by Ralph Routon
Shrek leads the Open, others green with envy
By Bob Condron
ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND — You remember Louis Oosthuizen? Right?
Sure, didn’t he write… No, he invented… I think I was in class with him, at…
No forget it. You don’t know Louis Oosthuizen. Nobody outside of Pinacle Point, South Africa does.
What’s happened to this guy? He’s come to St. Andrews and the 150th British Open and just nailed it with opening rounds of 65 and 67 to go with today’s 69 to LEAD the darned thing afte 54 holes.
What’s wrong with this picture? This is basically a star-studded cast of Americans, Asians, and Europeans. They’re all here. This is probably the most coveted title in golf history. And the leader is South African, has never made a cut in the majors and has made a total of $1,627.76 in this tournament in three attempts.
He missed the cut in the Masters and the U.S. Open this year. He won his first tournament this year at the Open de Andalucía. English translation, “The Andalucian Open."
All this is great, but how do you pronounce his name? They asked him that in the press conference after his first round 65 here Thursday in the wind and rain.
“Oosthuizen,” he said.
So when you address him by his family name, I guess you’re going to have to type it out.
Or ask his wife and young daughter, who are both here this week. His wife’s name is Nel-Mare. Daughter is Jana. How’d you like to look at your driver’s license and it reads Nel-Mare Oosthuizen. Filling out forms would be a real challenge for you.
The lad is making a name for himself in this small town by the sea with the famous golf course. Today he was bouncing around in a lime green shirt, covered by a lime green sweater, tucked into a pair of clean white pants, white shoes, white hat, and wrap-around sunglasses with a white frame.
He almost wore a pair of green and white golf shoes. “But, I didn’t want to look like an Ogre,” said the guy who’s nickname is Shrek.
And, all the while trying to keep England’s Paul Casey away from him. Casey just sent a smooth-running 67 at him for some added pressure. But, when he was being chased by Casey in the setting sun at St. Andrews, all Oosthuizen did was snake in a 25-footer on 16 for a birdie, parred a tough 17, the famous Road Hole and a catastrophe-waiting-to-happen to anybody. And he cranked out a 358 yard drive on 18, two-putted for a finishing bird and bumped his lead to 4 going into Sunday.
Nice drive, wrong hole: Visiting with a robin-egg blue-outfitted Marshall on hole No. 9, he was talking about the great course of St. Andrews. He’s a local and gets to play here for 100 pounds a year. “How do you like it?” he was asked. “Love it,” he said. “But, when the tournament is over they take all these stands away and you have no clue where to hit the ball. You’d never finish unless you had a caddie or played with a local. You’d just be wandering around out there, lost in Scotland somewhere, hitting drives the wrong direction.”
Just some observations:
The average person in Scotland is nicer than anyone you’ve ever met.
The ugliest woman in Scotland is prettier than all but three women in the Miss America finals.
Bob Condron, the Director of Media Services for the U.S. Olympic Committee is in Scotland sending his thoughts and notes to The Independent on the 150th year of The Open.