Big Easy Almost All the Way Back from Injury

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Three bad shots.
 
Two missed putts and one errant drive were all that kept Ernie Els from an ideal round of golf. Might have kept him from catching Tiger Woods, too.
 
Els saved his best round of the PGA Championship for Sunday, shooting a 4-under 66 that got him close to Woods. But it wasn't enough to win -- wasn't even enough to be runner-up, in fact.
 
He finished at 5 under for the tournament, three strokes behind Woods and one behind Woody Austin. It's his second straight top-five finish at a major, following his tie for fourth at the British Open.
 
'If I could have those back, it would have been really perfect, a perfect round of golf,' Els said. 'But to come back from six back against the world's No. 1 was always going to be tough. But I gave it a good shot.'
 
And considering where he's been the past few years, third place looks pretty good.
 
Els is a three-time major winner, and a charter member of the 'Big Five.' For a brief spell back in 1999 and 2000, he was Woods' main foil. When Woods reeled off victories in nine of 16 PGA Tour events, the Big Easy was the runner-up in five of them.
 
When Woods won the U.S. and British opens in 2000, Els was right there beside him, the Ed McMahon to Woods' Johnny.
 
And when Woods decided to retool his swing in 2004, Els filled the void. He won three times, had top-10 finishes at all four majors -- including seconds at the Masters and the British -- and climbed to No. 2 in the world rankings.
 
'My motivation is to get the best out of me again. I was this close in 2004,' Els said, holding up two fingers with barely any space between them. 'I was that close to being No. 1 and deserving No. 1.'
 
But the week after the 2005 British Open, Els tore ligaments in his left knee while sailing. Surgery ended his season, and he's been trying to regain his old game ever since.
 
His best finish last year was third at the British Open, and he had seven other top 10s. He arrived at Southern Hills with three top fives -- he was a stroke out of the lead at one point at Carnoustie -- and was No. 4 in the world rankings.
 
'It's a three-year deal. I knew it's not going to happen overnight,' he said. '... Some things just take a little bit more time, and I just want to still believe that I can become No. 1 and I can play the way I want to play.'
 
Days like Sunday will certainly help.
 
Els said Saturday that as a fan he'd be 'putting my house' on Woods, who is now 13-0 when he takes at least a share of the lead into the final round of a major. As a competitor, though, Els said he wasn't about to give up.
 
He opened with three birdies in his first eight holes, two coming on 20-footers. He looked like he was going to make it four on the front nine when he got within 6 feet. That's a gimme in most instances.
 
Not this time.
 
He got the stroke back with a birdie on 10, and had a chance to pull within two of Woods with another 6-footer on No. 11. But after hitting that putt on No. 9 too soft, he hit this one too hard.
 
He wound up with par, but missed opportunities have a way of costing players when Woods is involved.
 
'Guess it's a bit of a reaction still,' Els said. 'I really went at the flag and hit such a good shot, and then to have such a tough putt, it's one of those things.'
 
Worse was the bogey on 16. Woods had bogeyed No. 9, and birdies on 13 and 14 had gotten Els within two. But he was left off the 16th tee -- into-the-gallery left -- and his only option was to hack back onto the fairway.
 
He had about 100 yards to the green, but he wound up on the back edge. His 40-foot putt for par ran about 2 feet past, and Els' day was pretty much done.
 
'Those three shots probably cost me,' he said. 'But, you know, still played a pretty good round.'
 
And there will be more in the future, Els promised.
 
'I do believe that I'm working on the right stuff and I've made strides,' he said. 'I need to start winning some tournaments, and that will create more confidence. And winning becomes almost a habit. Look at Tiger.
 
'I had a couple of years where I won a lot of tournaments, and you start feeling a lot more comfortable on Sundays and Saturdays and weekends,' he said. 'So that's what I'm working on.'
 
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    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.