Seminar 1 – Exercise 2
Watch the following video, which begins as Els is about to putt for the second time.
Then listen to the following interview and write a 250 to 350 word story and post it on the website with a photograph and a featured image.
GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT ERNIE ELS EXERCISE:
1. Make sure you keep to the basics as they were taught: 5W&1H and inverted pyramid.
2. Quotes are very important to every story. This was a quote-led story, so make sure you introduce your quotes early on, though not too early and not too late (between 3rd and 5th par).
3. Paragraphs should mainly be one sentence. (or in some exceptional cases two) No more than that.
4. Avoid flowery words. Yes, we all want to create a creative masterpiece, but for newswriting, it is unfortunately not wanted. Stick to the ‘boring’ way for the time being.
5. You have to bring your A Game – both in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation.
6. It is apparent that many of you do not feel comfortable writing about non-football stories. Try to get into the habit of reading as many different sport stories as possible. The broader your knowledge, the more employable you are.
7. Make sure you answer all the pertinent questions and add some context to the story.
Some other examples of stories, though please make sure that you realise that most of them would not be appropriate as a news story as required from you for this unit.
The only way Ernie Els could make any sense at all of his six-putt quintuple bogey on the first hole of Thursday’s Masters was to call it a bad case of the “heebie-jeebies.”
“It’s hard to explain. I can’t explain it,” said Els after carding an 8-over 80 in his hellish opening round at Augusta. “It’s something that I’m sure up there somewhere [in his head] that you just can’t do what you normally do. It’s unexplainable.
“A lot of people have stopped playing the game, you know,” he added. “It’s unexplainable.”
It all started out conventionally enough. His tee shot was fine and he missed the green but he chipped to within three feet. And that’s when the serpents in Els’ brain took over.
“It’s hard to putt when you’ve got snakes in your head,” said the four-time major winner from South Africa. “I couldn’t get the putter back,” he said. “I was standing there, I’ve got a three-footer, I’ve made thousands of three-footers, and I just couldn’t take it back.”
If you have not yet seen how it happened, be advised the following video is not for the faint of heart.
Els has been struggling with the yips for a while, but Thursday’s disaster was on a whole other level for a professional with 19 PGA Tour wins on his resume. His subsequent misses were from three feet, 10 and 11 inches, and two feet, and included a whiffed would-be tap-in.
“I just lost count after, I mean, the whole day was a grind,” said Els, who finished with an 8-over 80 and now holds the unfortunate record for highest score on the par-4 first hole in Masters history.
Jason Day, who had a front-row seat to Els’ horror show, was similarly unable to clarify what he witnessed.
“It’s the first time ever I’ve seen anything like that,” Day, who started with a 5-under 31 on the front nine but faded on the back, told New Zealand’s stuff.co. “I feel for Ernie. I feel like I’m pretty good mates with him, being on past Presidents Cup teams and I’ve known him for a long time now.
“I didn’t realize he was fighting stuff like that upstairs with the putter,” added Day, who limped in at even-par after making a triple-bogey hash of the par-3 16th. “But it’s painful for players to go through that … You just don’t want to see any player go through something like that, because it can be sometimes career ending for guys like that if they really are fighting it that much.”
It was the kind of day that would make anyone want to hang up the spikes, and you have to credit the Big Easy for graciously submitting to interviews afterward.
“I don’t know how I stayed out there,” said Els, who added he carried on out of respect for the game and the event.
No doubt to the amusement of many from afar, Ernie Els careened into a six-putt fiasco Thursday on the first hole of the Masters.
But to speak with Els afterward was to feel his despair.
In the few seemingly cathartic minutes during which he spoke before being whisked away practically in midsentence, Els referred to “snakes and stuff going up in your brain” and “a short (circuit) up there somewhere.”
“You just can’t do what you normally do; it’s unexplainable,” said Els, who has won four major championships. “A lot of people have stopped playing the game getting that feeling.”
After losing count as he set the tournament record with a 9 on the par-4 hole, Els finished with an 8-over 80 after leaving what he estimated overall were 15 short putts on greens.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I can go to that putting green now and make 20 straight 3-footers. And then you get on the course and you feel a little different, and you can’t do what you normally do.”
Els didn’t use the term “yips,” a mental hurdle impairing a routine task.
But Els did use that word when he missed short putts at a tournament last year, and now he may be facing an insidious psychological adversary that is no laughing matter.
“I’m not sure,” he said, “where I’m going from here.”
