PGA Tour

'Big Easy' plots PGA surprise

2014-08-06 13:00
Ernie Els (AFP)

Johannesburg - While all the hype surrounds whether Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy can follow his British Open triumph with another Major, South Africa's Ernie Els will be hoping to pick up his third different Major title at the US PGA Championship starting at Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday.

Els, a four-time Major winner, won the US Open twice in 1994 and 1997, and the British Open in 2002 and 2012.

If "The Big Easy" can pull off a surprise, as he did in the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes to take the Claret Jug, he would join the 25-year-old McIlroy with three different Major titles.

"Five of my last eight rounds have been in the 60s, giving me a tied-12th finish in Canada and tied-26th at last week in Bridgestone," the 44-year-old Els said on his website.

"I want to win golf tournaments, but these results show me enough to make me feel optimistic that we can have a better final third of the season."

Els has not won since the BMW International Open in Germany in June last year on the European Tour, but felt the time was right to notch up another victory.

"Obviously the motivation is extremely strong this week for the final major championship of the year at Valhalla.

"I played both the previous two PGA's here tied-61st in 1996 and tied-34th in 2000. It's good to be back. I love Nicklaus golf courses; Valhalla is always in unbelievable shape and the PGA of America sets it up very nicely."

Keeping the ball on the short grass would be the key to scoring well, according to Els.

"You've got to hit it long and drive the ball well, play the game through the air and try to stay out of the juicy rough.

"It's a tough test, but if you play well you can really score around here."

And while American 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods would be in a race against time to see if he could get his injured back ready to tee it up, Els would in contrast need to get his mind right if he wants to contend.

"The build-up to these Major championships is all about feeling like you can get yourself ready, but at the same time not overdoing it, especially in the hot and humid weather that we're going to experience this week in Louisville."

Els was paired with American Rickie Fowler and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson in the first round.

Tim Clark enters perhaps the most in-form of the South Africans after his win in the Canadian Open, PGA Tour event, two weeks ago. His win was the first for a South African on the Tour in 2014, and the straight-driving Clark could well contend if he can continue his rich run of form.

Other South Africans in the field would be George Coetzee, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Rory Sabbatini, Branden Grace, Richard Sterne and Johan Kok.

Read more on:    ernie els  |  golf

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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