Golf

King Louis’ tale of runner-up in majors hailed

2017-08-20 06:14
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty)

Johannesburg - While Louis “King Louis” Oosthuizen’s string of second-place finishes in all majors has raised doubts about his ­ability to win big events, experts have extolled the golfer’s showing as an achievement.

He has completed a rare career grand slam of finishing as runner-up in all four official big tournaments.

This follows his showing at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Sunday, where he came second.

He tied with Italian Francesco Molinari and American Patrick Reed behind winner Justin Thomas from the US.

But Oosthuizen was in good spirits after the showdown and decided to commemorate the result by lip-synching Andra Day’s “Rise Up” while aboard his private jet.

The second-spot finish means he has trailed title-holders in all majors – the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA.

All his conquerors are from the US.

He came behind Bubba Watson at the 2012 Masters, which he lost in a play-off. He tied for second spot with Jordan Spieth at the 2015 US Open and then lost to Zach Johnson in a play-off at the British Open at St Andrews in Scotland the same year. (see graphic)

With his second-best finish at the quartet of all top events being so conspicuous, King Louis’s showing has raised questions about his overall performance.

The last major he won was the 2010 British Open he took by seven strokes at St Andrews, Scotland, leaving Englishman Lee Westwood trailing in his wake.

Only five players – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods – have secured the illustrious feat of winning each of the four majors in the modern era.

Oosthuizen’s string of second finishes has earned praise from local golfing personalities, who believe it stands him in good stead and puts him in the company of greats.

Former four-time winner on the European Tour and golf commentator Dale Hayes believes Oosthuizen’s runner-up berths bode well.

“Contrary to beliefs that being a runner-up in a major is not a good achievement, I personally think Louis finishing second in four majors has raised his golf profile globally,” said Hayes.

Hayes said one of Oosthuizen’s shortfalls was his poor swing.

“His long game from tee to green is great, but his swings sometimes let him down. I’m happy with his overall game and am confident he will win a second major soon.”

Sunshine Tour executive director Selwyn Nathan said ­Oosthuizen’s performance was laudable despite widespread criticism of him finishing second.

“His feat is quite amazing considering that he won the 2010 British Open.”

Gary Player Class of 2017 chief executive officer Theo ­Manyama said: “It’s a pity that people don’t remember the runner-up, but always remember the winner.

“However, the PGA Tour puts Louis’ feat of coming second four times as a record.”

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