Ernie Els gets his first comeback test from Tiger Woods
Ernie Els has publicly stated that he is on a three year plan to reach the number one world ranking of golf. Finally his health – both physical & mental – is excellent. But even if he gets his game in better shape then ever, there will still be one roadblock: Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer we have ever seen. On Sunday in the tiny Middle Eastern country of Dubai, Els will face his first big hurdle.
If you are a fan of the game, this is must-see tv. (Thank God for The Golf Channel!) It’s almost immaterial that several others are in the mix with a good chance of winning, including the young star Henrik Stenson. This is all about the 2 superstars and Els’ uphill battle for ultimate supremacy. Els has a three shot lead on Woods entering the final round. Will Tiger shoot his customary low final round? Will Els continue his sterling play under the pressure of knowing Woods is coming after him? Will Els shoot a good score and still get beat? I don’t know the answer to all that, but I can’t wait to find out.
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When are you clowns going to learn a little something about golf, especially stroke or medal play?
In this format, no one other player is a golfer's adversary, the course is the opponent that must be overcome.
The 18 hole layout is the enemy that must be suddued for all four rounds.
Incidentally, Tiger wasn't able to "wump" Ernie in Dubai. Henrik "wumped" them both and the rest of the field.
You not only don't know a thing about stroke play, you refuse to learn.
But I'll repeat it for you anyway.
In a medal play event, ALL the players are out to best the course, not any individual player.
I'm happy to see that you've seen the light. Better late than never.
You should certainly realize that Ernie's chances of becoming the Number One ranked golfer are vitually nil, as are the chances of of 90% of the players now competing on the PGA and European tours. Any player over thirty years of age has no chance of displacing Woods.
Woods has been so effective that the only way he could lose his top rank would be to go winless for about three years and miss a half dozen cuts while making no top tens. And at least one of his top rivals would have to win multiple times during this slump to threaten Tiger's ranking.
Ernie is a surefire Hall of Famer,and a terrific golfer. He will surely score better than Woods many more times when the two are in the same event. But if you think that that will be the catalyst that will put Ernie ahead of Woods in the world rankings, you couldn't be more wrong.
I think we are in agreement then that it is an admirable thing for Ernie to do the best he can in all his tournaments, that he will be trying to win. That is a noble aspiration and one which is shared by every player on the PGA tour.
Here's some food for thought: Woods is a superstar, the absolute best to come along in a decade. He is the benchmark by which all other golfers are measured. His winning percentage is far and away the best among all active players, about a .250 average in wins. And yet despite his exemplary record, in about 75% of Tiger's events, at least one golfer, and in many tournaments several golfers, score better than Woods.
If Ernie goes lower than Woods in their next twenty common tournaments, he still won't be Number One unless he wins about half of them
Whaaa? By your logic if Woods finishes a tournament, let's say T-35, it's a victory for Els if he finishes 27?
Seems to me the measure of progress is standing up on Sunday with Woods in RED on the b-9 at a major--that's progress!
So my point is, this year is all about getting himself in position, performance-wise, to fully engage Tiger for a 2 year stretch and all of the ups & downs that come with such a journey. And that is why he was looking more at Tiger than actually winning at Dubai. Do I like his chances? Nope. But I won't say that he doesn't have one at all. Realistically, I'd be thrilled if he just got close. Golf would be much more exciting if there was a real rivalry.
Do you actually believe that Ernie was more interested in finishing better than Woods than he was in winning at Dubai?
For a golf writer to entertain such a bizarre thought is truly amazing.
Somehow I don't remember Ernie hiring a hall to celebrate when Tiger missed the cut at last year's US Open. Or was that before his three-year plan kicked in ?
Your idea that Ernie will somehow become Number One even if he outscores Tiger by just "the slimmest of margins" makes no sense at all. The rest of the PGA pros aren't going to settle for being also-rans to those two, no matter their credentials.
Els announced his three year plan just a couple of weeks ago. My "slimmest of margins" comment was directed at the entirety of the last 2 years of that period (2008-2009).
The fallacy of believing that Ernie has the slightest chance of becoming No. 1 in the next three years by outperforming Woods, lies in the fact that the two will probably play in the same events less than ten times per season.
What these two do in respect to each other will have very little bearing on world rankings, regardless of the outcome.
Wins, top tens, top 25's, and relative strength of the fields determine the rankings.
And Shanks, please, no more acknowledging of my superior intellect.
You know it, and I know it, an the others will soon realize it. Besides, your trumpeting it is a little embarrasing.
As I said previously, unless Ernie outperforms Woods in every event in which they are both entered for the next three years, AND wins at least half of these tournaments, the answer to your question is no, it would not get him the coveted No. 1 ranking.
