Unheralded the 27-year-old South African may have been, with just one European Tour victory the previous March, but Louis Oosthuizen had learnt to cope with turbulent seaside weather growing up in Mossel Bay.
That helped no end as he won the 150th Anniversary Open by seven strokes – only Tiger Woods with an eight-stroke victory on the Old Course in 2000 had won by more since 1913.
Sadly, the pre-event Champions’ Challenge had to be cancelled due to torrential rain with the prize fund of £50,000 donated to the Seve Ballesteros Foundation.
Thursday’s weather was the best of the week and Rory McIlroy took advantage by returning a 63, equalling the major championship record.
It was the second 63 recorded at St Andrews, the eighth in all Opens but the first in an opening round. He led by two from Oosthuizen.
With high winds causing a suspension in play on Friday afternoon, McIlroy was blown off course with an 80. Oosthuizen was out in the second group of the day when it was not quite so windy, but breezy and rainy instead. His 67 was the joint-best of the day and gave him a five-stroke lead over 50-year-old former Champion Mark Calcavecchia.
Being the front-runner over the weekend did not faze the South African at all. His lead was four going into the last round and although he was rarely in need of any dramatics, he holed a 45-footer on the ninth for an eagle to quell any nerves.
Paul Casey found a bush at the 12th and took a double-bogey so Lee Westwood finished as runner-up. Oosthuizen became the fourth South African to win The Open after Bobby Locke, Gary Player and Ernie Els and achieved his victory on Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday.