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Ernie Els could only grimace even going 12-under in FedEx Cup.
Ernie Els could only grimace even going 12-under in FedEx Cup. (Chris Baldwin/GolfPublisher.com)

Ernie Els good enough to choke, while Elin Woods shows that you don't mess with Tiger's wife

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,

If there's one thing we implicitly understand here at the Golfer Supremacy Rankings, it's that it's not easy being a world-class golfer, or even a golfer who can make a decent living at the sport.

Take a look at Luke Swilor, who spent part of last year on the Canadian PGA Tour and has been blogging for a couple years about his efforts to earn a PGA Tour card. Reports on Swilor from eyewitnesses like Tony at the Hooked on Golf Blog tell us that Swilor is an unbelievable golfer. Yet still, he will spend 2008 trying to get a shot at the Big Tour after failing to qualify. Now multiply Swilor by several thousand, and you see that there are a great many talented golfers out there still striving for their moment in the sun.

So just getting to the big time is tough. That's why we appreciate those who get to the top and then due to their play, injuries or other circumstances, are forced to battle their way back to the top. Or at least get close enough to the top to choke horribly. Like Ernie Els.

Golfer Supremacy Rankings

1. Ernie Els

Comments: Heading to the par-5 18th hole at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa with a two-shot lead, Els went to pieces, found the water twice and carded an eight to hand the Alfred Dunhill Championship to John Bickerton of England. Will the loss haunt Els? Doubtful. Because while many are hopeful Els can grab hold of his prime once more and challenge Tiger Woods in 2008, the fact is, Els showed enough in 2007 to make most the golf world believe that his game is nearing where it used to be. Will it be good enough to trouble Tiger? Probably not too much. So we're looking at the Alfred Dunhill debacle as the "glass is half full." Even getting close enough to choke on the last hole tells us the Big Easy should be delighting his fans with more wins soon enough.

2. Elin Woods

Comments: Tread lightly when attempting to be clever at the expense of Mrs. Woods. Tiger's wife and the mother of Sam Alexis has won an apology and a "substantial settlement" from Irish magazine "The Dubliner" after said magazine thought it would be witty to run fake nude photos of the former Miss Nordegren prior to the 2006 Ryder Cup Matches. Elin said she'd be donating the money to cancer support charities in memory of Heather Clarke, the late wife of British golfer Darren Clarke. Well played, Mrs. Woods.

3. Greg Norman

Comments: While a disappointing loss for Ernie Els could actually mean the South African is putting his game back at the top level, a close loss in a meaningless silly season event for Greg Norman just means that we get to see The Shark's name on the sports pages for something other than divorcing his wife and dating Chris Evert. Norman, bringing back memories of yesterday, missed a birdie putt on the final hole, as did partner Bubba Watson, while Woody Austin converted a 35-footer on the final hole to give he and partner Mark Calcavecchia the victory at the Merrill Lynch Shootout.

4. South Korea

Comments: For the second successive year, Asia dominated the International team to win the Lexus Cup, held this year in Australia. The Asian team was led by South Koreans Jee Young Lee, Seon Hwa Lee, In-Kyung Kim and captain Se Ri Pak, and they handily topped the International side, which featured such players as Annika Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen.

Random Quote: "No, I don't own the Lexus Cup, but it is a good feeling."

-- Seon Hwa Lee, who is unbeaten in six matches at the Lexus Cup.

Random Quote II: "To sit around for eight months and not play any golf, I thought would help. But it is what it is. There's not a whole lot I can do about it ... I'm not the kind of guy that wants to half do it. I enjoy playing at home... to go out and play, to pass time. But that's something that I don't want to not be able to do."

-- Fred Couples, admitting that back injuries may force him to retire.

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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