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SANDWICH, England – It’s the preferred debate among armchair quarterbacks everywhere: Did he lose the tournament or was he beaten?
It’s also a debate Louis Oosthuizen is well versed in following back-to-back near misses – at the PGA Championship, where he was two shots behind Phil Mickelson, and then at the U.S. Open, where he finished a stroke behind champion Jon Rahm.
“It depends if you lost it or someone else beat you. I think in both of those I was beaten by better golf at the end there,” he shrugged Thursday at The Open. “It takes a little while, but you have to get over it quickly, otherwise it’s going to hold you back to perform again.”
Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champ and Runner-Up Grand Slam golfer who is averaging a 14.5-place finish in his past eight major starts, is back in the hunt at another major following a first-round, 6-under 64 at Royal St. George’s that was good enough for an early, one-shot lead.
The quick turnaround also softened the blow of those near misses at Kiawah and Torrey Pines, as did some quality time back home in Ocala, Florida, on his farm and on his tractor.
“I’m always on the tractor, don’t worry,” he laughed. “I don’t need to play good or bad to be on the tractor.”