Oosthuizen plays 3M Open after another major title eludes him

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Louis Oosthuizen, who tied for third Sunday at the British Open, spoke Wednesday morning at TPC Twin Cities three days after he didn't in England.

He was the third-round leader by a stroke over 2020 PGA champion Colin Morikawa and positioned to lead an Open Championship wire-to-wire for the first time since Rory McIlroy in 2014.

That is, until a Sunday 1-over-par 71 left him tied for third, four shots behind Morikawa. He left Royal St. George's headed directly to Minnesota without saying a word publicly — a silence quite unlike him — until Wednesday's 3M Open's pretournament interview session.

He has finished top-three in three 2021 major championships and eight times overall including at least once in every major since his 2010 British Open victory at St. Andrews, which remains his only PGA Tour title.

He is one of eight men who has finished runner-up in all four majors. This year, he has gone T-2 at the PGA, second at the U.S. Open, and T-3 at the British.

"You don't want to always talk about close again, finishing second, finishing third," he said Wednesday. "I wasn't really up for that conversation right there."

Morikawa shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday that included three consecutive birdies to close his front nine holes. Meanwhile, Oosthuizen's bogey on the par-5 seventh hole portended an English summer day's finish.

"It was disappointing," Oosthuizen said. "I mean, walking off the course, Collin played the way you should play to win a major, especially on a Sunday. He didn't make many mistakes and when he did, he made unbelievable up-and-downs for pars. It's just frustrating because I knew my game was definitely there to have a good, solid day. Weather was as good as you can get at the Open.

"It was just a bit of frustration and disappointment, really. I was fine on Monday, though."

By then, he was in Minnesota after a plane chartered by 3M — "They made it a lot easier," Oosthuizen said — delivered players overnight to the corporation's own Open in Blaine.

Oosthuizen chose to play here after he declined to play for his native South Africa in the Tokyo Olympics next week.

He called himself "very keen" on playing in the Olympics, but he said restrictions — his physiotherapist could not have accompanied him, for one — focused him on his busy schedule.

"They didn't really make it easy for us," Oosthuizen said.

There's an approaching World Golf Championship, PGA Tour events such as this week's that earn him FedExCup points and three more European Tour events he must play to reach the Race to Dubai. All of it at age 38.

"It's a lot of golf for where I am in my career and what I know my body is capable to do," he said.

He'll play Thursday morning and Friday afternoon in a featured pairing with world No. 2-ranked Dustin Johnson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Oosthuizen called himself glad he decided to include the 3M Open on his schedule and get back to work so soon after Sunday's final round.

"Get back in there and not sit around at home, thinking about the disappointing Sunday last week," Oosthuizen said. "I'm happy to be out here, see the golf course and looking forward to this week."

Johnson has finished second or third six times in majors throughout his career and won twice, the 2020 Masters and 2016 U.S. Open.

He, too, knows Oosthuizen's disappointment and what comes next.

"It just all depends," said Johnson, who finished T-8 on Sunday. "If I'm not scheduled, then I go home. It doesn't matter either way. If I'm playing well, I want to play. If I'm not scheduled, that's fine, too."

Oosthuizen's third-place finish on Sunday moved him from 13th to ninth in the official world golf rankings. He remains alongside Johnson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Craig Wood as the only players who placed second in all four majors.

"Look, I work always to have my game in the best shape when a major comes around," he said. "It took me a long time to find the recipe that works for me. I look back at all the finishes in majors and the way I played them and be really proud of what I achieved. Being able to perform at majors is what it's all about.

"Being that close, you want the second one. You look back and see you came that close and you couldn't get it. But I'll still hopefully have quite a few more majors in me and I can get another one."

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