PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Ernie Els is making his calendar-year debut on the PGA Tour at this week’s Northern Trust Open.
Els stands 132nd on the FedEx Cup points list after tying for 47th at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and placing T-11 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
Els returns to the Tour after playing the Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour and spending last week preparing for the next two weeks of competition, here in suburban Los Angeles and at next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play in Marana, Ariz.
“Obviously it’s my first tournament of the year, so I need to get going,” Els said after his Wednesday morning pro-am. “It’s unbelievable. It’s crazy. I’ve got to make different plans next year, maybe play through California, play some of those other tournaments.”
Els is unsure of his plans after the Match Play, which precedes the four-event Florida Swing. He has not committed to the Honda Classic, will play the WGC-Cadillac at Doral and then is looking at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. He likely will skip the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and probably the Shell Houston Open, which is the week before the Masters.
But for this week, Els is focusing on Riviera.
“I’m looking forward to this week, actually,” Els said. “It feels nice. Greens are a little bumpy, but it is what it is.”