The Forecaddie: Louis Oosthuizen ecstatic for “Captain Els”

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13: Ernie Els of South Africa is named captain for the International team for the 2019 President's Cup in Melbourne, Australia prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 13, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)a. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR) Chris Condon/PGA Tour

The Forecaddie: Louis Oosthuizen ecstatic for “Captain Els”

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The Forecaddie: Louis Oosthuizen ecstatic for “Captain Els”

After Louis Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, his mentor, Ernie Els, was quoted as saying, “It would be difficult to find anybody in the world who is more proud of him right now.”

When Els was officially named captain of the 2019 International Presidents Cup team last week at Bay Hill, The Forecaddie believed it would’ve been equally hard to find a happier guy than Oosthuizen.

The 35-year-old South African owes a lot to the 48-year-old Els. The son of a farmer and school secretary, Oosthuizen was a member of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, which funded his amateur career for three years. Even after Oosthuizen turned pro in 2002, Els continued to have an impact on Oosthuizen.

“He was the guy we all wanted to be like,” Oosthuizen said. (Hey, The Man Out Front is still trying to strike it like “The Big Easy.”)

So what will Els be like as a captain?

“I think he’ll be a tough captain in the sense of he’ll be really getting us to work a little bit harder and getting our games right,” said Oosthuizen, who has played on the past three International Presidents Cup teams, including last year when Els was a vice captain at Liberty National. “That’s how he’s been his whole career, a really hard-working guy, and I think he’ll want us to put in that extra effort for that week.”

There’s another quality Oosthuizen admires in Els: his competitiveness. When Oosthuizen was a young pro playing on the European Challenge Tour in 2003, he returned home to South Africa during the 2003 Presidents Cup and took in the early action at Fancourt, which is near where Oosthuizen grew up in Mossel Bay. He remembers watching from home on television that Sunday and witnessing one of the greatest moments in Presidents Cup history, Els’ playoff duel with Tiger Woods that ended in the Cup being shared.

Oosthuizen knew how badly Els wanted to break that tie.

“He’s got that real passion to win,” Oosthuizen said. “He’s playing still on Tour – he probably plays more events than I do – and every time he tees it up he feels he can win a tournament, and I think that stands out. He’s never going to give up.

“He’s always got that mentality that he wants to win and he’s going to win, and I think that’s a great quality in our game.”

And, as TMOF adds, a great quality in a captain, too. Gwk

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