Louis Oosthuizen: ‘LIV isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the Tours’

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As the pros and amateur congregated here at the Links Championship congratulated each other for surviving Friday’s “Great Dunhill Deluge” with that brand of gallows humour seemingly unique to golf, Louis Oosthuizen was feeling weather relief rather more serious than soggy grips and saturated waterproofs.

The South African’s Ocala ranch was positioned to be in the forecasted eye of Hurricane Ian when it hit Florida last week, but it switched track and, while mindful of the huge destruction caused by the category-form storm that could turn out to be could be the deadliest in the state’s history, Oostuizen could play at his beloved Old Course on Saturday knowing that everything was ok at home.

They were glad to see him in the Auld Grey Toon where he won the Open in 2010 in such emphatic style. Indeed, even his fellow players were happy to have Oosthuizen there as the sole St Andrews Open winner in the field and that was no mean feat considering his status as a member of the Saudi-funded circuit.

Oosthuizen has emerged as the acceptable face of LIV Golf, managing to escape the most febrile accusations of “sportswashing” and of doing the bidding of a murderous regime. He has been praised by both Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, and Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour chief executive, for the conciliatory manner in which he jumped ship, vowing not to criticise the circuits that helped make him a multi-millionaire but simply to take an opportunity that could not have been better timed.

Oosthuizen, who won the Open in 2010, has managed to avoid taking up an inflammatory position on his involvement in the LIV tour, unlike some of his fellow ‘rebels’ – Jan Kruger/Getty Images

“I chatted to them and explained my position and said it was nothing at all to do with their product or how I’d been treated or anything,” he said. “But I’m turning 40 in a few weeks, was only maybe going to have another year on the grind of tours and, honestly, I was completely done with playing a full schedule.

And then LIV came along with an offer estimated at £40million. “Initially I wasn’t sure, but I sat down with my wife [Nel Mare] and when we looked it just all fitted together. We’d moved into the ranch in spring – we were brought up around farms and it was always our aim to have our own – and thought ‘why not? Let’s go for it – this is right for us.—Agencies

 

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