What is even more interesting about what happened was that Els should not have been in the event in the first place. Phil Mickelson withdrew from the event before it started, allowing the next person in line in the Official World Golf Rankings to get in, which happened to be Ernie Els. While Els played great throughout the entire match, a lot of it had to do with Donald playing poorly, as least in my view.
It all started on the third hole, a medium length par 3 that requires a carry over water. Donald hit a complete shank for his tee shot that ended about 30 yards short of the green and into the water. If that wasn't worse enough, he hit his dropped shot into the water as well, practically giving the hole to Els. It was just one hole though, so how did he lose by such a wide margin?
I think that one hole showed exactly what was going wrong with Donald's play on Wednesday; he just couldn't get anything going with the irons all day. Couple that with a poor day on the greens and you have a recipe for disaster, which is what happened. Good for Ernie Els though in taking advantage of the opportunity he was given by Mickelson and making the most of it. I am sure he will have to treat Mickelson to at least a couple of fancy dinners after all is said and done, right?
That match was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the upsets went on Wednesday. Here is a quick rundown of high seeds that lost alongside Donald: 2 Webb Simpson, 2 Adam Scott, 3 Bill Haas, 3 Graeme McDowell, 4 K.J. Choi, and 4 Sergio Garcia. The biggest loss in my opinion had to have been 3 Bill Haas against 14 Ryo Ishikawa. Haas had just won the previous week and looked fantastic from tee to green, and then somehow lays an egg against Ishikawa on the back nine and is ousted after the first round.
It just goes to show that all of the top 64 or so golfers in the world are very talented and can go low at any time.
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for over a decade. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.
- Ernie Els
- Luke Donald