Ernie Els at an all-time low
Triple major-winning Ernie Els has been so used to winning but he seemed at an all-time low after missing the halfway cut in the both the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Els had started the Congressional second round horribly, four-putting the first en route to posting a six-over par total on the course where he won a second U.S. Open in 1997 with a four-under par tally.
Out of form Ernie Els may take some time off from golf
After his U.S. Open nightmare, the South African looked extremely despondent and disinterested and once inside the clubhouse was looking to collapse in a chair.
For Els, the Maryland course dubbed the ‘Playground of the President’ was more akin as a ‘Pain for the Pros’, with the man known as the ‘Big Easy’ posting scores of 73 and 75, just a year after finishing third in the 2010 Open.
Just on a month later, the 2002 British Open winner crashed out of golf’s oldest Major with scores of 72 and 76 at Royal St George’s.
Whether it is matters off course affecting Els or simply his on-course results, no one knows.
Els has been frustrated with his game for some time, having finished no higher than 15th in the 14 events prior to Congressional he’s played on both sides of the Atlantic this season.
At the end of 2010, the player, who actually hates the nickname ‘The Big Easy’, was ranked No.12 in the world and after the U.S. Open he had dropped to No. 24.
In recent months, Els has been struggling simply to break 70 and his frustration boiled over at the recent Memorial event in Ohio when he sacked Martin Hardy, his ISM manager of five years.
Els had recently looked back on his ’97 U.S. Open triumph and said he’d thought he would have won seven or eight Majors after winning that second U.S. Open at Congressional.
And while he captured the 2002 Open, he has since seen compatriots Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel carry the Major flag for him.
Bizarrely, Els spoke of his pain as he stood in a corner of the Congressional clubhouse dedicated to his 1997 U.S. Open success when he kept Colin Montgomerie at arm’s reach by parring his closing four holes.
There is a special photo collection of a then fresh-faced looking Els that was in stark contrast to a demoralised sounding player running his hands through his hair.
“Congressional’s always going to be linked with my career but four-putting the first from 20-feet wasn’t the way I was hoping to start my day,” he said.
“I thought coming into the week that with the course quite soft and the greens not running out that you could be aggressive.
“That’s why my front on Thursday was just one-under – that with a warm putter, I could have been four-under.
“So missing the cut doesn’t sit well with me.”
Els will also be 42 years old in October and with more than 70 victories around the globe, he could be questioning himself if and when he will win again.
“I’m nearing 42 and things are just not going my way right now, and it is also difficult to answer questions,” he said.
“It’s been a long time now I have been playing golf and I’ve had a lot of success in the last 14 years, if you want to put it that way.
“But right now is about as low as I have ever been and that’s that, and I have to get myself through it. Maybe I should just take some time off and put my feet up and just see where I am at.
“I’m working as hard as I have ever have but I’m not getting anything out of it, so maybe I should go away.”