David Feherety interviews Ernie Els and Tiger Woods at Lake Nona Golf Club

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?

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  • David B

    I think your comment may be fair in this regard. It probably comes from him not meeting expectations (importantly that he may have of himself) and his frustrations are a natural result of him being under more pressure to perform. I agree that he should stick to performing and stop the negative image he is creating.

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       David, you’ve hit the nail on the head and understood my point perfectly. Look I have the utmost respect for the man and I believe there’s some great golf from him still to come.

  • Ian Broughton

    He may well be becoming a bit of a whinger but his comment about it being “Tiger’s life -go ask him!”  is fair comment! Ian

  • Davidw20

    Personally I would be more offended being called a Gary Player v2.0…

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       HAH! Nah, it’s a compliment. Gary is a legend of SA golf and Ernie is right up there too.

  • Gkwright

    Go ask Tiger. Fair comment. He was out of line at Wentwortyh. And punished accordingly, self administered.

  • Johnvdp

    The mole is overreacting. Better to comment on players behaving badly on the course and not outside. A comment to go and ask Tiger himself can only be applauded.

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       Fair enough. I still think we should be seeing him in headlines where he wins another Major or big tournament and not for this sort of thing. I live in hope that he does this!

  • ROBIN

    YOU ALL HAVE A NERVE TO BE CRITICAL OF ERNIE – HE IS A GENTLEMAN, ONE OF THE FEW LEFT – WRITE DECENT CRITIC NEXT TIME OR RATHER WRITE NOTHING – ROBIN

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       I agree with you wholeheartedly Robin. The man is an icon and every South African golfing fan should love him. I’d like him to win and achieve even more success than ever before. Less talking – more winning!

  • Msu

    I guess this is how you journalists/commentators make a living – always criticising those who have accomplished something in life, Tell the Mole to go dig another hole please.

  • Vanz

    It’s not whinging, he’s just speaking his mind. Go Ernie

  • nscd

    I googled “Ernie Els complains” – 1.7 million hits. I then googled “Tiger Woods complains” – 6 million + hits. “Bubba Watson complains” – 1.6 million hits (considering he’s been on tour for a fraction of the time Ernie has that’s quite a lot).

    So as serial whingers go, Ernie’s nowhere near the top.

    Having said that, he could learn something from Phil (just 170k hits, and his career has been about as long as Els’s)

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       I like Phil Mickelson as he doesn’t complain too loudly in the media. Just quietly gets on with it and has an impressive track record to boot.

  • Yespersonnel

    The mole is overreacting and this article is pathetic. If you had`read all the news items about the Wentworth green watering issue you would have noted that Westwood was unhappy with the greens (called them “unique”) and Kaymer minced no words by saying the greens were totally disappointing for an event and course of that stature. Because Ernie as upgrade designer had come under such flack for the initial re-design, I’m sure he was not relishing coming under further fire for the disgusting greens through no fault of his own. They did not water the greens properly until he opened his mouth about it (proof is clearly visible in how the greens held in the final round). I’ll bet my bottom dollar every other pro out there gave him kudos without publically admitting to it.

  • Deon van Zyl

    Feherty gives me the impression that he deliberately and consciously thinks out one-liners, on which American TV thrives, in order to secure his job. In that sense Ernie is completely right. Feherty is trying to be clever with images and metaphors that stand out and get attention, as it has become his trademark, catering for an audience who is used to one-line simple comments. Let him rather play the senior circuit with his own rattle snake!

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       The more I think about it, the more I realise that us as golfers enjoy Feherty purely for his unique take on the game. It does inject some flamboyancy and humour into tournaments and that it is, as you say, his job.

  • Phil

    I dissagree with the mole. Ernie’s just got out of a slump with the flat stick and won’t take kindly to being made in any way concious of the past slump, especially by David who is a bit nuts. Tigers pvt life is his to discuss…but I would’nt Tiger!!

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       Yeah he has had a difficult time of late but I was very impressed with his form at the US Open. This was the Ernie Els that we have all come to know and love. I hope he carries that form into the Open.

      David is totally nuts and that, I guess, is part of the attraction and appeal.

  • Ddk

    I agree with Ernie. I you watch both USPGA and European Tournament, the difference in commentators are night and day. The US commentators, including David Feherty, are the most irritating. In thier eyes Tiger Woods and Michelson are Gods. The rest they dont care. I wonder what Tiger Woods’ response would have been if Feherty made the same comments about him. Go Ernie, Speak your mind

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       As I said in a previous reply to a comment, part of the Feherty attraction/appeal is because he is unpredictable and adds a unique angle to things.

