Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)
Major winner Louis Oosthuizen has his sights set on the World Number One position as he prepares to tee it up in his second event of the 2013 season, this week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The South African is currently fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking and enjoyed a superb start to his campaign, winning the Volvo Golf Champions in his homeland a fortnight ago.
It was the third year in a row the 30 year old has started the season with a victory, and while he is aware there is a sizeable gap between him and World Number One Rory McIlroy, he knows that he make up some ground if he can continue his fine recent form.
“I want to climb up the World Ranking to Number One if I can, but I always take it slowly and see how my game is,” said Oosthuizen.
“I never try to set goals that I know are too tough to achieve or out of my reach. I feel like I’ve got a good shot at getting to Number Two at least by the end of the year. I’ll need to work hard on my game to get there and stay there, and then reduce the gap with me and Rory.
“Any win early in the season gets your confidence really high. I feel like I’m swinging it really well at the moment and making the odd long putt. This week the greens are really big and I think we’ll have a lot of birdie opportunities, so the longer putts will be crucial.”
The 2010 Open Champion has an excellent record in Qatar, his best finish coming in 2009, when he was joint runner-up behind Alvaro Quiros. His last foray to the Gulf region also produced a good performance, a fifth place finish in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai capping a superbly consistent 2012 season.
“I always love coming to the Middle East,” he said. “I tend to play well here and I love the golf courses, so it’s always nice having a few events in this part of the world.
“I played nine holes earlier and the golf course looks really good. I’m looking forward to the week and hopefully I can keep the form going.
“I didn’t do much over Christmas. I only played one or two rounds spent time with family and friends back home, but it means when the season starts I’m properly fresh. I always want to start with a good tournament, and the last three years I’ve managed to win the first one, so hopefully it will continue.”
Oosthuizen is part of a strong field at Doha Golf Club, which also features Justin Rose, the man who leapfrogged him into the World Number Four spot after finishing tied second in Abu Dhabi last week.
“Justin is a great player,” the South African added. “The Ryder Cup and the win against (Phil) Mickelson (in the singles) was very special. You know he’s going to be up there on leaderboards.”