Surely you haven't already forgotten what it took for Vijay to wrest the No. 1 from Tiger.
Tiger went into a minor slump(for him it was a slump), and Singh had to win TEN tournaments and set a single season money-winning record to edge Tiger out of the top spot. And at the time of the start of Vijay's remarkable run, Woods didn't have as big a margin in the rankings over him as he does now over Ernie.
It doesn't require that much acumen to see something so obvious.
Now, although I prefer not to chew my food twice, I will make an exception for you and re-iterate that, no, I don't like Els chances of meeting his stated goal. But I love the kahunas it takes to publicly state it. None of the other superstars have the nerve to even say so, for fear of The Wrath of Woods.
The Wrath of Woods? What's he going to do, win tournaments in which they are entered?
Could their reasons for not announcing intentions of taking over the top spot be that they know it is impossible and they would sound silly?
If No.2 Furyk suddenly displayed the "kahunas"(sic) to announce that he too was on a quest for No.1, would you be similarly impressed?
But Woods also manages - with the assist from the press - to lay a little public humiliation on those who challenge him directly.
The reason is they are afraid of taking on the challenge.
Furyk knows he'll never be that good.
Much was said by the golf announcers and the press of how Woods took Stephen Ames' remarks so seriously that it caused Tiger to go out and lay a 9 and 8 thrashing on the hapless Ames, who was only in the tournament as an alternate.
One critic even said that Ames might never recover from that trouncing.
It affected Ames so negatively that a few weeks later, he went out and spread-eagled the strongest field in golf at the Players' Tournament by six strokes over second place.
That field, incidentally, included the indomitable Woods.
Some of you fellows put too much emphasis on the so-called mind games and the intimidation factor. These guys are pros, the best in the world. They can handle pressure and criticism.
What I conclude from your replies then, is that while all other pros on the PGA circuit tremble in fear of the mighty Tiger, and are thus careful not to incur his wrath, Ernie Els, the brave warrior, is alone in his disdain for Woods.
He alone has the courage and the heart to dare aspire to the Number One ranking. That, my friend, is hogwash.
If Woods had that much of an all-powerful aura, that much of a dominating mystique, along with his peerless game, he would NEVER finish anywhere but first in any tournament.
Obviously, Padraig wasn't intimidated. And Tiger's game wasn't sub par that day, either.
What I thought was mildly amusing was a syndicated article in Monday's Tribune where the writer said that Tiger had had a "terrible time" with his putter in Dubai.
Nobody, Woods included, scores 23 birdies and 17 underpar, and finishes T3 against a tough, world class field if he is having a terrible time with his putter.
Tiger didn't make as many putts in Dubai as he would have liked to make, but he made a lot of them and his game was definitely not sub par.
That tournament was the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan. Woods had the lead going into the final day and a substantial lead with six to play. but lost out eventually to Padraig.
It doesn't happen very often, but even the best lose an event to a super closing round. It happened to Tiger last November.
Like those three superb horse, Woods is a great frontrunner, having the class to hold his pursuers safe.
He also is a great "closer", having the ability to put pressure on those ahead of him, and to quite often catch those rivals.
And finally, he is the consummate grinder, he never "bags it", accounting for his numerous top ten finishes when going into Sunday he wasn't anywhere on the leaderboard.
It is for those reasons, among others, that I am certain that even a guy like Ernie will never supplant him as Number One. Woods would need to go into an unprecedented slump, while one of his pursuers, possibly Ernie, would need to go on an unprecedented tear, winning three or four majors and a half dozen other events in those two years you mentioned.
It's commendable to have high aspiration, but it just won't happen.
The reason that it will be virtually impossible for any PGA pro to overtake Woods as Number One in the foreseeable future is that Woods is by far the most consistent player on the tour.
I have been a spectator at tournaments where Woods has been competing six times. Of those six, he has only won one. But he finished top five in three others, top ten in one, and 16th in the other. That is consistency which no other player has demonstrated over such an extended period.
As previously stated, it took arguably the greatest single season in the history of golf for Vijay to barely overtake Tiger.
Unless one of Woods' closer pursuers has a similar miraculous run, coupled with an uncharacteristic slump by Tiger, there is simply no way that anyone can surpass Woods in the rankings. The methods used to formulate the rankings mathematically won't allow it.
Possibly, one of the newer bright lights, such as Adam Scott, might get super hot and make a run at Woods for the top spot. In my opinion, Ernie, Phil, and Jim Furyk are getting a little old to challenge, and Vijay, despite his great physical condition is already too old to do it again.