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Sunday, July 18, 2010

He's Nicknamed "Shrek," Not "Donkey"

ShrekIf there was any question that Louis Oosthuizen had the stomach to handle a lead in the Open Championship, he pretty well put that to sleep on Saturday. A full 24 hours after his last shot in the 2nd round, the guy nicknamed "Shrek" by his friends put on a heroic show in the 3rd. Except for a little adrenaline (that's to be expected, I think) he showed no nervousness at all. His swing stayed long and rhythmic as he posted a 3-under 69, losing only one stroke to his nearest competitors. (I don't know for sure where this pic came from, although I'm pretty sure it ultimately belongs to DreamWorks LLC. I hope they don't mind me using it.)

And that "nearest competitor" is Paul Casey, almost missing in action since the rib injury he sustained last year after he reached #3 in the world rankings. His 67 rocketed him out of the pack and put him 3 beyond his closest chaser Martin Kaymer, who in turn posted a 68 to get himself into contention. Well, 7 back in an Open -- especially when there's only one guy between you and the leader -- isn't too far back if the leader falters.

But there's the rub, isn't it? Louis looks as rock-solid as Shrek ever did. I don't think the other players really expect him to fall back, despite his relative inexperience in this position.

The real shock was the failure of the "big names" to mount successful charges. Phil got things going until a double-bogey at 16 derailed him. (Did I mention that Louis stole a BIRDIE there? Amazing!) Likewise, Tiger struggled on the greens, leading to speculation that the Nike Method he put into play this week will be put into mothballs next week. (Or, to continue the fairy tale metaphor, "Off with its high-tech head!") At -2 and -3 respectively, they're unlikely to factor on Sunday; even a 62 by either would require some help from the leaders.

Equally shocking was Lee Westwood's inability to get things going. A 71 just wasn't enough, although at -7 overall he might have a chance if he "goes nuts" in the 4th round and the leaders stumble. Unlikely but possible; the 54-hole leader in the last 3 Opens has NOT won the tournament... and we have a leaderboard full of guys looking for their first major.

But this isn't the last 3 years. No, it looks like Shrek is about to rewrite the fairy tale books again... and what better place to do it than a course that existed when those fairy tales were written?

I'm not gonna bet against him. You see, I'm not a donkey either.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great character for a nickname. Shrek was always loose and easy going, except maybe when Donkey got under his skin.

    There wasn't really a doubt that the Nike putter in Tiger's bag would be put aside after this week. The only reason he was trying it was the slow greens. He didn't put poorly with it, but it's not what he wants for fast American greens. Next time to look for it ? Maybe the PGA at Whistling Straights where they also slow the greens down because of the winds.