Louis Oosthuizen: Former Open champion 'at peace' with being excluded from Majors

South African LIV Golf player in action at the International Series in Muscat this week

Louis Oosthuizen has dropped down to 137 in the world rankings after switching to the LIV Golf. AP
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Louis Oosthuizen says he is at peace with not playing the major championships again following his switch to LIV Golf.

The 41-year-old South African is the biggest name in the field for the first tournament of the International Series in Muscat this week.

It is a series of 10 tournaments on the Asian Tour, each with a minimum prize fund of $2 million, an investment backed by LIV Golf.

In last year’s International Series Oman, Oosthuizen missed the cut at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

In the 12 months since, he has played in just five competitions which carry world rankings points. He captains the Stinger team in LIV Golf events, which are not recognised by the official world golf rankings

Oosthuizen, who has been ranked as high as No 4 in his career, is now down at No 137, limiting his prospects of qualifying for major championships.

He has been runner up in each of the majors in the past, and won the Open at St Andrews in 2010. That at least guarantees him a place in the field for that event until the age of 60.

“I went [to LIV] knowing what the situation was and that we are not going to get any world rankings [points] – if you can even call it world rankings any more,” Oosthuizen said.

“They are not really world rankings. I made my peace with not playing in majors. I am fortunate enough to play in the Open, still.

“It is a shame to see great players like [the LIV roster] not getting what they deserve. Hopefully they can do something very quickly about it.”

Oosthuizen said of the world rankings that “the whole system needs to change completely”, with many players formerly regarded among the best in the world tumbling down the standings since switching to LIV.

“If they don’t want to give you world ranking points for playing on LIV then they should change the system completely where they give spots to majors to each tour in the world,” Oosthuizen said.

“Those guys have a lot more experience than me sitting on boards. I can’t believe there is no solution to it.”

He seems certain to miss the Masters in April for the first time since 2009. Last year, a hip injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament at Augusta National with one hole left to play of his second round.

“When I made my decision to join LIV, I knew it would be inevitable. The day was going to come where I was not able to play a tournament like Augusta.

“But to be honest that course is so long now, I am struggling around it. I have hit more 7-woods and 3-irons into par-4s there than when I played in ’09 and ’10.

“I’ll miss it because it is an unbelievable experience, a great tournament and golf course, but I honestly think the course has gone a little too long for me now anyway.”

Oosthuizen does, though, suggest he has unfinished business at the course he will be playing this week.

He was absent for the weekend when he played last year at Al Mouj, which is a picturesque course between the shore of the Gulf of Oman and Muscat International Airport.

“I played poorly but really enjoy the course and that was the main reason for me coming back,” he said. “It is in even better shape than it was last year.”

The competition is part of the partnership between the Asian Tour and LIV by which they say they hope to develop the game in the region.

The field for the tournament includes UAE-citizen Joshua Grenville-Wood, as well as a number of other players from the Mena region – plus two Omani amateur players.

“We are very fortunate as Arab golfers to have these opportunities, even though we are amateurs,” Azzan Al Rumihy, one of the Omani players, said.

“To get a chance to play among the best players in the world means a lot to us, and prepares us for other regional tournaments that we compete in.

“When we play with them, even in practice rounds, we realise what are the gaps and what we need to work on to get close to where they are, and try to hit the ball as long as they do. We want to develop our game.”

Updated: February 21, 2024, 2:58 PM