Ernie Els won his second of the year this afternoon at the rain delayed Arnold Palmer Invitational. That’s good for Els, and even better for golf fans.
Ernie’s resurgence this year has been nothing short of remarkable. He’s had seven starts, making all seven cuts, with two Wins, four top 10s, and six top 25s (wins inclusive, of course). He’s got to be a favorite for The Masters, where he has been close in years past. It’s the year Phil Mickelson was supposed to have.
But inasmuch as Els is winning, so too are golf fans. The big South African with the impossibly smooth swing is exactly the sort of golf star we can all rally behind. Els, in recent years has faced personal difficulties, but they are of an entirely different nature than Tiger’s. He’s recovered from his 2005 knee injury, and has had the understandable distraction of dealing with his son’s diagnosis of autism. Els has turned that family difficulty into a cause, however, by establishing the Els Center of Excellence and raising millions for autism research and treatment.
I of course have no idea how he is in person, but in interviews, he comes across as quite friendly and open. Again, the kind of guy appreciated by the fans.
I’m going to make a bold prediction. I think this is the year Els joins the ranks of those with career Grand Slams, needing The Masters and PGA Championship.