Former world number one Ernie Els carded the worst first hole in Masters history, but it was not as bad as first thought.
Scoreboards showed the South African took a sextuple-bogey 10 shots at the par four, including seven putts.
But TV footage only showed six putts, with 46-year-old Els later signing for a nine in his eight-over-par 80.
“I don’t know how I stayed out there,” he said. “The last thing you want is to be out on the golf course.”
He added: “I’m not sure where I’m going from here. If you have snakes in your brain, it’s difficult. Maybe I need a brain transplant.”
Els, who had problems with his putting since the end of last season, needed six putts from a distance of three feet.
But at least he avoided becoming the 10th player to record a double-figure score at Augusta.
“I can’t explain it,” he said. “I couldn’t take the putter back. I had three goes and then it went all over the place.
“Something withholds you from doing your normal thing. I could go on the practice putting green and make 20 straight three-footers.”
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Ernie Els’ shocking display of putting yips on the first hole Thursday weren’t his only misses from close range.
They were just the only ones that went viral.
In one of the most bizarre scenes in recent major-championship history, Els, a four-time major winner, missed five putts from inside 3 feet on his way to an opening 9 at the Masters. It’s the highest score ever recorded at Augusta National’s first hole.
“There’s a short up there somewhere and you just can’t do what you normally do,” he said afterward. “It’s unexplainable. A lot of people have stopped playing the game getting that feeling. I couldn’t get the putter back. I was standing there, I’ve got a 3-footer, I’ve made thousands of 3-footers, and I just couldn’t take it back.”
After missing the first green to the left, Els nestled his chip within a few feet. That’s when the trouble started, as he knocked his ball back and forth around the cup, missing putts from 2 feet, 3 feet, 3 feet, 10 inches and 11 inches.
The 46-year-old has battled putting yips over the past few years, relying on an anchored putter to win the 2012 Open Championship. (That stroke has since been banned.) But Els’ condition has worsened over the past few months, and he had two recent episodes during which he couldn’t shake in a putt from a foot away.
Els signed for an 8-over 80 Thursday, matching his worst score in 75 rounds at Augusta. He is ranked last in the field in putting, after taking 39 putts.
“I don’t know how I stayed out there,” he said.
Compounding Els’ issue is Augusta’s notoriously difficult greens, which put even more stress on his short putting.
“I couldn’t putt with a stick,” he said. “When you have snakes and stuff going up in your brain, it’s difficult. …
“You make some stuff up in your brain. What holds you back from doing your normal thing? I don’t know what it is. I can go to the putting green now and make 20 straight 3-footers. Then you get on the course and you feel a little different and you can’t do what you normally do.”
Jason Day, who was in the same group, said Els’ struggles were “the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.”
“I didn’t realize he was fighting stuff like that upstairs with the putter,” Day said. “You just don’t want to see any player go through something like that, because it can be sometimes career-ending for guys if they really are fighting it that much.”
Ernie Els was two feet from a par to start the Masters.
Twenty-four measly inches.
Then, the unimaginable happened.
One miss. And another. And another. And another. And another.
Finally, on his sixth putt — a one-handed swat that showed his total disgust — Els finished off a quintuple-bogey nine that essentially ruined any hope of contending for a green jacket on the very first hole Thursday.
Talk about a hard one to take for the Big Easy.
“I can’t explain it,” said Els, who went on to shoot an eight-over 80 that matched his highest score ever at Augusta National and left him a whopping 14 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth. “You’re not able to do what you normally do. It’s unexplainable.”
Els posted the worst score ever at No. 1, a 445-yarder known as “Tea Olive.”
No one at the Masters had ever gone higher than eight on the par-4 hole.
“I feel bad for Ernie,” said Spieth, the defending Masters champion. “It’s obviously in your head. I’ve certainly had my moments, everybody has, from short range, where they just are not confident in where they are starting it. And on Augusta National’s greens, with the wind blowing, it’s a place you certainly want to be comfortable.”
Making the whole scene downright surreal, none of the putts appeared longer than four feet. Els just kept knocking the ball back and forth past the cup, totally bedeviled by not only the slick, treacherous greens at Augusta National, but basically a meltdown in his mental approach.
He missed so many times, the score was initially recorded as a 10 instead of a nine. It was easy to lose count. Even Els wasn’t quite sure how many times he putted.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that,” said Jason Day, who was playing with Els. “You don’t want to see any player go through something like that. It can be sometimes career ending for guys like that if they really are fighting it that much. I just want Ernie to kind of get back to what he used to do, and start playing some good golf again and try to get past this.”
