Ernie Els: Marana Ritz ‘perfect venue’ for Match Play tournyby tcguestblogger on Feb. 20, 2012, under Uncategorized
By Matt Lewis
Have press badge will travel. I hadn’t officially received my press credentials and I still got in unscathed (also known as without paying for a ticket) before I had the proper documentation. For those who wish to follow my updates I will be live blogging at www.TucsonCitizen.com on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10135664 and on Twitter at the handle @themattmonitor.
Watching these players is like going to the zoo in the sense that they are behind the ropes, and given special treatment. These players this week are the 64 best (or almost – Ernie Els excluded) male professional golfers in the FedEx Cup Points standings for the Professional Golf Association of America.
These players deserve special treatment, but to be behind the ropes? Are we animals? The short answer is yes. I would love to say that we are evolved, civilized and professional people; but I can’t speak for everyone.
Today was the first press conference of a sports-related nature I ever attended. I rubbed elbows with local and national media professionals and talked about everything from golf, to Jeremy Lin to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. I won’t name names, that’s not the type of journalist I am. I respect professional courtesy and understand that everything we discussed was deep-background and even off-the-record. I work hard to remain professional, but am still young. Please forgive me if I go astray this week.
Mr. Els answered a few questions to only about 15 journalists. As the week goes on the press conferences will be packed. Wait until Sunday, I won’t get in because I’m a lowly blogger.
Mr. Els is sponsored in part by Callaway Golf and said he is switching to a hex-patterned golf ball this week. For all you non-golfers who still follow the sport, a hex pattern is simply the shape of the little dimples on the golf ball. The hext has been tried (and unproven) for years. It is an alternative to rounded dimples, but Mr. Els says it helps his golf game.
The ball goes higher and further, he said sort of laughing it off. This man is tied for the bottom-of-the-barrel when it comes to driving distance – so he needs all the help he can get.
One reporter asked him why he publicly said that this tournament was not his favorite. He responded, I intentionally didn’t take notes, because who cares?! Some people like some things, other people like others. They have their reason, it’s not important to what he does as a profession. He’s here to make money, plain and simple.
A journalists question: There’s some uncertainty about the long-term future of this tournament here at this venue and in this area. Where do you stand on it being held here not only at the Ritz-Carlton [at Dove Mountain] but in the Tucson area?
Mr. Els answer: “I think it’s the perfect venue. You’ve got the world class resort right here. The airport is pretty close. We get good crowds out here. We’ve got an exciting venue in the design.” (His response goes on, but it’s not exciting.
My favorite question of the conference was a question about Phil Mickelson and his dropping out of the tournament this week; which gave Mr. Els a spot in the field. He was given the opportunity and publicly told Mr. Mickelson that he would buy him a steak dinner. He went back on his word, but said he has a few nice bottles of wine to give Mr. Mickelson.