ANYONE ELSE READY TO fit Ernie Els for a Green Jacket? He’s a popular pick this week after two impressive wins in Florida. When I first heard that Ernie had made a caddie change (from Ricci Roberts to Dan Quinn), I thought it was an April Fools’ joke. Then I learned more and it made sense.
I asked PGA Tour caddie Mark Huber what he thought about the change. “These guys have been off again on again throughout Ernie’s career,” Mark said in an email. “This was an arrangement agreed upon before the year and if I know Ricci he’s more than satisfied with the schedule. Augusta is the toughest walking major course and he would probably want to work Pebble and St. Andrews instead. Ricci will probably be at Augusta, but enjoying the nightlife instead of trudging the fairways.”
Ernie said in his weekly diary that Ricci and Dan are happy about it and so is he. “I've been to Augusta so many times that I don’t think anybody can tell me anything more about this golf course than I already know.”
The Big Easy also said he rolled down Magnolia Lane with more confidence and game.
“I honestly can’t wait to tee it up. This year I’m going in with a fair bit more confidence and momentum than I have had for a while. You know, I think the whole package is there. My mindset is a lot better. I’m hitting the ball well and the key thing is my short game and putting are both a lot sharper than they have been for a couple of years. Obviously that is the key ingredient to success at Augusta. You’ve got to chip and putt really well to compete here. I’m looking forward to it.”
This will be Ernie’s 17th start at the Masters, and there have been many Aprils that I thought he might break through. But he never has. It’s unfortunate, because I’ve always thought his game was tailor made for the place. Did you know Ernie hasn’t made a cut at Augusta since 2006?
Maybe this will be his year. Fingers crossed.
−The Armchair Golfer