This has been a good month for South African Sport. First they hosted with absolute success the first World Cup to ever be held on the African continent. Even though they became the first host team not to make it pass the first round, the South Africans, who once had been banned from international sports because of their apartheid policy, managed to put on a well-organized and incident-free World Cup. If you are not much into soccer, then imagine a month-long Super Bowl, and that might just barely give you an idea of the logistics and planning that must go into hosting a World Cup.
But that is not all South Africa should be happy about. This weekend, and despite the many critics who believed that he would not be able to deal with the pressure, Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open Championship at the legendary greens of St. Andrews. This is the best performance ever by the 27-year-old player that had to struggle greatly to win over both economic and athletic hardships in order to get to the top of the sport.
Oosthuizen had missed the cut in seven of his previous eight major championships. But he managed to have a great game in the restless winds of the Open Championship at St. Andrews. Many players stumbled upon the climatic conditions, and there were important changes in the scoreboards. And yet, it was a painful and extenuating final 4th round at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews.
Here is the thing. If you are a big time fan of action sports like basketball and football or soccer, it is very hard to really get excited about golf. It’s a whole different sort of game. Its slow and meticulous and it borders more with frustration and managing your stress then with die-hard physical outpour. Sure it starts with the first tee, and what not. But when even the sports commentators (that is guys and gals who make a living from making golf exciting and thrilling) tell you that this is a very boring and plain game, then one can understand that Oosthuizen win at St. Andrews, was not much but an amazing upset to the golf betting odds.
Sure Casey and came in close towards the end. But Sunday was one of the most boring days in golf because nothing happened. Tiger Woods made four outfit changes and used two different putters. But despite his attempt at a last minute makeover, not much happened in terms of golf. Many were expecting woods to make a big comeback at St. Andrews. He has won here twice. But the Tiger is still to make it pass by the house cat stage. Just for the record, he has played 7 major championships and has yet to win one since his comeback.
Phil Mickelson was turned off during the whole thing. But let’s face it, not many people were expecting Phil to do much at the Open. This is the tournament that has troubled him mostly. One top 10 finish in 17 tries is not a record to be too proud of. Paul Casey and Lee Westwood never really made a move to break down the difference for the South African. They had their chance. But nothing happened. Except, one thing happened. The guys you least expected made his move and won his first major championship. That is the Open at St. Andrews, that’s right, where they invented the sport.