Peter Oosterhuis - England - Biography of his golfing career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 25 May 1973

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      Monday, 03 May 1948
      London, England.
  • England
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Peter OOSTERHUIS - England - Biography of his golfing career.

                                     1970 - 1973.A  splendid performance at 1973 Masters.


Just as the Tony Jacklin star began to shine a little less brightly along came Peter Oosterhuis,all 6ft 5in of him,to step into his shoes as Britian's leading player. He first made his mark on the European scene in 1970,when finishing in 7th place in the Order of Merit and tied for 6th in the Open Championship at St Andrews. The 22 year old Oosterhuis had rounds of 73,69,69 and 76 to finish the tournament at one under par,four strokes back on the winner Jack Nicklaus. The following year Peter began his domination of Europe by topping the Order of Merit and enjoyed victories at the Agfa-Gevaert and Sunbeam Electric tournaments in the process.


That meant a Ryder Cup debut in the match at St. Louis and,after three straight defeats,Oosterhuis fought back splendidly to record three wins in his remaining three games. Included in those three victories was a memorable 3&2 success against Arnold Palmer in the afternoon singles but it was not enough to prevent the Americans recording a 18 1/2-13 1/2 victory. The next couple of years saw Oosterhuis continue to dominate in Europe and he headed the Order of Merit in both 1972 and '73. At the 1973 Masters Oosterhuis held a three stroke lead at the end of day three,after rounds of 73,70 and 68,but a disappointing closing effort of 74 dropped him back into a tie for third place at three under par. His performance was the best ever by a British player and remained so until Sandy Lyle's victory in 1988. Peter was back on Ryder Cup duty later that year and performed superbly - gaining four points from a possible six - in a 19-13 defeat. (David Scranage)


 The picture above of Peter Oosterhuis was taken during the 1974 Open Championships.

 Photo George Herringshaw.  ©


                                              1974 - 1977. Record fourth straight Order of Merit in '74.


Peter Oosterhuis yet again headed the way in the Order of Merit in 1974 and in doing so set a record that was to stand until 1997 when Colin Montgomerie won his 5th in a row. He was victorious on three occasions that season and also finished runner-up to Gary Player in the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The consistent Londoner returned rounds of 71,71,73 and 71 to finish at two over par but the South African claimed victory as the only man under par,and four strokes to the good of Oosterhuis. Buoyed by his performance at the 1973 Masters,and eager to better himself,Peter decided the time was right to join the US Tour in 1975,after his four straight years topping the Order of Merit. His first year in America saw him finish in 34th place on the money list,with a second-place finish at the New Orleans Open to his name.


In the 1975 Open at Carnoustie he finished in 7th place,just three shots back on the champion Tom Watson. Going into the final day he was in great shape at seven under par but a disappointing closing round 73,similar to his Masters experience of 1973,meant he missed another golden opportunity to land a major championship. The next couple of years were something of a struggle for the Englishman in America with the one bright spot being his second place finish at the 1977 Canadian Open. Oosterhuis continued his fine Ryder Cup record,however,gaining two and a half points from five in a 21-11 defeat in 1975. Two years later he boasted a 100% record thanks to two wins in partnership with England's new bright hope,Nick Faldo,whilst in the singles Peter eased to a two up victory over Jerry McGee. His fine performance was not enough to stave off the usual defeat,however,as the Americans sealed a 12 1/2-7 1/2 success. (David Scranage)



This shot of Peter Ooosterhuis was taken in 1978 at The British Open Championship.

Photo George Herringshaw.   ©


                                 1978 onwards. Near misses at Opens of 1978 and 1982.


The 1978 Open Championship at St Andrews saw Peter Oosterhuis shoot a highly disappointing closing round when in good position for the third time in a major championship. At the 1973 Masters it was a 74,at the 1975 Open a 73 and this time another 73 to finish three strokes behind Jack Nicklaus. He had opened up with rounds of 72,70 and 69 but that 73 compared to the great man's 69 proved to be his undoing. Oosterhuis was still finding it tough going on the US Tour but still managed to perform creditably in the 1979 Ryder Cup. He once again teamed up to good effect with youngster Nick Faldo,the pair winning two of their three matches,including a 6&5 romp against Andy Bean and Tom Kite. In the last day singles,however,Hubert Green defeated Peter two up as the Americans enjoyed a comfortable 17-11 victory.


Oosterhuis won his first tournament since moving across the Atlantic in the 1981 Canadian Open,where he held off the challenge of Jack Nicklaus,Bruce Lietzke and Andy North by one shot. His last Ryder Cup appearance came later that year but he was to suffer three defeats in his three matches as Europe were beaten 18 1/2-9 1/2. That disappointing last cup campaign somewhat dented his excellent record but 14 wins,3 halves and 11 defeats in a period of total American domination was still a return to be proud of. Peter had one last crack at the title he wanted most - the Open - at Royal Troon in 1982. He gave Tom Watson a run for his money,but ultimately had to settle for a tie for second place with Nick Price,just one stroke behind the American's five under par total. (David Scranage)