Ernie Els likely won’t play in another Masters. Fine by him, he says.
“To be honest with you, I won’t miss the place,” Els told The New York Post on Friday after missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “I had enough of it – especially the last five years I played it terribly.”
Els tied for 22nd at Augusta National in 2015, but since 2014 he also has two missed cuts, a solo-53rd and didn’t even qualify last year. Els’ 23-start Masters career wasn’t overly impressive in his book, either. Though he’s twice finished runner-up, he also has just six top 10s – none of which have come after 2004.
“When a thing stings you it keeps stinging you,” Els said. “When it gives to you it keeps on giving. I’ve seen that with Gary Player. I’ve seen it with Jack [Nicklaus]. I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the place. It was always almost like a curse to me. It was not a romantic deal to me.
“It was a f–king nightmare for the most part.”
Els finished second to Vijay Singh at the 2000 Masters and four years later watched as Phil Mickelson birdied the last hole to beat him by a shot. More recently, Els made headlines for missing five putts from inside of 3 feet and making a quintuple-bogey 9 on his opening hole in 2016. And then there was the special invitation he received last year, which he respectfully declined.
“You start disliking the place when you shouldn’t,” Els said. “I try to keep my honor for the golf course and the people, because the members are great and the course is actually great. But it just doesn’t want to give me anything and then I was finally like, ‘You know what? That’s fine. Let’s move on.’
“It’s like, ‘Sh-t, it’s not giving me anything. How many times do you want to run into a wall?’ That how I felt my last couple of years. I didn’t want to say it before, and I don’t have any bad feelings about it. It’s just the way it is. I had enough of it. Move on. It’s a unique place, but I’m done with it. It’s done with me.”