He may not be ready to set the golf world alight again just yet, but Louis Oosthuizen is itching to get back into action at this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the European Tour.
Oosthuizen was driven off the course after just eight holes in the Open Championship in July, and he returns to tournament golf at the scene of his 2010 Open Championship triumph.
“It’s nice being back on the golf course,” he said. “It’s the first time in a while that I was itching to come back. Normally, when you have time off, you want to rest properly. But this was a long time, and I’m looking forward to being back.”
And while the recovery from the ripple effects of an old whiplash injury – the product of some youthful fun in 2005 – is not complete, he’s looking forward to taking what many believe to be the best swing in golf out onto the course again.
“I’m definitely not 100 per cent, but I’m definitely in ‘playable’ shape, so I can play without any pain,” he said. “It’s still going to take a bit of time to get everything 100 per cent, but I feel good.”
The injury was a long time coming: “I’d struggled with an old neck injury that I got in 2005 and it all came back at the beginning of the year and it made me swing the club quite differently,” he said.
“And at the US Open, while trying to swing so differently, I hurt a muscle in my leg and I just couldn’t walk properly. I got to the Open and I could only play eight holes and I had to withdraw. It’s not me, walking off a golf course, especially at the Open, but I knew my future was at stake.
“I’ve done a lot of work, but there’s still work to do. I rested for a few weeks, and then did a lot of heavy rehab work. I did a lot of good work that you can’t do while you’re playing tournaments,” he added.
With the tournament being played on the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Oosthuizen is in his golfing element – to a degree. “Just being back here brings back the memories, even though it’s not the easiest tournament to come back to,” he said. “I love links golf, but the sun’s got to shine!”