When the 2010 British Open kicked off, he was listed as 200:1 odds to win the PGA major across the pond.
When the tournament at St. Andrews reached its midway point, his name was at the top of the leaderboard – but the talk of him remained buried deep in one of the Old Course’s pot bunkers.
Once he refused to fall back in the pack, the golf analysts were forced to attempt to pronounce his name.
And once they did, they couldn’t stop saying it.
He’s Louis Oosthuizen – the 27-year old South African who took the 2010 British Open by storm. He made any and all of the blustery winds at St. Andrews feel more like a gentle breeze.
When critics across the globe waited for Louis to crack, Oosthuizen continued to be rock solid off every tee and steady on every green.
Who could blame anyone though for thinking that he would fade like Lindsay Lohan’s career?
After all, for years, we’ve seen countless golfers head into a major with a big lead on the final day, only to diminish quicker than Tiger Woods’ bank account.
So why would today be any different?
We waited for the comparisons to Jean Van de Velde – but no dice.
We waited to compare him to Dustin Johnson (from earlier this year in the U.S. Open) – but nope, not even close.
Where those two failed miserably in the clutches of major championship stress, Oosthuizen did exactly the opposite. Louis was thriving in the moment, and how that happened, we may never know why – nor should we care.
We shouldn’t sit and wonder how. We should just embrace how one man can go from no name to big game in 48 hours.
Oosthuizen left the field in the dust on the final day – so much that heading into the Road Hole at St. Andrews, he was lagging putts to the hole. But who could blame him after having a lead that extended to as many as nine shots late in the final round?
By the time it was all said and done, Oosthuizen had posted a score of 272 (-16), seven shots better than Lee Westwood, who finished second.
It was a performance reminiscent of Tiger Woods – that being the free-of-drama Tiger that once dominated the PGA Tour. In fact, it was the largest British Open victory since Tiger Woods won on the same course in 2000.
That’s quite a feat.
Nine times out of ten, a tournament such as this Open Championship would have been greeted with blatant indifference. No big names were in the mix on the final day – no Tiger Woods, no Phil Mickelson, no Ernie Els – no one like that.
No Americans were on the front page of the leaderboard for the majority of the final round. Typically, that would make it less likely for us red, white and blue folk to root for anyone at all.
Instead, the Oosthuizen story was surprisingly fascinating – and not just watching the man play unflappable golf, but his overall appearance and personality, too.
Oosthuizen doesn’t come off as a force that could cruise through a demanding tournament such as the British Open.
He was humble and kind, confident yet far from arrogant. His look almost could resemble that of your kid brother and his voice was cartoon-character-like in its own squeaky way.
But instead of starring in a future Pixar film, he was absolutely dominating a golf tournament featuring the game’s biggest names. He stood alone while everyone else was swept away by a stiff Scottish crosswind.
The result: the dust settles and the Claret Jug once again touches South African fingers.
With the trophy firmly and tightly in his grasp, Oosthuizen gave a touching speech. He was sure to carefully thank everyone possible for his success. That included South Africa’s legendary leader Nelson Mandela, who celebrated his 92nd birthday on the same very day.
One couldn’t help but leave this major wanting to see more success from Oosthuizen, especially with his adorable daughter and lovely wife looking on to admire his accomplishment.
But if somehow he fades away and we never see Oosthuizen emerge among the leaders in a major championship ever again, at least this time we’ll remember him for such a dramatic achievement and not a crushing defeat.
Remember the name… Woost-hay-zen… Woost-hay-zen… eh, who am I kidding – you know you will never forget it.