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Wed Apr 16 07:25:30 SAST 2014

Major wait goes on for Els

Sapa-AFP | 11 July, 2012 16:500 Comments
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open - Previews
Ernie Els of South Africa answers questions at a press conference during a pro-am round ahead of the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart Golf Links on July 11, 2012 in Inverness, Scotland
Image by: Warren Little / Getty Images

Ernie Els needed no reminding it’s been 10-years next week since he last won a Major Championship, the 2002 British Open at Muirfield in Scotland.

The South African’s play-off success to the east of Edinburgh was his third Major win after victories in the 1994 and 1997 US Open.

The now 42-year old Els did go close in finishing runner-up in the 2004 Masters, lost a British Open play-off that same year to American Todd Hamilton and was third both in the 2006 British Open and 2007 PGA Championship.

However while Els will tee up this week in Inverness looking for a third Scottish Open success, he is also focusing on next week’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes having contested a further 36 Majors since his 2002 victory without joining long-time rival Phil Mickelson on four Major title wins.

“I was only talking with my caddy the other day that it’s been 10 years since I won at Muirfield, and it’s been unbelievable,” said Els.

“I’ve had chances with ’04 coming to mind, also ’06 and ’07.

“But then there were times I doubted that I would get back to winning another Major. I played well in last month’s US Open (finished 9th) and I felt very in control and calm, and I just let my game do the work and like I used to.

“So that’s the positive I’m talking about that I really felt mentally and physically very at ease for once, which I haven’t felt that way for months.

“Of course, you are going to have ups-and-downs, and I’ve had my fair share of that.

“But then I’ve been around for 23 years as a professional, and when you play the game long enough, just about everything will happen to you.

“So I’ve been through the ringer and come out the other side and I’m still going at it.” 

Els, who captured the Scottish Open in 2000 and 2003, will tee up currently ranked 40th in the world and looking also for a first victory since capturing the 2010 South African Open.

He will play the opening two rounds of the Scottish event in the company of Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and World No. 1 and defending champion, Luke Donald.

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