Mick­el­son, Els reach mile­stone in 100th ma­jor cham­pi­onship

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Doug Fer­gu­son

CHARLOTTE, N.C.» On the mon­i­tor be­low them was a photo from the first time they met. The 14-year-old South African with an easy smile was hold­ing the win­ner’s tro­phy from the 1984 Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onship. Next to him was the golden boy from San Diego, slightly taller at the time, hold­ing his tro­phy as the run­ner-up.

Ernie Els and Phil Mick­el­son are still go­ing at it, rarely ri­vals, al­ways friends.

The next time play­ing to­gether, this week at the PGA Cham­pi­onship, marks a spe­cial oc­ca­sion for both. Three decades later, Els and Mick­el­son join an elite club by com­pet­ing in their 100th ma­jor cham­pi­onship.

Els won his first one in 1994 at the U.S. Open at Oak­mont.

Mick­el­son didn’t win his first ma­jor un­til he was 34, at the Masters, and it came at the ex­pense of Els. Mick­el­son holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the fi­nal hole. Els, on the putting green hope­ful of a play­off, heard the ground-shak­ing roar, picked up his golf balls and walked off. He never won a green jacket.

They be­come the 13th and 14th play­ers to reach 100 ma­jors, a list that starts with Jack Nick­laus and his 164. He is fol­lowed by Gary Player, Tom Wat­son, Arnold Palmer, Ray­mond Floyd, Sam Snead, Ben Cren­shaw, Gene Sarazen, Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara, Bern­hard Langer and Nick Faldo, who played his 100th and fi­nal ma­jor at St. An­drews in the Bri­tish Open two years ago.

The PGA of Amer­ica had pho­tos from the first ma­jor they played (Els at the 1989 Bri­tish Open, Mick­el­son at the 1990 U.S. Open); the vic­to­ries in the ma­jors (five for Mick­el­son, four for Els); and yes, that 1984 Ju­nior World.

“Phil has had a great time, win­ning five. I’ve won four,” Els said. “But we’ve been in the hunt many, many other times and it didn’t quite come off.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.