April 17 2013
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Ernie Els can't tell you what he said to good friend and newly minted Masters champion Adam Scott on Sunday night.
"We had quite a few beers, both of us," Els said with a huge smile. "You can imagine what we said. I couldn't say (what), not in proper English.
"He's very delighted, I can promise you, that he got a Green Jacket and I was delighted for him. It was quite a good conversation."
Nine months ago, it was a different conversation that shed light on just how close the South African and Australian are to one another.
"I really feel for my buddy, Scotty, I really do," Els said after watching Scott bogey the final four holes at Royal Lytham & St. Annes to hand the claret jug to him. "I've been there before. I've blown majors before and golf tournaments before, and I just hope he doesn't take it as hard as I did."
Sunday, Scott became the first Australian to win the Green Jacket, beating Angel Cabrera, another good friend of Els', in a memorable playoff.
"Everyone is so happy that Scotty won," said Jason Day, who was in contention as well until bogeying two of his final three holes. "It's hard to not be happy for the guy because he's so nice."
Day and Scott traded texts that night.
"He texted me and said, 'I know you're disappointed, but you showed a lot of class,'" Day said. "I texted him back and said, 'I'm glad it was you to be the first. It goes down in history forever, mate.' Being the first Australian to win the Masters does go down in history, and that's got to feel good for him."
It also felt good for Els, who made a trip to Augusta National with Scott two weeks prior to the tournament. The two also played two practice rounds together, along with Louis Oosthuizen, with Scott getting in Els' pocket.
"But being the veteran I am, I made quite a bit of money the second day back from them," Els said. "So we almost came out square."
Games aside, Els could see how well Scott was hitting the ball. He also noticed a quiet confidence in the Aussie.
"I've made a point of really getting on him a little bit, you know, and keeping him going forward," Els said. "We played a lot of golf and talked quite a bit. He really was motivated for it.
"He definitely was striking the ball really well. He was in a very nice, loose, mood. He wasn't too tight. I really felt he was going to play well."