SOUTH African Ernie Els fired a final-round two-under 68 to capture his second Claret Jug and fourth Major championship, following a final round collapse by Adam Scott.
With a four-shot cushion and four holes to play, it was Scott’s tournament to lose. But a few critical mistakes – including a costly missed green on the 17th – saw him bogey the last four holes and hand the championship to Els via a five-over-par 75.
”I know I’ve let a really great chance slip through my fingers today,” said Scott. ”But somehow I’ll look back and take the positives from it. I don’t think I’ve ever played this well in a major championship, so that’s a good thing for me moving forward. All the stuff I’m doing is going in the right direction. Today is one of those days, and that’s why they call it golf.”
Scott wasn’t the only golfer to stumble on the final day, as most of Sunday’s top-10 leaders went backwards, including Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell.
Video highlights below:
The 42-year-old Els started the final round six shots back of Scott but produced some spell-binding golf in tough conditions to claim his first Major since the 2002 Open at Muirfield.
“I really feel for him,’’ Els said. “It’s my time, for some reason.”
“Amazing. I’m still numb. It still hasn’t set in. It will probably take quite a few days because I haven’t been in this position for 10 years, obviously, so it’s just crazy, crazy, crazy getting here. I felt good after yesterday.
“I didn’t play myself out of it yesterday. But still, you know, to make up all those shots, I just felt good. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. For some reason I felt something good was going to come out of this. Even if I didn’t win I was going to feel good about it because of all the work we’ve put in. My game is back to where I feel I can compete. If it wasn’t this year, I feel I can compete in it next year.”
Els said he spoke to Scott immediately after the final round. “I really feel for my buddy, Scottie, I really do. I’ve been there before. I’ve blown majors before and golf tournaments before, and I just hope he doesn’t take it as hard as I did.”
What’s in Ernie Els’ Bag?
Ernie claimed the Major win with a full bag of Callaway equipment, including:
Callaway RAZR Fit Driver, 8.5°
Callaway X-TOUR ’08 (15°)
Callaway RAZR X Muscleback Irons (5-9, PW)
Callaway X Utility Prototype (18°, 21°, 24°)
Callaway JAWS Wedges (52°, 60°)
Odyssey White Hot XG #1 Belly Putter
Callaway HEX Black Tour Golf Ball
After the round, the Big Easy thanked Callaway for its support over the last several years: “The Callaway people have stood behind me and really helped me out,” said Els in a post-championship interview. “I’ve been with them for five years.”
Els’ win marks the third major championship victory for the Callaway RAZR Fit driver this season, and the second major championship win in two weeks. The RAZR Fit driver has now won ten tournaments worldwide, including five overall victories in the last seven weeks. Similarly, the HEX Black Tour golf ball has been used in four of the last seven wins on the European Tour, where the ball’s aerodynamic properties help mitigate typically windy conditions.
A Few Equipment-Related Specifics:
Roger Cleveland made a late tweak to Ernie’s Callaway X Utility Prototype Irons on Wednesday. He flattened the lie angle of all three of his utility irons (18-, 21-, and 24-degree) by half a degree. Ernie has been playing these irons since they were introduced on Tour at the Byron Nelson. That week – in May – the Big Easy put all three available utility irons in the bag and jokingly asked Cleveland, ‘Where is the rest of the set?”
You can watch a video of Roger Cleveland – captured this week from England — talking about this technical iron.
Graeme McDowell, who finished T5, also carried a Callaway X Utility Prototype Irons in the bag this week (18-degree).
Odyssey, the #1 Putter in Golf, led the putter count at the Open Championship with 34% of the field using an Odyssey putter, including the following top finishers:
1 – Ernie Els, WH XG #1 Belly
T3- Brandt Snedeker, WH XG Rossie
T5- Graeme McDowell, WH #7
T5- Luke Donald, WH XG #7H
T7- Nicolas Colsaerts, BSi #1
T9- Alexander Noren, BSi #1
T9- Ian Poulter, WH XG #7
(Only two of the seven players listed above are under contract to play Odyssey putters.)
Selected Scores from The Open Championship 2012