COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Louis Oosthuizen could easily be portrayed as the Byron Nelson of his generation, and not just because of his syrupy panache.
Nelson retired from a busy schedule to become a rancher at the age of 34 (with 51 wins and five majors). Oosthuizen, a 38-year-old South African, is taking a step in that direction.
He bought an 86-acre ranch in Ocala, Florida and is moving from Palm Beach Gardens this week. He said his family will be living in a tenement house in Golden Ocala, the site of an LPGA Tour event this year, and will move into the farmhouse next spring.
“I’m a farm boy at heart, me and the Missus, and we can’t wait,” he said.
It came together quickly. Oosthuizen and his wife Nel-Mare visited friends in the pasture the day after Christmas and fell in love with the oaks and everything else about them. Imagine his surprise when his friend said it was in the market because he bought a bigger ranch.
“My wife looked at me and said, ‘We cannot lose this property,’” said Oosthuizen. They made an offer and bought it a week later.
Oosthuizen grew up on the farm near Mossel Bay in South Africa and still has a 150 hectare ranch where he mainly grows hay for his brother who also has a dairy farm on around 1,500 hectares. Farming has been his passion for as long as he can remember, although he happens to be a pretty good golf player too.
Ocala, known for its horse farms, is about 100 miles north of Tampa.
Oosthuizen plans to buy horses and “I’ll probably have a couple of cattle just to keep myself busy. It will be nice to have the open fields. “
However, he’s not quite ready to retire yet.
Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews and finished second in all four majors including the PGA Championship last month on Kiawah Island. He is number 18 in the world.
“In all honesty, I thought I might want to do more farming this time in my career,” he said. “But I somehow got that second boost in the game. I really feel like I can still win a major. It keeps me up and focused to work a little more. I’m getting closer When the time comes and I have the feeling that I can’t keep up, I hang up and enjoy life. “
It sounds like it already is.
US OPEN QUALIFICATION
It has become far too common for players to step off the course in the 36-hole US Open qualifying when it is clear they will not make it. One argument is that they should finish what they started. Another is that they avoid those who have a chance and make the long day go by a little faster.
Far more remarkable was the conclusion of the rain delay section at The Lakes on Tuesday.
There was a five-man playoff for four places in Ohio qualifiers. Cole Hammer was the strange man and became the first stand-in from the site. There was also a 12-man playoff for a player as a second substitute, although that player had virtually no chance of getting into the US Open.
Former PGA champions Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley finished Monday night and returned Tuesday morning to see if they still had a chance at those 16 US Open spots (they didn’t). Rickie Fowler and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington also missed one.
You were among the 10 players left to play in an essentially meaningless playoff to be the second alternative. It was won by Ben Taylor, who pitted for Eagle on the second hole.
ENGLISH AS A THIRD LANGUAGE
Carlos Ortiz of Mexico speaks English after playing in North Texas and advancing from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA Tour last year to win the Houston Open.
English is not even his second language.
Ortiz, who grew up in Guadalajara, went to boarding school in Germany. As a teenager, he spoke German perfectly, but that is not the case now. Could he have a conversation with Martin Kaymer or Bernhard Langer?
“I don’t know. I probably could,” said Ortiz. “I don’t speak any more. I haven’t spoken German for 14 years. But when I was in Germany I dreamed and thought everything in German. I think I did I’ve lost it now. “
Ortiz said it was Christmas when he got home to Mexico and asked his mother what he wanted for Christmas. The MP3 player was in his head. Likewise his second language.
So he said to her, “MP Three.”
She didn’t understand, so he said it forcefully, not realizing what he was saying, “MP Three!”
“I didn’t know any other way,” said Ortiz. “My mom says, ‘What is this guy talking about?'”
He didn’t say if he got the MP3 unless he called it MP Tres.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Matthew Southgate needed a birdie on the 18th par-5 to force a playoff at the Porsche European Open. But he got in the water, bogeyed, and finished second in a four-way tie.
The result put him in 11th place on a special three-tournament points list for the European Tour, which offered 10 places for the US Open for players who were not already excluded. The list was used because there was no 36-hole qualification in England due to the pandemic.
But a USGA decision worked in Southgate’s favor.
Bernd Wiesberger was in the top 10 on this list of points. He was also number 52 in the world rankings, and the top 60 were excluded after the tournaments last week.
Although the tournament ended before the latest rankings were released, the USGA initially went down the rankings. Wiesberger was already excluded from the ranking, so that Southgate took 10th and last place.
The USGA used the ranking first because it was announced as an exception category before the European points category.
The final ranking category has been moved up one week to reflect any travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
Playing in his first major wasn’t the only new experience for Garrick Higgo in the PGA Championship. It was also the first time he competed in front of fans.
The 22-year-old South African played two dozen tournaments prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly on the Sunshine Tour and a few Challenge Tour events. Fans were allowed, but not many showed up.
“Pretty much me, my caddy and maybe my mother,” said Higgo. “It was the first time that I played in front of an audience. That was so much more fun – definitely 10,000 times more fun. “
That was an indication that the PGA of America set a limit of 10,000 viewers a day, though most would agree that it felt and looked twice as many.
“I think I handled it well,” he said. “Even if you play badly, you just enjoy being outside.”
Higgo, who has won six tours on various tours in his three years, finished 64th on Kiawah Island and made eight birdies in his final round of 69. He’s getting another jump on a major at the US Open in Torrey Pines next week.
But first he received a foreign exemption for the Congaree Palmetto Championship this week in South Carolina. The rush will not be as big as with Kiawah – but still more than he was used to.
Ben Crenshaw was selected to be the 79th Memorial Honoree after Nick Price. The two-time Masters Champion will be honored next year at the Memorial in Muirfield Village. … Patrick Reed finished fifth at the Memorial and exceeded $ 35 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. … The British Open offers additional qualification places at the Irish Open and two Challenge Tour events. This is to accommodate players who may have signed up for the UK’s final qualifying and eliminate travel issues related to the pandemic.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Brian Stuard has fought for a place at the US Open in Springfield, Ohio, qualifying the last four and six of the last eight times.
“I don’t know if 10 out of 10 does it justice.” – Wilson Furr, asked to describe his excitement after moving from a local qualifying substitute to a spot at his first US Open.