Ernie Els: Power Ranking the Big Easy's 4 Career Major Victories

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 22, 2012

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 22:  Ernie Els of South Africa watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club on July 22, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The Big Easy made it look, well, easy once again. 

Yes, Ernie Els benefited from Adam Scott's major meltdown on the final four holes of the Open Championship, but shooting seven-under par on a very hard course shouldn't be overlooked. 

No matter how underwhelming Els' fourth major championship victory might be, he absolutely shouldn't lose any credit. A major is a major. No matter how you win it. 

With that being said, I will concede that some major wins are a bit more spectacular than others. Let's take a look at how Ernie's four huge wins stack up against each other. 


2012 Open Championship

Again, this isn't taking anything away from Els' win. It just speaks to the nature of his other victories. 

Seven-under, for what it's worth, is Els' best score of the four major tournaments he has won, and his birdie on No. 18 was easily one of the most clutch shots of his career.

It's just a shame Adam Scott will be remembered as the loser more than Els will be remembered as the winner. 


1997 U.S. Open

What was most impressive about Els' second major victory was the simple fact he trailed leader Colin Montgomerie by six strokes after shooting a one-over 71 on Thursday. 

Els worked his way back with three straight rounds under par to finish at four-under, good enough for a one-stroke victory over Montgomerie. 

The legendary Congressional golf course was playing especially hard in '97, as just three players finished under par. That just makes Els' 276 and fourth-round comeback all that more impressive. 


1994 U.S. Open

Back when he was a mere 24-year-old, Els took home his first career victory, which took place at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh.

The Big Easy entered the weekend trailing Colin Montgomerie (once again) by four strokes, but he shot an incredibly impressive 66 to take the two-shot lead heading into Sunday. 

Montgomerie and Loren Roberts made minor comebacks on the final day, tying Els at five-under to force an 18-hole playoff on Monday. None of the trio played particularly well on Monday, but Els' three-over was good enough to once again tie him with Roberts. 

On the second hole of the sudden-death playoff, the 24-year-old grabbed the timely par to take home his first career major. 


2002 Open Championship

While the '94 U.S. Open was an impressive playoff victory for Els, he established himself as the King of the Playoff eight years later. 

At Muirfield in Scotland, Els worked himself into a four-way tie with Thomas Levet, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington. Els and Levet both shot a 16 on the four-hole playoff, but once again, The Big Easy took it home via the sudden-death playoff. 

Levet bogeyed while Els saved par from a fairway bunker for the win.