Ernie Els put an arm around Adam Scott’s shoulder on Sunday and told him: “Don’t fall into a pit of despair like I did.”
Australian Scott was seemingly cruising to his first major championship success, only to finish with four straight bogeys on a dramatic afternoon at Royal Lytham to hand the title to the South African.
Said Els: “I’ve blown majors, I’ve been on the other end more than I’ve been on the winning end, and I hope he doesn’t take it as hard as me.”
While Scott suffered a disappointment that mirrored some of the dramatic losses suffered by his great idol Greg Norman, Els savoured his comeback from the ranks of the forgotten.
As he said: “Just about everything that can happen in the game I’ve gone through.”
The 42-year-old said he couldn’t wait to see wife Liezl, and his kids Samantha and Ben, who suffers from autism. Els has raised millions of dollars to build a new school near his home in Florida for kids who are autistic. He said: “Ben has got his sayings and he will be happy with his dad. Samantha will be there right next to him and Liezl and it’s going to be a great time to see them. Ben is coming along nicely. He’s a wonderful boy now, and we are going to have a lot of fun.”
Els had spent the morning watching his cricket buddies rack up the runs against England. “While I was doing that, kind of daydreaming, it came to me in a split second that I would thank Nelson Mandela in my speech. I grew up in the apartheid era and he was right there. And right after the change, I was the first one to win a major and he was on the phone talking to me in Pittsburgh. So we have intertwined in a crazy way.”
While Els was feeling “numb” with victory, Scott looked shell-shocked. “We got to the 16th tee and I thought six good swings to finish out the round. But I couldn’t do it,” he said. “Ernie is great and his words will help. I will take all the good stuff I did this week and use that for the next time I’m out on the course.” – Daily Mail