Louis in good company in Florida

Open champion Louis Oosthuizen continues his nascent career as a PGA Tour member in the Honda Classic on the PGA National Champion Course at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in the company of two former world number ones in Ernie Els and Lee Westwood.

And while that may seem daunting for him, he’s the one of the three with the most recent win under his belt recently – he took the Africa Open, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour in a playoff from Chris Wood and Manuel Quiros.

It wasn’t too long after Els’ last win, which came in the South African Open Championship in December, and Westwood turned in a performance which had “World Number One” written all over it when he won the Nedbank Golf Challenge a fortnight earlier.

It’s a good tournament for the man who was a runaway winner in last year’s Open to show the US media and public who still doubt his credentials what he’s made of.

And, in the match in which he finds himself, he’s in the kind of company where he can get on with his game unperturbed by what’s going on around him, as both Els and Westwood appear to outgun him.

But he’s deceptively long off the tee, and, if he keeps his direction good, the other two could end up scratching their heads for ways to stop him pulling clear as decisively as he did at St Andrews.

He’s got more to prove than Westwood or Els, but they both have some pretty impressive credentials which will be tough to overcome.

Westwood, who lost his number one ranking to Martin Kaymer after a 17-week reign, will be starting the tournament for the third time. He finished in a tie for ninth last year.

Els should also have confidence after winning the Honda Classic in 2008. He beat the new world number three, Luke Donald, by one shot. And Els lives in the area, and clearly loves it a lot after he won twice on the Florida swing last year.

But keep an eye on Oosthuizen.

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