2012 British Open: Ernie Els' Victory Will Start a Career Revival

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2012

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 22:  Ernie Els of South Africa poses with the Claret Jug after winning the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club on July 22, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

We've seen this script before: Over-the-hill Athlete X has a surprising performance, jockeying sportswriter Y declares Athlete X "back" and tired sports populace calls jockeying sportswriter Y an idiot. It's an admittedly trite narrative, but stick with me on this one.

Ernie Els is back, baby!

Well, I shouldn't go that far. But he could be. Seriously, ask yourself: Why can't Ernie Els dominate the golf scene for the next five years? Who, exactly, is standing in his way?

The artist formerly known as Tiger Woods certainly isn't. Seriously, until he wins his next major, they should start officially listing his name as Eldrick––that old man who bungled the sixth hole today certainly wasn't Tiger.

Professional golf is in an undeniable state of flux right now, begging for a consistent champion to grab hold of the reins. Els' victory on Sunday made him the 16th different champion in the past 16 majors.

In a day and age where playing well in consecutive major tournaments is a rarity, Els has managed to do just that. Even more impressively, he's done so after a string of horrible major performances:

Tournament Els' Finish
2011 Masters 47th
2011 U.S. Open CUT
2011 British Open CUT
2011 PGA Championship CUT
2012 Masters DNQ
2012 U.S. Open 9th
2012 British Open 1st


Prior to this summer's U.S Open, he only made one cut in the past five major tournaments, finishing 47th out of the 50 players who made it past Round 2.

These struggles make it even more clear how impressive his recent resurgence has been.

On an up-and-down day of golf that left Adam Scott asking, "Are We Having Fun Yet?" Els won by keeping an even keel. He stoically ignored the leaderboard, kept his head down and played a solid, albeit unspectacular, round.

But in the capricious world of golf in 2012, solid-albeit-unspectacular could be the recipe for a complete resurgence.