Injuries beset Oosthuizen, Stricker

Key players for captains Fred Couples and Nick Price are struggling with injuries only five weeks out from the final teams for the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village being finalised.

South African Louis Oosthuizen has battled all season with a string of ailments and has decided to rest up for the next two months after pulling out of his third major in succession after eight holes of The Open at Muirfield.

Steve Stricker Steve Stricker (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Ooshuizen’s neck, back and hip are all to be rested and rehabilitated with the diminutive South African not due to return until September’s Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

“It is obviously very disappointing to miss out on playing in such prestigious tournaments,” Oosthuizen said of missing the PGA Championship and other big events over the next few months.

“But these are injuries that I have been managing for most of the season. It is important that I now give myself the proper time to recover.”

Currently lying in second place on the International team rankings, Oosthuizen is a vital cog in Price’s plans to wrest the Cup off the United States for just the second time since the event’s inception in 1994.

The layoff period while undoubtedly concerning, may also be a blessing in disguise, allowing the 2010 Open Champion and 2012 Masters runner-up to recharge his batteries and avoid missing consecutive Presidents Cups through injury.

Meanwhile, U.S. Cup stalwart Steve Stricker’s plans to enjoy a 20th anniversary trip during Open Championship week were interrupted when he suffered a tear in his right hamstring while skiing.

“Just a little bit of a freak accident, my right leg kind of went out on me,” Stricker said.

“I got pulled forward and I felt the pop, and I knew I had done something. I’m fortunate really that it’s not a knee issue.”

Stricker has been operating on a reduced, but highly successful, schedule in 2013 but currently sits at ninth in the U.S. Presidents Cup standings. His primary goal over the next month is to remain in the top 10 and make the U.S. squad on merit.

“I’m right there on the edge, on the bubble,” he said. “So I hope (the injury) doesn’t affect anything. Play at the Bridgestone, try to get ready for the PGA and then probably throw in some Playoff events trying to make the team.”