Louis Oosthuizen says it would be “very special” to add the South African Open title to his CV.
The 36-year-old home favourite this week competes in the tournament for the first time since 2010, the year he won the Open Championship at St Andrews, and is aiming to become the sixth player to have claimed both trophies.
Oosthuizen, who came third on home soil at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last month, said in quotes on europeantour.com: “To have won the Open and the SA Open would be very special.
“I’m very happy the schedule has changed to allow me to play the SA Open.
“To be able to play this and Leopard Creek (where the Alfred Dunhill Championship takes place next week) is what I used to do when I started as a pro.
“Those were two events I loved to play and I’m really looking forward to these two weeks.
“My game’s good, it’s trending in the direction I want it to be.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to really be where I want it to be but I’ve been doing a lot of different things with my coach and just getting a feel for a few more things.
“I drove it pretty well at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The putting was good. Iron play can improve but, all in all, it’s going in the direction I want it to go.
“This is a tough week with 240 players. It’s all on how you start, how you get out of the blocks on Thursday and Friday. We all know the cut’s going to be really low, so you can’t really cruise from the start.”
Other South Africans taking part this week in Johannesburg include Ernie Els - one of the five players who have won both this event and the Open Championship - and two more major winners in Charl Schwartzel and Trevor Immelman, plus last season’s runner-up Branden Grace.
The tournament, which has combined with the former Joburg Open, takes place at Randpark Golf Club for the first time since 2000.
The defending champion is Englishman Chris Paisley, who secured his maiden European Tour title with January’s triumph at Glendower Golf Club.
He had his wife Keri standing in for his regular caddie Sean Russell at that time - this week she will be at home, having given birth to a daughter six weeks ago.
Paisley said: “That win was the best I’ve ever played in my life and it was really special having Keri on the bag.
“We just had a little baby girl six weeks ago so Keri wasn’t in contention to come out this week but he (Russell) is under a bit of pressure. Anything less than a win is going to be a disappointment for him.
“I’m very excited to try and defend it. It’s obviously difficult to go back-to-back in events but I don’t see why I can’t do it.”