Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have all won at St. Andrews, which is considered the hallmark to any golfing resume.
After Sunday’s final round in The Open Championship — that’s what its called across the pond — a South African joined the select few that have triumphed at the home of golf.
It wasn’t Ernie Els or Retief Goosen.
No, it was Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen, who says Els is his idol, had just one European PGA Tour victory prior to The Open.
He had made just one cut in his eight previous majors.
Yet the man they call Shrek had his fairy tale ending.
Oosthuizen took the lead in Friday’s second round and never looked back.
This wasn’t the British Open for the casual fan, who tunes into golf broadcasts for the high-drama, fist-pumping excitement from watching Tiger or Mickelson or the rest drop a winning putt on the 72nd hole.
But this was still entertaining to watch.
It wasn’t boring because the field cried Uncle, seemingly conceding the Claret Jug to Oosthuizen once he made eagle on No. 9.
And it wasn’t dull because there weren’t any Americans in the hunt.
It was fun to watch, because Oosthuizen gave us a Tiger-like performance.
He striped drive after drive ... after drive.
The son of a sheep farmer, Oosthuizen looked like a machine.
The consistency off the tee and his putting on the double-greens in Scotland gave the golf audience that missing feeling – a dominating performance in a major championship.
Nick Faldo in 1990 and Woods in 2000 had arguably equal, if not more impressive British Opens at St. Andrews.
Bradenton resident Paul Azinger was one of several analysts who said Oosthuizen’s swing was really good.
The kind that could hold up over time and in the major championship pressure-cooker.
That’s the seal of approval for me.
South Africa didn’t win the 2010 World Cup and Sunday was Nelson Mandella’s birthday, so not only did Oosthuizen fly under the radar in the golfing world – he came from left field even in his own country.
Nonetheless, he’ll get a hero’s welcome. Now it’s just a matter of time for everyone to see if he’ll join countrymen Gary Player, Els and Goosen as multiple major winners or will he fade into obscurity like some past British Open champs like Paul Lawrie and Todd Hamilton.
With a golf swing like that, everyone will know his name now.
Of course the Claret Jug and a spot in the top-15 world rankings won’t hurt, either.