Mobile Augusta

Thu. Apr. 24 11:00 am
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oosthuizen deserves applause, not apathy

Columnist
Associated Press
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy opened the British Open with 63, then collapsed in the second round with 80. However, he regained his form and finished tied for third.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland --- Awesome is in the eye of the beholder.

Tiger Woods wins the 2000 British Open at St. Andrews by eight strokes and everyone is mesmerized.

Louis Oosthuizen wins the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews by seven strokes and the world yawns.

It is absolutely unfair to Oosthuizen that his runaway victory over an incredible field has been diminished by a universal perception that because he'd never really done anything before, he was somehow unworthy of lifting the claret jug. He's been called lucky. He's been called a nobody. He's been called Shrek.

What he's called now is the champion golfer of the year, and he flat-out deserves the title.

Yes, Oosthuizen drew the blessing of the golf gods with the perfect weather window to jump to a halfway lead that he never relinquished. But it's that "never relinquished" part you've got to give him credit for. The guy who made only one major cut before (and finished dead last when he did it) made the most of his opportunity, then played beautiful and sturdy golf when he had to.

If Tiger had made eagle on No. 9 after his closest pursuer had hit the green, then shut it down with a birdie when his chaser made triple bogey, we would call it brilliant.

Oosthuizen deserves his props. Here's a few other winners and losers from the British Open Championship at the home of golf:

BIRDIE: Rory McIlroy. Few golfers can go from 63 to 80 and then fight their way back to a third-place finish. With McIlroy still having never shot in the 70s at the Old Course, make him an early favorite to win in 2015. Smart money says he wins a major sooner than that.

BOGEY: Tiger Woods. Ten majors have passed without a win, and he whiffed on three courses that fit him better than any others. Being stuck in a putting rut makes you wonder whether he really will catch Jack Nicklaus. I still say yes, but not as confidently as before.

PAR: Lee Westwood. The Englishman does what he always seems to do these days: finish runner-up. Windows like this don't stay open forever.

EAGLE: Chubby Chandler. The leading figure for the ISM agency could revel in having his players finish 1-2-3 in the British Open. Eat your heart out, IMG.

BIRDIE: John Daly. Whatever you think of him, he still possesses brilliance in his combination of power and touch. He set the course abuzz with his opening 66. Though he faded in the foul weather, he never quit.

BOGEY: Phil Mickelson. All fired up to finally be an Open contender, Phil admitted he let the weather get to him the first day and never was a factor. For such a gifted player, his mental lapses can be so disappointing.

BIRDIE: Jin Jeong. The British Amateur champion from South Korea showed real mettle in winning the silver medal, contending into the weekend. Keep an eye on him at Augusta next year and when he turns pro.

BOGEY: Paul Casey. Though he got his first top-five finish in a major, the Englishman continued his penchant for letting blow-up holes derail him. If he could tidy things up, he could win one of these.

BIRDIE: Rickie Fowler. The rookie shot 79 on Day 1 yet ended up finishing in the top 20. Real deal.

TRIPLE BOGEY: Team USA. Sean O'Hair and Nick Watney were the only top-10 Americans. The American Ryder Cuppers might get skunked in Wales.

BOGEY: Colin Montgomerie. Despite his prospective team soaring, Ryder Cup captain Mrs. Doubtfire was grumpy all week and stalked over the Swilcan Bridge with head down and slumped shoulders.

BIRDIE: Global golf. The past four major winners hail from different continents: Africa (Oosty), Europe (Graeme McDowell), North America (Mickelson) and Asia (Y.E. Yang). With South America's Angel Cabrera winning at the 2009 Masters Tournament, that's a pretty nice global balance.

BOGEY: Australia. Remember when all the best young golfers were coming from Down Under? Since Geoff Ogilvy's win at the 2006 U.S. Open, the Aussies have been a grave disappointment.

BIRDIE: The Road Hole. This might be the first birdie all week on the 17th. All the groaning about the new tee proved much ado about nothing. It is a great hole and played as hard as it should.

BIRDIE: St. Andrews. The "Auld Gray Toon" is the greatest major championship venue in the world. Period.

BOGEY: The Old Course. She showed her teeth with the wind and the weather. Still a wonderful challenge in spite of her age.

BIRDIE: 18th hole. A simple beauty. Who cares if so many birdie it? A chance for ace or eagle is almost as cool as its setting.

BOGEY: R&A. Took flak for canceling Champions Challenge, suspending second-round play before resuming in unchanged conditions and making the rough on the 17th uncharacteristically thick in the landing area. Not its best week.

PAR: ESPN. Through no fault of its own, the network's ratings took it on the chin with no compelling drama. But the first all-cable major was a monumental effort. It will get what it deserves next time.

BIRDIE: Tom Watson. The 60-year-old five-time winner and last year's runner-up nearly holed out for eagle on No. 18 and gave the galleries yet another thrill.

BOGEY: Prince Andrew. The fifth in line to the British throne bored everyone to sleep with a dreary keynote speech at a golf writer's banquet. No wonder Fergie dumped him.

Index