Grouchy Golf Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 at 9:04 PM

Everybody Loves Ernie Els

All the top pro golfers have their fair share of fans. However, most also have a healthy number of detractors.

Take Tiger and Phil, for example. Both deserve the respect of all golf fans for their golf achievements. In addition, each has legions of fans that love them for more than just their golfing abilities. Each has very different on-course personas that resonate strongly with their respective fans. However, the very things that people find appealing about these golfers are the same things that some people find objectionable.

Phil always projects a wholesome and care-free image on the golf course that the "Phil Phanatics" just eat up. Phil has become the modern-day Ward Cleaver to many casual golf fans. However, some believe that Phil is simply putting on a show whenever he's on camera or in the public eye to maintain and maximize his endorsement dollars. In other words, Phil is smiling all the way to the bank. If you're a fan of Larry David's HBO comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, you could guess what the F-bomb dropping, foul-mouthed Susie Greene might say about Mickelson: "That Phil is one phake phat phony phuck!"

On the other hand, many fans love Tiger because he is a fiery competitor who puts it all out on the golf course. Much like Michael Jordan, he is intensely focused and never, ever quits. Tiger wears his emotion on his sleeves, good and bad. However, some find some of Tiger's behavior boorish and ungentlemanly, especially for the staid game of golf.

As a serious, but unaccomplished golfer, I am much more of a fan of Tiger than Phil. I appreciate Tiger's super-human golf ability and his ultra-competitive zeal. It's refreshing to see him upset over a bad shot as much as he celebrates a miraculous one. Anyone who plays golf knows that it is the most maddening game in the world, so it's somewhat comforting to see that the best player in the world shares our pain. In short, I find Tiger to be much more genuine than Phil.

Australian golfer Paul Gow has echoed similar sentiments when he said, "What you see on television is totally different to what he (Phil Mickelson) is around the clubhouse. Tiger (Woods) is the opposite: he will talk to you, he will sit down next to you at lunch and ask about your family and stuff. Phil is the opposite…He has done some great acting classes in Hollywood and they have worked out for him."

While it is clear that many people are not fond of Tiger and Phil, there is one golfer who everybody seems to love - Ernie Els. His peers love him, golf fans love him, and even grouchy people love him. His large frame and laid-back personality and smooth-flowing golf swing has rightfully earned him the nickname, "The Big Easy." Ernie is a big asset to golf, and his recent season-ending ACL injury was a tremendous loss. This year's PGA Championship was the first major since 1993 that Ernie has not played. He could have easily been the difference-maker at this year's evenly-played President's Cup. These great golf events would have been even better had Ernie been available to play. The good news is that Golfweek is reporting that Ernie will tee it up again as soon as this December. Oh, the miracle of arthroscopic knee surgery! Get well soon Double-E!

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Anonymous Jen Mario said...

Ah ha, so now we know the real reason why you love Tiger: on the course, he's grouchy. But deep down he has a heart of gold. Sounds like someone we know.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a bonafide Phil Phanatic, myself and others have seen many instances and heard many testimonials by legitimate witnesses that what you see is what you get with Phil. He's no fake.  


Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Anyone remember when Phil challenged a golf writer to a fistfight because Phil didn't like what that writer wrote about him? I just wish Phil would bring that aggression to the golf course.  


Anonymous odiwan said...

everyone thinks, i'm a tiger fan because i use nike clubs. i never really watch golf, but i when i do, i enjoy watching the pros hit one in the forest. makes me feel better.  


Blogger dave said...

I really like the Tiger and I sometimes support Phil but I do dislike a fake. I will admit I have never liked the big easy.  


Anonymous Sarah said...

As a South Africa, I am a very proud fan of Ernie Els. He is brilliant on the golf course and off it! Great representation as a South Africa and a father and a husband :)  


Blogger drcjd said...

phil is a phat david simms  


Blogger woundedduck said...

It's nearly impossible for the average golf fan to "know" their favorite player in any substantive way. Most people are projecting what they want to see onto them. Mickelson is the "peoples'" player? The guy has a private jet, probably sees his kids about four days a month (when he tells the nanny to bring them by), and lives a lifestyle most folks can't imagine. The only PGA player who really deserves appreciation is Kirk Triplett, because of the enormous work he's done with child adoption advocacy.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

josh from england

i dunno why but i instinctively hated michelson when i first saw him on TV, i think its cos i made a link between him and 'shooter mcgavin' from happy gilmore (he the baddy for people who dont know). however, now that i know more about the guy i hate him more, he appitemises all that i hate about golf for some reason.

ernie on the other hand has always been my fav golfer (next to tiger woods, though i like them for different things), even though he blatenely ignored me when i tried to speak to him at one of the practice rounds at the open at hoylake

i dont have a clue why i hate one and love the other, cos i seem them as pretty similar guys



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've met and had conversations with numerous pros including Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Peter Jacobsen, Ben Crenshaw, Gary Player, Gary McCord, Tom Kite, Steve Elkington, Paul Gow, Stuart Appleby, Tiger Woods, and numerous lesser name players. In that time I have found that Mickelson, Els, Faldo, Price, Sorenstam, Creamer, Couples, Love, Jacobsen, Crenshaw, Player, Kite, Elkington, McCord and Appleby were all great people. (Player, Crenshaw, and Jacobsen perhaps being some of the nicest people I have met anywhere).
Meanwhile Woods, and Paul Goydos have were huge A#$$%#! Things could vary depending on what is happening in the persons life during the time you meet them (like with everyone in life). If people are having a good day/week vs. a bad day/week you may find the person different.

BTW: When you converse with some people like Mickelson, Player, and Crenshaw they will look you straight in the eyes when they talk to you and in my view that is extremely classy.  


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