British Open Winner 2012: Ernie Els Deserves More Credit Than He'll Get

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 23, 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

Adam Scott didn't lose the Open Championship. Ernie Els won it. 

Unfortunately for The Big Easy, Scott's four-hole meltdown to finish the tournament is all people will remember in a couple of years. 

They won't remember Els being the model of consistency, shooting par or better in all four rounds. They won't remember him putting up just three bogeys in his last 36 holes. They won't remember him birdying four of his last nine, capped off by a marvelous 20-foot putt on No. 18 to really put the pressure on Scott.

Nope. They won't remember any of that. Instead, the 2012 Open Championship will forever be equated with Adam Scott—the new-age Jean van de Velde.

It's a shame, really. 

Scott's letdown wasn't all that different than some of the guys on the tees in front of him, he just happened to have his at the worst time possible. 

Brandt Snedeker put up two straight double bogeys on 7 and 8—the former being one of the easiest holes on the course—and bogeyed three more times on the back nine. Plus-four for the day.

Tiger Woods triple-bogeyed No. 6 before bogeying three straight on the back nine. Plus-five for the day.

Graeme McDowell, after three straight rounds under par, put up seven bogeys on Sunday en route to a five-over 75. 

Zach Johnson, plus-five. Thorbjorn Olesen, plus-five. 

The wind was as menacing as it had been all weekend on Sunday, and the stars' scores were dropping like flies. Scott's was no different.

This isn't meant to defend Scott. His bogeys on 15, 16, 17 and 18 were truly bad, and could have been avoided with better shot selection, but this was a day where a few bad holes were almost more than inevitable. 

Inevitable, of course, to everyone but Ernie Els. And that's why he deserves more credit than he will probably ever get. 

A quick look at the leaderboard is a truly unbelievable sight. At the top, you have Ernie Els with a -2 for the day next to his name. The next four finishers at the Championship were a combined +17.

Seventeen. I repeat, the second through fifth place finishers at the Open Championship were a combined 17 strokes over par on Sunday.

Shouldn't Els be recognized for his unique ability to avoid the costly mistake on Sunday? Shouldn't he be praised for the Big C's? His propensity to be calm, cool, collected and, most of all, clutch?

Adam Scott didn't lose this tournament. He was just trying to be like everyone else and got called out for it. 

Let's stop blaming the Australian and focus our attention on the guy who deservedly won his fourth major championship: Ernie Els.