Monday, March 15

Ernie Els Kicks Blue Monster Where It Hurts

2010 WGC-CA Championship Recap
Winner: Ernie Els
Score: 18 under, 270 (68, 66, 70, 66)
Quote: “I just felt different today.”
Fact: First name is Theodore.
Thought: Legit chance at Augusta if Ernie keeps his head straight.

ERNIE ELS CLOSED OUT a golf tournament on Sunday. His 66 in the final round of the WGC-CA Championship at Doral was statement golf. The Big Easy didn’t plunk one into the water on the 18th hole, nor did he back into a win. It was an impressive display from a talented player who has had his share of struggles.

“The wind was blowing and I hit solid shots,” Ernie said. “Charl [Schwartzel] came at me all day. I had to come up with the goods.”

The win vaults the tall South African from 20th to eighth in the world rankings as he sets his sights on Magnolia Lane and maybe, just maybe, a long-awaited Green Jacket. Yet Els will not swagger after putting up two 66s and an 18-under total at the feared Blue Monster.

“Two years ago when I won,” he said, “I got all carried away and thought I was going to win Augusta. This time, I just want to take it in.”

So, what does this win mean?

It means Ernie is still very competitive at age 40, his first win after reaching that milestone, and his first world golf championship title against an elite field—minus Tiger Woods, of course.

It means Ernie will head into Augusta National and Masters week with confidence. And confidence is huge. I heard Jason Gore talking about the “c” word just the other day on Golf Channel. Confidence is the intangible that Els and all players need to win a major—or any tournament.

There’s one other possibility. The win means basically nothing. It might only mean that Ernie put it all together for four rounds in Miami. My sense is that it’s something more than a great week against a great field. We’ll see if Theodore Ernest Els can build on his success over the next few weeks and the balance of the season.

–The Armchair Golfer


Unknown said...

I don't know if this is the 2003-2004 version of Ted when had five W's, but I really liked what I saw yesterday. But, putting at Doral and Augusta are two different breeds of cat.

I'd love to have him and Phil rounding Amen Corner on that Sunday, both of them only 6-7 strokes behind good ole whatshisname...

The Armchair Golfer said...

Yes, Doral will never be mistaken for Augusta. Ernie will have to roll it well on those slick bentgrass greens to have a chance.

Tom Collins said...

It was also interesting in the interview with Els after his win to hear him say that "he had found something" in his swing just as night fell at the Bear's Club before he left for Doral. He seemed really excited about this discovery, and "couldn't wait to get back out again to play."

So far this year, I think the only constant I've seen amongst the winners (aside from having stellar golf games that week) is a great attitude about their golf game and about life in general. I'm sure you could argue that when you win a PGA Tour event, you're going to be happy and have a great attitude...but all of the winners have talked about just having fun out there and refreshing their mindsets for the 2010 season. It's been a great season to watch so far.

And, with Tiger coming back at the Masters and Augusta going 3D for select television sets...I guess the only thing I have to say about that is now people can feel my pain with Phil Mickelson, and be dodging balls just like I am each week while they sit on their couch. That guy is all over the place.