15th June 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Oosthuizen ready for US Open challenge
While most of us remember the wayward tee shot that cost Branden Grace a chance of winning the 2015 US Open, we forget that Louis Oosthuizen finished in a share of second behind Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay.
That forgotten runner-up finish showed that he has the game required to take on the challenge that is the US Open, often one of the toughest in golf. And he showed that he is rounding into major championship form again when he finished runner-up in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass a month ago.
And while TPC Sawgrass is certainly no Erin Hills, there are a number of factors which play into Oosthuizen’s hands as he gets ready to tee off later today in the company of Charl Schwartzel and Henrik Stenson.
First, there’s the fact that his greenside touch is right up there with the best around. And with almost all of the greens raised – almost dome-like – getting up and down may just be the most underrated requirement as we evaluate who has the skills to lift the trophy on Sunday. Or Monday, if there is the US Open’s 18-hole play-off.
Secondly, the fact that he’s not been that accurate off the tee this year is not going to be as much of a factor at Erin Hills as it normally is in a US Open. As Rory McIlroy put it, if the world’s best players aren’t able to put the ball in good positions off the tee on the wide fairways, then they are going to have no chance.
However, despite his ranking only 69th in driving distance, and 62nd in driving accuracy, he does much better in strokes gained tee to green and off the tee, where he ranks 17th and 18th respectively. That’s more than good enough to get him into contention – especially if his putter kicks into gear.
Like Schwartzel, Oosthuizen has shown he often reserves his best for the biggest occasions. The US Open is one of those.