VIRGINIA WATER, England - Course designer Ernie Els let rip at Wentworth's greenkeeping staff and PGA Championship officials on Saturday after shrugging off tricky conditions to move to the fringes of contention.
The 42-year-old South African's ire was raised after he hit an excellent four-iron approach shot at the par-five 18th and the ball bounded through the green into a deep bunker.
“I landed my second probably five yards too far,” Els told reporters after shooting a two-under-par 70 for a five-under aggregate of 211.
“How much money did we spend on the 18th? We built a dam there. Why the hell was the green not holding?
“My point is, you hit a driver and then a four-iron gets you in the middle of the green. What else must you do next? Must I be the greenkeeper here?,” Els fumed.
“I'm a player, I'm not even supposed to tell them. Put water on a damn golf course? Surely they should know that? I can't control the wind and (it seems) I can't control the greens staff either.”
The sun shone all day at the tree-lined West Course but only a handful of players managed to break par as winds gusting up to 40-kph sent scores soaring.
“These are difficult conditions,” said Els, who has a property on the estate and has masterminded a complete makeover of the layout in recent years. “If a player knows he's played badly, shoots a bad score, he'll take it as a man.
“You've just got to play within yourself, you can't go playing wild shots or you are just going to get killed.
“It's like a major championship test. In two weeks' time at the U.S. Open, if you are just marginally off you'll get killed,” said the triple major champion.
“We tried to bring that element in here but you don't have to kill guys.”
Els, who made his debut in the PGA Championship 20 years ago but has yet to win the European Tour's flagship event, picked up three birdies in his round and his only dropped stroke came at the par-four 15th. – Reuters