Golf

Els: We have edge at Fancourt

2012-01-18 19:09
Ernie Els (File)
George - Ernie Els believes the eight South Africans contesting in Thursday's Volvo Golf Champions at The Links in Fancourt have an advantage over their European rivals and he intends to exploit it.

Els is one of a field of 35 players, all winners on the European Tour, contesting the €2-million event over the 6 662m par-73 Gary Player-designed layout.

“I think coming from Europe, the guys who were in Europe last week and here now, there’s a big difference in climate,” said Els. “I haven’t played the other European Tour events in South Africa this year, but a lot of the other South Africans have, and I think those guys have an advantage of competitive golf.”

Els might not have played competitive golf, but he has another edge he can leverage to his advantage: “I’ve played this course all December,” he revealed. “The family was down here for three or four weeks in December and I played a lot of golf around here. I have a good feel for the course right now.”

Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen also vacation in the area, so they, too, have a sense of what the elements might throw at players during the tournament as well as a feel for the course itself.

Goosen also won the 2005 South African Open Championship on the course in a thriller of a two-man battle with Els.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is friendly with this year’s Africa Open Oosthuizen and knows the area well from many vacations of his own there, while last week’s Joburg Open winner, Branden Grace, is from George, where The Links Fancourt is situated.

Spanish Open champion Thomas Aiken plays out of Fancourt, so he, too, is familiar with the area.

Only South African Open Championship winner Hennie Otto and Alfred Dunhill Championship victor Garth Mulroy of the South African challenge do not have some Fancourt connection.

“We really feel like we are playing at home,” said Els. “It’s really special for us. We still have a bit of holiday fever down here, so it’s nice to play golf in South Africa at this time of year.”

In a field loaded with major champions - Els, Goosen, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel are joined by Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Paul Lawrie and Jose Maria Olazabal - and on a course designed to test the best of golfers, home-town advantage may not be enough of an edge.

And with the youth of someone like the 23-year-old Grace being joined by England’s Tom Lewis, who won the Portugal Masters, and Italian Matteo Manasero who clinched the Maybank Malaysian Open, the imperviousness that the youth feel in the face of pressure is also an advantage.

It all could add up to a fascinating duel between local players and the rest in the European Tour’s own ‘Tournament of Champions’.

Although defending champion Paul Casey is missing because of an injury sustained in a snowboarding accident, the array of champions will provide riveting viewing for fans - most of whom will be hoping Els is right about the edge local players have.
 

Read more on:    volvo golf champions  |  ernie els
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Kuchar shares Heritage lead

2014-04-18 09:19

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.