Ag nee man!
I have never claimed this to be an impartial website. It is without question the most proudly South African slice of golfing internet there is. So if you’ve heard enough about Bubba Watson since Sunday evening, keep reading.
First let me say that Louis Oosthuizen’s defeat at Augusta was nowhere near as devastating as some of the torture South African fans have been subjected to down the years. This was nothing like our World Cup cricket defeats. And there’s no referee we can witch-hunt. There were no Australians involved, whatsoever. And no three-foot putts missed (sorry, Ernie). Not a trace of a choke, actually.
In fact, Louis was outstanding on the day. He was simply beaten fair and square after a tough, clean fight. And all of this makes it a lot easier to stomach.
That, and the fact that we’ve still got two of the last five Masters winners to crow about. Maybe it was a little too much to ask for three, with the fairytale Charl-handing-the-jacket-to-his-mate-Louis scenario on top.
Given Oosthuizen’s Masters record and the fact that he hadn’t done much of note between January and Houston the week before the Masters, and given that we had to do without both Ernie and Retief at Augusta this year, I don’t think we can complain about an honourable second place.
Let’s also consider that Oosthuizen’s game wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders on Sunday, and he did a superb job to make the most of what he had. OK, his driver was stupidly good and his putting out of this world, but his approach play and chipping ensured that far too many of those putts were only for par. And let’s be honest, there’s a healthy chunk of luck involved in sinking an albatross, even if he did land the ball exactly where he wanted.
We’ve got more positives than negatives to take out of Sunday. I saw nerves of steel out there, nerves that make me think he’ll win more such battles than he loses. To hole some of the putts he holed, with the field breathing down his neck, on those greens, showed more mettle than he needed at St Andrews two years ago. When he won the Open he had only to protect a big lead, and the rest helped him by self-destructing. For my money, this was bigger pressure, for longer, and he responded with aplomb.
There’s only one little hole I can pick in Sunday’s efforts, and that’s some of the club selection. The third, ninth, 14th, 17th (after a lucky break), the 18th in regulation and the final playoff hole spring to mind – straight shots that came up short or long. Maybe it was simply a ball-striking issue, but if it was just down to club selection then it’s a shame something like that cost him so much. I’m in no position to comment on his decision-making process or his caddie, Wynand Stander, so I won’t. Just wonder why he doesn’t have Zack Rasego on the bag after they won the Open together? Or maybe Augusta doesn’t allow black caddies? Anyone got the answers?