Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Louis Oosthuizen  (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)
Louis Oosthuizen arrived in Stockholm for the Nordea Scandinavian Masters and the fact that he flew from Manchester by private jet underlined his new status as a Major champion.

Needless to say, he could hardly take a step on arrival without somebody else congratulating him on his runaway seven stroke Open Championship victory - the fifth biggest win in any of the four Majors since 1921.

"The last two days have been hectic and it will be nice knowing my phone is switched off and in the bag - I'm looking forward to it," he said.

After this week's tournament, which also features Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, Korean KJ Choi and the return of Jesper Parnevik after five months out injured, Oosthuizen flies home.

"I'm going home for five days. Mossel Bay, where I grew up (and where he shot an incredible 57 in 2002), are holding a big gathering for me on Wednesday.

"From all the phone calls I've received everyone seems quite chuffed!"

He received a late invitation to Bro Hof Slott and decided to honour his commitment despite his St Andrews triumph.

"To be honest, when I am playing well I want to keep playing. I saw the golf course on The European Tour website and thought it looked fantastic.

"I thought it would also be good for The Tour if I came here. I want to support them."

Oosthuizen confirmed on Monday that he would be continuing as a member on this side of the Atlantic, although his next two tournaments next month will be the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron and then the US PGA Championship, where he will partner US Open Champion Graeme McDowell and Masters Tournament winner Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds.

One of the thrills Oosthuizen had from his performance was from a phone call from twice Open Champion Greg Norman, who had to pull out through injury.

"He said something that I will always remember for the rest of my life. He said I am the first person to get him to watch a full round of golf on television.

"He watched my first shot to my last and couldn't leave the couch, so when someone like Mr Norman says that it's brilliant.

"Confidence-wise it's going to help and I now tee it up every round knowing I am good enough.

"I am the same person, but with a few more people watching me."

Former Ryder Cup star Parnevik took his first tentative steps back into competitive golf and admitted: "This could be very embarrassing".

The 45 year old Swede feared his career was over in February when he was found to have a fractured vertebrae.

But just two days after hitting his first shots since then Parnevik was testing himself in the Nordea Scandinavian Masters pro-am.

The 1994 Open Championship runner-up was saved from spinal fusion surgery by a Michigan doctor who recommended a rehab programme instead, but Parnevik said: "It's going slower than I was hoping for.

"I've also got sciatica down a leg and I'm pretty much only here because it's my home event.

"I had liquid put into my spine and an injection into my hip as well. A few doctors thought I should fuse it, but then I found this guy and he thought I could postpone the operation.

"Yesterday was the first time I hit a driver and since I haven't walked yet I don't know how that's going to affect it, so I'm just going to see.

"The first time I saw the specialist he said I had five per cent functionality and then in May he thought it was about 15 per cent.

"So the rehab is going in the right direction and he thinks I can get back to about 80 per cent in time, but if I feel like I can't break 80 then there's no use playing.

"And even if the hip does not flare up I'm going to have to rethink my practice habits because I've been known to hit a lot of balls.

"There was no way I could continue playing the way I was. The 68 I shot at Riviera (his last event) was a miracle - in the second round the last few tee shots I hit only went about 100 yards.

"It was either going straight left or the dreaded duck hook because I couldn't get through the ball.

"They don't know when the fracture happened, but the hip was just worn out."

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