“I love the game, you know,” says 46-year-old South African golf star Ernie Els, “and I want to still play at a high level.”
Els showed he can still play at a high level at the recent Quicken Loans National tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.
Els was seeking his first PGA win since 2012. He was a strong contender for the title until the final round, when he shot a one-over-par 72, and finished five strokes behind the winner, American Billy Hurley III.
Hurley is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, a short drive
from Bethesda, and he earned cheers from the crowd for his first ever PGA tournament victory.
Ernie Els, meanwhile, also earned cheers from the fans throughout the tournament.
He’s a member at Congressional, where he won the U.S. Open in 1997, and Ernie could be seen signing autographs and giving fans fist bumps as he walked the course.
In an interview with my VOA colleague Bill Workinger, Els said returning to Congressional is a special experience, and he vividly remembers winning his second U.S. Open championship on the course almost 20 years ago.
At the end of the interview, Ernie said he played “some good golf” at Congressional.
During his 27-year professional career, Els has played some great golf, winning four major championships – two U.S. Open titles (1994 and 1997) and two British Open trophies (in 2002 and 2012).
The man nicknamed “The Big Easy” says he feels fine physically and believes he still has something to offer the game.
He also loves the game, and passion for anything in life is an intangible quality that can result in some wonderful victories.
So don’t rule out Ernie Els winning another major before his playing days come to an end.