Dec11 Ernie on his blowup


Ernie Els has admitted his disastrous finish to last weekend's Alfred Dunhill Championship was the most disappointed he's ever been on a golf course.

Els put two balls in the water at the par-5 18th hole on his way to a triple bogey, handing victory to an astounded John Bickerton.

But on his website,, the Big Easy opens his heart and explains what happens  and how he'll get over it.

"I’ve probably never felt less like posting a website report than I do this morning, but you know, in this game you have to take the rough with the smooth. To be honest with you, yesterday is about the most disappointed I’ve ever felt walking off a golf course. I was gutted. But hey, let’s keep things in proportion. This is sport. It’s not like anyone died out there. I just have to take it on the chin and move on.

"And the thing was, I played really well all week at Leopard Creek. Let me just talk you through it, day by day.

"It was quite tricky out there on Thursday, with the wind swirling around all over the place, so on the whole I was pretty happy with a 70. Then on Friday I hit the ball exceptionally well and made a ton of birdies. I got a couple of bad breaks out there, so a three-under par 69 was probably about the highest score I could have shot that day. And I really felt like the signs were good for the weekend. I was swinging it well, hitting it great and the putter felt sweet, too.

"Saturday we had a pretty strange day in terms of the weather. Usually this is the hottest time of the year here in South Africa, but it was cool and wet. Not what you’d expect. It didn’t do my golf any harm, though! I started off with two birdies and overall played great to shoot 64 and take a three-shot lead going into the final round.

"I think that was the round I’d been looking for in a while. I hit the driver nice and basically all departments of my game came together. I was especially pleased with my putting. I mean, I’ve been hitting the ball well from tee-to-green for quite a while now, but the putting has not always been the greatest. In that third round I hardly missed a beat on the greens. I knocked in a 35-footer for birdie at the 10th, and those four and five footers which I’ve been recently having trouble with all went in.

"So, it was a good position to be in, obviously. And in Sunday’s final round I knew what I had to do. I’ve been in that situation lots of times before. You just have to play your own game and not worry about the lead.

"And everything was going to plan. In the first eight holes I made three birdies and no mistakes; just what I needed to do. I had a bit of a wobble around the turn, but it was no big deal – just a couple of dropped shots. I felt calm and totally in control of the situation. Then making back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 – you know, the tournament was mine to win. Even a dropped shot on 16 was nothing to worry about.

"I had a two-shot lead playing the last and bombed a great drive down the middle of the fairway. I’m sure some people today might say I should have laid-up short of the water, but hey, I had only about 190 to the front edge and for me that’s just a comfortable 6-iron. I really didn’t feel like it was a lay-up situation. Like I said, people will disagree, but it’s easy to be smart and make judgements after the event. I went with what I felt was the right shot at the time.

"I just didn’t get all of that 6-iron. Then on the pitch shot I got a bit quick with the hands and pulled it a fraction, so it went a few yards longer through the air than it should have…into the water again. Anyway, you know the rest. It was horrible, but it’s history. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. If you look back over the years, some of the best players in the world have thrown away tournaments on the last few holes.

"Really, what more can you say?"