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August 3, 2010

Louis Oosthuizen


RODDY WILLIAMS: Louis, thanks very much for coming and joining us. Welcome as Open Champion. It's been quite a couple weeks for you, hasn't it? How are you enjoying life as the Open Champion?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, last week I thought I was going to have a bit of rest and I didn't get any. It was nice seeing all my friends and family, but yeah, it was good fun. It's a bit different, everything off the course, but I think it'll be nice to get on the course again.
RODDY WILLIAMS: What was the best part about Mossel Bay?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was good fun. Mossel Bay Golf Club put on a great party for me on one night and then the town I grew up in, Albertinia Golf Club, where I learned to play golf, also put on something special. They built a little bridge over the 9th hole and they dedicated it to me. So yeah, it was good fun seeing everyone and seeing what they had done.

Q. Will you be keen to get back to business here in Akron?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I haven't played since Sweden. I didn't touch the clubs last week, so I'll be anxious to get out on the driving range and see what it's like. But yeah, it should be fun, and just go out there and enjoy myself again.

Q. Has anything surprised you about what the reaction has been to winning the Open? Is it bigger than you thought it would be?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's way bigger. I think you've got this picture in your mind what it's going to be like after a major win, and I think it was ten times what I expected, ten times more. But once again, if you're on the course, I think it's different. You just want to get out there and play.

Q. In what way is it ten times more?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I've never had so many phone calls from anyone (laughter), media and.... especially back in South Africa, I thought I was going to have a few days off, and I didn't. It was a lot of our local media phoning me and things like that. Unfortunately we only had five days there, so I'm doing quite a few things in September when I go back for a visit to try and squeeze in everything. But yeah, it was a good reaction. It was just nice seeing everyone. I didn't think that many people watched the golf, really.

Q. Who was like the biggest person that called? I don't assume Nelson Mandela called?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I didn't get a phone call from him. But I think on my way back from St. Andrews, Greg Norman phoned me, and you know, what he said to me is that I'm the first person to get him in front of a television watching 18 holes to golf, from first swing to last putt, so that was something. He said it was just great to watch, and he enjoyed it.

Q. The little bridge they built, was it temporary?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, they actually had that idea a long time ago, and they just finished it about two weeks before I won, and then they just decided to dedicate it to me.
RODDY WILLIAMS: There's no reference to the Swilcan Bridge.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, but I think they wanted it to be.

Q. Does it have a little plaque?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's got my name with Open Champion on it.

Q. Your swing coach is on a roll winning the last two major championships. Can you talk about what makes him such a good coach?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I've been with Pete for a while, probably since 2005, I think, and what I like about him, he never really changed big things in my swing. He always said that I've got a lot of natural -- a good, natural swing, and we just worked on getting it to control it a little bit better. We worked on a lot of things, but small little things, and never really new stuff. It's always the same things we just try to get better and better.
I used to, as an amateur especially, I was all over the place with my driver. I like giving my driver a go sometimes. We got my swing to a stage where I can actually shape it a bit more and I can just -- I can make a nice, compact swing when I want to and just narrow everything down.

Q. What kind of guy is he, a calm guy?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, Pete is -- I mean, sometimes I think he's a very good -- he is a very good mental coach, as well, psychologist, really, when he talks to you and things like that. To me he's probably the best short game or chipping coach there is. He's unbelievable in bunker play and around the greens and things like that.
You know, I go to him quite a bit. He lives about an hour and a half from me in the UK. He lives in Sheffield, and I drive to him every Monday when he can when he's there and just work two, three hours with him. Yeah, I think we've got a good relationship, and he's a great person.

Q. You were the fifth first-timer to win a major championship in the last six majors. What does that say about the state of the game, and do you think that can continue?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think the game is -- I think everyone that's winning is getting younger and younger. If I just look at South African golf, we've got so much young talent coming through, and you know, everything that's -- looking up at Ernie and Retief, you've got quite a few guys, Charl Schwartzel, myself, Thomas Aiken, Richard Sterne, and I think all over, really, you've got Rickie Fowler who's unbelievable, and you've got just loads. Ross Fisher won last week in Ireland.
Yeah, I think it's -- I think everyone can see now that they can win big tournaments, and I think it was just a matter of a few guys stepping up and doing it for the rest to see that this is possible.

