“The Big Easy”, Ernie Els returned to the winners circle last week in Florida. Ernie had not won a PGA Tour event in four years. For a player of his caliber (and were it not for one Eldrick Woods, Els would have 7 or 8 Majors to his name by now), four years between wins is an eternity.
There are several factors that have contributed to his lack of recent success. Els, admittedly, lost his focus on the game and began being a corporation (course design, wineries etc.) rather than a golfer. He also suffered a jet-ski accident in which he injured his left knee.
But the main reason that Ernie has not played as well as he is capable of, is that he was “trying too hard”. Forcing the issue. Trying to make something happen as opposed to just “letting it happen”. This is something that we are all guilty of on the golf course. Most times when a player is doing this, they are changing their style or personality. That, as Bird Golf students can attest to, is a fatal mistake.
Ernie Els is a laid back, smooth, kind of guy. In our opinion, he was trying to be like Tiger, who is very intense when playing (a good thing for his style), and not just being, Ernie. Hearing him being interviewed afterwards, suggest that he understands this himself, and that he is determined to going back to being, the “real Ernie”. If that holds true, watch out, ‘cause the “Big Easy”, is one of only a very few players, who can compete, with Tiger.