British open: Scott led the tournament, but hands the trophy to Els

2012-07-27 00:00

REFERRING to the British Open last week, your scribe feels compelled to mention that the last sentence of last week’s column read: “Be sure not to miss the final round on Sunday, you never know, with 14 South Africans in the field, we could have another major winner.” Well it happened, but it was an unexpected and surprising win by Ernie Els. Most golfers will feel sorry for Adam Scott because they all know how it feels to blow it on the final few holes. All he had to do was make two pars and two bogeys on the last four holes and the Open Championship was his. Unfortunately, he dropped four shots on the last four holes, which meant he handed the trophy to Ernie Els who had completed his round 30 minutes earlier.

Scott led the tournament from day one, but didn’t know what it was like to win a major trophy. He had never been in that position before. What agony it must have been for him. He will be, as commentator Nick Faldo mentioned, scarred for life. While Els knew exactly how Scott felt, the feeling of absolute joy was written on his face as he held the old Claret Jug aloft. This was a classic finale, and a typical example of the agony and the ecstasy of major tournament golf.

It was Els’s fourth major title, and he becomes only the sixth golfer to twice win the Open Championship and the United States Open. He has been runner-up in majors on six occasions and finished in third place five times. Golf fans all know that he should have won more majors, and with so many near misses, he has had his fair share of disappointments. This is the second consecutive year that a 42-year-old has won the Open Championship, with Ulsterman Darren Clarke winning at Royal St. Georges last year. Another remarkable statistic is that the last 16 major golf trophies have been won by 16 different golfers.

Seven of the 14 South African players made the cut, with Thomas Aiken finishing in a creditable seventh place. Only eight golfers finished under par. So, that’s three of the four majors completed and it’s only two weeks before the U.S. PGA takes place at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, in South Carolina.

We rarely experience such sporting jubilation as last weekend, especially for those of us who live in KZN and support the Sharks.

FROM THE 19TH HOLE

A Scotsman, an Englishman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Turk, an Aussie, an American, a New Zealander, a South African, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Mexican, a Spaniard, a Greek, a Russian, a German, an Italian, a Pole, a Finn, a Swede, a Norwegian, an Israeli, a Romanian, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Czech, and a Hollander all went to a nightclub.

The doorman said, “Sorry, I can’t let you in without a Thai”.

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