Will Louis Oosthuizen be able to do it again?
Like the music industry, sport has its line-up of one-hit wonders, and no code is better at churning them out than golf.
On a weekend when the All Blacks justified their status as pre-match favourites by again dismissing the world-champion Springboks, a South African turned the golfing world on its head by emerging as the unlikeliest victor at the Open Championship (the British Open, if you prefer), claiming the Claret Jug and doing it at the game's home, St Andrews. Such is not usually the case when the Open is played there, with past winners including Tiger Woods, John Daly, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus.
As sporting upsets go, Louis Oosthuizen's victory was up there, but in golf it shouldn't be a surprise, because this sport specialises in unearthing unexpected champions. Does anyone need reminding of Michael Campbell's US Open win in 2005?
It's both a charming and exasperating aspect of golf that its best players don't prevail often enough. Other sports have an almost metronomic predictability about them, which suits the purists who derive special pleasure from seeing the best performers succeed. In tennis, for example, the highest-ranked players invariably and almost inevitably prosper in the grand slam tournaments, except on the French Open's clay courts at Roland Garros. In rugby union, the All Blacks regularly prevail from test to test until they reach the World Cup (maybe 2011 will be different).
Even in an age dominated by Woods, golf has a rare ability to find winners of major championships who are unlikely to attain such status again. It might be premature to say so when he has just won his first major, but it's highly likely Oosthuizen will find himself joining that list.
His success again underlined how golf's foibles play into the hands of those who may not appear to have the complete game to challenge more illustrious opponents. Think Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis and Paul Lawrie, who have all won the British Open in recent years. Or check the Masters at Augusta, where Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman and Zach Johnson have each won in the past four tournaments. It's the same at the US Open, with Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Geoff Ogilvy and Campbell among recent winners; and YE Yang, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, David Toms and Mark Brooks have had success at the US PGA Championship. This list represents a healthy collection of players who could be called well-performed professionals but not enduring champions.
Like any sport, golf needs its champions; it also needs those champions to win on a regular basis. Sports viewers generally crave watching the best of the best, not some no-name player making a charge to claim victory for the first and only time in his life.
In part it comes back to the Woods factor. He has been phenomenal, but is he still? He hasn't won a major since holding on, despite a knee injury, to beat Rocco Mediate in the 2008 US Open. To put it politely, he has had some issues lately and not even his renowned mental strength is seeing him through.
Without an in-form Tiger Woods, golf is suffering acutely, and Oosthuizen's victory at St Andrews serves only to prove the point.