Els best golf is when hes not at a tournament

By Doug FergusonJuly 8, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 European Tour LUSS, Scotland ' Ernie Els arrived at Loch Lomond having played some of his best golf of the year, including one round when he made seven birdies and three eagles to win the top prize.
 
Too bad it didnt count.
 
Stunned by missing the cut in the U.S. Open, the Big Easy retreated to his home outside London and played social golf with friends the last few weeks. It included that blockbuster round at Queenwood that allowed him to beat three friends, one of them the club champion.
 
I wish I could bring my social golf on to the tournament schedule, Els said Wednesday.
 
He gets back to tournament play at the Scottish Open, the first of two important weeks for the 39-year-old South African. Els has won twice at Loch Lomond, one of his favorite tournaments on the European Tour schedule. He has finished in the top three five times at the British Open this decade, including his 2002 victory at Muirfield.
 
What to expect? Not even he is sure.
 
Form-wise, professionally, hasnt been a great year, Els said. You guys know that. I know that. But this is a nice time of the year for me, especially with the Open coming up and this week, so looking to turn things around.
 
The Barclays Scottish Open is the final tournament before the British Open at Turnberry, although most dont classify it as a tuneup.
 
Loch Lomond is an American-styled course along the shores of a splendid lake north of Glasgow. The turf is soft and green, with fairways lined by trees and water in play on several holes, obstacles that are rare in links golf.
 
Even so, it has attracted another strong field.
 
Graeme McDowell is the defending champion, and among those competing are a solid contingent of U.S. tour regulars ' Geoff Ogilvy, Camilo Villegas, Brian Gay, Nick Watney, Rory Sabbatini and Boo Weekley, who made this stunning observation about his first impression of Loch Lomond when he played two years ago.
 
I take it yall get a lot of rain over here, he said.
 
It hasnt exactly been pouring victories for Els no matter where he travels.
 
Hes gone 36 tournaments since his last victory on the PGA Tour in March 2008 at the Honda Classic. He says his desire has never been stronger, even for a guy who has been going at it for 20 years.
 
Then again, that might be the problem.
 
In some ways, Ive been searching maybe a little too much for the perfect swing, the perfect putting stroke, the perfect driving, stuff like that, Els said. And maybe Im not different than any other player. But I feel like I definitely have the drive and the desire to win more tournaments, and thats why Im still trying. I dont know when that will ever go. If it does, Ill probably walk away.
 
But right now, Im still very, very dedicated to my sport and trying to win golf tournaments.
 
It would be easy to suggest that Els is more distracted at this stage in his career. He is doing is part to promote awareness for autism since disclosing last year that his 6-year-old son, Ben, has the illness. His golf course design business is growing, along with his South African wines. Still, golf remains his priority.
 
Why do I still love it? I cant answer that, Els said. Its been in my blood. Its been what Ive always done. Its just always been there, and I still try and improve. I still watch golf even on television, so its a mad drug.
 
Colin Montgomerie is still trying, too, even if he winced when reminded that it has been 10 years since he won the Scottish Open. Perhaps an even more painful reminder is that a week later, a Scot won the British Open ' Paul Lawrie.
 
The 46-year-old Montgomerie has not had a top 10 in the last calendar year, 25 starts dating to the French Open a year ago. Consumed with details as European captain of the 2010 Ryder Cup, he saw a glimmer of hope last week in France when he tied for 13th. That enabled him to move up to No. 200 in the world ranking.
 
Ten years ago, he still harbored hopes of being No. 1 in the world.
 
My best year, with six wins, Montgomerie said of the 99 season. And Id love to emulate something like that. But as you all probably know, I havent had a top 10 for a year now in Europe, and its about time that changed. So we look forward to trying to change it here.
 
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


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    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


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    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


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    Squashed beef with Paddy

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    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.