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January 19, 2011

Louis Oosthuizen


SCOTT CROCKETT: Many thanks, as always, for coming in and joining us. Welcome to Abu Dhabi. It's a traditional place where people begin their season and start their year, but some of us already have a win under our belts. That was a great performance, wasn't it, in your home country.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I'm very happy with the choice I made playing the Africa Open and didn't go over to Hawai'i. Yeah, it was a good start, and it was a nice one to start the season with.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Obviously the next question, people say, how is your game, it's obviously pretty decent shape.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, you know, after the SA Open, I had ten days really off before starting back two rounds before I went to the Africa Open. So it's not really a big break but it's nice to keep going before this week.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Your thoughts on this week?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I took last week off. So yeah I'm really confident this week. The golf course, the greens are beautiful. So it's definitely going to be tough out there. I think because the rough is really up, but other than that, I'm pretty confident for this week.

Q. After St. Andrews, was getting that next win very, very important to you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was, but to me, I haven't won a European Tour event in South Africa, and I've seen Richard Sterne do it, Charl, everyone. So it was a big thing for me. I wanted to get one of those four events in South Africa.
But after the Open, it really meant a lot getting that win. It was a great way to start my season. I'm going to play a bit more in America, as well, so I'm just happy with the way it started.

Q. Just regarding that theme, was The Open Championship title a bit of a millstone around your neck the second half of the year? Did you find it hard to handle all of the acclaim you got from it, and hence, the relatively barren spell that followed?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, for anyone winning a British Open, it's the biggest tournament I can win. Yeah, it was just special and a dream come true.
I felt like I played pretty decent after it, but you know how the game is. You can only play well some weeks, and other weeks you're not going to play well and you're going to score great. It's funny how it works, but that win two weeks ago really meant a lot.

Q. And your record here in the desert is good as most; you've played well at all three Desert Swing tournaments. Do you like coming to this part of the world?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I think a big thing about it is we have been playing since December, and starting in South Africa, as well. So you just keep on going. Weather-wise, it's pretty much the same as it is back in South Africa at the moment.
I always liked coming out here. I love the golf course, love the place, and, yeah, I've had a pretty good record here.

Q. Talking to you late last year, you had to pull out of two events because of your foot and your ankle. Have you gotten rid of that brace and what is the situation?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I still wear the brace. The doctors wanted me to play until the end of February with the brace just for safety, so it doesn't affect me at all now. I think I'm pretty used to the brace now, and I'd say injury is okay.

Q. With the new year, any sort of new resolutions looking ahead?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You're about the third or fourth asking me that question (laughing).
I think golf-wise, I would really like to get into the Top-10 in the world and get my game good for the Majors. You know, I think I've got a good run of tournaments up to the Masters, and I'm really looking forward to that and try and get the game sharp with it.

Q. The Claret Jug, does it have a place at home or do you carry it around with you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It's here this week. But I've got a little place for it, in a glass case. It was quite nice. I took it over Christmas to show all of my friends and family. I think they really, really enjoyed it being over there.

Q. Sorry to ask this. What's your drink of choice out of the jug?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, actually I did have a nice bottle of champagne out of it. But that was the only stuff.

Q. Any cereals?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, no. (Laughter) I just drank the champagne.

Q. Just wondering, how has your profile changed in South Africa?

Q. Just after The Open and everything, and your fame and how people treat you and if you get recognised?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I might get recognised a bit more, but other than that, it's pretty normal. You know, I don't really go back to South Africa that much, but I've been there in December, and whenever I'm there, I try and just be on my farm and not do much.
I must say, from friends and people from my club, everyone has treated me really nicely and it's just nice to see what the win means for them.

Q. Talking about the farm, what would attract you more, a John Deere tractor or a new Ferrari?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Oh, definitely a tractor. (Laughter).
That's obvious.

Q. How is the tractor going?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It's good. It's not as fast as a Ferrari but it's a bit stronger, though.

Q. Are there any downsides to being Open Champion?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No. I can't see any. If there was probably -- I think if anyone can tell that you you're going to win one tournament in your life and it's going to be The Open Championship, you'd say, I'll take it.
Everything has been great, and it's going to be sad giving the jug away before the tournament, but I'd just better start practising so that I can try and get it back again.

Q. What if somebody told you that you could win two big ones, what would the second one be?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: You know, I think the Masters is always in everyone's mind, the back of their mind after the Open. You know it, would be nice. It would be nice getting a green jacket.
But I mean, just any of the four events, any of the four Majors is so big. It's what you work for, and I think you don't really want to putt it in one, two, three, four, but I just think any of those you would be quite happy with.

Q. Does the mentality change once you've made that break and made that Major breakthrough?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, definitely going into bigger tournament, World events, Majors, I mean, before that, my track record wasn't very good with Majors.
So, yeah, I'm looking forward to this year, trying to work a bit more and get the game sharp for when I go into the Majors.

Q. Do you ever dream about it? Do you ever wake up and found you haven't won it in a dream?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, no. I've never had bad dreams about the open. (Laughter).
SCOTT CROCKETT: That would be a nightmare. Surely that would be a nightmare. (Laughter).

Q. Is this an experimental year for you in regards to the PGA Tour in terms of looking at it and scoping out and whether you see yourself settling over there?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: That's more of, like you say, an experiment. I always when I grew up as a little golfer, you always watch golf in Europe and golf in America, and you want to try both almost. I never really felt like I had given myself a proper opportunity to go over there. I think it will be a good year to try it.
Just to play a bit more tournaments in America, you know, it would be nice to see what it would be like getting into a rhythm over there. I'm still playing pretty much the same tournaments in Europe that I was last year, maybe a few less. But you know, I'm playing quite a few in America.

Q. But you haven't bought a place over there?

Q. Forgive me if I'm supposed to know this, but when is your closed season then, if you play over the winter and now you're going to play more tournaments in America, when are you going to take a break, or is it going to be a 12-month job?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I normally try and take a few weeks off. I'm never one that takes five or six weeks off. The injury gave me that break.
So I'm trying to get three weeks off after the Masters, and then probably during the middle of the year get another two weeks somewhere. So to me the weeks that you take off not to play, you do it properly, don't touch the club and things like that. If I want to play, I feel the way I'm playing, I want to try as many tournaments as I can.

Q. Martin was saying earlier that maybe because he's slow but it has not sunk in yet he's Major Champion. When did it sink in with you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it takes a while. After my win, I spoke to Graeme, he said it took him a while, as well, and just to get his game back to where it was. Martin got his game pretty quickly after that.
I felt the end of last year, I got in The Race to Dubai, and with the injury it was nice having that four- or five-week break, just look back at everything that happened. I think those five weeks, it settled in, and then just get on with the game again.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks, as always. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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