When you think of a South African golfing hero, Ernie Els should be the first name to come to mind. With 64 Professional wins to his name, including 18 US Tour titles, 26 European Tour wins and three Majors , the 42-year-old has an impeccable track record and by every right deserves to be called a legend of the game. However, the Mole is becoming a little worried that the ‘Big Easy’ is fast becoming something of a ‘whinger’.
Seeing as we’re all tech-savvy and living in an Internet generation, take a moment to Google the following term: ‘Ernie Els complains.’ Take note of how many results there are. In fact, there’s barely a story that hits the press these days that doesn’t have the big fella moaning about something.
Yes, Ernie Els is regarded as a Gary Player v2.0 and is rightly revered as a national sporting hero, but my goodness, when things don’t go his way, he’ll whine like there’s no tomorrow.
He made golfing headlines after he verbally let rip during the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the end of May. You see, Wentworth underwent a bit of a redesign, and the man who was put in charge of this project was none other than Ernie Els. The course was playing tough and Ernie, despite actually playing well, laid into the ground staff for not watering the greens in the most expletive-filled manner possible.
He’s also had a go at journalists who keep badgering him and other professionals with regards to the private life of Tiger Woods. “We cannot give you insight because we don’t know. I’d love everybody to stop asking questions about Tiger and his personal life. That’s his life. Go ask him,”said Els.
In the latest bit of news, Els has retaliated after a comment from golfing commentary legend David Feherty. He made fun of Els, who was clearly struggling with the putter at the final round of the Transitions Championship. A day later Feherty said that Els would be putting with a live rattlesnake at the Tavistock Cup. Els retaliated by labeling Feherty a ‘shock jock.’
Els and Feherty go way back, and Els openly admits that he expects this sort of thing from the controversial Irishman. “I’ve known David for a long time, but for him to have said that was totally shocking and – well, not out of character, because he tries to shock the world all the time, but it was a low blow,” said Els.
Feherty very quickly apologised, saying that his comments were completely tongue-in-cheek and that he didn’t intend to offend Els. Too late – the damage has been done and now the world has to put up with another rant from Ernie Els.
Ernie, you’re a hero to many (including the Mole), and the best way you can avoid taking flak for incessant whinging is by keeping your head down and silently getting on with it. Shut your critics up by playing spectacular golf, as nothing silences your rivals quicker than you claiming another Major or tournament win. We all know that you still have it – your performance at the US Open was proof of this.
Is the Mole overreacting or is Ernie Els becoming a bit of a grump?