Ernie's missing Majors

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Apr 22, 2019, 21:35

Here's an interesting extract which explains Ernie's issue....he gave up 6 shots to Tiger on the greens over a full tournament! How many would he have won if he was six shots less! The 2000 and 2004 Masters, the 96, 2000 and 2004 British Opens and the 95 and 2007 PGA for sure. And that only includes adjusting his best misses in majors, there would be others where 6 shots is enough.

But the ones that are obvious alone would take him to 11majors. Here's the analysis:


"The result, happily, is a list. The poster boy for the difference between MIT's putts-gained-per-round rankings and the standard stats is Ernie Els. From 2003 to 2008, the South African star ranked 15th in the PGA Tour's putting average. During that same period, he ranked 283rd in putts gained per round—his -0.63 mark means he gave back six-tenths of a stroke to the field each 18 holes with his substandard putting.

In this case, the putts gained per round stat matches what golf fans see with their eyes: Els is a wonderful iron player but a poor putter. The reason Els' putting average is so strong, the MIT team explains, is that—on account of his great iron shots—his "first putt" distance is two feet shorter than the average pro. Putts gained per round strips away those approach shots and reveals the truth: Ernie Els is an elite player despite his putting, not because of it.

The MIT study also confirms a fact that, until this year, was a given in golf statistics: the ridiculous dominance of Tiger Woods. From 2003 to 2008, he ranked first in both putting average and putts gained, bettering the field by seven-tenths of a stroke per round with his putting alone. To put that in perspective, if Tiger was paired with Ernie Els, Ernie would give up almost a stroke and a half to Tiger on the greens.

Apr 23, 2019, 04:08

I decided to complete the speculation. Assuming the MIT analysis is right and Ernie would gain 6 shots a tournament if he could putt like Tiger....these would be his results:

1994 Us Open.

1996 US Open.

1997 US Open.

2010 US Open.

2013 US Open playoff.

2000 Masters.

2002 Masters playoff.

2003 Masters playoff.

2004 Masters.

1996 Open Championship.

2001 Open Championship.

2002 Open Championship.

2004 Open Championship.

2006 Open Championship.

2007 Open Championship.

2009 Open Championship.

2012 Open Championship.

1995 PGA.

2003 PGA playoff.

2004 PGA.

2007 PGA.

2014 PGA.

He would have won 18 major championships and participated in 4 playoffs. Assuming 50% success in the playoffs, Ernie would be the leading major winner at 20, including 8 Open Championships. Very speculative, but it gives one a sense of how much Ernie's poor putting cost him.

Apr 24, 2019, 04:38

Amazing. Truly amazing but a trifle sad to think what could have been if only he'd been a better putter. I've read somewhere that as a teenager Tiger would spend 8 hrs a day practicing putting after school hours.

Apr 24, 2019, 06:17

Ern at 23 looked like he was going to be the next Nicklaus. He was the most elegant swinger of a golf club I had ever seen. But his swing never looked quite as fluid after that serious knee injury....boating! And then the putting. This is one case where stats provide excellent confirmation of subjective impressions.

A career with 4 Majors is a phenominal achievement....but as the MIT analysis shows it could have been so much more.

Apr 24, 2019, 11:48

What did it come down to.....Tiger having a better read of a putt? 

Also read a few Ernie quotes where he was in awe of Tiger's putting.

Apr 24, 2019, 15:30

Putting is a bit of a mystery, but if I were to guess I think it's a commitment issue. Once Tiger had the line, he executed....but Ernie seemed to second guess himself even while making the stroke.

And I think it was mostly 10 foot and in, Ernie always had great touch on the long putts.

All of which ignores the fact that Tiger was a stunning putter from close range. Nobody made more big ones. That said, if Ernie only picked up the 2.5 shots a tournament to the field he would probably have won at least 5 more.

Apr 25, 2019, 03:06

I also think Tiger was tougher mentally than Ernie or anyone else around at the time, his self-belief is...well...beyond and unshakeable. How else can one explain the major difference between him and Mickleson, Rory, Rose and Ernie etc, factually all great golfers as well.

Tiger in "old age" seems to have mellowed a bit, the will to win is still there but toned down, he's more measured, more patient and is not the risk taker of younger years. Tiger version 2 is going to be very interesting.

Apr 26, 2019, 00:55

Played with some young pros today and they mentioned Tiger was limping badly....hope his back is okay, it would be a shame if the story is interrupted again.

Apr 26, 2019, 04:12

I'm on a waiting list for a back operation so I have a good idea of the pain Tiger would have suffered. Sciatica nerve pain is 24 hours constant.

May 22, 2019, 08:19

Ernie's biggest commitment is to the bottle.

He's a drunk ... and not nearly as committed to the cause as Tiger Woods is.

There is no comparison between the two.

May 23, 2019, 02:47

Ernie is a delightful fellow who enjoyed life rather than obsessing about it....why are you such a tall poppy hater, short poppy. Oh darn,I guess I have answered my own question.

May 23, 2019, 08:39

Not at all.

Ernie is a drunk and well known to be verbally abusive when he's had one too many bottles of wine. His domestic workers can and have attested to that.

He may have accomplished a lot more with that God given talent, had he focused his energy on his profession, rather than on his drunken rants.

He's always been over weight ... with a soft, podgy mid section ... while Tiger Woods watched his diet ... and was totally committed to weight training and cardio. A true professional.

As I said .. there's no comparison between the two.

Tiger Woods will go down in history as one of the greatest sportsmen to walk the earth ... while Ernie will be known as a drunk who wasted his talent. 

You on the other hand don't really know what a tall poppy looks like. We've all seen that when you've include the tired, the elderly and the flash in the pan players like Frans Steyn into your Bok mix ... all the while criticizing the actual talented boys out there.

See the difference?

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