Els cruises confidently into Boston
Thursday, September 3, 2009
NORTON, Mass. — Ernie Els is starting to get his swagger back.
That’s a good thing.
The Big Easy hasn’t won in the U.S. since the 2008 Honda Classic, that victory marking his lone triumph on the PGA Tour dating to late 2004, or a current run of 1-for-76. Not quite the success rate this guy was used to earlier in the decade. So while it’s interesting to hear Els talking about not getting ahead of himself after tying for second at The Barclays, it’s also interesting to hear him talking about winning again on Tour.
As in, real soon.
“I mean, it would be ... I’m 40 in October and all that stuff, so I’d really like to hit form and try to sustain it again like I used to,” he said. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I’ve had a couple of good weeks now, and I’d like to keep that going. As I say, a win is really on my radar. And to do it against a field like we have here this week, and in the FedEx Cup race, that would be a great confidence boost.”
Part of Els’ resurgence (four top 8s in six starts beginning at The Memorial) can be traced to his putting coming around. His putting stats have been atrocious (he is 123rd in putts per round) and he knows it. In fact, he’s still disappointed that his longtime caddie, Ricci Roberts, has been telling him to go to a putter that is a little longer, and at The Barclays, Els switched to one about an inch longer than the normal 35-inch blade he uses. The result? He didn’t feel so hunched over the golf ball.
“I felt my hands were a little more relaxed,” he said.
Els has one of the marquee pairings going off on Friday, pairing with Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy at 12:58 p.m. He tied for third her last year in his TPC Boston debut.