• Els: We came damn close

    Ernie Els
    Close but no cigar

    Internationals captain Ernie Els admitted that maybe he could’ve deviated from his plans as he watched his early starters get blown away on Sunday.

    That said, the South African legend was pleased with the overall showing of his underdog side as they came mightily close to upsetting the much-fancied Americans, who were bouyed by the presence of playing captain Tiger Woods.

    Els sent out five rookies in his opening seven matches and watched as only Sungjae Im secured a point.

    ‘I could have made different choices in the singles today,’ said Els.

    ‘I can take it on my shoulders. It is what it is. The questions will come from you guys and the public that I made mistakes in the selection of where I put my players.

    ‘But I followed a plan from 100 per cent, and it didn’t quite work out, but we came damn close.’

    Els was proud of his inexperienced side which saw PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Im star alongside Abraham Ancer produce their best. CT Pan, Cameron Smith and Ben An also shone at times.

    ‘I can only give them my love. They tried so hard. They played so hard for each other and the team … I really have to take my hat off to every one of them,’ commented The Big Easy.

    ‘There are a lot of young, young players, a lot of players that the world has never seen or heard but you will see them a lot in the future. I have admiration for my guys and the caddies and the wives, it’s been fantastic.’

    The US, though, remain in control of the event with 11 wins and a tie in the 13-event history. The highest ranked player on Els’ side this week was Adam Scott but at 20th in the world, the Australian is lower than 11 of 12 of the Americans.

    ‘If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building,’ added Els.

    ‘But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.

    ‘We were right there to the end, just a couple of matches didn’t quite go our way. We’re getting closer. We’ve just got to keep it up.’

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