Louis Oosthuizen, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Tuesday 3 December
KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you for coming in today. Have you ever played The Australian
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I’ve only been to Perth twice in the realm of Australia.
KATHIE SHEARER: Oh my goodness.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, can’t believe it, but first time in Sydney.
KATHIE SHEARER: How many holes did you get to play today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Zero.
KATHIE SHEARER: Zero?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I’ve only arrived at midnight so just getting a little bit of practice in today but tomorrow will be my first time on the golf course.
KATHIE SHEARER: How is your game? You had a great start to the year, would that be fair enough to say?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, game feels good, so I just need to get a little bit of play in this week and patch up a few things in the game to get it ready for next week.
KATHIE SHEARER: What is the strongest part of your game at the moment?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I would say my putting has been really good lately and normally that’s a place that I struggle with a little bit. It’s been a lot better than what the rest of my game was in the last few months.
Q. I’m going to ask all of the players this, two huge weeks back to back. I know you’re part of a travelling circus weekly on the PGA Tour, to come to the other side of the world, have to learn a new golf course, it’s Tuesday, you’ve never seen it, how do you manage all of that and still try to maintain both the energy and the golf game to play well? It’s going to be 10 days of pretty relentless pressure.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think we’ve been doing it for so long you get used to it quickly. That first day or two with the jetlag is always not great, but quickly your body adapts to it. I think these days, if your caddy does a good job just by walking the golf course and looking at a few things and go out and play one practice round, that’s more than you really need. Just a lot of times it’s better not knowing where all the trouble is on the golf course and just go out and play.
But, yeah, I’m looking forward to the week. First time here, I’ve got the family here, so I’ll just take it very chilled this week, get the game as sharp as possible for next week. I know we’ve got a big task as a team next week.
Q. Is it true that you used to travel with your own mattress? Do you still do that and is it here this week and how are you getting it to Melbourne next week?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: That would be fun to try and get it here. No, I used to, a long time ago. Three years ago I used to travel with a mattress when I still had some back issues. I’m all good now, no problems, I’ve sorted everything out. Yeah, it was a fun year, to try and organise all the logistics and stuff to do that, but I mean, luckily, that’s all downhill.
Q. Not to take you away from this week, but can you believe that next week you’re the only South African in that team and losing Gracie, how do you think you’ll adjust to that, because obviously you were such an easy pairing to have?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I mean, it will be strange being the only South African in the team. I’ve been with Leish and Scotty in all the other teams that I’ve played in, so they feel just as close as what the South Africans would feel to me. But yeah, it was unfortunate that Gracie couldn’t make it. I know he was trying really hard at the end there and pushing and pushing, but the other guys just played so well. Ernie, I think he wanted to pick Gracie, but he couldn’t because the other guys were just playing too good a golf and Branden understands that. Hopefully, in two years’ time when we play again, we have a few more South Africans in the team.
Q. Just to follow up, Ernie keeps talking about how well he knows Royal Melbourne and how he’s amazing there and he has the blueprint. How much, if any, has he imparted on you guys so far and if not, what do you expect, I guess, broadly, that will be and will it change your approach?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think we’ll have a few chats this week. I know Ernie will sit with us quite a bit early next week and talk about a few things on the golf course. I think Ernie and Scotty are two people you’re definitely going to listen to around that golf course. They’ve got a great record, especially Ernie around the track. They’ve sort of figured out how to play that golf course. I’ve only seen pictures, I’ve never played there. I’ll definitely be listening to them quite a bit and figuring out what the best way is to play the golf course.
Q. The Aussies guys we were talking to a little bit earlier, they say they’re just desperate to beat the Americans this time. Do you feel the same and are you guys in a WhatsApp group or something, getting fired up or is it maybe playing for Ernie that will get you the win?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think we all sort of feel Royal Melbourne is the place we’ve got probably the best shot. We’ve got a team that’s really in form. We’ve got a young side coming through. I think having an Aussie crowd behind us, playing Royal Melbourne especially, I think it will be the best home course advantage we can have.
So, I think we’ve got to rely a lot on that and then just go out and play and not really think too much about anything else. I mean, two years ago, we absolutely faced a brick wall with a massively strong American side and didn’t stand much of a chance. I think this year things are going to be slightly different.
Q. Just coming back to this week and the Australian Open, Gary Player, obviously on the Cup a lot, the Stonehaven Cup. Do you have expectations that you can win that? Is this a Tournament that you looked at before and thought, okay, Gary’s won that, I’d like to?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Honestly, no. It’s never been, scheduling-wise, it’s never been in my schedule. It’s always been up against a South African events or it’s the time of the year that I don’t play much golf, but knowing I was coming here and I knew he’s the player who won it before and I just heard he won it seven times, I didn’t know that. It will be a massive Tour to put my name alongside him on the trophy. Any event I tee off, you try and win it. I know I’m saying I’m trying to get the game sharp for next week, that doesn’t I’ll go out and just try stupid things. But you’ll definitely try and just sharpen those edges where you need to improve.
I’m ready to tee it up and see what the golf course is like and just try and win the trophy.
Q. As a very global player, would you like to see events like the Australian Open and the South African Open have a more permanent spot on the schedule and be part of a global tour?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I mean, it’ll be great. Any Open of a country, it’s a massive event for that country. For the Australian guys this week, I can sort of – what South African Open meant to me, winning that was one of the highlights of my career and I can just imagine it’s the same feeling for Adam and for Cam and Leish and everyone playing here this week. So, it’ll be sad in the future to see those events against each other on the schedule. You would rather have them separate where guys can play all of them, if they can, if it goes into a schedule.
Yeah, it’s unfortunate that Open, like SA Open, Aussie Open and just an Open of a country is always pushed to the side and doesn’t get a good spot on schedules.
Q. I’m going from a Ryder Cup angle. You play in the European Tour a lot, you know guys like Rosie and Poults and Rory and GMac and Pawdrick. Do you find yourself watching the European Ryder Cup team? Are you impressed when they do win and do you sort of also sometimes ask yourself how can we translate that into the President’s Cup or is the President’s Cup a completely different animal?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I think President’s Cup is very unique with completely different, 12 different players or not just different players, different countries and different cultures. It’s a very unique set up, the President’s Cup. Everyone always says that we don’t have team spirit or don’t have enough. I can promise you, when Thursday comes, we’re like 12 brothers in that team. We’ve bonded, we’re ready to go, we want to win, we’ve got the same energy and just want to get the tournament done. By the end of the week you’re sort of sad, you want it to last another week or two.
Watching the Ryder Cup always is phenomenal to see those boys, how they come together. I think the history with the Ryder Cup, there is a lot more in there, and that’s why you always see the guys a little bit more pumped and we need that. We need that in the President’s Cup. I think the only way to get that is if Internationals win. We need to get our name on the trophy again and show the Americans we’re here to play. We’re here to win the trophy, to win the Cup and not just show up to just have a good week.
KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you so much, thank you for coming in.