Ernie Els says he has only himself to blame after he failed to qualify for the first Major of the year.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the Big Easy will not be driving down Magnolia Lane when the Masters starts at Augusta on Thursday.
Els said on his website that “Obviously I’m disappointed to not be in this year’s Masters. Since I’ve been a professional at this level I’ve always played Augusta National and enjoyed it. To be honest, it’ll be quite a weird feeling not being there.”
After slipping out of the top 50 world rankings, Els needed to win the Shell Houston Open on the PGA tour last week in order to take the last spot in this year’s maiden Major championship. Earlier in the year, Els did mention that he would attempt to qualify for the Masters but a poor performance during the 2011 season has left him unqualified.
Els reveals that ”It’s not going to change my life. It’s just one of those things. I’ll be back there next year.”
While the Masters committee can send invitations to players that they would like to see at the tournament, including those that did not strictly qualify, Els was unfortunately not a recipient.
“It is an invitational event and they have their reasons to invite somebody or not,” says Els. “So, yes, it’s a little bit sad that an 18-year streak has come to an end, but I have only myself to blame.”
The World Golf Hall of Fame member came closest to winning at Augusta in 2004, when American Phil Mickelson bagged his maiden Major with a putt on the 72nd hole that just managed to trickle in to deny Els a play-off shot at the Green Jacket.
Since that loss, Els has not had a top-15 finish at the event.
“It’s only the first week of April,” says Els “and I have a long season ahead of me with lots of great tournaments to look forward to.”