Els licking his Masters wounds


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Ernie Els sounded like this Masters is hurting him almost as much as that loss to Phil Mickelson did in 2004, when Mickelson birdied five of the final seven holes to beat Els by a shot.

“I tell you, it’s killing me,” Els was quoted saying in today’s Augusta Chronicle.

Els, 40, was playing so well entering this Masters with back-to-back victories on the Florida swing, but his 75 on Saturday left him tied or 31st and 15 shots off the lead.

Els was 3-under at the end of the first round and double bogeyed the final hole.

“You put so much in, and it’s almost like you’re playing and you’re waiting for the fall,” Els said. “Somewhere down the line something is going to happen that is not good. I’ve had too many of those experiences. It’s one of those tournaments. At least other majors we play different venues. So you’re not going to go back to the same holes and go `Oh . . . two years ago, I did this there.’ That’s the thing.

“You prepare and prepare and think about it, and it’s killing me. I think next year I’ll just fly in on Wednesday, leave the family at home, play 18 holes and then the golf tournament. What must be, must be. Doing it 17 years, walking around and looking around . . . it’s crazy.”