OPEN champion Louis Oosthuizen has splashed out on something special to mark his first major win — a tractor.
The South African sealed a seven-shot win at St Andrews on Sunday, as his potential challengers fell by the wayside during the final round.
“Being a farm boy it was one of my big dreams and I bought myself a nice John Deere tractor for my farm back in South Africa,” said the 27-year-old.
“John Deere is very close to my heart. It’s for me to drive around on and I made sure there was enough space for my little daughter Jana to sit beside me. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Oosthuizen is now in Stockholm for the Nordea Scandinavian Masters and the fact that he flew from Manchester by private jet this morning underlined his new status.
Needless to say, he could hardly take a step on arrival without somebody else congratulating him on his runaway seven-stroke victory — the fifth biggest win in any of the four majors since 1921.
“The last two days have been hectic and it will be nice knowing my phone is switched off and in the bag — I’m looking forward to it.”
Alongside him still is Soweto-born caddie Zack Rasego, who not surprisingly has kept his job a week after being told The Open could be his last event with Oosthuizen.
The player’s manager Chubby Chandler said: “It was a possibility, but it is not going to happen now. There was a feeling Louis needed a more experienced caddie. Now Zack has proved his worth. It would not look too clever to sack your caddie after you have just won a major.”
Winning caddies normally receive 10% of the first prize — and for Oosthuizen that was £850,000 (€1m).
After this week’s tournament, which also features Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, Korean KJ Choi and the return of Jesper Parnevik after five months out injured, Oosthuizen flies home.
“I’m going home for five days. Mossel Bay, where I grew up (and where he shot an incredible 57 in 2002), are holding a big gathering for me on Wednesday.
“From all the phone calls I’ve received everyone seems quite chuffed!”
He received a late invitation to Bro Hof Slott and decided to honour his commitment despite his unexpected St Andrews triumph.
“To be honest, when I am playing well I want to keep playing. I saw the golf course on the European Tour website and thought it looked fantastic.
“I thought it would also be good for the Tour if I came here.”
Oosthuizen confirmed on Monday that he would be continuing as a member on this side of the Atlantic, although his next two tournaments next month will be the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron and then the US PGA, where he will partner US Open champion Graeme McDowell and Masters winner Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds.
One of the thrills Oosthuizen had from his performance was from a phone call from twice Open champion Greg Norman, who had to pull out through injury.
“He said something that I will always remember for the rest of my life. He said I am the first person to get him to watch a full round of golf on television. He watched my first shot to my last and couldn’t leave the couch, so when someone like Mr Norman says that it’s brilliant.
“Confidence-wise it’s going to help and I now tee it up every round knowing I am good enough.”
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