Sugar Grove, Illinois – Nearing 40The tenth On his birthday, the decision to leave the rest of the PGA Tour and DP World Tours for the LIV Golf Invitational Series was, in the end, not a difficult one for Louis Oosthuizen.
The South African team, who won the 2010 British Open in St Andrews and won only three major tournaments last year, saw an opportunity to change their lifestyle and make significant financial gains.
With little fanfare, he quietly quit his PGA Tour membership before it became known that he had joined LIV Golf and was all set to embrace a new chapter in his career.
But the one thing he hoped he’d enjoy – and realized he was taking – was taking part in the Presidents Cup.
The biennial competition between an American team against an international team from outside Europe will take place next week at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For reasons that are now clear to any player at LIV Golf, Oosthuizen will not compete next week for South African captain and teammate Trevor Immelman.
Those who participate in LIV events are ineligible to compete in the Presidents Cup, which was a particularly harsh blow for Immelmann, who will not be Open champion Cam Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Carlos Ortiz and other players like Branden Grace and Oosthuizen. The United States leads the competition 11-1-1 but the international team made a marked improvement in 2019, a final-day comeback for the Americans leading to a charged 16-14 victory at Royal Melbourne.
“There’s a lot of pain about getting lost next week,” said Oosthuizen at Rich Harvest Farms, where he’s competing in this week’s LIV Golf Invitational Chicago event, his fifth in the series. “I’m thinking of us here – Charles, Brandon, Carlos – they love being able to play. It kind of stings.”
“I thought about resigning my membership before I did anything really wrong… There is no rule that says I need to be a member of the PGA Tour to play the Presidents Cup, especially as an international team player. I didn’t think I had done anything wrong. I made my decision Where I play golf. But I didn’t do anything wrong when I was a member of the PGA Tour. I was a bit disappointed with the decision that I was on the list because I was unable to play.”
Although there is some grumbling that may occur, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan made it clear on the day of the first LIV Golf event on June 9 that those who played “are no longer eligible to participate in the PGA Tour tournament, including the Presidents Cup.”
Oosthuizen – as well as Grace – felt that by resigning their membership and continuing with their Sunshine Tour membership in their home country of South Africa, the captain’s choice could still be earned.
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“I feel bad for Trev,” said Osthuizen, who scored 9-6-4 in four Presidents Cup games, including 2-2-1 three years ago. “Trevor is a good friend. We text each other. He already knew my decision. But it is bad nonetheless. I wanted to play with him. He would be a great leader. He was a co-leader last time with Ernie [Els].
“It’s annoying that I can’t try to do anything for the team.”
The international team will be severely underdog next week. While the team still had Hideki Matsuyama, Songjae M and Adam Scott, Immelman was forced to pick five starters out of his six selections.
Oosthuizen, 39, is still ranked 33research and development in the world despite not having a world ranking point since the BMW International Open in June. Last year, he tied for second place with Brooks Koepka behind PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson (now all three with LIV), finished second to Jon Rahm at the US Open, and tied for third place at The Open behind winner Colin Morikawa.
In his career, Oosthuizen can boast (or regret) that he finished second in all four majors, having lost a playoff to Bubba Watson at the 2012 Masters and also losing it in a playoff at the 2015 Open to Zach Johnson.
“I was hesitating because of that,” said Oosthuizen, who said he eventually decided he would sign with LIV Golf in late April before anyone could be formally signed. “The most important thing for me was playing the big leagues. We won’t get world ranking points and that’s a problem. There are attempts to try to get them but I will probably be out of the top 50 at the end of this year and not be able to play the big leagues next year. I hope to still be able To play in The Open [as a past champion].
“Here is the thing. I still have a lot of drive to play master golf. I made my decision and in the back of my mind I knew there was going to be a possibility of not being able to play in major.”
in 33research and development In the world, it is possible that Oosthuizen will hold its place among the top 50 – which is used as the criteria for the year-end invitation of the Masters.
There are also three Sunshine Tour events being played in South Africa that he could consider in late November and December if he wanted to try to earn points.
For now, he’s focused on LIV Golf, which heads to Bangkok and Jeddah next month ahead of the season-ending event in Doral in late October.
Next week, he could only watch from afar. (Although he is relieved to know that in addition to the bonus for signing with LIV, through four events he has earned $3,376,667 in prize money, which includes $2,251,667 for his performance as an individual.)
“I will root 150 percent of the international team,” he said. “It has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year. It gives me great pleasure not to be able to play that. And what’s more, not being able to be one of the guys out there with the South African captain.”
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