Monday, October 3, 2022

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LIV rebel Louis Oosthuizen admits missing the Presidents Cup is “a punch in the gut”.

Louis Oosthuizen admitted he has “pangs” about missing next week’s Presidents Cup after being ineligible to play due to his LIV Golf raid.

The 39-year-old, along with the likes of British Open winner Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Joaquin Niemann and Anirban Lahiri, sacrificed his right to represent the international team at the Presidents Cup after defecting to LIV Golf.

Oosthuizen quietly resigned from the PGA Tour before it was announced he had joined LIV Golf, but had hoped he would still be able to represent the international team at this year’s Presidents Cup.

But the South African’s hopes were dashed as his defector status means he won’t serve in Quail Hollow next week, and Oosthuizen admitted he’s in “pain” about missing out.

“There’s a lot of pain when you’re missed next week,” Oosthuizen said via Sports Illustrated at Rich Harvest Farms, where he’s attending this week’s LIV Golf Invitational Chicago event. “I’m thinking of us who are here – Charl, Brandon, Carlos – they would love to be able to play. It’s a bit of a spike.

“I figured by canceling my membership before I really do anything wrong…there’s no rule that says I have to be a member of the PGA Tour to play the Presidents Cup, especially as an international team player.

“I didn’t think I did anything wrong. I’ve made my decision on where to play golf. But I didn’t do anything wrong when I was a member of the PGA Tour. I was a bit disappointed with the decision that I was on the list and couldn’t play.

Despite being banned from playing, Oosthuizen admitted he will continue to support Trevor Immelman and co when they face Team USA.

“I will give 150 percent to the international team,” he said. “It’s always been one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s quite a punch in the stomach not being able to play this. More so, not being able to be one of the players dating a South African captain.

International team captain Immelman was forced to use five of six captain’s picks on Presidents Cup rookies to replenish his international team, which was decimated by defectors to the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf.

The defectors didn’t make it any easier for Immelman to beat the Americans, who have only lost once since the Presidents Cup began in 1994.

But despite leaving his compatriot stranded, Oosthuizen still insisted he felt sorry for Immelman, saying it “sucked” he couldn’t play for him.

“I feel sorry for Trev the most,” said Oosthuizen, who has a 9-6-4 record in four Presidents Cup appearances, including 2-2-1 three years ago.

“Trevor is a good friend. We text each other. He knew my decision beforehand. But still it sucks. I wanted to play for him. He’ll be a great captain. Last time he was co-captain with Ernie [Els].

“It just sucks that I can’t be there to try and do something for the team.”

Oosthuizen, who decided to sign with LIV Golf in April, admitted he had hesitated over the choice over the uncertainty of being able to play in the majors and said it was still an issue.

“That’s why I hesitated,” said Oosthuizen. “The biggest thing for me was playing in the majors. We’re not going to get any world ranking points and that’s a problem.

“There are attempts to get them but I’ll probably get out of the top 50 by the end of this year and won’t be able to play in the majors next year. Hopefully I can still play at The Open [as a past champion].

‘That’s it. I still have a lot of drive to play great golf. I made my decision and in the back of my mind I knew it was possible not to play in the majors.

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