What is worse than taking an interview after you have just blown a tournament lead? Taking an interview with bad questions, which is exactly what happened to Ernie Els after his bogey-bogey finish cost him the Transitions Championship.
Els’ putting demons have been around for the better part of the last two years, but never has it so obviously cost the Big Easy so much.
He was a shot ahead with two holes to play and proceeded to not only lose his lead, but also miss out on the playoff after bogeying both of the last two holes.
Cue Steve Sands, the Golf Channel’s man on the ground, who grabbed Els for a post-round interview, which the South African graciously accepted, but Ernie was quite clearly out of sorts.
As soon as the editor cut to Sands standing with Els you could tell this interview was a bad idea. If you concentrated hard enough you could see the steam coming out of Els’ ears.
The Els-Sands interview
And Sands didn’t make things any easier for the Big Easy, this is how the interview went:
Sands: Very disappointed, Ernie Els; what happened after that drive on the 18th hole?
Els: (Angry pause)What happened? Well, I pulled my second left and I chipped it up there. Didn't have a great lie on my third shot and I pulled my putt.
Sands: Did you have the confidence to make that putt before there?
Els: (laughing, not in a nice way) Yeah, I guess so. I just pulled it a bit.
You can see a video of the incident here: http://deadspin.com/5894380/ernie-els-interview-was-equal-parts-short-and-painfully-awkward
Firstly, how is Ernie supposed to answer ‘what happened’? Everyone saw what happened, he played a rubbish second shot and pulled his putt.
Secondly, questioning a player’s confidence after he has just missed a four-foot putt for his participation in the Masters is incredibly harsh.
Reaction on Twitter
The reaction on Twitter was instantaneous and incredibly negative towards Sands, which shows both how popular Els still is in the golf world, and how inappropriate the interview was.
That being said it was a shocking putt, and every one of those that Els misses is just going to make the next one harder.
What the bogeys cost Els
Since the beginning of the year Els has been trying to play his way into the Masters field, and prior to the Transitions Championship he was ranked 68th on the Official World Golf Ranking – the top 50 and 2012 PGA Tour winners all receive automatic invites.
Winning the Transitions Championship would have got him back into the top 50 and earned him a spot in the Masters. Instead, two bogeys later, all he got was six places up to 62nd.
And, even though he almost certainly doesn’t need the money, he lost out on $796 812.50.
What is next for Els
It’s not all doom and gloom for Ernie, although the pressure is only going to get more intense the closer he gets to the Masters, he still has two more chances to qualify in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Shell Houston Open.
And by his own admission he is playing quite well at the moment.
"If I take stock, I think I'm playing good golf, and I've got to head into the next couple of weeks trying to get a win."
What do you think of Ernie’s chances of qualifying for the Masters?