Q. Other than getting a call from Greg Norman and having a bridge dedicated to you, what has been the most interesting thing or two that's happened to you since you won the Open?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Buying my tractor for my farm (laughing). Yeah, there was a few things. But it was special, everything. My parents on the farm made a big banner when I got there in front of my gates saying "the home of the Claret Jug," so it was quite special when I drove in there. I didn't know about it. Yeah, everything around it. Whenever I still look at the jug, you've got that little bit of a tear and the same time you get that joyful feeling. Yeah, it's been a dream come true.

Q. Do you have the jug with you? Where is it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, the jug is at the office. I'm too scared traveling with it.

Q. What have you drank out of it so far?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Nothing. The jug to me is very holy ground, so yeah, I haven't drank anything out of it. I don't know if I will.

Q. Have you watched a replay yet, and did anything that you saw startle you? Were there things that you had forgotten that you did during the final round?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I watched -- on Friday night back in South Africa when all my friends and family were there, we were sitting around the fireplace, and they actually put on round 4, from the 8th hole I think they put on. So everyone was sitting there and having a few drinks and looking at golf and things like that. It actually sunk in a bit more then, seeing it, what happened. You know, I knew I was swinging it well when I played those last holes, but watching it on TV, I can actually see I was very comfortable.
I didn't think that it looked that way. I thought it was going to look like I was more tense and things like that. But you know, the tee shots I hit there coming down 14, 15, 16, 17, I think my play off the tee was just tremendous I feel.

Q. Was that putt at 14, did it look harder than you made it look when you made it if you know what I mean?

Q. I'm sorry, the eagle putt.

Q. 9, sorry.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: When I made the bogey on 8, I felt I should have been 1-, 2-under, now I'm 1-over, but I immediately forgot about that. I knew I had to make one putt somewhere, even if it's just a ten-footer for birdie just to get myself in the right frame of mind.
I got to the 9th, and there was just something about that putt, it was just outside the right edge. I could see myself making it before I even putted.
Watching it on telly, every time I see it, I just get that feeling, what I was feeling. I remember clearly what I was feeling, that I felt I was going to make it. It's just one of those -- you know when you get that feeling during a round, and most of the time you do make it.

Q. Speaking of feelings, what was your feeling going into the Open? What were your expectations? Was winning even on your radar?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Again, I knew I was hitting it very well. The previous week I was hitting it well but didn't make any putts. I've always liked St. Andrews in a way that I see the lines on the greens pretty good.
But the main thing was to forget my record of the previous -- of all the majors. You never go into a major, or I never go into a major thinking of that, but that time I probably did. But it was just thinking about it and then it was out of my head.
I knew somewhere along the line I just had to have a good one just to get my old frame of mind again around majors and everything better. You know, during the whole round of -- during the whole play of the week, it just felt good. I played nicely first two rounds and got a bit on the lucky side on the second round with the draw.
Yeah, and then on Sunday, I just felt that -- I thought someone was going to make a big charge, and the wind just didn't allow that. I just knew it was one of those where I was either going to go backwards towards Casey and Westwood and them, or I'm going to probably go one or two better and have a big lead.

Q. Would you also run us through life on the farm? How much does your father still farm? I believe it's a dairy farm. And did you use the tractor at all after you got it? Talk about how big the farm is and --
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's my dad's farm. He's still fully farming. Even my brother is on the same farm. I bought a little farm just next to them. It's only 60 acres, so it's nothing big, it's just something for me to go back and play a bit on. Yeah, I was on the tractor Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning at 5:30 I was on it and working until 12:00, and Friday morning I was up at 7:00 on it and got off it at 5:00 in the afternoon. I had a few things to do that I wanted to be ready before I head back in September.

Q. Your thought going into the Open was to forget about your performance in the previous majors. Now you have something where you're probably going to want to remember your performance as you go into the majors. Will that be, do you think, easier to do, to remember it? Or was it easier to forget the past?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think off the golf course my mind is probably going to go all over the place thinking about lots of things. But you know, you're always going to have that in your back head that you've won a major and you can do well in them.
I don't think I'm going to think too much about the previous eight or nine.
But once you're on the golf course, you know, this is a funny game. You can get days where you can try your hardest but it's just not working, and other days you can just hit the ball and you'll shoot 66. On the course, you know, it's just going to go shot for shot. Whatever happens, happens, and just try and have a lot of fun out there.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Louis, thanks for your time. Have fun this week, as well. Well done.

End of FastScripts

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