Twelve years ago Ernie Els wrote his name into the history books in Qatar, equaling the record set by Bernhard Langer for the most consecutive cuts made on the European Tour – a feat that he would go on to obliterate.
The South African started his hot streak in 2000 at the Johnnie Walker Classic, and after a remarkable six-year spell with 15 victories worldwide – including his third Major title at the 2002 Open Championship – he arrived at Doha Golf Club in imperious form and knowing he needed just one more good performance to equal Langer.
The German’s record had stood for nearly a decade, with the 2004 Ryder Cup captain teeing up at the weekend in every tournament he played between the 1991 PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and the same tournament in 1996, a grand total of 69 events.
All the omens seemed to point to a positive outcome for Els. The then 36 year old returned to Doha as the defending champion having carded a sublime final round of 65 to triumph for the first time at the Peter Harradine-designed course.
With high winds making scoring difficult in the desert, Els battled the elements to card back-to-back 71s and make it safely through to the weekend for the 69th consecutive time.
After finishing in a share of 13th place, Els went on to the following week’s Dubai Desert Classic knowing he could make history.
Emirates Golf Club was another venue which Els had previously conquered. Having triumphed three times there prior to 2006, Els also held the course record there – a stunning 11 under par 61 which he posted in 1994, the year of his first victory.
Els would not just make the cut that week, but also go toe-to-toe with Tiger Woods for the title before eventually coming up short in a sudden death play-off.
Having made his 70th consecutive cut, Els would not miss another on the European Tour for a further 14 months.
Els’s incredible run came to an end at the 2007 Masters Tournament in a year where brutal conditions at Augusta National proved to be the undoing of many of the game’s greatest names.
During the seven years, four months and 25 days where Els failed to miss a cut on the European Tour, he won 24 titles worldwide and spent 386 weeks inside the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 82 consecutive cuts he made during that period remains a European Tour record to this day – and is one that will take some beating.
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