Lodewicus Theodorus `Louis’ Oosthuizen’s friends nicknamed him “Shrek” because of the gap of his front teeth. Of course, it was a source of embarrassment for him. However, on July 18, he proudly smiled to the world, kissed his wife several times and daughter as golfers around the world saw him lift the coveted Claret Jug.
Golf fanatics were glued to their television sets to watch tournament favorites Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson but it was the South African who stole the limelight and became a household name for winning this year’s British Open by seven strokes at the birthplace of the sport, the hallowed Old Course of St.Andrews of Scotland.
After a disappointing seven tries to score a big win in a major tournament, Oosthuizen finally made it and he has more reason to smile because the British Open victory earned him $1.29 million.
He has a respectable record with a victory in the Open de Andulacia in Spain early this year and in South Africa but the struggles paid off with the right mental approach at the star-studded tournament. If you noticed, there was a red marking on his glove that acts as a reminder for him to stay focused before making the shot.
The 27-year-old played for South Africa as a junior golfer after graduating from the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation that helps young players to excel in their chosen sport.
Oosthuizen now plans to put his own junior golf academy too as a way of paying back to the sport that made him a new star.
South Africa, recent host of the successful FIFA World Cup, had a double celebration that day because it was the birthday of Noble Peace prize winner Nelson Mandela, whom Louis greeted during the awarding ceremony, and his astonishing win that will be remembered for a long, long time. [MOSES P. BILLACURA]