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June 16, 2011

Louis Oosthuizen


BETH MURRISON: Good afternoon. Welcome to the first round of play at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club. Very happy to have with us right now Louis Oosthuizen who shot a wonderful 2-under 69 today. Can you talk a little bit about how you found the course today and getting out there early this morning.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I think it was quite a few birdies out there. Some of the pins you can get to, and the greens were pretty fair today. Yeah, it was good. I felt really comfortable, but you know, it still was one or two bad shots you hit, you end up making a bogey and you had to hit it straight out because the rough was pretty thick.
BETH MURRISON: Can you talk about the weather conditions this morning?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It was a little drizzly but only for the first hole, which actually softened up the greens a little bit. Didn't look like this with the way I started with two bogeys. I came back nicely after that and had a nice round of birdies. Yeah, I think there was a few birdies today out there. So I'm quite happy with 2-under.
BETH MURRISON: When you start with the two bogeys, do you say anything to yourself or just sort of be patient and go from there?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's just trying to be patient and knowing that there are birdies out there and that it's a U.S. Open. It's a tough tournament. There's definitely bogeys out there, as well.

Q. There's been the talk of how difficult it's going to be to close out those last few holes. And after your tough start, you were able to really finish strong. Just your thought process going through those final holes and how important it was for you to have that kind of finish?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I think 14 played straight into, and if you hit the fairway you're going in there with 6-iron or 5-iron, so you're pretty good -- it's all on the tee shot.
And then 15 played downwind today. I was going in there with a sand wedge.
And 17 and 18 downwind, as well. 18, if you hit the fairway with your driver, you're only going in with 9-iron with a pin on the right. So you can make birdie there today.
So there was definitely -- you know, the wind helped. I think those last few holes you're going to see good scores around.

Q. At St. Andrews, you were able to kind of build each day on your performance. Did you learn something there that now after this performance about putting a major tournament together day after day after day, because a lot of times it's all about building like that and not taking a step back?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I mean, any major tournament I think you're just trying to play -- never get too far ahead of yourself or trying to make miracle shots, especially early in the tournament. Like you say, you just want to get yourself into a position to have a chance. I think knowing that the golf course will be tough, you know, it's -- par is your friend. Par in a U.S. Open is a great score. You know, I think this golf course, if you drive it well, you've got good chances of making good scores.

Q. What was it like playing with Graeme today? He's energetic, kind of animated, and did it help you getting into a comfort zone of some kind?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, we know each other quite well and play a lot of tournaments together. I mean, it's just nice playing with him. I think playing with any defending champion it's always nice, and Peter, as well, great guy, and he played wonderful today. Just finished a bit badly. But he's a great youngster.

Q. Could you walk us through what happened at 9? I believe the balls were touching?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, that's something that you probably will never see again. Graeme laid up with a hybrid, I laid up with a 3-iron, and we got to the balls and they were touching each other, lying next to each other. You know, on the green you see it now and then, but I've never seen it on the fairway. Yeah, we had to -- he had to move his ball away and then I had to go first. So it was quite a funny moment, I think. I don't think we expected it to be that close.

Q. Did you have to pick yours?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Mine was the furthest away, and he could move his, and after my shot he could create the same lie he had. But I think my divot was just left of his ball. I don't think he had to move it at the end.

Q. And the other question was I believe in the last 11 majors, you're the only leader who won after -- only winner who had led for 54 holes, so in other words, there's no scoreboard watching at this point. When will you start watching the scoreboard?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I don't mind watching the scoreboards. I like to put myself in a situation where I know what's going on and know what I have to do. I don't like just playing. It might affect your game a lot of times to hit shots and you don't have to, or sometimes you have to hit the shot and you don't. But it's so early in the tournament.
I think that's the thing, you probably start looking at the last 13, 14 holes of the tournament, even last nine holes maybe.

Q. I know you don't think about it during the round, but you played in the threesome that everyone wants to play in, the traditional one with the British Open champion, the U.S. Open champion, the amateur champion. Can you talk about the honor of that? Talk about the tradition and what the honor of that is like.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it's always nice to be a part of things like that. It was nice that it was -- I knew Graeme very well, as well, and I was looking forward to playing with Peter because I've heard he's a great player, and he is. And just like you say, just being part of that tradition is really special.

Q. Could I ask you to go through your birdies and bogeys?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, first two holes, bogey. On the 1st missed the fairway on the right, very thick lie, couldn't get to the green. Hit it in the bunker, not a great bunker shot, two putts for bogey.
The 2nd, I probably hit the worst chip I've ever hit. It was a straightforward pitch, and I left myself 15 feet away and missed the putt.
Birdie on 4, I mean, I hit it to about 20 feet, I think. I'm not too sure.
A good shot on 7, hit an 8 iron straight at the flag, came back about eight or ten feet for birdie.
Then on 8, I decided on driver, hit it about 15 yards from the green and made a good up-and-down.
Then on 11, probably the best 4-iron I've ever hit. I had to hit a low draw into the wind, pitch it in the middle of the green, just released. I nearly holed it.
Yeah, then stupid tee shot on the 12th, trying to get a bit more out of it and pulled it left in the trees, just chipped out and got myself a good opportunity at a six or eight-foot putt for par and just missed it.
13, again, missed the green -- missed the pin on the wrong side, which is just a bit unacceptable and hit it to ten feet, downhill, left-to-right putt, just pushed it a little bit.
16, par-5, lay-up for two, hit sand wedge to about three foot for birdie.
18, hit a big drive down there, 9-iron to probably about 12 feet, and yeah, hit a good putt, birdie.

Q. (No microphone.)
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I play in meters. I had 155 meters to the pin.

Q. How far on the 4-iron?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: 4-iron was 188 meters.
BETH MURRISON: Louis, thank you so much for visiting us today. Congratulations.

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