The 2010 Open Champion returns to competition after a hiatus of preparation for the Masters next week. He’ll test out that pure swing at the Golf Club of Houston as a trial run for Augusta.
History has shown that King Louis does well after a break – he’s won his first tournament of the year for four years running, starting with a win and successful title defence at the Africa Open in 2011&2012. He achieved the same feat at the Volvo Golf Champions tournament, which he won in 2013 and successfully defended in 2014.
And the Shell Houston Open is a familiar tournament for Oosthuizen, who finished tied 10th on the back of a Saturday 65 last year. In 2012 he came as close as he’s ever done in Houston – rounds of 67, 66, 66 gave him the lead heading into the final round. An uncharacteristic Sunday meltdown led to a 75 and Oosthuizen was left to sole third on 14-under-par, but his affinity for the course remains clear. That year he went on to battle Bubba Watson for the Green Jacket, losing to that unbelievable fade that launched Watson to superstardom.
At the end of 2013 Oosthuizen received cortisone injections to reduce inflammation in his back and hip, but those injuries have had plenty of time to heal in his recent hiatus from competition. This year he brought out the Mossel Bay magic at Durban Country Club, where he birdied the 17th and 18th to beat Branden Grace by one shot at the Volvo Golf Champions.
Back from another rest and ranked 35th in the world, 31-year-old Oosthuizen certainly ticks all the boxes for success this week. Keep your eye on him for a good week in Houston and then consider his chances at Augusta, because he’s definitely been spending the spare time getting into major-winning form.