2012 British Open Recap: An Open Win Like Nothing ‘Els’
Ernie Els stepped up to the 18th tee box at Sunday’s British Open down by 2 strokes. After holing out for what may be the most important birdie putt of his career, Els flipped his golf ball into the grandstand and awaited the finish of the final paring.
In that final pairing was Adam Scott, the young Australian who had a commanding lead for most of the tournament. Scott began his collapse on the 14th hole, where he proceeded to bogey 5 straight holes. Acting calm on the practice green, Ernie didn’t watch the live result of Scott’s missed par putt to force the playoff.
The 18th hole was a hole that may stick in Scott’s mind. After his tee shot landed in an awkward position in a fairway bunker, he had no choice but to waste a stroke to get the ball back on the fairway. His 3rd shot was landed close enough to potentially drill the the par to force the playoff with Els. Scott missed – you could see him playing the last 5 holes back in his head a mile a minute as he stood in utter shock.
This is what he was probably thinking about and still may be this morning: He bogeyed from the bunker on the 15th which cut the lead to three. He followed that by a three-putt bogey on the 16th where his 3-foot par putt spun in and out of the cup. From the middle of the 17th fairway, he hit a 6-iron that turned left heading for the slop and took one last bounce in the high grass.
The 42-year old World Golf Hall of Famer heard the roar from the Scott miss on 18 and was seen giving his caddie a genuine hug. When asked about how the final hole played out Els was quoted saying, ‘‘First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. He’s a great friend of mine,’’ Els said. ‘‘Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that’s the nature of the beast. That’s why we’re out here. You win. You lose. It was my time for some reason.’’
Tiger Woods had his best finish in the major since his loss to Y.E. Yang in the 2009 PGA Championship. His 3rd place finish jumped him to No.2 in the World rankings but I’m sure he’d trade even being No. 1 for another major title.