Conditions like the ones at Muirfield this year can do a lot to a player's mental game. We've seen the best in the world not only three putt these Muirfield greens, but even four and five putt considering the player and the hole.
Ernie Els headed in a big betting favorite considering his win a year ago (I picked him before the week started) at this championship and his win the last time the Open was held at Muirfield, but it has been a tough two days for the four-time major winner.
An opening 74 followed by a bogey-bogey finish on Friday to card a second-straight round of 3-over has him 6-over for the week and pretty upset about the conditions. His post round interview was so good we didn't want to deny you the chance to read the whole thing, so here goes.
Q. Talk about the conditions.
ERNIE ELS: I don't need to be here. Ask your question.
Q. Always love to know your feelings on the condition?
ERNIE ELS: Why?
Q. The conditions.
ERNIE ELS: It is what it is.
Q. Your state of play?
ERNIE ELS: I'm getting nothing out of it. I'm very frustrated. I just made two bogeys from the middle of the bloody fairway. I'm hitting it nicely, I'm hitting it solidly. I'm trying to do the right thing. It's quite difficult out there.
Q. Talk about the unpredictability of the golf course. One bounce one day, and one bounce the other day.
ERNIE ELS: It's a links golf course. It's what you're gonna get. It's firm. It's brown. It's bouncing all over the place. It's firm. It's tough to control your ball. It's a pretty tough battle out there.
Q. What's the difference between yesterday and today for you condition-wise?
ERNIE ELS: Pretty similar. I think there are two greens that's really getting -- can I say it? It's not very playable. But the rest is tough but fair. Really tough challenge. But I think two of the greens are getting out of hand.
Q. Which two, Ernie?
ERNIE ELS: 15 and I still want to say No. 14. 14 and 15.
Q. Are you ever in your comfort zone out there at all?
ERNIE ELS: No. I mean, I love links golf. And I'm trying to be as positive as I can. But as I say, I'm just -- for some reason, I guess I got all my breaks last year, I'm not getting anything. And it's very frustrating, trying to get myself back in the tournament. And it's just not going my way. Hopefully I'll make my cut. You're never out of a Major playing on the weekend.
Q. You said the greens are unplayable?
ERNIE ELS: I never said that. Where did I say it was unplayable?
Q. 15 and 14.
ERNIE ELS: I said it's borderline. Please. I never used the word "unplayable."
Q. I apologize. Can the organization do anything to make them better?
ERNIE ELS: Yes. Yes, they can.
Q. What would you like to see them do?
ERNIE ELS: Water. And you don't have to cut 14 and 15. Thank you.
Well, that was fun. Ernie is clearly upset with the way the course is playing, or the breaks he isn't getting, or just about everything, but the usually calm and collected Els seems downright infuriated with his bid for a third Claret Jug.
We've seen some awkward interviews with Els in the past, so we must ask, was this one from Muirfield better than the infamous Steve Sands interview from the Transitions a year ago? We will let you decide.