As Louis Oosthuizen makes his first European Tour start of the season at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, the 2010 Open Champion writes about this week’s new format, the hype around his golf swing and tractors.
This is my first tournament of the season on the European Tour so it’s nice to be back and I’m really looking forward to the week ahead. My game is in really good shape at the moment and I’m coming off the back of a good result in the USA (third at the Phoenix Open). I think it’s now all about working towards that first Major of the season so hopefully I can build on that performance and get a few more good weeks in before then.
Australia is a great spot. There are a lot of similarities to South Africa and driving around this week has brought back a lot of good memories of last year. You always have a good time over here and the golf course looks good. It’s a little greener than last year because they’ve had a lot of rain here recently but it still looks in good shape.
Will this new format work? I think that’s a question to ask after this week and see what everyone thinks. You’ve got to get your head around the fact that the strokeplay is just a qualifier. You don’t need to try and do anything heroic in the strokeplay, just put yourself in a good position. I think golf needs changes to get people involved and appeal to younger people. We need to make it faster. I think in the future it would be great to see one or two more matchplay tournaments.
This tournament is obviously completely different to a regular strokeplay event. It doesn’t matter what the other golfer plays like in the play-offs, you’re trying to take one less shot than your opponent. Match play is a very tactical game – you’re trying to put pressure on your opponent by hitting the fairways and the greens and letting him make the mistakes. It’s completely different and I do really enjoy it. It’s good for focussing on each specific shot at a time.
When I’m not playing golf I like to do some off-roading, go camping, fishing, anything outdoors really – I like a bit of hunting too, I like old cars and then just spending time with my family, of course.
When I’m at home I’ll always help out on the farm but it’s very much my brother who does all of that now so I’m not very much involved with the farming anymore. It’s a dairy farm so he makes a lot of hay and that’s great work, baling and cutting hay and plenty of tractor work, so whenever he needs a hand I’ll always help him.
I’d like to think my wine is up there alongside Ernie’s in terms of quality, I’ve got a pretty good record with my wines and they’re doing really well so I’m happy with the way that is going. I still focus a lot more on my golf than I do on the wine but that is for one day in the future when I’m too crooked to play the game anymore! It’s obviously a business completely outside golf and to get things ready for that day so that I can spend more time with the family.
Growing up, my hero was Ernie – watching him and seeing what he has done for South Africa. Ernie was everyone’s childhood hero and in 1999 I got the invitation to his foundation. I was there until I turned professional and that really set me up for my whole career.
It is always nice to get compliments about my golf swing but sometimes a good looking swing and a technically perfect swing are very different things. There are a lot of things in my swing that I always have to work on otherwise it gets out of sync and I can hit it way off line. That’s something people always need to remember. When I’m over the ball though, I just try not to think about anything. All I want to do is stand behind the ball, move into the golf ball, and nothing else.
Branden (Grace), Charl (Schwartzel) and I travel most of the weeks together and we all live together on the same golf estate in Palm Beach so it’s a great relationship we all have. It’s something that has been there for a while, Charl and I have been playing together since junior golf and Branden came along a little later but it’s really great to have those friendships on tour.