SGS Spotlight on Ernie Els, Part 1
This Wednesday episode begins with a quick reaction to news that the U.S. Open will have no open qualifying this year. Then Brendan and Andy start to take on the monster that is the Spotlight of Ernie Els’ life and career. Part 1 starts with the 10,000-foot view, offering up some numbers that frame just how much of a talent he was and the success of his career. It transitions to his earliest days in South Africa and his decision to go full-time into golf, some of his immediate amateur success, and his mandated military service. Then the first decade of his pro career is explored in depth. They touch on the two U.S. Open wins, featuring the controversial drop at Oakmont and the “rowdiest crowd ever” at Congressional. His dominance on the world stage is praised with tales from across the globe in his 20s. The competing narratives of Ernie as a closing killer and choker are discussed after his first major win. The amusing tale of his engagement is relayed. And finally, the last few years before Tiger dominated the game are discussed in context of what was then presumed a future rivalry, with some amazing freezing cold takes in the Ernie v. Tiger debate before the year 2000.