Oosthuizen Might Miss U.S. Open but Playing this Week at Byron Nelson


Louis Oosthuizen might not be making it to Merion for this year's U.S. Open. Nel-Mare, the 30-year-old South African's wife, is expecting their third child on Saturday of the championship.

There's always the chance that his wife could deliver the week before, but Oosthuizen won't miss the birth of his third child. ''If it's during the U.S. Open, I won't play,'' he said Tuesday. ''If it's Monday and she hasn't gone into labor, I probably won't go. When the doctor said the date, I looked at the calendar and said, 'Wow. Well done.' But family is more important.''

This will be the first time the 2010 British Open champion has had to deal with the possibility of missing a major for family reasons. His other two children, girls Jana and Sophia, were born in December and February.

But Oosthuizen is playing this week in the Byron Nelson Championship; the $6.7 million PGA Tour event starts Thursday at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. Oosthuizen is also playing next week at Colonial and, baby-dependent, the Memorial on May 30-June 2 and perhaps the U.S. Open in mid-June.

On Wednesday, officials with the Byron Nelson announced they've come to an agreement with the PGA Tour to hold the tournament - starting in 2019 - at the new Trinity Forest golf course in Dallas. Designed by Coore & Crenshaw, the course will be built on a former landfill just east of I-45.

Officials have an agreement with TPC Four Seasons - which has hosted the event since 1983 - to hold the tournament there through 2018. Once that agreement expires, they'll begin a 10-year contract with Trinity Forest. The new course may also vie to host major championships.

"I want this golf course built quickly, and I want to start playing top-notch golf there," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told The Dallas Morning News.

On Tuesday, Oosthuizen met with reporters and discussed his season so far and his immediate schedule. The seventh-ranked player in the world has notched one victory this year, the European Tour's Volvo Golf Champions in January, and is making his second appearance in the Nelson. Here's what he had to say to reporters.

MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Louis Oosthuizen into the interview room, making his second start at the Byron Nelson, if we can get your comments on being back?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Thank you. It's nice to be here. I didn't play very well last year when I was here and I feel like I'm playing better. Got to see what the course is like tomorrow but from what I've heard it's pretty much similar to last year.

MODERATOR: Almost at the midway point of the season, if you can recap your year?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: A bit of a struggle, probably, started off well in Europe, in South Africa with the Volvo Championship win and not swinging the way I want to and, you know, just not getting the results I want to but the last few weeks I've been working on a lot of things and, yeah, it feels like it's coming together.

Q. How did you like this course? Can you take me through your decision making process last year in wanting to play here and obviously you came back.

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, from what I remember last year, you know, it was - you need to hit the fairways, the rough, it's not much rough but it flies quite a bit out of the rough, you get a lot of fly lies, which makes it difficult to control on the greens and you need to place yourself on the fairway. Last year when I played I wasn't really good off the tee, so that's why I was struggling around this golf course. It's good for me to play Memorial and this and it was my sense to do four in a row.

Q. Obviously you're still high up there in the golf rankings, but is there a part of your game that's not there? You mentioned that you need to work on things. Is there a specific area that you're looking to improve?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, you know, the weekend, every week I'm - I feel like I'm leaving good putts but I'm not making good putts. The times I'm making good putts, I'm shooting good numbers but, you know, the way I've been hitting the ball lately in the last few months, puts a lot of pressure on your putt to go save putts, long distance birdie putts, but last week I started hitting better and gave myself more birdie opportunities so, yeah, I just need to convert those opportunities and, you know, last week I played nicely, two holes that cost me big time. I went 7 over in two holes around the trek and around there you're going to lose a lot in the field if you do that.

Q. Is there anything more to come into a tournament as the highest ranked player in the field, like you are this week?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I think that's what you make of it. I think, you know, you probably take more confidence out of it, going into the event. And, yeah, I mean, like I say, you know, I would rather come in a bit more in form than coming in top ranked player. Like I said, I felt like the last two tournaments I played I was getting better and I'm getting better results so hopefully the next three weeks something can happen for me.

Q. So what seems to be the specific issue with the swing and what did you find two weeks ago that helped you move into a positive direction?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I mean, golf is a funny game, it's weird to explain. We are always working on a few things, me and my coach and just being probably a bit wayward, I'm going to need to hit good tee shots to give myself good opportunities to hit greens. I feel like I play my best when my greens in regulation is up and my putting still has to be good as well but lately not being as good with second shots to the green and just putting a lot of pressure on my putting, then, and hitting good putts, just not making them.

Q. What are your impressions of Tiger Woods reemergence and what does it mean for your sport as a whole?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, it means we probably need to pull up our socks if we want to catch him. He's Tiger. He's an unbelievable golfer and what he's doing again now is - it's not - I think no one is amazed to see him back in the form that he is. Everyone was expecting him to come back and do what he's doing. I think the next thing - the next thing now for him is he's probably got his eyes set on the U.S. Open. He was swinging well last week and when he gets on that streak it's tough for anyone to catch him.

Q. Your schedule going to the U.S. Open, you go back overseas next week?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, I'm playing Colonial next week, and Memorial all depends on my wife. We have our third one due in four or five weeks so we're checking every week so it depends on that. At the moment, U.S. Open is going to be a miss for me because the baby is due then.

Q. Did that change your preparation at all?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: That made me he play probably a bit more in the beginning because I knew I was going to have around a month off after Memorial. If the baby comes the week before U.S. Open I'll play but during the U.S. Open, I won't play.

Q. Four in a row. Do you like playing four in a row?

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, I feel like you get a bit of a rhythm going. Schedule was a bit different to what I normally do in the beginning, you know, play a week, week off, play a week, week off, and don't really get into a rhythm. Four in a row is nice, anything, three, four in a row is always nice for me.

MODERATOR: Louie, we appreciate your time, play well this week.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


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