Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen wants to make a trademark flying start to the year in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters but is already focusing on claiming a second major title in 2016.
Oosthuizen has a remarkable record in his first event of the calendar year, winning the Africa Open in 2011 and 2012 and following that with consecutive victories in the Volvo Golf Champions in 2013 and 2014.
Injury meant the South African did not start his 2015 campaign until March, but his first event produced a sixth-placed finish in the WGC-Cadillac Championship and he went on to lose out in a play-off for the Open and finish joint second in the US Open.
The 33-year-old has not played competitively since finishing joint 11th in the Nedbank Golf Challenge on December 6, but believes he is in the right frame of mind for another good start to the year.
“I think I am well rested,” Oosthuizen told a pre-tournament press conference. “I didn’t touch golf clubs since the Nedbank up until last week. The first round was very shaky, didn’t make a birdie I think, but then sort of picked up quickly.
“After a good break, you want to go back out on the golf course again. You want to play and I think a lot of times with the schedules we have these days, you lose that a bit, to be hungry again just to go out and play. I got a bit of that back again after a big break.”
Oosthuizen has been plagued by various injuries and a lack of consistency over the years, but believes he is on the right track as he looks to add a second major title to his 2010 Open triumph.
“I’m always working on improving some parts of my game,” he added. “This year I want to get more in contention in a lot more tournaments. I feel like I’ve made a big step in the last year in the right direction with my body, getting everything sorted.
“I think now it’s time to get down to the golf and do more work. I had a taste of a second major last year and that really got me hungry to win a few more.
“I think it’s a bonus if you get to a major week and your game is on top form. That’s what everyone tries to get to and the really top guys do it every week, they get their game sharp for big events.
“I still need to get myself to that level. I feel the biggest thing for me is still consistency, but I’m moving in the right direction.”
Oosthuizen’s fellow South African Branden Grace will attempt to become the first player to win back-to-back titles at Doha Golf Club, where 2014 champion Sergio Garcia makes his first appearance of the season.
Garcia, who was also second in 2013 and has recorded four other top-10s, said: “I feel quite comfortable on the golf course. It kind of caught my eye the first time I played it and I played it pretty much every year since. So I obviously like what I see out there and when you can play on one of those courses that you feel comfortable, usually you seem to do fairly well.”