Scotland, the 18th of July 2010: The 27-year-old defied his critics on Sunday, determinedly playing a safe game around the devilish St. Andrews old course in a display of assured ball striking and control. His win makes him the sixth South African Major winner and the first at the Open Championships since Ernie Els in 2002.
Oosthuizen had missed the cut in all three of his previous Open appearances and was considered a 200-1 outsider for this year’s championship. Despite the bookies neglect, Oosthuizen very rarely looked like being overhauled by the field throughout the 4-day contest, finishing with a 16-under 272.
“To win an Open championship is special but to win it here at St Andrews is something you dream about,” he said whilst taking the opportunity to wish former South African President Nelson Mandela a happy 92nd birthday, “I would like to take this opportunity to say happy birthday to Mr Nelson Mandela back in South Africa.”
The win, which moved Oosthuizen from 54th to 15th in the world rankings, earned him £850,000 and made a mockery of the formbook. Not only had he never made an Open cut before, but it was also only his second professional win outside South Africa while his previous best finish in a Major was 73rd in the 2008 US PGA Championship.
England’s Lee Westwood emerged from the pack to finish a surprise second, with a 70 putting him on 279, one shot ahead of compatriot Paul Casey who imploded as Oosthuizen’s playing partner to finish with a 3-over 75 and total of 280 for the tournament. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (71) and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (68) also finished in equal third on 280.
World number one and heavily backed favourite Tiger Woods endured another torrid day on the course finishing the tournament in a tie for 23rd at three-under. “You just can’t play and expect to win golf tournaments if you have nine or 10 three-putts in a week,” said Woods.