      I would love it if Ernie just forgot about the media and delivered a Major. He can do it!

  • Chris de Jager

    Why must we as South Africans always keep ourselves from criticising anything?Ernie has all the right to speak his mind.Well done Ernie,don’t take shit from anyone!

  • Nvanrensburg

    Double drop:     Fairway Mole  get into a bunker cover your head in the sand.    If Ernie gets in this bunker i hope he hits your head and not the ball.

  • Rick

    Tribute to Ernie- he has set such a high standard that when he misses a putt there is disbelief.

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       YES! Exactly. We’ve all seen how Ernie is playing at the moment. He is a determined man! Those high standards set a good example to youngsters who look up to him as a role model.

  • Petrus Ezzy

    All in all, why can a sports person or any other person for that matter complain, surely one does not have to digest all the sh*# every Tom, Dick and Harry dishes up. Then again, so many Americans are easily entertained by the junk they watch and laugh at, just look at the sitcoms they produce and they all rave about! Really, Ernie remains brilliant to me. 

  • Froz

    I think this article is trying to make something out of nothing. I don’t see anything wrong with any of the examples you have used, especially not the Feherty one. It was a low blow, typical of Feherty with his one liners and probably not meant vindictively, but Els had every right to comment. If you saw that interview after the tournament where Els missed a five footer to playoff, Els acted with dignity. I think it was Steve Sands? He was an absolute disgrace and Els should be applauded for not just walking off

  • Flange

    Geez Mole, he is just responding with honesty and candour. How can u classify his response (as per your quote in the article) re Woods, as a rant? He is just stating a fact and the journalist should be taken to task for asking such a lame question! The only one that could be classified a “rant” is his outburst at Wentworth. Go have a look at the meaning of the word.

  • Nico du Plessis

    I think the Mole”s article is guilty of typical of the sensationalism dished up by journalist when they have nothing to say. Big headline all about nothing. Ernie is entitled to give an opinion when asked. Sometimes we also have to acknowledge THEIR negatives. Honestly, asking ERNIE about TIGER’s private life…??

    • HenkJ

       Agreed. What does Ernie have to do with Tiger’s private life? You know what he’s doing, he’s actually speaking his mind. He’s not putting up a straight face and pretends that everything is alright when it isn’t! If I designed a golf course I would also give the ground staff grieve if I thought the playing surface wasn’t up to standard. For me it’s not whinging, it’s saying it as it is!!!

  • John Hopley

    David Feherty is an ars……e ! Why does he not play golf anymore ? Ernie only spoke his mind! Go Ernie !  Show the world that you are still one of the best ever golfers !  John

  • Roy

    OVER REACTING ROY

  • easybig

    Is thier any way I can lodge a claim against the Mole and Ramsy Media for wasting precious megabytes on this drivel……. mole get a life, if you cant find worthwile topics for weekly column rather give up sports journalism. Besides I rmember a blog where the mole applauded Ernie for being exellent in replies and behaviour after stupid questions from the interviewer, surely the Tiger question falls into the same catergory. Maybe it’s because Ernie is so nice that Journo’s think they can take advantage.

  • Gav

    Hey @easybig. Interesting how you complain about “wasting precious megabytes on this drivel” yet you still read the whole thing and found time to write a 100 word comment. I happen to agree with you, I just find your actions funny.

  • peter

    Roy.  Over reacting ? ?  Who ? On what ? Do you know what we are talking about here ? ?

  • jachan

    I was standing next to ‘angel” Ferherty at a T-Box Par3.He hit his shot,POORLY to say the least.hIs reaction was an a rhyme  of swearing words that lasted for at least 15 seconds and saw the dis believe on the faces of his fellow golfers and the nearby spectators just grinned without any apology what so ever.

    If you want to report some thing Mole print a comparison of the career achievements of Ernie and Ferherty .

    • http://twitter.com/TheFairwayMole Compleat Golfer

       That’s actually a damn good idea! I’ll do some digging and will do a profile on David Feherty soon. There’s so much more to him than just golf commentary.

  • Leslie

    Agree with the above sentiments. The Mole is digging around aimlessly for “news”. Ernie’s been a revelation this year and far exceeded my expectations. Great performance at the US Open and a massive improvement with the putter. He’s one of the greats and entitled to occasionally speak his mind.

  • Rsummers

    A bit late now, but have read all the comments and must agree with you. I remember a couple of years ago after winning in Australia Ernie slated the greenkeeper for lack of sand in a certain bunker. That could have cost him his job.  Ernie like the rest of us must think before he talks. But there you are South Africans love South Africans but keep up the good reporting, thats why I buy Compleat Golfer, no holy cows.

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