Ernie Els' Awkward Interview
By mustang6560 on 3/19/12
In any competition, there is a winner AND a loser. But in golf, there is one winner and a 150 something losers, depending on the tournament. And unfortunately for Ernie Els, he was one of the many losers Sunday at the Transitions Championship.

Ernie, who is still trying to punch his ticket to the Masters, was in the lead or tied for the lead for the majority of the afternoon yesterday at Innisbrook. He entered the infamous "Snake Pit" (holes 16, 17 and 18 at the Copperhead course) with the lead and he looked poised to earn an invitation to Augusta National. However, he finished bogey-bogey, which included a missed par putt from four feet on the 18th hole, to fall short of the playoff by one stroke.

In the aftermath, Steve Sands, the NBC/Golf Channel reporter, stopped a stunned Ernie to ask him a couple questions about his disappointing finish. The exchange was brief, but it was long enough to produce a lasting awkward feeling, which seemed to rub a few people the wrong way including Ian Poulter who tweeted:
Not sure that was a great interview with Ernie Els after the round. That question was a bit short and stuck in like a dagger. Not cool.
I didn't see the interview live, but I've since watched it a few times (watch it here). To me, Steve was borderline discourteous. I'm not sure he crossed a professional line or anything by asking either question, but to ask Ernie if he felt confident over his four foot par putt on the 18th was rude. Ernie was so close to his umpteenth Masters invitation he could almost smell it, almost taste it, almost touch it. Of course he was nervous standing over the putt!

Alas, Steve was just trying to do his job and I'm sure he didn't mean anything personal by his two question interview. If I was Ernie, I would not have agreed to the interview. There is no way I could have kept my cool after suffering such an emotional defeat. I have a hard time trying to maintain my cool when I lose and I just play skin games with my friends. Luckily for Ernie, he still has two weeks left to try and earn an invitation to the Masters. And who knows, he could always get an exemption!

What did you think of the interview?

Flickr, Peter

[ comments ]
bducharm says:
Bad timing - Sands texted Ernie and apologized directly to him. Ernie responded immediately with a no worries. Ernie just was interviewed on the Tavistock Cup and he is good.
legitimatebeef says:
Steve Sands found himself in a tense moment and then he choked big-time, that's all there is to it. Very poor performance on his part but then again broadcasting on the fly is not exactly easy.
Banker85 says:
I seen it Live and couldnt believe he would ask as dumb a question as he did. Were you, a Major winner, confident over a 4 footer? ridiculous.
Duke of Hazards says:
I'm not sure I see what the issue is with the question. Ernie Els is an accomplished professional golfer that is trying to make a come back from a lengthy slump. He missed what should've been an easy make on the final hole to contend for a championship title. Steve Sands is a professional sports broadcaster that is being paid to ask questions green side immediately after the end of the round to get the player's thoughts and reactions on camera. The length of the putt and the situation in which it was missed validate the question.

Is it just a matter of asking that question in such close temporal proximity to the event? Like, maybe it was a question for the press tent later?
Trip says:
Not sure I see any problem with this either. I think golf needs more of this, real emotion. How many times can I hear, "I'm just going to take it one shot at a time?".
TeT says:
nothing there, those kind of questions are not going to get him a promoted though.
guzzlingil says:
I have always liked Els....he handled the question with class....I would have loved to see how TW would have responded in that situation...
homermania says:
@guzz - Old Tiger would have melted his microphone with his laser eyes. New Tiger would be teary eyed.
jcstoll says:
So inappropriate! It would have been much more appropriate to have Johnny Miller comment on the side something like "folks at home, you just witnessed a classic, textbook choke!" Not to the guy's face, for crying out loud!
dottomm says:
@jcstoll - LOL'd That would be classic Miller! Thanks!
[ post comment ]
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