COVID forced Louis Oosthuizen to spend seven weeks in South Africa

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The rowdy behavior at TPC Scottsdale doesn’t scare Louis Oosthuizen, who’s just happy to be outside, playing golf, and competing in a PGA Tour event.

It had been almost two years since Oosthuizen and his family returned to their native South Africa, and the group had planned a trip over the holidays to reconnect with friends and family. Unfortunately, what was supposed to last a few weeks became almost two months.

“We went in December and actually got stuck for 20 more days because we had COVID,” he said Thursday after the first round of the WM Phoenix Open. Oosthuizen shot a 67 and sat just two shots behind the early leaders. “And so we were there for seven weeks, I didn’t even take my golf clubs. So I had a good break away from golf and came back and I’m ready for the season.

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Although the extended stay may have deflected his season opener, the veteran Oosthuizen – who has finished in the top three in four of the last five majors but has let each of them slip away – said he was enjoying the extra time away from the game.

“It kind of resets everything, you know, like mostly I was quite tired at the end there, going into major weeks with chances to win and not being successful, that wears you down a bit. And I needed the break,” he said. “And four weeks would have been the trick for me, but seven weeks was fine.”

As for the chaos, Oosthuizen said he understands fans are being pushed back and looking for an exit. He felt the same during his long stay abroad.

“Everyone is hungry and thirsty to be at any sporting event and have fun and watch some golf, so it’s really great to have fans back,” he said. . “The first six months of playing on the Tour without any fans was so weird, I felt like we were back in the junior tournaments and nobody really supports you. It’s great fun to see everyone here.

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