to do that?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, to be honest with you, I don't know if I'm too stupid to think about it when I'm on the course, but when I'm on the course -- you might think about it beforehand or afterwards, but out on the course, you just do your business. You know, you don't think about anything like that. It comes with everything. You've got to just get your head around and just deal with it.

Q. I wondered whether Lee popped into the Jigger to congratulate you and if he tried to snatch the jug away from you at any stage.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The Jigger was so packed last night, I didn't see him there. I might have just missed him. I got there a bit late. It was just a bit of chaos, really.

Q. Could you talk about the next couple of days and your thoughts on going to Sweden now after all this? Did you consider not going and just taking a break, or do you look forward to it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You know, I committed to Sweden, and we got an invite. I'm playing -- I was thinking of playing it, and then eventually I said I want to play. I'm going on Wednesday, going a bit later than I would have. But going Wednesday morning to play it. I think it'll be a good thing for the European Tour, as well. I hear it's a nice golf course, so I'm going to go there and have fun.

Q. Did you consider last night saying, let's take a break, I need a week to celebrate?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I actually said that earlier in the week, I'm not sure, I don't want to go. After the round yesterday, I said, well, I think we have to go. We got an invite, and that was great for them giving me one, and it's just nice.

Q. You look forward to it then?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, definitely, looking forward to it.

Q. First of all, thank you very much for the champagne that you sent to the media centre last night. Do you know who Tony Lema was? Do you know anything about him at all, "Champagne" Tony Lema, and how he was probably the first and perhaps the last golfer to send champagne to the media centre?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I don't know who he was.

Q. He won right here in St. Andrews in '62 I think it was -- '64. The second part of the question is what do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a player? Is there anything you think you need to work on to get that particular aspect better?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You know, I always say, short game, short game, short game, really. I was always a good hitter of the ball, especially driver. Driver is my favourite club in my bag. I like to hit it hard sometimes. I did on 14 and 17 yesterday just to get the old swing going through the ball, not cramp up or anything.
You know, my putting has always been on and off, on and off, and I've found ways now to get more consistent on it. I putted beautifully this week. You know, and I'm working with Pete Cohen on short game, chipping and -- I'm getting stronger and stronger in that department. But it's a matter of just getting myself in play every time, and you know, making that -- the bad shots better and still having a chance with the bad shots.
I think if you look at Mickelson and all those guys, whenever they hit a bad shot, it's still in play in a way. Yeah, it's just a matter of what I'm working on at the moment, just going forward with it.

Q. If you remember on Wednesday, you had a very long walk over the golf course from the driving range to the Tented Village and you helped with the Golf Foundation.

Q. And you played Try Golf with all the kids there. My first question is was hitting the plastic balls at the targets good swing preparation for the week, and is it also true that you've started helping some young players in your home area of South Africa, as well?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I wanted to grab that plastic club actually because it felt so nice actually hitting the Velcro balls or whatever you call it. It was fun doing that. You could see the kids having a lot of fun with it. It was just good sport. There was no way I was going to be on the range on Wednesday. I didn't see many golfers out there on the range.
Yeah, you can see the 57 right there. I started the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy at Mossel Bay Golf Club. Two of my good friends in Mossel Bay approached me with this idea, and it was really good, and we've got four juniors in the academy between 13 and 15 years old, and they're good golfers, 2, 3, 4 and 7 handicap, I think. And it's just giving them a bit -- we're just helping them in the Southern Cape getting traveling expenses and things like that, trying to get golf balls, shoes, clubs and things like that, to get them playing things in the Southern Cape so the SAGA or whatever, the South African Association could see them, and hopefully one of them or maybe more will become South African players in the future.
It's just a nice thing for the club. It's at Mossel Bay Golf Club. I love it over there, and I just felt it's a nice thing to give back to the club.

Q. The red dot that you had on your glove, was that something you came up with as your own idea, or do you have a sports psychologist who gives you other techniques to use?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I had a chat with Dr. Carl Morris about two weeks ago, and I'd always wander off badly and struggle to get back into the moment. That helped me quite a lot. Last week, as well, just looking down at it and just remembering what we sat down and were saying and things like that and just getting me to focus.
You know, I'm very happy the way I did it the last nine holes. Normally when I've got that lead, or a lead like that, I'll just, when I get the club I'll hit it and get it over with. But I did it beautifully. I took my time, focused on the shot, didn't try anything funny, and it just helped me quite a bit.

Q. Was that the first time you've used that kind of technique?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's the first time ever. I started last week, yeah.

Q. Can you tell us where you first played golf in Scotland, when that was, and just talk about some of your early experiences playing golf here?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think it was 2002 Amateur. I'm not sure what -- what trophy is it, the amateur one they play on the Jubilee.

Q. The Links Trophy.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: The Links Trophy, yeah. I didn't play well. I struggled. It was raining again and things like that. It was cold and not South African weather. So it was my first time over here playing. And yeah, it was tough.
I think the toughest thing was probably the cold. I mean, I hate it when my hands are cold and things like that. But it's a great place. It's beautiful.
Loch Lomond to me is one of my favourite weeks because it's so beautiful there, and these two weeks it was just very special driving over to St. Andrews, as well, got all the history here.

Q. Did you miss the cut in that Links Trophy did you?

Q. Winning the Open Championship here it must have seemed like a million miles away at that point.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think the seven years on the European Tour got me a bit tougher after that. But yeah, you get used to it. I'm a bit wiser now. I've got hand warmers in my golf bag, so I just put them in my pockets if it's really cold.

Q. You don't remember the score?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, no. That's the thing you've got to forget quickly.

Q. What year was it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think it was '02, 2002, yeah.

Q. I just wondered if there was a moment last night when the celebrations were going and if you got a chance to go back out onto the Old Course just to take it in or were tempted to relive it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I was all over the Jigger last night, outside, then inside. Yeah, I think I just walked out in the garden at one stage and just had a little walk around. I looked at the course, and it would have been nice actually just to walk last night a bit on the course late. But I think, you know, probably when I get back home, get a DVD of all this and have a look at the last round and things like that, it'll probably settle in a lot more. I think it'll be a nice thing to just sit and watch, yeah.

Q. When are you next back in Scotland? Are the Johnnie Walker and the Dunhill in your schedule?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Dunhill, yeah, Dunhill Links will be my next one back here.
MALCOLM BOOTH: Louis, thanks very much for coming in.

End of FastScripts

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