5 Things: Oosthuizen back to relevancy

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa poses with daughter Jana after winning the 2011 Africa Open after a three-way playoff in East London, South Africa.

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa poses with daughter Jana after winning the 2011 Africa Open after a three-way playoff in East London, South Africa.

Louis Oosthuizen's eagle on the par-5 15th Sunday at East London Golf Club wasn't quite as dramatic as his eagle on No. 9 at St. Andrews, but it proved just as important.

“My caddie Zac told me to stay patient as something would eventually go in,” said the 2010 British Open champion. His drive on No. 15 narrowed down the fairway and his approach shot landed 15 feet from the cup. He sunk it for share of the lead at 16 under.

“I got the line right for once,” Oosthuizen said with a chuckle.

In the end, his putter came through again as the South African won the Africa Open in a three-way playoff with Chris Wood and Manuel Quiros.

Oosthuizen sank a 12-footer on the first playoff hole for his first win since his British Open victory in July.

“It’s a great way to start the season. This is my first European Tour title in South Africa and I’m quite ecstatic about that,” Oosthuizen said. “I’m looking forward to the whole year, playing half in America and Europe.”

Oosthuizen missed two months of competition late last year due to a freak ankle accident when he could barely walk.

••••••••••••••

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Ryan Palmer plays a shot during a practice round prior to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation course on January 4, 2011 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

As if PGA Tour players didn’t already know it, they do now.

Big brother is watching.

“Everyone’s a rules official, I guess,” Ryan Palmer said.

His bogey-free round of 5-under 68 Saturday had him in a good mood, at least until he got a bit of a scare. Waiting for him in the scorer’s trailer was PGA Tour rules official John Mutch. Palmer immediately knew the source of inquiry: his fatted wedge into the green at the par-4 14th.

“I hit it fat and was disgusted,” Palmer said, “and I immediately went to fix the (divot), kicking in the sides of the hole.”

The ball never quite made it up onto the elevated green, however, and rolled back down the slope. Yes, it looked eerily similar to Thursday’s situation when Camilo Villegas’ incurred a two-stroke penalty that led to his disqualification, only Mutch heard Palmer out and determined that it wasn’t a penalty. For one thing, the ball rolled well to the right of where his divot was; for another, Palmer wasn’t brushing debris out of way.

But while Palmer’s 68 was intact, he shook his head and conceded a bit of anxiety. All because a fan watched the play and reported what he thought was a rules violation to Mutch, who was roving the back nine in his golf cart.

Villegas’ infraction was spotted on TV and reported via Twitter, eventually reaching PGA Tour officials in Maui. By the time they could review it, however, Villegas already had signed his card, so in essence the two-stroke penalty led to his DQ.

It wasn’t nearly that bad for Palmer, though it served as a reminder. “They’re watching,” he said, “and they’ll say something.”

••••••••••••••

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Tour professionals Martin Piller and Gerina Mendoza were recently married.

Love is in the air in the professional golf ranks. While the budding romance of Natalie Gulbis and Dustin Johnson is stealing the headlines, a PGA Tour and LPGA Tour rookie tied the knot Jan. 8.

Martin Piller and Gerina Mendoza were married at Watermark Community Church in Dallas. The couple, who met in Dallas in November 2009 during a friendly golf round, said, “I do,” in front of 250 of their closest friends and family. Fellow Nationwide Tour grads Bobby Gates and Scott Stallings were groomsmen and Futures Tour player Jenny Gleason was a bridesmaid. Tour players Josh Teater, Paul Stankowski, LPGA's Angela Stanford and Futures Tour player Jennifer Ackerson were also in the wedding party.

So where to celebrate the honeymoon? That was easy. The newlyweds head to Hawaii. But there's a twist. Piller will tee it up in the Sony Open, beginning Thursday.

••••••••••••••

Ever disagree with Ian Poulter’s flashy wardrobe choices? Here’s your chance to do something about it.

Poulter is inviting fans to choose his apparel for the opening round of the 2011 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play, the event he won in 2010.

Tournament officials, in conjunction with IJP Design, announced Jan. 5 that the “Dress Ian” campaign will allow fans to select one of three possible outfits for Poulter to wear on Feb. 23 for the first-round match. Go to www.facebook.com/accenturematchplay to view and vote on the outfits.

“Of course, I’d love to see the fans in Southern Arizona decked out in IJP Design gear as well … attempting to style their hair like mine is optional,” Poulter said.

The Accenture Match Play, played Feb. 23-27 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club (Dove Mountain) in Marana, Ariz., features the top 64 in world ranking.

••••••••••••••

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The Loch Lomond Golf Club in Scotland.

Members of Loch Lomond Golf Club have agreed to buy the troubled club.

The members have raised the cash needed to buy the club, a sum thought to be approximately £50 million, and a deal is due to be struck next week.

Venue for the Scottish Open on the European Tour, Loch Lomond was previously owned by Lyle Anderson. However, he turned it over to the banks two years ago when the worldwide credit crunch hit his business hard.

Though, it is unlikely the club will continue to stage the Scottish Open. That tournament is expected to be held this year at Castle Stuart in northern Scotland.

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