Ernie Els seemed dead in the water with only a few holes to play in the 2012 British Open. However, Adam Scott went in the tank and Els made a big birdie on 18 to give him the advantage he needed to steal the Open championship right from under Scott’s nose.
Els was in rare company on Sunday as he was one of the very few players to shoot a round under par. He looked like he had a chance to put pressure on Scott early but he could not get a big birdie putt to drop. That changed on 18, as Ernie Els sunk a big putt while Scott was in full on meltdown mode coming into the clubhouse. Els managed to post that -7, which put a ton of pressure on Scott.
Scott looked good for most of the tournament. Then the last five holes hit. Scott went completely in the tank and it would not have mattered if Els did not play an amazing back nine. He kept the pressure on, which is what needs to be done in the majors. Scott wilted under the pressure while Els looked collected the entire time.
A lot of people said that Els was past his prime and that he simply could not contend at majors anymore. That perception certainly changed on Sunday. He showed some of the flashes of talent that made him a worthy opponent of Tiger Woods for a couple of years. This win might just push him back to the forefront of the golf world.
It may have been depressing to see Scott finish the way he did but Els deserved to win this as much as anyone. He played steady golf the entire tournament and was able to reap his rewards at the very end.