Editor’s note: Ernie Els will be writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2012. Here is his most recent installment. For more information on the recent British Open champion visit ernieels.com
Before I go any further with this report I first want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to write and congratulate me on my win at Lytham. The website was literally swamped with emails. My team forwarded them on to me and I read as many as I could on the plane over to Canada. You’ve all said such nice things. It really means a lot to me, so thank you again.
It was a bit of a whirlwind couple of days after my Open win, which meant I arrived in Canada a little later than anticipated. It was good to be back, though. This tournament has a great history and I remember watching it in the 1970s and ‘80s with guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and my childhood hero Gary Player. I know with it now being straight after a major championship that’s a bit of a problem for some guys, but I think everyone is doing a great job with this tournament and I really like the way they are moving it around the country. I think that’s a wonderful idea.
I didn’t get a chance to play much of a practice round, but that’s not always such a big disadvantage because a lot of times when you don’t play a course, you don’t know where the trouble is. You get your yardage and you hit it to your spots. You could score on this course, but only if you get it in play and I didn’t do enough of that.
People will make excuses for me and say it was fatigue, but I honestly don’t think that was much of an issue. Thursday I just had that one bad hole on 11, where I made triple. Other than that it wasn’t a bad round of golf. I played a bit better on Friday and gave myself a few more chances out there, but I just wasn’t sharp enough. It was a real shame. The last thing I wanted was to come here and miss the cut. I felt bad not just for myself, but also for the sponsors and for the fans that came out to cheer me on.
I have a few days to relax before this week’s World Golf Championships– Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone. They’ve been hosting championships for five decades now and it’s a great venue. At 7,400 yards the South Course here is a pretty tough par 70. I like the layout, so it’s hard to explain why I haven’t got a better record in this tournament, but I’ve shot plenty of good numbers around here and I feel like I can play well.
Obviously I’ve got some confidence in my game, too. It’s funny what a difference a year makes. Coming into this event in 2011 I was in the middle of a tough phase of play and was outside the top 125 in the FedExCup rankings and in danger of missing the Playoffs. This time my spirits are high on the back of a major victory. I’m inside the top 10 in the rankings, looking to push on from here and go into the playoffs in a strong position. I like it a lot better this way!
Okay, just one more thing before I sign off. Congratulations to swimmer Cameron van der Burgh for securing South Africa’s first gold medal of the Olympics and our nation’s first ever individual men’s gold in swimming. I saw it on television. He did it in style, setting a new world record. It was a phenomenal swim. You can keep track of our team’s progress in a dedicated Olympics section on (my) website. Just click here.
Bye for now.