Louis Oosthuizen is hoping a return to the golf course for the Nordea Scandinavian Masters will provide a welcome distraction from all the attention his British Open win at St. Andrews has brought him.
The South African headlines the field for the European Tour event that starts Thursday, as he tries to refocus on his game after lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday for his first major win.
“It will be a nice thing knowing my phone’s off in the bag, and I’m not going to get that many phone calls,” Oosthuizen said Wednesday.
Some of those phone calls have been quite pleasant, however.
“On the way back (from Scotland) I got a phone call from Mr. Greg Norman, and he said something I’ll always remember for the rest of my life,” Oosthuizen said. “He said I’m the first person that got him to watch a full round of golf on television. He watched my first shot until my 18th putt. He couldn’t leave the couch and to me that’s an enormous thing -- it’s brilliant.”
For Oosthuizen, however, watching the TV footage of his final round at St. Andrews is still on his list of things to do.
“I’m getting the Round 4 footage soon and I’d like to see it. I think it will sink in a bit more then,” Oosthuizen said. “It feels from the way I played it, it felt pretty normal like any tournament, but if I see it myself on TV, I’ll probably realize what I’ve done.”
Oosthuizen said the opportunity to play another tournament soon afterward gives him a chance to maintain his momentum, but that he doesn’t feel much added pressure to win.
“I’m still the same person,” he said. “I’ll just probably get a few more people looking at me.”
Oosthuizen faces tough competition in Sweden from Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina, who is aiming to become the first player to defend the Scandinavian Masters title. There’s also a strong Swedish contingent, with two-time champion Jesper Parnevik and Qatar Masters winner Robert Karlsson playing.
Young American Rickie Fowler is also one to watch after his top-15 finish at the British Open, as are fellow PGA Tour regulars Dustin Johnson, K.J. Choi and Oosthuizen's compatriot Rory Sabbatini.
“I’m ready to play here, it looks like a pretty good venue,” Fowler said of the 7,551 yard Bro Hof Slott course outside Stockholm, which is hosting the event for the first time. “I played the course yesterday and it looks in great shape and it’s really long.”
Prior to his amazing seven-shot win over Lee Westwood, Oosthuizen might have expected a first-round pairing with Robert Rock and Peter Hanson in the first two rounds to attract only a small crowd -- all to see local man Hanson. But now Oosthuizen will be the centre of attention wherever he goes.
And wherever he goes now includes the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio in two weeks, the PGA Championship and October's PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. The Grand Slam is just for the winners of this season's four majors, so Masters champion Phil Mickelson and the U.S. Open's Graeme McDowell have already booked their places as well.