My man Ernie Els shows he still has the engine in Munich’s BMW
Wladimir Klitschko seemed to be having trouble getting his ball out of the hole; after he eventually got it into the hole. He looked at me with a disarming grin and said “eets my hand, eets too big to fit in hole”
The working holiday atmosphere continued through the normally laborious pro-am.
I noticed Klitschko seemed to be having trouble getting his ball out of the hole; after he eventually got it into the hole. He looked at me with a disarming grin and said “eets my hand, eets too big to fit in hole”.
He had to retrieve his ball with his index and middle finger to avoid ripping the hole out with what could only be described as a shovel hand.
With temperatures well into the 30s and the infectious affability of our pro-am partners, what can be often a difficult day turned out to be relaxing and enjoyable. What a great start for the tournament ahead.
Ernie had not played the Eichenried course for some years and there had been changes made since either of us had been there. Despite the course being toughened up Ernie suggested that with good golf the course could yield a low round. He was right and of course it was Els himself, with flawless golf and excellent putting, who posted the low round of the week, 63, the next morning.
It seems to be particularly difficult to follow a very low round with a good one. Ernie managed to score six shots worse than his opener which was very acceptable despite some almost rookie errors by the South African’s own admission.
The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the BMW tournament took place that night with virtually all guests donning traditional Bavaria attire. Golfers finally got to wear shorts at a tournament, even if they were Lederhosen.
There are countless key moments over the four rounds of a victorious event; putts holed and decisive up and downs, but there were two shots that the master golfer Els played, both of them on the same hole, that made a deep impression on me, a seasoned bagman.
On 14 on Friday Ernie hit his tee shot in the left rough under a tree. He had over 200 yards to the pin and he had to keep his shot under trees ahead of him, bend around another tree, skip a greenside bunker and release to the pin. He hit his miraculous six iron to 20 feet. An ordinary golfer probably wouldn’t even have attempted the shot.
On the same hole on Sunday he hit his drive in virtually the same position. It was the toughest drive on the course and left was the side to miss the fairway on. He executed the same type of shot with a four iron, hitting it even closer to the pin.
Naturally Ernie Els is a very talented golfer, he is hugely experienced and has enjoyed a long and very successful career. But you don’t continue to win and perform at the highest level in the autumn of your golfing life without desire, application, diligence and constant skill-honing.
Of course the 25th BMW International was not as intense an affair as the US Open that preceded it, but leading an event from start to finish adds stress to your week no matter how relaxed the Zeitgeist. You still need to know how to win. Ernie Els drew on his talent and experience to capture his 78th professional victory in a visually seamless fashion.