World No.21 Louis Oosthuizen excited for maiden tournament in Australia at Perth International
WORLD No.21 Louis Oosthuizen has never played in Australia, let alone had the opportunity to examine the course at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
So it’s no surprise he’s turned to a couple of high-profile friends to get a sense of what he can expect at this week’s $1.75m ISPS HANDA Perth International.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, said he picked the brains of fellow major winners Ian Baker-Finch and Ernie Els ahead of arriving Down Under tomorrow.
Baker-Finch excelled in Australian conditions as one of this country’s finest-ever golfers, while Oosthuizen’s compatriot Els won the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup by a whopping 10 strokes.
“I spoke to Finchy – we stay in the same golf estate back at Palm Beach,” Oosthuizen said
“He said it will be a dry heat, which will be good, and we talked a bit about the golf course.
“I spoke to Ernie a bit about it too, and obviously, Ernie has won there before.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Perth. I hear there’s a big South African crowd there, and I’ve got friends who live there as well.”
Despite the lack of Australian experience, Oosthuizen remains the man to beat in a field that includes the champion and runner-up from 2014 in Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and France’s Victor Dubuisson.
Oosthuizen said he was more than comfortable with the tag of favourite.
“I think it gives you a bit more confidence, knowing that and feeling that way playing in a tournament,” he said.
“I want to get the season starting nicely, so I want to find a bit of form before going to Doral (for next month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship) and Augusta (April’s US Masters) and all those tournaments.
“These are great events to find your game and really step up and rise to the challenge.”
Oosthuizen, 33, is coming off an impressive 2015 campaign that yielded runner-up finishes at two of the sport’s four major tournaments.
But he’s still chasing improvement as he looks to challenge the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy at the sport’s top tier.
“The game feels good – I just need to put everything together. It feels a bit loose still at times,” Oosthuizen said.
“It’s just every now and then that bad shot that you hit that costs you a silly bogey.
“It’s more just finding that rhythm of hitting fairways and greens and make sure you’re not wasting shots.
“What we all play for is to try and get our game right for majors. I came close last year, so hopefully I can put myself in that position again.”