Els delights as golf waits on Woods
The golfing world has to hang on a little longer, but for Ernie Els the waiting is over.
With an announcement on when Tiger Woods will return to golf seemingly imminent, now is the time to consider Els' popular win at the WGC CA Championship. His Doral victory broke a two year drought on the PGA Tour.
Once we get definitive word on Woods, Els' win will be swept from golf's news agenda - such is the way the world number one dominates, even when he is absent from the game.
There will be few more popular wins this year, than Els' four shot victory after a closing 66 on a wind blown Blue Monster. Everybody loves Ernie, for his glorious tempo and the way he has played the game over the past two decades.
But his "Big Easy" reputation has been nothing more than a misleading caricature in recent years. This is a man who has been at odds with his golf game for some time, who behind locker room doors has been irritable and annoyed at his lack of success.
Was it the march of time that had led to an inevitable loss of his form? Had it turned such an assured putting stroke into something so twitchy? Isn't that what happens when you turn 40?
Was it coping with the impact of his son's autism on his precious family life? Had his famous globetrotting schedule spread his talents too thin? Had he never fully recovered from having his knee rebuilt? Or was it residual scar tissue damage of a different kind, the sort left by too many near misses in majors like his 2004 Open defeat to Todd Hamilton?
And it is this background that makes this victory all the more special. As Els admitted: "It means so much, I didn't ever think it was going to happen again."
A delighted Els displays the WGC-CA Championship trophy - Pic: Getty
Now the South African inevitably is turning his thoughts to the Masters, a tournament he would want to win above any other. Twice he has been runner-up, but in each of his last three visits to Augusta he has missed the cut.
Clearly Els has to retain the putting touch that steered him through a bogey-free final round at Doral. That will be a huge challenge, to keep the yin and the yang in the right place on such treacherous greens as those at the Augusta National.
We should not ignore the other big news to come out of the second WGC event of the year, the emergence on the world stage of the young South African beaten into second place, Charl Schwartzel.
Schwartzel has done nothing of any significance in majors to date and will make his Augusta debut next month. But his performance in Miami and overall form this year makes him one to watch now.
Attention is likely to be elsewhere, though. All the indicators are pointing at a Woods return to action at the Masters, if not before.
Organisers at the Tavistock Cup, the exhibition event between the moneyed estates of Woods' Isleworth and Els' Lake Nona, are expecting word imminently on whether he will play the event on March 22 and 23.
And he has until Friday evening to announce whether he will defend his Arnold Palmer Invitational title at Bay Hill later that week. The most reliable word from the Woods camp is pointing towards an Augusta appearance as well.
The waiting game should end soon, for Els it must feel like it is already over.