After dueling with Tiger Woods for most of his career, Ernie Els admits that talk of how the current crop of star players would fare against Woods in his prime doesn’t piss him off.
“It doesn’t really piss me off,” said The Big Easy, who will captain the Internationals against a Woods-led Team USA at the Presidents Cup next year.
“But can you imagine how that must piss Tiger off? He was leaps and bounds the best player.”
Woods has been left somewhat stranded on 14 Majors – the last of that haul coming at the 2008 US Open – and Els knows better than many, if not all, how good the now fit-again 42-year-old was in his prime. The South African, a four-time Major champion, finished second to Woods in three straight Majors in 2000 and has admitted in the past that his American counterpart cost him many more.
“You know, people forget very quickly. Then you see special players like we have now, the younger generation of really special players like Rory [McIlroy] and all these guys. But I know what I played against, and you can’t take anything away from anybody. I just know what a special talent Tiger is. And it’s good to see that back.”
Els’ last Major win came at The Open in 2002 and will not play at The Masters this year unless he wins one of few remaining events before the world’s best head to Augusta National.
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