Louis Oosthuizen comes into the Alfred Dunhill Championship which gets underway in Thursday at Leopard Creek Country Club with dreams of becoming world number one.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion Â and narrow runner-up in the Masters this year Â has climbed to a career-high fifth on the Official World Golf Rankings, and, while heÂs not naïve enough to think Rory McIlroy is going to slow down, he believes he has what it takes to get himself to the top of the pile.
ÂRoryÂs probably going to win another two or three majors in the next few years, and thatÂs just going to put his world ranking up and up,Â said Oosthuizen. ÂItÂs going to have to be a really great year for one of us, and a not-so-great year for him in order for us to get close. But thereÂs always a chance.Â
That chance can come because he has been so consistent: ÂI gave myself chances almost every week. My consistency is something IÂve been working on for a while, just to be able to play half-decent even when IÂm struggling.Â
And the idea of reaching number one is one he has allowed himself to dream of. ÂI always try and set goals, but not unreachable ones,Â he said. ÂI think at the moment, where Rory is now, itÂs going to be one hell of a task, but I think, in a few yearsÂ time, if I give myself a bit of time, IÂve got a chance.Â
For Oosthuizen, those few years can start in an event which will close out a year in which he came so close to adding a Masters Green Jacket to the OpenÂs Claret Jug. ÂItÂs been a good season,Â he said. ÂIt would have been great if I could have pulled it off at Augusta. IÂm happy with the season, but thereÂs been a few at the end which were close, and not winning those has been disappointing.Â
And at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, heÂs keenly aware of the form of his friend Charl Schwartzel as an obstacle to be overcome if heÂs to start the pursuit of the top spot in the world.
ÂThis week itÂs going to be a big task to beat Charl. The way he played last week, I watched that golf,Â said Oosthuizen. ÂAnd to come back to probably his favourite golf course, heÂs found what heÂs been missing for the last few months after the setback with injuries.
ÂHe played beautifully at the SA Open, at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai as well. I felt so great for him last week when he got that win, because heÂs been working hard to get his game back. So this week weÂve got our hands full.Â
Other than Schwartzel, his frustrating recent inability to sink putts is a hurdle he must overcome if he is to chase down McIlroy. ÂEvery week there is something on the greens IÂm struggling with,Â he said. ÂNot finding the speed, not finding the line, but I still feel like IÂm hitting good putts. I always know that the week when IÂm hitting it well is going to be a good week for me, but itÂs difficult to go into a week and know that youÂre going to putt well.Â
The Alfred Dunhill Championship can get him on track: ÂI think itÂs going to be a very big task, but at the moment the goal is to get to number two and then see what I can do from there,Â he said.