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Ken Borland

Oosthuizen knows there is not much major golf left in him & would normally be sentimental favourite at St Andrews 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer Louis Oosthuizen knows there is not much major championship golf left in him and, as the Open Championship celebrates its 150th staging on the Old Course at St Andrews from Thursday, he would normally be a sentimental favourite.

Oosthuizen won the Open at St Andrews in 2010 and was the runner-up in a playoff loss there in 2015. That is one of his six second-placed finishes in majors, so he would be a popular winner, were it not for his controversial decision to join the rebel LIV Golf league.

The 39-year-old knows that this could be his last major championship. He has resigned from both the PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour, looking to cut back on the amount of golf he plays. So LIV Golf with its limited schedule and guaranteed big prizemoney suits him perfectly, while he has retained his Sunshine Tour membership and could well play more often in South Africa than he has in recent years.

There are two other South African LIV golfers in the Open Championship field – Justin Harding and Shaun Norris – neither of whom would seem to have much chance of winning.

Harding seemed to have bounced back into form last weekend when he began the Scottish Open with a 65 – and then told the media he did not expect as much of a fuss to be made about LIV Golf as there was. Detractors will say it was karma as he then shot 74-77-72 to tumble down the leaderboard.

For others less jaded by earning millions on tour, just the opportunity to play a major championship on arguably the most-loved golf course on the planet is going to be a career-highlight.

Thriston Lawrence makes his major championship debut along with 17-year-old sensation Aldrich Potgieter, who won the British Amateur last month to qualify and will be the youngest player in the St Andrews field.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 52-year-old Ernie Els, a two-time Open champion, will fittingly be part of the 150th celebrations. He is loving life in America on the Champions [Senior] tour, but is not so enamoured with LIV Golf, calling it “silly-season golf”.

Amongst the other South Africans in the field, there is not much form to speak about for Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester, Dylan Frittelli, Garrick Higgo, Zander Lombard and Erik van Rooyen.

After the halcyon years between 1994 and 2012, when South Africans won nine major titles, there has been a drought lasting 44 championships with nothing.

Don’t bet on that changing this weekend, except if you are a believer in sporting fairytales.

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