WORLD MATCH PLAY

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

“YOU KNOW, I TRIED VERY HARD TO­DAY. I PLAYED VERY WELL TO­DAY. BUT, YOUR SON. VERY SPE­CIAL.” – SEVE BALLES­TEROS, AF­TER LOS­ING 2/1 TO ELS IN THE 1994 WORLD MATCH PLAY FI­NAL AT WENT­WORTH. ELS WON SEVEN FI­NALS BE­TWEEN

1994 AND 2007. “Af­ter the rounds,” wrote Cal­la­han, “Neels drank his Coca-Cola, the other play­ers drank their beers, and Ernie drank in ev­ery­thing. Ernie learned the most from his dad.”

In 2012, when Ernie won his sec­ond Open claret jug at Royal Lytham & St Annes, 10 years af­ter his first at Muir­field, it was Cal­la­han who again wrote (in our De­cem­ber 2012 is­sue) about how Ernie had pulled back from the party life to win another ma­jor. Back in 1992, Ernie had told Cal­la­han that he liked a beer with his friends.“Ex­ces­sive drink­ing is not good for my health, my fam­ily or my game,” Ernie told Cal­la­han.“I’m in my 40s now and I’m very se­ri­ous about my busi­ness. If I don’t have one more party for the rest of my life, I’m still ahead of the game.”

In this trib­ute ar­ti­cle to both Ernie and GDSA’s 20 years of en­ter­tain­ing our read­ers and help­ing many of them to be­come bet­ter golfers, we have put to­gether some high­lights of Ernie’s ca­reer, in­clud­ing a com­pi­la­tion of im­ages which many of us had long for­got­ten. Ernie might not have won all the ma­jors we thought he would 20 years ago – it could have been nine or 10 had good for­tune been more on his side – but he re­mains a gi­ant among golfers and peo­ple, and Golf Di­gest has been for­tu­nate to have been a part of be­ing there to record a big chunk of his life in golf while it hap­pened. – Stu­art McLean

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