Bitter pill for distraught Els

2012-03-19 11:55

Johannesburg - A visibly distraught Ernie Els finished with bogeys on his final two holes to end one shot outside a playoff in the PGA Transitions Championship in Florida on Sunday.

Els will be left wondering about his future, which includes missing the Masters after playing the year's first Major 18 years in a row.

“It's going to be tough to get over this,” Els said after the round.

On the 18th he hit a good drive, pulled his second and missed the short par putt, but Els could not offer much insight in a television interview after his latest crushing loss.

“What happened? Well I pulled my second left and chipped it up there," he said.

"I didn't have a great lie on my third shot and I pulled my putt.”

Els held the lead throughout the back nine, but stumbled at the end to finish on 12-under 272, one off a four-man playoff won by Englishman Luke Donald who reclaimed the world number one spot.

The 'Big Easy' missed a four-foot birdie putt on the 16th, and then another four-footer for par on the 18th, after Donald, playing ahead, had posted 13-under.

Els needed a win to ensure he lifted his world ranking inside the top 50, qualifying for Augusta, and with a share of fifth he improved marginally from 68th to 62nd, still 12 away from securing a place at the Masters.

He will now have two more regular season events to produce a high finish in an effort to improve his ranking.

His putting, which has been his Achilles heel for touching on two years now, seemed to have clicked on the front nine as he had the pace on the long putts and was holing the shorter ones.

Number one in greens in regulation for the week, he used the putter 28 times in the fourth round.

The way he missed short putts coming down the stretch, however, will give him sleepless nights for some time.

Els had moved to six under for his round with a birdie on the 12th hole.

Before the crushing climax, with a chance to go two ahead on the par-five 14th, he was just short of the putting surface in two.

There he hit an usually poor chip to around 20 feet, and while he managed a good stroke, he was not able to convert.

Retief Goosen, another veteran South African, began the final round in the lead on 11-under par, but battling a bad back, he fell to four-over 75 in a share of 20th.

Louis Oosthuizen, meanwhile, also finished tied for 20th for the week with a three-under 68 in the final round.

Rory Sabbatini finished well down in 74th spot on five-over par for the tournament.


  • cobus123456 - 2012-03-19 12:23

    Should maybe lay of the pies for a while. Looks like he's put on a few pounds

      Arthur - 2012-03-19 12:50

      Just looked at your profile picture and my God, if anyone needs to leave the pies alone its you. I guess you've done something spectacular with your life so that you can make such a dumb comment. And how are your kids? Health OK so you haven't had to devert attention away from what you do?

      S - 2012-03-19 13:15

      @Die Bum van Bosmansdam - not PC to call you fat, you are "a person of higher body mass". I thought Ernie looked in very good shape, he looks the leanest he's been for years. So no, it's not Ernie who's been stealing your pies. Juju maybe?

      Andrew - 2012-03-19 14:32

      pot - kettle?

  • adelineandmarinusholtzhausen - 2012-03-19 12:40

    to much on his plate

  • jowza1 - 2012-03-19 12:47

    hang in there are playing well

  • Jason - 2012-03-19 14:05

    Ive noticed how he seems to duff the leads. Think its more a head thing that needs some work, he most definitely has game.

  • Andrew - 2012-03-19 14:31

    Just enjoy your game Ernie don't sweat the little things. We still love ya.

  • andre.nell - 2012-03-19 15:03

    Good week for Ernie , looks like he puts too much pressure on himself though .....

  • leonardus.breedt - 2012-03-19 16:10

    Yes let him, in my eyes he can stop playing golf.I lost all my respect for this man. Because there are children want to go to his golf academy but they cant.This children look up to him like a god and they love him.He refuse, this children can not go to his academy because this children get home schooling .But the anther children can go to his golf academy because they go to the normal schools.

  • Antoine - 2012-03-19 16:14


  • Tony - 2012-03-19 22:17

    In my opinion it's a mental thing. We all have our 'blocks'...Ernie is no different. He should treat each and every round like a social game with good mates, less stress, more success.

  • Rob - 2012-03-20 11:49

    Well, my golf cannot be so bad if the likes of a professional golfer like Els misses two four putts at a crucial stage.

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