Masters 2013: No time for regrets as Louis Oosthuizen returns to Augusta

Golf Tee

If anyone had good reason to cry at the culmination of last year's Masters, it was Louis Oosthuizen.

And yet Bubba Watson, the man who defeated the South African in a play-off, was the one to burst into tears.

Watson will forever be remembered as the man who played a miraculous shot from pine straw on the 10th, the second extra hole, at Augusta National. Two putts later Oosthuizen had been nudged into second place from a position where it barely looked possible.

Oosthuizen's response was as immediate as it was impressive. The week after his Masters disappointment he won the Malaysian Open by three strokes, thereby endorsing his status as one of the finest players in the world.

"I just go out there and play the game, I get on with things. Golf is not everything in life," Oosthuizen says, when reflecting on events a year ago. "I played well. I didn't throw it away, I didn't hit any bad, bad shots. Bubba won it. He hit a great shot out of the trees and I don't feel like I threw it away. At the end of the day that was the best I could have done, so I could only take the good out of it."

And the instant reply? "I had to be that way. Otherwise I would still be down now. It just gives you a bit more fire, a bit more oomph to go the next year and try to go one better."

The 30-year-old, though, denies he has returned to Georgia with a sense that the Masters venue owes him one or with vengeance on his mind.

"I won't go with that attitude," he adds. "I took a lot of positives out of last year. I know I can play the golf course."

Oosthuizen was also credited with a wonder shot of his own in 2012. It was the first two in history at Augusta's par-five 2nd, with Oosthuizen finding the cup from 253 yards with a four iron. It was later named as the European Tour's shot of the year.

"It was the most memorable shot of my career," Oosthuizen says. "It was my first double eagle ever and to do it in a spot like Augusta, that's special. The roar of the crowd was a great feeling and it is difficult, then, to keep your emotions in check when it happens so early in the round."

Oosthuizen's life has changed during these intervening months. He has set up home in West Palm, Florida, and has a baby on the way this summer. "The birth date is in June, on the Saturday of the US Open so I will probably not be going there," he says.

The decision to base himself in the United States represents quite a lifestyle alteration for Oosthuizen, whose farming background famously saw him purchase a new tractor after winning the Open Championship in 2010. Three years on he still stands sixth in the world rankings and with hopes, albeit slight, of challenging Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy at the summit of that table.

"It all depends on them," Oosthuizen says. "If they have a good season, it is going to be really difficult catching them. But that won't stop the rest of the guys trying to have a good go at putting pressure on. They are both class players so it won't be easy for anybody.

"I still think I need to do a few more things to get myself really ready for PGA Tour golf. I feel very comfortable but I feel my game needs some more tweaking to get to the level that some of the boys are at. You get great putters on the PGA Tour, partly because they have great greens to play on all the time, so hopefully I can improve my short game quite a lot.

"I would like to climb the world rankings a bit more and have my game in the right place for the majors. I want to give myself another shot like I did at Augusta last year, to have another chance to take another major."

Powered by article was written by Ewan Murray in Augusta, for The Guardian on Wednesday 10th April 2013 22.32 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010