Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘ernie els

One Missed Putt

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If you go back and read the media coverage prior to this past week’s 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s in Lancashire, U.K., very few sports writers were talking about Ernie Els.

But it was exactly Ernie Els, the one-time British Open Champion and 42 year-old grinder who walked away with the Claret jug yesterday after surreptitiously ousting Australia’s Adam Scott who had led much of the tournament, and was, in fact, leading yesterday through the 17th hole, before collapsing with a missed par putt on the 18th hole in front of thousands of golf fans in attendance and millions more in the TV and Internet audience.

What made the collapse even more painful was that Els and Scott are good friends, and for Scott, this would have been his first major victory.

Despite the outcome, the 2012 Open Championship made for dramatic sports television, especially if you’re a golf fan.

Though other notables, including Tiger Woods, world #1 Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and a handful of others seemed like they might have a chance to head up higher on the leaderboard at times, it was Scott who seemed destined for victory, playing strategically, cautiously, and most importantly in golf, consistently –that is, all the way up to the 15th hole at Royal Lytham.

But then, as is the case with the game of golf, fate, the winds, and perhaps even some nerves, got in Scott’s way, and with a long birdie putt on 18, Els earned his way to his second Claret jug.

One couldn’t help but have empathy for Scott — he seemed calm and collected throughout the tournament, and no doubt played steady, eddy golf. But the closing holes of a major are key, and just a couple of minor slip-ups — overshooting the green on 17, and driving into one of Royal Lytham’s lethal pot bunkers on 18 — sealed his fate.

As for Tiger Woods, it seemed going into Sunday he might have a chance to overcome Scott early in the day. Throughout the tournament, Woods had only pulled out his driver once, instead opting for smart and more strategic placement of his drives using irons to avoid Lytham’s 205 bunkers. But in the end, that strategy shortened Tiger’s distance off the tees, and lengthened his approaches, making it especially difficult to get close to the already-hard-to-reach pins on Sunday.

And Ernie Els, well certainly his iron play kept him in the running, but it was his putter that won the day. His 12-foot putt on 18 to draw Scott one shot closer to him will be recorded in perpetuity on the great Open Championship highlight reels.

Unfortunately, so will Adam Scott’s missed 7 footer that, had he made it, would at least have given one more opportunity to close the deal in a playoff with Els.

With three majors down, and one to go (next month’s PGA Championship will be held at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina), this has proven to be a year of dramatic golf and even more dramatic majors.

It’s also likely going to be the year that golf’s key governing authorities, the USGA and the Royal and Ancient in the U.K., are going to face increased pressure to finally contend with what many call golf’s “steroid,” the belly putter, which players like Els, Scott, Matt Kuchar, and so many others have begun using that allows them to “anchor” the putter in their chests or bellies, and which many think is an unfair advantage.

Me, I’m just hoping for one last and final major in the form of the PGA Championship that is even half as dramatic as the British and U.S. Opens have been, all of which will have been the consummate set up for this September’s Ryder Cup matches in Medina!

Written by turbotodd

July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Donald Takes Golf’s Transitions

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Almost from day one of 2012, I predicted it was going to be a stellar year for golf.

Don’t ask me how I know these things. They just come to me.

As I watched the lead ebb and flow for the Transitions tournament over the weekend — first with Padraig Harrington, then later, Ernie Els (who needed the win to NOT miss the Masters for the first time since 1994), then finally, in a four-way playoff, world number two Luke Donald…well, the Transitions was just another in a series of nail-biting golf tournaments.

For you non-golf fans reading this, who think golf on TV is about as exciting as watching paint dry, go back to watching “Doomsday Preppers.”

But for the golf fans…well, I could almost do the wave standing right downstairs in my living room.

Yes, I felt horrible for Ernie when he missed that short putt on 18 to keep him in the playoff, but heavens to Betsy, next thing you know we’ve got four stellar golfers in a playoff on 18: Luke Donald, Robert Garrigus, Jim Furyk, and South Korean upstart Sang Moon-Bae, who’s got one of the most beautiful swings I’ve seen in years.

Donald proved he’s the man to beat, and steals his first place world ranking back from Rory McIlroy nary two weeks after Rory took it from him.

Can you say “The Masters Is In Two Weeks?”

Unfortunately, I’m going to be away from civilization that weekend. I’ve got some guns to go shoot with the boys out in West Texas. But if anyone can think of a way for Turbo to keep up with the Masters in a far, remote, desolate West Texas location, I’m all ears. Smoke signals, anyone?

I’ll have it all recording on the DVR, you can be sure of that.

And in the meantime, we have Arnie’s Bay Hill Classic “Arnold Palmer Invitational” this week, where the top four golfers of the world do NOT include Tiger, Vijay, Phil or Ernie. None of them are even in the top 10!

Boy, how the sport of golf changes, and fast.

My hope is to see these four in a playoff down in Florida this weekend!

Written by turbotodd

March 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm

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