DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) – Not even a visit to an overzealous barber could stop Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel from winning one of the key match-ups on the opening day of the Presidents Cup on Thursday.
The two South Africans got more than they expected when they paid a visit to an on-course hairdresser at Muirfield Village Golf Club before the competition began, emerging with their hair completely shorn.
When they returned to the course on Thursday, they were finally beginning to see the funny side of it, arriving at the first tee wearing big curly wigs, which Oosthuizen’s wife had bought at a local shop.
“Everyone knows about the funny haircut we had and the experience we had, so I thought it would be a good thing to show everyone that we actually love to wear some wigs,” Oosthuizen explained.
They removed their rugs before playing their opening shots and then it was back to business as they took on the American pairing of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in one of the glamour match-ups.
The Americans, who proved an instant hit when they teamed up together at last year’s Ryder Cup, made a flying start and were two up through seven holes.
But the South Africans quickly reeled them in, winning three of the next four holes and going on to win 2&1.
“I think we did proper better-ball,” said Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion. “When he was out of the hole, I played well. When I was out of it, he hit some amazing shots.”
Schwartzel, who won the Masters in 2011, played the pivotal role in turning things around after a 90-minute rain delay.
At one stage the International team was trailing in all six matches but finished the day trailing by 3-1/2 points to 2-1/2 with Schwartzel making four birdies on the front nine, then three more in his last five holes.
“After we went through six holes, I looked up at the board and there all six were red (indicating the U.S. was leading in each match),” Schwartzel said.
“Something needed to happen. We were playing well and Phil was just playing better. We managed to make birdies on eight and nine to get it back to all square, and then obviously the delay came.
“But I think for the whole team, it was just sort of a breather to get back and settle down, and then to go back and fire. It seemed to work for us.”
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)