Louis, Charl to fly SA flag

2011-11-21 14:33

Haikou - Former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen will team up with US Masters champion Charl Schwartzel for the first time in the professional ranks when they fly the flag for South Africa in this week's World Cup.

The two friends last paired up when they competed as amateurs in the Eisenhower Trophy in Malaysia in 2002.

"It's been nearly a decade since Charl and I played in team competition and we've been looking forward to this for some time," Oosthuizen said in an interview ahead of the $7.5 million event that starts on Thursday.

"I've always wanted to play in the World Cup. Some of South Africa's greatest players have played in it and won.

"I didn't qualify for the Presidents Cup team event in 2009 or last week and when I won the Open there was no World Cup as it's now held every two years."

Schwartzel was one of the best performers for the International team at Royal Melbourne last week, picking up three and a half points out of a possible five.

"Charl had a good week in Australia even though the Internationals were beaten and I've had four top-10s in my last four events so the two of us have been looking good for some time now," said Oosthuizen.

Asked if there were extra expectations on the two South Africans because they were both major winners, Oosthuizen replied: "No, not really because if anything it lifts the pressure off our shoulders and we can go out there and have fun.

"Charl is right up there as far as team formats are concerned whereas I haven't played since my amateur days but I feel I will adapt quickly.

"South Africa have had some great results in recent years at the World Cup with Ernie Els and Retief Goosen winning in 2001 while Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini won in 2003."

Oosthuizen has divided his time between the European and US tours this year and will continue with the same approach in 2012.

"I found it somewhat difficult this year but I will continue to play both," said the 29-year-old.

"Everyone I have spoken to says it takes time to work out what events and what courses in the States suit your game. I will be playing more in the States and just the minimum in Europe because it is easier to travel there with our young family."

Oosthuizen indicated his first three events of the year would all be on the European Tour, in South Africa.

"I want to defend my Africa Open title and then I've got the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt as well as the Joburg Open," he said.

"Then our second baby is born at the end of January so that means missing out on the European Tour's Middle East swing."