Els on the Masters: 'This tournament was just not for me'

"Somewhat disappointed" was in there after an opening 72.

"I had a great chance on 11 and 14".

That meant he was first out with marker Jeff Knox for the second time in his career, and the South African veteran signed off with a lacklustre 78 to finish on 20 over par, three shots behind 1987 champion Larry Mize.

It was his last top-10 that represented his best opportunity to win.

"We're going to Quail (Hollow) for the PGA and I've had success there in the past, so nothing but positives ahead, and my game feels in good shape", he said. "I didn't get too high with some really low nine-hole scores, but I didn't shoot any nine-hole scores that were in the 40s". But I didn't shoot any nine-hole scores that were in the 40s.

"And then, obviously, the times I came close".

Without a Masters badge, however, a trip to Augusta this week would be a meaningless visit to Georgia's second biggest city where Textron Specialized Vehicles, who manufacture 90 percent of the world's golf carts, is based.

Bob Zafian of Green Jacket Auctions told Zak that he had sold more than a dozen green jackets - the one given retroactively to Horton Smith, who won the first Masters in 1934, went for $682,000 at auction - so it's not like seeing them in the wild is completely unheard of. "If I don't, it's been good".

Which is a familiar refrain.

The one-stroke loss to Mickelson, best remembered for Lefty's celebration leap on No. 18, took something out of Els, who never again finished better than 13th. No player under the age of 50 has had as many.

Rose managed to make a birdie, but it wasn't enough to keep the lead. And where I hit my drives on 13 and 15, I should be making birdie off the tee shots. And, if he gets that first one, he can win a few. Not that such a record of consistency/failure will be any consolation to the World No. 2.

"Yeah, I would like one more", he said. It's winning, not an accumulation of frustrating near-misses and minor-league places. He has five wins on tour, including one each in the past three years.

The world No 2 will shelve his Augusta ambitions and looks forward to the rest of the campaign, particularly the next three Majors, starting with the US Open at Erin Hills in June. "It's a place you dream to get to once or twice".

"Get your math right and land it right on the number". And as I say, if you can't win in 23 tries, maybe you should try something else. That's what happens to Rory.

Spieth, though, started clawing back with a birdie on No. 16 to reframe his focus and, although he was 10 shots down, he had confidence he could contend. "If you hit the opposite the slopes will repel the ball". "It seems a little more steady and that can only bode well for the future". He'll have to earn his way back through better golf.

Woods also has secured green jackets in 2001, 2002 and 2005. Tom Weiskopf, he of the majestic swing and massive talent, was runner-up four times between 1969 and 1975.

Now, they're headed back to the 18th tee box for the first playoff hole, tied at 9-under 279. "What is Jack thinking right now?" He had six top-10s, with five of them coming in succession from 2000 to 2004. "It would be that kind of surprise if Rory didn't". Some of Els's very favourite memories of Augusta are from this hole. I think 2004 was really special Sunday for myself. This course is flawless for him.

"This tournament was just not for me", he grinned. "I fell out of patience with the place".

  • Julie Sanders