No Tiger Like Performance for Oosthuizen
I want to first say congratulations to Louis Oosthuizen for winning the British Open in stunning fashion. Louis played great and won by an overwhelming 7 shots so I don’t want to take anything away from him and wish him the best of luck. What I found interesting was his course management during his final round.
I know some of you are reading this and questioning me, but I want everyone to understand that Louis did not use good course management at all and did not play an airtight round like Nicklaus or Tiger would have. Let me explain. Going into the final round Oosthuizen had a huge lead. This was the lead that he could go out and play conservative and make players chase him. Louis, in my opinion, did not do this but it worked out for his benefit. Course management doesn’t mean anything if you are hitting it great. If you are hitting it great and playing well your shot just clears the bunker, it splits the tight fairway with water right and ob left. It’s when your playing poorly and not hitting it well that course management really makes a difference in your score. If you or someone you play with can shoot good scores one day and then shoot 10 plus strokes higher the next than you know that their course management is probably less than professional like. One example of this was Louis choice of hitting driver on the 12th hole of the final round. Louis split the 10-yard wide fairway perfectly while Paul Casey slightly pulled his drive and hit it into the bush resulting in a triple bogey. Louis had 70 or so yards left and ended up with a birdie, which in essence sealed the victory for him. What would have happened if Louis pulled it and hit it in the bush and Casey went on to make birdie. We would have seen a 4 shot swing and perhaps another meltdown by a leader in a major. He followed up again this course management mistake on 16 when he hit iron into a very narrow part of the fairway while Casey laid back and made the fairway bigger. This is all speculation and worthless at this point, but I hope that my readers understand that he did not play smart or deliver a Tiger like or Nicklaus like performance. Nicklaus and Tiger have learned to not take unnecessary chances like he did in the last round of a tournament, much less a major. I see players all the time make these same mistakes in every round of golf. For example the 5th hole at TPC Craig Ranch is a Par 5. When not playing from the tips the fairway narrows with a hazard left and a hazard that creeps into half of the right side of the fairway. If you choose to hit driver here you bring the hazard into play and must hit your drive perfect to find the fairway. Hitting a 3 wood would make the fairway wider and would take high numbers out of the equation. Even hitting a 3 wood from those tees would allow you the chance to go for it in two. Playing this same hole from the PGA Tour tees makes this hole unreachable and the hazard that creeps in unreachable also. The course management choice is on the second shot. Many times players on par 5’s hit their drive and then automatically reach for a 3 wood only because it is a par 5. Our 5th hole has bunkers on both sides of the fairway for your approach shot and there is one on the right side of the fairway that starts at 80 yards and ends at 60 yards. Most players while hitting 3 wood if they hit it perfect they can carry this bunker, however if they miss it the ball will not carry the bunker and will now leave them with one of the hardest shots in golf which is a 40-80 yard bunker shot. What these players should do is instead of hitting 3 wood on their second shot, they should hit a 5 iron or so and leave themselves anywhere between 90 and 100 yards away from the hole. This will make the fairway extremely wide and will take all trouble out of the hole. They will now be able to hit a wedge into the hole and attack the hole. Remember if they are playing well the three wood carries the bunker, but if not they left themselves a difficult shot and must play defensively. Playing safe and taking the bunker out of play allows the players to attack the pin 100% of the time regardless of how they hit their 5 iron. This is the difference between good course management and poor course management.
In Louis Oosthuizen’s case he played aggressively and it worked out. He didn’t have that bad swing and was able to capitalize on his great driving of the ball, but I think we would be seeing a different champion today if he didn’t hit such perfect drives. Any player can play aggressively and make birdies, but if you do have those bad swings that’s what can really raise your score on the days your not hitting it perfect. Think your way around the course and take trouble out of play when you can. If that leaves you 110 yards versus 70 than you still have the chance to make birdie, but you will not have the bogeys that usually accompany aggressive play. If you are a player that shoots over par than ask yourself one question. Do I need to make more birdies or less bogeys and high numbers to shoot even par? If someone is shooting 80 than I should not have to teach them to make 8 birdies to shoot even par, but what I need to do is to teach them to make less bogeys and the even par will take care of itself.
Keep em Long and Straight,