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January 12, 2014

Louis Oosthuizen


STEVE TODD:  Congratulations, you were in here at the start of the week and spoke about having the time off and the holiday swings; not bad for a holiday swing, is it?  Talk us through the day about successfully defending your title.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Yeah, it was tough because it was two days, we played southeast‑‑ well, Southwestern and then today, it came in the normal east again the same as the first round, so I knew the first five holes were going to be really tricky.¬† And then, yeah, we had a few guys with good starts.¬† Thomas was out of the blocks early.¬† I knew Branden was going to play well.¬† It's a situation he plays well in, as he did a few years back, and that pushed me to really focus out there today.
Made a silly bogey on 10, and just the 16 tee shot, which for some reason this year, just uncomfortable on that tee shot and last year didn't feel uncomfortable on it.  But other than that, played really well today, was really focused on my iron play.  And the putted nicely and made a few nice birdies coming in.
STEVE TODD:  In terms of your own personal success, just sum up what this victory means for you.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Yeah, it means a lot to start the season off confident‑wise, just getting nice boost for the rest of the year.¬† I just need to work hard the next four weeks on a bit of physical training and stuff on my lower back to make sure that I don't get injuries throughout the year.¬† My physio has done a really good job this week and today it was fine.¬† I didn't feel the back today and it was nice to play and just not worry about anything and just play my golf.
STEVE TODD:  We used to joke that Branden was Volvo specialist, but you are getting to match him now, aren't you.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Yeah, Branden is the sort of player that could finish four or five birdies in a row.¬† So I knew, once I saw him out there, I knew he definitely was not going away.¬† I'm not sure which holehe bogeyed, I think it was 15, if I'm not mistaken. ¬†But I birdied 14 and he birdied 15, and all of the sudden I had a two‑shot lead.
But then I think he birdied 16 and I birdied 16, so it was‑‑ once I got to 17, I sort of felt that I needed one more for a playoff.¬† 17, once I stood over it, I saw Branden made birdie on 18.¬† I just wanted a more aggressive line.
Luckily the wind was off the left.¬† Worked out really well‑‑ getting there first and 18, still hit a good tee shot, even being short of it, but worked out nicely it went all the way to the back and I could chip it back.

Q.¬† Did you feel ‑‑ when you saw your tee shoton 16 heading towards those trees again?¬†¬†
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  Yeah, take a little bit there, but the wind didn't really affect it.  And I saw it bounce and I knew the tree line were really close, the bushes.  I got very lucky that I could just chip it out.  Didn't have to do the left hand again.
But yeah, it was tough, and then I hit a really good third shot and it could have been a really good par.  Definitely the tee shot, that put me in a bit of a bad spot.

Q.  17, shot of the tournament, do you think?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  Yeah, I think under the circumstances, for myself, knowing thatI needed to put it close.  I was thinking anything, eight, ten foot, to give myself a proper birdie opportunity.  The distance was perfect, 19 metres off the left and that is just a good sand wedge for me.  As I hit it, I knew the line was perfect and just had the right club.  So it worked out well and I think it was a situation that it was probably the right shot.

Q.  This is a young tournament, I know, but how does it feel to be the first person ever to defend successfully the Volvo Golf Champions?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  It's great.  It feels really good and hopefully I can defend next year.  Volvo is an unbelievable company, what they do for golf on The European Tour and worldwide; to defend the Volvo Golf Champions tournament is special, and hopefully I can go three in a row.

Q.¬† What's up with you and the first tournament of the year, the African Open‑‑
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Yeah, looks like I have to take a holiday ‑‑ I don't know, proper rest, no golf, looks like that's the key. They don't work all of the time but it has for the last few years.¬† (Laughing).

Q.  Your thoughts on the country club and the golf course?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Great golf course.¬† Just shows you, you don't need to build a golf course 8,000 yards or something to be a good golf course.¬† You can take it on.¬† Like the sixth hole, you can hit a driver.¬† Last year I felt comfortable hitting it driver‑‑ and with the wind this year, I went with the iron option.
There's only a few places to hit it on each hole.  You either lay it up or you attack it properly.  There's no in between and that's what makes it great.  The wind is really tough here, because you stand on some holes and you don't feel anything and you just need to trust your wind shot and how strong it is and you can hit a good shot; otherwise, you're going to struggle.

Q.  A lot of people praise your swing as being one of the best in the game.  How did it feel on the golf course over the four days?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  You know, I don't really look that much at my swing, especially the first week of the season.  I'd rather just go and play, because I didn't do much work coming into this week, so go into Tuesday and just see how your swing feels and you use that swing for the week.
So you know, it got better and better.¬† Saturday, not really good‑‑ I hit a few awkward shots.¬† And then today it felt good again.¬† Today I felt in control of my swing, and especially the last nine holes where the pressure comes in and you need to adjust your swing on a lot of shots.¬† I took a lot of shots on and trusted my swing.

Q.  You seemed to have a very definite game plan for the course, and even playing within yourself a bit.  How pleased were you in terms of sticking to that game plan today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† You know, it was a pretty, what's the word‑‑ I just wanted to keep myself in play.¬† I felt that my irons were really good, so it didn't matter if I hit a long iron into the par 4s.¬† I felt like I could still get it to the green and hopefully make a few putts.
You see yesterday and Friday, there was a few not good shots off the tees, especially yesterday with my 3‑wood.¬† That put me in a lot of bad spots.¬† So even if you take that route off really playing conservative, you still need to hit it into good spots.¬† It's not like you're taking all the trouble out of play.¬† I'm just really happy that I got it out this week.¬† It's amazing, because last year, I hit so many drivers and this year, I think I hit five in total.

Q.¬† What changed‑‑
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† One big change is the back.¬† I wasn't comfortable with the driver‑‑ I'm not one to really hit a driver soft.¬† I like to hit a proper hit, and now I do feel the back especially on the driver and I didn't want a feeling knowing in my head that this could be a bad shot.¬† So I just tried to take the driver completely out of play, and luckily it was the type of golf course that I can do it.

Q.¬† In 13 years, in the grandstand, the up‑and‑downthere and 18?¬† ‑
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬† Yeah, 13, with that pin, that is exactly where I wanted to go.¬† With that wind off the right, I wanted to hit it down the middle.¬† The wind drifted and we spoke about‑‑ the rules say that I can get relief towards the fairway and the shot opens to the pin, and to me was just an obvious play on that hole.¬† And hit a good shot and made a good putt.¬† It was a crucial putt because it was just before turning with the downwind holes.
And 18, I just wanted to get it past the pin.  It's a really tough shot if you're short right there and I wanted to hit it past the pin so I can chip it back into that little slope into the grain and it just worked out perfect.

Q.  On Tuesday afternoon, you were with Branden Grace hitting golf balls down into targets; how do you think that creative play influenced your game today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  Yeah, playing really windy shots, we were hitting a few shots there, didn't have a clue what the wind was doing.  Yeah, those things are so much fun to do at a tournament.  It just takes your mind off it.  Branden's a good friend, we can be proud the two of us finished one and two this week.

Q.  What's your schedule looking like?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:  I'm leaving to the States in three weeks and then I play my first tournament in Los Angeles, Riviera, Northern Trust.
STEVE TODD:  Louis, congratulations and thanks a lot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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