Oosthuizen's champion performance
Louis Oosthuizen's remarkable St Andrews triumph provides further evidence that these days the Open is precisely what it says on the label.
That a 200-1 shot ranked outside the world's top 50 can so utterly dominate, shows that the oldest and grandest of the game's major events is a wide-open contest and not a domain exclusive to golf's perceived elite.
This was the biggest shock result seen in the 29 Opens played at the Old Course. Ironically, Oosthuizen's apparently nerveless display over four extraordinary days on the Fife coast turned it in to "the Closed".
Time was that only the very best golfer could win at St Andrews. Jack Nicklaus twice, Sir Nick Faldo and on two occasions Tiger Woods triumphed at the Home of Golf when they were at the very top of the game. John Daly was already a major winner when he won in 1995.
Oosthuizen has proven that it is now simply who plays the best golf of the week and that trying to predict who might produce it is nigh on impossible.
Is it a reflection of strength in depth in the world game, or is it that we're in an era where the top golfers in the world are all much of a muchness?
Has modern equipment, teaching methods and coaching technology equalised talent to such an extent that these events are about which player has his mental attitude in the right place? Is it a strength or a weakness for the game?
Having walked all 18 holes with the new champion, I have few complaints. This was an extraordinary performance from the likeable South African who was composure personified.
To have responded to the growing momentum that was swinging Paul Casey's way as a five shot lead had been whittled to three with 10 holes to play was the stuff of a champion.
Oosthuizen had dropped his first shot of the day at the short eighth. The grandstands were getting excited at the prospect of the British player hunting down an exposed leader, and Casey knocked his drive to the back of the ninth green.
The eventual winner responded with an even better tee shot and then boldly sank his eagle putt across the green. Four clear with nine to play. Suddenly the pressure was all back on Casey's shoulders and three holes into the back nine he buckled with that horrible seven at the 12th.
Oosthuizen capitalised with an immaculate birdie and suddenly the only contest was between him and the record books and he ultimately came up just one short of tying the Open's record winning margin.
Casey was left to battle for second place and he lost that too with Lee Westwood securing his second runner-up spot in a major this year.
This was a good second for the Worksop man. His putting was never at its best throughout the week, a legacy of the lay-off he had to take to nurse the calf injury that forced him off the course in the build up to the Open.
Westwood never had a chance of winning, but still finished in the highest position he could realistically challenge for and it is now four top three finishes in his last five majors. His time will surely come.
Casey can reflect on his highest major finish, but rue the fact that his putting on the final day wasn't up to applying sufficient pressure on the runaway leader whose prowess off the tee ensured that he was always in control of his game.
Casey will win a major one day and it will come on the occasion that his streaky putting is dialled in. Westwood will do it through the relentless power and accuracy of his long game.
If the weather on the Friday afternoon had been kinder, perhaps Oosthuizen's biggest challenge would have come from Rory McIlroy, who shared third place with Casey and Henrik Stenson despite that second round 80.
Had the 21 year old from Northern Ireland broken 70 on Friday, as he has done in every other competitive round he has played at the Old Course, he might have won at a canter.
Of course he didn't and by his own admission he didn't cope well in adversity. His weekend rounds of 69 and 68 show an encouraging resilience that suggests in future he will be less likely to let an important round get away from him.
McIlroy is already one of the best players in the world and he is destined to be part of the game's elite for many years in the future.
But what we've learned from this Open is that such an elevated position is no guarantee that you won't be upstaged by a supposed lesser light.
The 27 year old Oosthuizen has now earned his own place at the top of the game with a sensational display and his challenge is to turn that into a foundation stone for the rest of his career.
Open champions are special, St Andrews champs tend to be extra special and his performance in rounds of 65, 67, 69 and 71 to win by seven strokes certainly fell into that category.