He is poised to overtake Tiger Woods as the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
He is poised to win his second Open Championship, this week at Royal Troon, where blustery weather is expected and Padraig Harringtons observation that Els is the worlds best driver in windy conditions is impossible to ignore.
Ernie Els is so poised. Period.
At least until you call him a quitter.
Thats ridiculous, Els said Tuesday. . . . . Id like to meet the guy that said that.
Els double-bogeyed the first hole of the final round of last months U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and skied to a closing 80 on a difficult day.
Certain people wondered if he had lost his poise.
Tuesday in Scotland Els answered back in what amounted to, for him, a tirade against the Sunday conditions at Shinnecock and the charges that he had tanked his last 17 holes.
Well, to be honest with you, that was out of control, Els said of the conditions. I felt it got out of control. It was really quite unplayable. But Ive said that quite a few times. I shot that score, I walked away there.
I went from second to ninth with an 80 and that tells you how ridiculous it was. It was disappointing in the way that the golf course got away and that it wasnt fair anymore. That is why I feel disappointed. I dont feel that disappointed with my score for some reason because I know how good I was swinging, how good I was playing.
And for me to shoot 80 after playing so well, you know, Im sorry. Im just laughing at that to be honest with you. But Im disappointed at the way how it became such a farce, because it wasnt necessary, it was such a great golf course.
Ernie Els has never finished worse than 29th at an Open Championship in the 12 he has played in as a professional. He has won two U.S. Opens and come painfully close at The Masters. He has made his bones in the game of golf at the relatively young age of 34.
All of which was even more of the reason he got so angry at Royal Troon when a reporter relayed to him remarks allegedly made by high USGA officials saying that Els gave up on his final round at Shinnecock. The Associated Press subsequently reported that USGA senior official Tom Meeks had been quoted in The Boston Globe as saying, I really think Ernie Els gave up after the first hole.
Shouldnt have said that, Els said. How do you give up? That is the most ridiculous thing Ive ever heard in my life. Ive never given up on any round of golf in my life. If I did give up, I would have shot a hundred.
And he wasnt finished.
You know what, they have got no idea, Els continued. Theyve lost the plot in the story. To take one of the best golf courses in this entire world and to make it a farce like that, I mean theyve got egg on their face is all I can say.
OK, so maybe Ernie Els wasnt so poised at this moment. Maybe he should have refused to let the question get under his skin, particularly since he hadnt heard any give up charges directly from Meeks.
The betting houses have listed Els as a co-favorite with Woods to win this week at Royal Troon.
Ernie Els is poised to show the golf world that he can win a major championship when he is mad, too.
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