Louis Oosthuizen may be the most unassuming major champion of the last 30 years. Coming from South Africa, he had a resume that didn’t include much that would let anyone believe he had a major championship victory in him.
A year later, Oosthuizen explained how he made the transition from major hopeful to Champion Golfer of 2010 during his pre-championship interview.
“Every major you tee off, you just want to try and find the game,” Oosthuizen said. “You just make good swings, steering you around, and see where it takes you. I mean, I didn’t go in with great form into The Open last year, but found a few things Monday and Tuesday while practicing and just played really nicely the whole week, found my rhythm very well and the swing and putted beautifully. You get those weeks where you just find it early in the week.”
The victory by Oosthuizen proved that anyone could find it, and the Open Championship victories since 1986 proves that.
The last four Open Championship winners were not the favorites going in. In fact, since the World rankings started in 1986, the world number one has won the Open only three times (Tiger Woods in 2000, 2005 and 2006).
However, Nick Faldo won the 1987 Open as the 46th-ranked player in the world. John Daly won in 1995 at 109; Paul Lawrie in 1999 at 159; Ben Curtis in 2003 at 396, Todd Hamilton in 2005 at 56 and Stewart Cink in 2009 at 33.
Rory McIlroy is the favorite this year at 8-1, with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald at 10-1. But the recent history of the Open Championship seems to support that Ian Poulter, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler have a better chance.
No matter what happens, Oosthuizen has returned the Claret Jug, and the winner will take the Jug home. That player, in all likelihood, will be someone other than the top player in the world.