Tuesday, 02 February 2016
Ernie Els   (Getty Images)
Ernie Els (Getty Images)

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  • Ernie Els
A remarkable turnaround in his putting form has given Ernie Els the renewed belief that he can continue to contest the biggest events in world golf.

The four-time Major winner returns to a happy hunting ground at Emirates Golf Club this week for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic armed with the impressive statistic that he holed every putt from five feet and in last week in Qatar. 

If that was not enough to boost his confidence following a frustrating spell with the flat stick, there is also the small matter of his three previous victories in this event, not to mention the fact he is a whopping 172 under par for his 52 rounds over the Majlis course.

"From really being terrible on the greens, which is probably an understatement, to being 100 percent from five feet and in last week, you know, that's the improvement I was looking for," said Els, who triumphed in 1994 - his first European Tour title - 2002 and 2005.

"I'm starting to feel more comfortable. I've got to put a couple more things together in my game, but the things I'm working on on the greens are starting to come around a little bit, which is so pleasing for me. For a while I had the heebiejeebies. I've had some bad years but last year was probably the worst. It was all on the greens and it was really getting into my head.

"I mean, you cannot play the game if you can't putt. You might as well find another job. So I was thinking that for a while!
Ernie Els

"A lot of my friends and my father told me to change, to make a drastic change in my set-up, to try the left-hand-low and all this, and I was like, no, no. But at the South African Open, I was still missing it from 18 inches and a foot and so on.

"I thought, I'll give it a go, and that second round, I went with that, and started feeling a little bit more stable. Now it's starting to feel very normal. Hopefully that's the change that I needed to make."

With his game on an upward spiral, the 46 year old is excited about what is to come this year.

"I'm looking forward to this year," he continued. "There are some great Major venues with the US Open at Oakmont, then Troon and Baltusrol for the US PGA. We've got great tournaments coming up. I'd love to make a bit of noise this year as much as I can.

"I still want to prove something to myself. If you're good, it doesn't really leave you. You've got to prove it to yourself. I think I'm the same as any other golfer of my age, any generation, if you look at from the Lockes to the Peter Thomsons to Gary Players, Arnold Palmers, Jack Nicklaus, to the Seves, Normans. We are all very similar. We want to play until we die, in our minds we're not done, and I'm not done yet."


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