Els’ correct score was finally posted after he finished his round.
Not that it was much solace to the South African.
“I can’t get the putter to go back,” Els said. “I’m not sure where I go from here.”
Tom Watson, playing in the Masters for the final time, said Els’ putts were harder than they might have looked, especially on a blustery day.
“It’s probably the windiest green on the golf course,” Watson said.
But Els said the conditions had nothing with it.
He three-putted from 25 feet at No. 2. He missed a six-footer at the 15th, an eight-footer at the 16th, and a four-footer at the 17th. Finally, he closed with a three-putt from 16 feet at the final hole, the crowd groaning one last time in the fading sunlight.
Els’ only real highlight with the putter was a 40-foot birdie at the fifth.
“I can count up 15 shots I lost out there just on the greens,” Els moaned.
After the third putt at No. 1, Els stared at the ball with a disbelieving hint of a smile. By the end, he let his frustration get the best of him, making a half-hearted flick at the ball with one hand on the club from less than a foot away. Naturally, it lipped out.
This one would’ve been tough to take for a weekend duffer.
Imagine how a guy who has won four major titles must’ve felt, though it wasn’t the first time Els has come down with the yips at a major championship.
At the first hole of the 2014 British Open, he struck a spectator in the face with his opening tee shot and was still shaken when he got to the green. Els missed a one-foot putt, and then missed again when he carelessly tried to back-hand the ball into the hole.
But that was only a triple-bogey.
Els kept saying that he’s at a loss to explain his putting woes. Late Wednesday afternoon, after most players had left the course, he was still on the putting green working with famed coach David Leadbetter.
“It wouldn’t matter if I putted with a stick,” Els said. “When snakes are going off in your brain, it’s difficult.”
The sequence was so far-fetched, the high-tech shot tracker on the Masters web site couldn’t handle it. The system at first showed only seven shots for Els, went down temporarily, and finally returned with 10 shots logged in. Obviously, no one had expected a professional golfer to need that many strokes on one hole, even if it was actually only nine.
For Els, it was a far cry from his start a year ago, when he opened the Masters with a five-under 67 that left him only three strokes behind eventual winner Spieth.
There was no chance of him shooting a 67 this time around.
Not after a six-putt.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Ernie Els made dubious Masters history in the opening round Thursday by scoring a 9 on the par-4 first hole — the highest in 80 years of the tournament.
Els, 46, a World Golf Hall of Famer who has won four major championships, six-putted the first green at Augusta National after chipping from off the green to within 3 feet for what appeared to be an easy par.
“It’s hard to putt when you’ve got snakes in your head,” Els said.
The South African, who has 19 PGA Tour victories and more than 60 worldwide wins, was understandably dazed afterward. He stopped to talk with reporters but had difficulty explaining how it all went so badly.
“I couldn’t putt with a stick,” Els said. “You make some stuff up in your brain, you know, it’s difficult. It’s something that, what holds you back from doing your normal thing? I don’t know what it is. I can go to that putting green now and make 20 straight 3-footers. And then you get on the course, and you feel a little different, and you can’t do what you normally do. So it’s pretty difficult.”
Els started innocently enough. He missed the par-4 first green but chipped up to inside 3 feet. That’s where the trouble began.
“I couldn’t get the putter back,” he said. “I was standing there, I’ve got a 3-footer, I’ve made thousands of 3-footers, and I just couldn’t take it back.”
Els missed and then did so again from distances of 3 feet, 10 inches, 11 inches and 2 feet. The last two putts he hit one-handed in disgust.
“And then I just kind of lost count after, I mean, the whole day was a grind,” he said. “I tried to fight. I’m hitting the ball half-decent, and I can’t make it from 2 feet.
“You make some stuff up in your brain, you know, it’s difficult. It’s something that, what holds you back from doing your normal thing? I don’t know what it is. I can go to that putting green now and make 20 straight 3-footers. And then you get on the course and you feel a little different and you can’t do what you normally do. So it’s pretty difficult.
“I missed from 2 feet on 18 and a 4-footer on 17. When you count them up, it’s too many shots just out there, just on the green, so it’s very difficult. I’m not sure where I’m going from here. So I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Els left the course wondering how he even kept going.
“I don’t know how I stayed out there,” he said. “But you love the game, and you’ve got to have respect for the tournament and so forth. But it’s unexplainable. It’s very tough to tell you what goes through your mind. It’s the last thing you want to do is do that on a golf course at this level. So it’s very difficult.”