On a dreary Saturday in sports, the best performances are being turned in by a little-known South African and a Brit long expected to break through. Good luck getting anyone in the States to care about Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey, though.
Oosthuizen is the revelation. He played in good conditions on Thursday and Friday, and raced out to double digits in red numbers. And he's the sort of lightly regarded player who was expected to crumple in the face of a tough weekend at a major, especially after opening his third round with a bogey. Yet Oosthuizen hasn't done anything of the sort. He rolled in two birdies on the front nine and two more on the back, firing a 69 to stay well clear of most of the field.
The reason he isn't running away with the whole tournament is Casey. Casey's the tenth-ranked player in the World Golf Rankings, and he was steady enough to be in the hunt on Thursday and Friday, firing twin 69s. Saturday, he's attacked, throwing together a 31 on the front nine and parring out the back for a 67 that has brought him to within striking distance of Oosthuizen.
Casey's also put a gap of three strokes between himself and the rest of the field, as the players playing well on Saturday—Henrik Stenson and Robert Rock both shot 67 in the third round, and Martin Kaymer's 68 only gave him seven shots to make up on Oosthuizen—were coming from deep into the pack, and the familiar contenders that began Saturday near the top of the leaderboard, like Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, haven't been able to make hay at St. Andrews.
At this point, it seems highly unlikely that the British Open winner will be anyone but Oosthuizen or Casey, because both collapsing would be a hard condition to fulfill. That might mean either man would be one of the more obscure winners in a while: With Tiger scuffling, Phil Mickelson nowhere near the lead, and Dustin Johnson serving as the low American at six-under, there's little to draw in a casual American audience on Sunday, and the time difference will hurt ratings even more.
It's impressive, what Oosthuizen and Casey have done. It might be more impressive, should one claim the Claret Jug, if the average bar patron remembers either name in five years.Seriously, this is better than video game golf.
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