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Oosthuizen Gracious in Loss
Louis Oosthuizen has been at the pinnacle of the game and now, after missing out on a great chance at his second major title, has experienced what it feels like to be a runner-up on one of golf's biggest stages. The diminutive South African with the near-perfect swing succumbed to an amazing recovery shot by Bubba Watson to lose the 76th Masters on the second playoff hole.
But Oosthuizen said all the right things afterward, even though it was a dream of his to be fitted with a green jacket by his good friend and countryman, 2011 Masters' winner Charl Schwartzel, who did that duty, instead, for Watson.
Oosthuizen had his chances Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, especially after making history by sinking his second shot on the par-5 second hole for only the fourth double-eagle ever in the tournament. The albatross vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard, where he stayed nearly all day long, until Watson reeled off four straight birdies on Nos. 13-16 to tie Oosthuizen for the lead at 10-under 278.
After both recorded pars on the first sudden-death hole, the par-4 18th, Oosthuizen became the subject of future conversations about who Watson beat in the 2012 playoff when the Florida native pulled off one of the craziest shots in the tournament's storied annals on the 10th - the second playoff hole.
Count Oosthuizen among the most impressed with Watson's 150-yard hook shot off pine straw from out of the woods to 10 feet of the cup, then two-putting for the winning par, a score Ooosthuizen couldn't match. Afterward, 29-year-old Lodewicus Theodorus "Louis" Oosthuizen met with reporters and showed a lot of class.
The 2010 British Open champion tipped his cap to Watson, saying, still astounded, "I have no idea where he was. I just - where I stood from when the ball came out, it looked like a curveball going to the right. So I knew he had to hit a big hook. But an unbelievable shot."
Here's what else Oosthuizen told reporters during his post-round interview Sunday evening.
MODERATOR: Let's welcome our Masters runner up, Louis Oosthuizen, to the media center who finished a fine tournament, played phenomenally well and finished the tournament rounds with 68 72 69 69, 10 under par total. Let's open it to questions that you might have.
Q. Start with the double eagle to get to the lead.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, you know, it was tough after that double eagle. I mean, you know, when something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it. That was my first double eagle ever. So it was tough; it was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course. But I felt like I found my rhythm going down 11, and you know, played well in from there. Bubba had a good stretch of four birdies in a row there. I mean, he played brilliant. And you know, I don't feel like I could have hit two better putts in the playoff. So, it's a hard day, but you know, congrats to Bubba. He did brilliantly.
Q. What is it about Augusta National and the Masters that produces such wild Sundays, double eagles, triple bogeys, things like that?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, I mean, you know, 13 and 15, this whole week, I didn't really have a good track record on them. You can make eagles there or you can make doubles there. Today I made two nice birdies on the two par 5s, and I felt like I needed to. You know, Bubba was hitting the ball really straight off the tee, and he had a lot shorter irons into the greens than I did. So I knew, you know, 14, I thought my wedge was going to be perfect there and it just came up a little short. It's great golf course for great finishes. I mean, you're always going to have great finishes. If you look at last year, it's just an unbelievable place, and the crowds and the spectators today were brilliant. So yeah, the two of us had a lot of fun out there.
Q. Your thoughts about the shot that Bubba hit, second shot there in the second playoff hole?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I have no idea where he was. I just - where I stood from when the ball came out, it looked like a curveball going to the right. So I knew he had to hit a big hook. But an unbelievable shot. I mean, you know, I left myself in a really awkward spot with that chip, and just didn't get the check on it that I thought it would. And like I said, hit a good putt. But that shot he hit definitely won him the tournament.
Q. The putt on the first playoff hole, did you think it was in?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I thought it was in. There was no way that could stop turning. It was just a cup on the right. It turned the whole way, and about a foot short of the hole just stopped turning. So you know, I thought it was over by then. But I had another opportunity on the next. So you know, just didn't take the opportunities.
Q. How long was the shot on the double eagle and what club did you use?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It was about 210 yards to the front. That was a good 4 iron for me. I needed to pitch it about five, six paces on the green, and I knew if I get it right, it's going to feed towards the hole. But never thought it would go in.
Q. How much to the flag? You said 210 to the front.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, probably about 235 to the flag.
