Awkward interview for Ernie

2012-03-20 10:44

Miami - Ernie Els is one of those rare athletes who became a champion while somehow remaining a favourite of the people, a guy who never seems to draw criticism or disdain. You want Ernie to do well and when he doesn't, you ache for him.

Case in point: Sunday afternoon at the Transitions Championship when Els, who had held a share of the lead for much of the afternoon, went bogey-bogey to finish his round one stroke out of a playoff. His round ended in the cruelest possible fashion: a missed 4-foot putt that he simply pulled wide.

According to Yahoo! Sports website, Els consented to a post-round interview with NBC/Golf Channel's Steve Sands, and it was surely one of the most awkward and painful interviews in recent memory because of the look of utter shock on Els's face. Twenty minutes before - hell, two minutes before - he was preparing for a playoff and a possible win that would have punched his ticket to the Masters, and now ... nothing.

Here's the sum total of the interview:

Q. Very disappointed, Ernie Els; what happened after that drive on the 18th hole?
Els: What happened? Well, I pulled my second left and I chipped it up there. Didn't have a great lie on my third shot and I pulled my putt.

Q. Did you have the confidence to make that putt before there?
Els: Yeah, I guess so. I just pulled it a bit.

Sands pulled the plug on the interview right then, leaving Els utterly alone to face the camera's eye.

Reaction on Twitter was instantaneous and stridently anti-Sands, by about a 10/1 margin. Comments included "brutal, awkward, lame," "one of the worst interviews I've heard in a long time," "just raised the bar for stupid questions," and "more painful than my ruptured appendix during 5th grade winter break."

Even tour golfers piled on. Steve Elkington said that Steve Sands "goes Jim Gray" (a reference to Gray's infamous 1999 skewering of Pete Rose) and "time will tell if it's career ending."

"Not sure that was a great interview with Ernie Els after the round," Ian Poulter added. "That question was a bit short and stuck in like a dagger. Not cool."

Let's go a little easy on Sands, too. Sure, the first question was painfully obvious and the second question was a bit of a bailout, but interviewing the loser is among the worst jobs in sports media. Nobody wants to do it, but it's part of the essential narrative.

Some days, life isn't all green jackets and magnolias. We keep that in mind because it makes those moments of victory that much sweeter.


  • franswaj - 2012-03-20 10:58

    eina sorry ernie

      bluzulu - 2012-03-20 19:50

      Agies tog, The Big squidgy, Shocker, What he did to Tiger Woods all those years ago when Tiger started on the PGA. Unforgivable and never supported him since................Choker,

      Ken - 2012-03-20 22:04

      @bluzulu.......What utter crap!!!!......and you know it!!!!!

      stephen.eriksenmiller - 2012-03-20 22:39

      @bluzulu....I'm not sure where you get your information from, but as I write this, Ernie and Tiger are playing on the same team in the Tavistock Cup, and chatting to each other! So take your rubbish and go to a schoolboy site, where you can spout your nonsense without anyone knowing any better. Idiot!!!!

      bluzulu - 2012-03-21 08:39

      I have seen the interview when Tiger explained the fiasco, This is factual , google it!!

      Sekalf - 2012-03-22 09:38

      even a golf story turns out to be a racial playground for retards - welcome to South Africa!

  • Dhirshan - 2012-03-20 11:17

    ernie is a legend but washed up now!

      Alan - 2012-03-20 11:29

      Your aunti is washed up dude - stick to what you know - wash-ups dont finish one off the pace - let alone play in on the tour - idiot !

      jowza1 - 2012-03-20 11:50

      you obviously dont have a clue,dhirshan

      RSole - 2012-03-20 12:45

      Opinions are like ar$e holes, we all have them, in your case ar$e holes have opinions.

      franswaj - 2012-03-21 13:22

      Is Sachin Tendulkar washed up? took a entire year to get a century and against Bangladesh?

  • Grant - 2012-03-20 11:40

    Oh please man - I was expecting something much worse. Here's the vid (that the writer apparently couldnt find??)

      Jason - 2012-03-20 17:43

      Yeah Grant just watched it, stupid questions but nothing really wrong!

  • Bobby - 2012-03-20 12:10

    Couldn't believe what I was watching Sunday night. I have empathy for Ernie but in the tough cutthroat environment of professional sport and especially golf, no sympathy. He just blew it.

  • Carol - 2012-03-20 13:16

    Sands, leave our Ernie alone. It's bad enough loosing in that manner without your lame interview. Ernie is still a great golfer as well as great Ambassador for SA and we don't need the likes of you to belittle him on TV. You should be fired - good-bye Sands!

  • Mike - 2012-03-20 15:44

    Probably one of the most cringe worthy sports interviews I have ever seen. Very stupid and obvious questions, Ernie looked like he wanted to level the guy. Dhirshan, you are a bonehead, washed up players do not lead PGA events by a stroke with two to go, no matter the tourny. I will say that was a serious case of nerves though.

  • Nico - 2012-03-21 06:15

    Come on Ernie show your champ and win next one... like that other player who was leading and tripple bogues last hole. He won the next weekend! Show us what champ you are!! Go Ernie!!!

  • Selma - 2012-03-22 11:17

    Jack Nicklaus perdicted that it would be an uphil battle for Ernie to succeed as his home life is a daily struggle having to deal with an autistic child.

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