Ernie Talks After His British Open Victory; Greg Norman on Adam Scott

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2012

British Open winner Ernie Els  in Canada this week, Akron next.
British Open winner Ernie Els in Canada this week, Akron next.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

As they say in golf, every shot makes somebody happy.  Ernie Els final putt at the British Open showed him that all the work he had done in the last six months was paying off.  Adam Scott found out for the first time playing the last four holes of the British Open just how hard it is to close out a major.  Greg Norman, who has had many near misses in majors, talked to and texted Adam Scott.    

Els went to his home in London Sunday night after completing his initial obligations as new champion at the British Open. There to celebrate with him were Johann Rupert, Thomas Aiken and of course Els’s wife, Liezel, and the children. 

He said that he originally was scheduled to go to Canada immediately for this week’s tournament, but asked them if he could come in on Tuesday and pay them back with an outing day later on.

It was arranged.  When you win a major, people understand.     

“Had a good Monday evening with a bit of family, watched a little bit of the replay, not the whole thing.  Just maybe the last hour of it,” he outlined. 

Then it was off to the Canadian Open on Tuesday where he went to an event for the Right to Play Foundation.  He played with sponsors on Wednesday and said he felt refreshed and ready to go again.

Els also discussed the finish at the British Open.

“I had to make birdies coming in,” he explained. “On 16, you know, I left it short from only about six feet.  It was really a tough flag.  17 left it a little bit and on 18 I had a really good look at it.  So felt good about the putt and obviously made a good stroke, and for once it went right in the middle.”

He said he and Ricci Roberts were both “elated” when the last putt dropped although they were not sure if it was enough.

"But at least we gave it a good shot, you know,” Els added. “So it was great having Ricci on 18 on the green there.  It was great celebrating with him a little bit.”

He compared it to his finish at this year’s US Open, which was disappointing.

“I pulled that 9‑iron on the 16th hole and made bogey,” Els said about Olympic CC.  “And then I didn't birdie 17, and I bogeyed 18.” 

While not the ideal finish, it gave him confidence. 

“What we took out of that Sunday was that the way I felt on the course, and I kept saying that throughout that Sunday to Ricci, I said you know, I actually felt like I belong here again,” Els admitted. “It wasn't an out‑of‑body experience anymore where anxiety got the best of me.”

He said he felt more in control of his emotions and his game, “I felt could stand up to the pressure again.  And that's all the work that we put in leading up to that point.”

Adam Scott, who finished one stroke back to Els at the British Open, had a more than one friend to lean on after making four bogeys to finish there.  Greg Norman, who has had his share of disappointments as well as successes in major championships, said the two had been in touch.

“I have spoken a lot to Adam.  I feel for him,” Norman said prior to the Senior British Open.  “I feel like a bit of a father figure to him in some ways.  He stays at my house.  He practices at my house.”

Norman said they talked at length on Sunday evening and had exchanged that week.

“I'm not going to go into deep detail about it but I just basically told him to think of the 68 holes he played phenomenally well, better than anybody else, and even the four holes, he probably hit 60 percent of his shots the way he played the previous 68 holes,” Norman said.   He advised Scott to “always look forward; never look back, and use the loss as a catalyst to be a winner, not using the loss as a catalyst to be a loser.”

Norman said that the WGC Bridgestone will likely be a difficult week because he could face the media again, and he when he does he will get questions about his performance at the British Open. 

“It's a revolving, churn, churn, churn,” Norman explained from the player’s point of view. “You have to block it out the best you can, and accept that it's part of the deal.  You're not going to win every golf tournament, you know, no matter who you are, so you have to accept it and embrace it.  Sometimes embracing adversity is easier than running away from it.”

Norman thinks that Scott has the game to win majors. “He knows he's good enough to win,” Norman explained.  “He wants to win a major, and once you bite that snake's head off, that snake is dead forever and you just have to get through the door, and he will, for sure.”

He even thinks Scott has a great chance at the PGA. 

“He nearly won the Masters a year ago,” Norman reminded. “The PGA at Kiawah, I've never played the golf course, but after coming off something like Royal Lytham and marrying a bit of Akron and a bit of parkland and a little bit of Royal Lytham, then you have Kiawah.  I think he should play well there."