KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Ernie Els returns to Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship as a major champion, the same status he carried the last time he was there.
He was the U.S. Open winner in 1997, having outlasted Colin Montgomerie and Tom Lehman at Congressional for his second major at age 27. He came to Kiawah Island that fall to represent South Africa in the World Cup. The rest week was a blur. He vaguely remembers the Ocean Course, only that it was hard.
He says: “I think they designed that course for match play.”
So much has transpired between then and now. That ’97 U.S. Open win came right after 21-year-old Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 shots. Golf looked like it might have a rivalry to last a generation, only it didn’t pan out that way.