Ernie Els seemed to come out of nowhere to capture his second British Open title yesterday. The attention will now swiftly switch to the PGA Championship, but Els is a good bet to be a factor there as well.
When the top players in the world arrive at Kiawah, South Carolina on August 9, expect Els to be considered an early favorite. The Big Easy has finished as high as third at the PGA Championship, but he has never won it.
After an incredibly consistent and clutch performance at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, he isn't a bad bet for contention. Els has only played majors on the PGA tour for the last two tournaments, but the win at the British Open gave him two top-10 finishes in a row.
That doesn't include his 52nd place finish at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart. He was able to shake off that lackluster performance and pick up where he left off at the US Open.
According to his website, Els will play in two tournaments before he arrives in South Carolina.
It's possible he could lose some of his momentum at the Canadian Open or the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, but I wouldn't bet on it.
At 42 years old, it's not impractical to believe that Els could have another good run left in him. The way he dealt with adverse weather conditions on Sunday was an exhibition in poise and experience.
It's not as if he hasn't been playing well before now. His scoring average of 69.68 is the 12th best on the PGA tour this year.
With much of the attention on Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, Els took the Claret Jug on Sunday.
If he is underestimated in Kiawah, he could sneak up on the competition again.
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