Even with a few days to absorb his 2013 Masters performance, Ernie Els was at a loss to explain his ride along Augusta National’s famed par 5s.
He was 15 under on Nos. 2, 8, 13 and 15, compared with 12 over on the par 4s.
“Normally I haven’t played the par 5s well. This year, I make everything. I don’t know, mate; I can’t explain it.”
Most inexplicable was the way he played the par-5 15th. In 64 previous rounds, Els was just 10 under on the hole – yet this time around he was 6 under, with two eagles and two birdies.
Now in 68 rounds, Els is 88 under at the par 5s. Sounds rather robust, eh? Sounds like Els is nuts to say he hasn’t normally played the par 5s well, right? Well, fact is, he is spot on.
For comparison sakes, consider that Els can’t match Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, two prime contemporaries. In 82 Masters rounds, Mickelson is 172 under on the par 5s, or he plays them in an average of 2.1 under per round. Woods is 138 under, playing them in 1.92 under per his 72 rounds. But Els? His 88 under computes to an average of 1.3 under per round.
Another aspect to digest: Whereas Els finished T-13 while going 15 under on the par 5s, the winner, Adam Scott, was just 5 under on them. In other words, the Aussie got the green jacket, but Els took home a bunch of crystal.
“Yeah, man. It’s crazy,” Els said. “I almost got the Par-3 (Contest), too.” The Big Easy actually finished in a five-way tie at 4 under, but Ted Potter Jr. won in a playoff.
Knowing the winner of the Par 3 Contest has never gone on to win the green jacket that same week, Els smiled. “I was a little scared there.”