Q. The first time when you left 18, the first time when you were finishing the round, the two of you were chatting, talking; what was your mood then?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, we were - I mean, we were fine, going up 18 even. Just saying it's unbelievable, the crowds, and how pumped up you get. Then just sat there, and Bubba made a joke after penning his scorecard, "See you next week." He just made a joke. We were pretty relaxed. It's a completely different game going into a playoff. It's match play. So you know you're relaxed and you know you're at least second. You go out and fire at it, fire at the pin and take on shots, and you know, just brilliant the way he hit that second on 10.
Q. I don't know if I missed the early part, but you were saying how difficult it is to recover from a double eagle; you made a super par save on 3, for example. How long did it take you to settle back into a rhythm?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, there were a bunch of guys pretty close on the leaderboard. When I made bogey on 3, I think I was only leading by one. So I knew I had to settle down. Took me a few holes. Could have hit a better chip on 8, released it through the pin, through the green there, my third. I felt when I got to the 11th, I felt fine. I knew I was swinging it well. I just wanted to give myself birdie opportunities, because I was putting it brilliantly the whole week. So yeah, I'll say it took me probably about seven holes just to get my mind set right again.
Q. What did Bubba say to you on that hole?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: He said he felt like running over and giving me a high five, but that would probably not have come over well. He just said, "Well done," and "Great stuff."
Q. What would you have done if he had come over and given you a high five?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No, it would have been fine. If he had come a little later, I would have knocked him out probably. (Laughter).
Q. He had a couple opportunities to end it, too. When he missed, is there a sense that, hey, this is it; that this keeps you alive?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, no putt on these greens are easy. I mean, he still had an 8 footer on the first playoff hole there, and you know, speed and line, you've got to have both on the number here. You know, when he missed that, I thought, okay, I've got another opportunity. And I like the tee shot on 10. So after he hit it in the trees there, I felt confident and just probably spun a bit out of it, catching it off the heel. Just left me a lot further back than I wanted to be.
Q. You guys have obviously dissimilar games. What are your thoughts on just the way, every shot for him is such a sort of bending, shaping type of shot?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Well, he must have a great feel of the game. I mean, it's great knowing you almost have every little shot there is. That's really entertaining to play with him, to see the shots that he's taking on and shots that I don't really see or I would ever hit. But I mean, he hit the driver so well today, and you know, takes it on on a lot of holes. He backs himself, and it's nice to see, it's really good to see. He likes to hit that power cut, and you know, the course today, it favored him hitting that shot.
Q. What did you hit your second shot on 10?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Where?
Q. On 10, second shot.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: What are you asking, which club?
Q. In the playoff.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: I had 5 iron, same as I hit in regulation 10, you know, and it just didn't go anywhere. It was a bit later; it was probably at 7:30 when we played the hole, so we should have probably hit a 4. But I felt a 4 was bringing it back into play. So hit a good shot and just didn't get there.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: It's close. It's close to the jacket. But I mean, Bubba played well. It was great. It was an unbelievable atmosphere out there. You know, we were going at it both, so it was good. I had an opportunity probably on 10 to hit a better tee shot, but he hit an unbelievable shot. So hats off to him. He did well.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, when something like that happens early in the round, you've got to keep your emotions in place because you think, this is it, this is going to happen. I mean, something like that, that was my first double eagle ever, and to do it in a spot like Augusta, that's special. So yeah, it was tough. I felt it was tough over the next four or five holes, but then when we turned I felt very relaxed. I made a few great saves. I probably did very well to get in the playoff, and you know, I couldn't hit two more better putts on 18 and 10 in a playoff. I felt like I hit great putts.
Q. When you saw where his ball went off the tee on the second playoff hole, take us through the process of what you saw.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, for me it's an easy tee shot. It's 3 wood, I turn a 3 wood over quite easy, and I just caught it a little bit off the heel and it went to the right. I wanted to get it down there to have a little bit flatter lie, and hit a great second shot, the ball didn't go anywhere. I had exactly the same distance as I had on 10 in regulation round, and hit the same club. I just wanted to pitch it somewhere five, six yards onto the green, and the ball just didn't go anywhere. So yeah, it's just one of those.
MODERATOR: Terrific performance. Welcome to Masters history.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Thank you very much.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.