Why Ernie Els's putting turnaround at Harbour Town was remarkable
We cringed. We looked away. In short, Ernie Els' six-putt at the Masters was tough to watch. But if you thought the four-time major champion was just going to fade away after that embarrassing/sad episode, think again.
Not only did Els putt much better the week after his first-hole disaster at Augusta National, he putted great. Els finished third in the field at the RBC Heritage in strokes gained/putting at 2.096, and shot a final-round 66 at Harbour Town (After switching to a SeeMore putter for the weekend) to finish T-14. Quite a remarkable turnaround for a player who admitted he "just couldn't take the putter back" on a three-footer just days before.
Els, 46, hasn't finished a season in the top 100 in strokes gained/putting on the PGA Tour since 2010, and was a dismal 173rd in 2015. But while his putting has come under the microscope in the past year due to some shocking short misses, it actually hasn't been bad this season. Els currently ranks 36th on tour in strokes gained/putting, although, that doesn't include his performance at the Masters, which doesn't keep track of that stat.
Officially, the PGA Tour's "bounce back" stat tracks how often a player responds to a bogey with a birdie on the next hole. But unofficially, Els probably posted the best bounce back we'll see from a golfer this year. Now we'll watch -- and hope -- he can keep it up.