Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 7/22/12
The story coming out of Ernie Els's remarkable Open championship today will be a mixture of how Adam Scott collapsed over the final four holes and how, on a day when none of the leaders could shoot below par, Els was able to claw all the way back to the top. Except, in reality, that underestimates just how far back Els really started.

If the season had ended yesterday, the enduring story of Ernie Els's year would be Augusta National and a streak of 17-straight invitations broken. Ernie came into the year playing mediocre, was mired in the mid-50s in ranking and therefore was due no automatic invitation to The Masters. There was a chance when Els led late at Innisbrook, when a victory would have been an automatic entry to Amen Corner, but the chance was lost when Els slid a four-footer by on the 18th. He had a similar chance at the Arnold Pamer Invitational but faded late, ultimately finishing 4th. In the weeks leading into The Masters, the public outcry grew but the committee stood its ground (and rightfully so) and Els was left out of the field.

Any player of Els's generation would have likely been excused if they just folded and began their preparations for the Legends Tour. But not Els. He responded to his week off in April by nearly winning the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. He finished in the top-50 at the Byron Nelson, had a great Memorial through the first three days and then posted a top-10 at the U.S. Open at Olympic. He responded both publicly to the lack of invitation -- "To go through all of this and then get an invite, I wouldn't take it. They can keep it." -- and then he responded on the course by ultimately winning today at Royal Lytham St. Anne.

As a golf fan, I have watched Els for years but to be honest, I never knew his personal approach to golf and to life. While his number of wins and majors clearly place him in an elite group of golfers, I don't think I've heard him speak as much to the press as he has this year. And what I find as I listen to his interviews leading into The Masters, after the invitation was not offered, during his great run in New Orleans, all the way up through today's post-win interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi is how open and how honest he is about the game of golf and his place in it. The humility is refreshing in this modern era of look-at-me star athletes. He makes it easy to be a fan of not only Ernie Els but also of the game of golf. His story of hard work and redemption -- how the man left out became the man on top -- should serve as an inspiration to all of us.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Marcus Morris to Kyrie Irving: 'Just don't go to Golden State'

Report: Cubs interested in Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy

Marc-Andre Fleury took Stanley Cup on a road trip, protected it well

Cardinals say Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald won't play in Hall of Fame Game

Chiefs LB Tamba Hali goes on Twitter rant, seemingly wants out


O.J. Simpson still invited to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies

WATCH: 49ers and Seahawks players working out together

WATCH: Vince Carter throws out first pitch for 'SagerStrong Night'

Knicks GM Scott Perry has yet to meet with owner James Dolan

Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler reportedly recruiting Kyrie Irving to the Timberwolves

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer gives David Johnson stitches

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker