Els, Goydos share passion for Sony Open, Waialae

HONOLULU – They are at different ends of the golf spectrum – Ernie Els a true global icon, Paul Goydos the consummate self-depracting pro with the sharpest of perspective.

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Ernie Els, seen here at the 2009 Tour Championship.

They don’t share a lot in common, but their passion for Waialae CC and the Sony Open is one of them.

“It’s a pity it’s so far, because we love it here,” Els said, and you can understand why. In just six starts at Waialae he has two wins and five top 10s.

Goydos’ record here isn’t quite as impressive, but he does have a win and three other top 10s in 14 starts, not to mention a strong sentimental tie to the place, given that he made his pro debut here.

In typical Goydos fashion, too, he was able to put a finger on just why he likes it.

“I think it’s a golf course that everybody can play,” he said. “You actually have doglegs. This course must be at least 30 years old.”

Whether that’s a dig at today’s golf courses or praise for a true legend, it works either way because Goydos realizes that the heralded Seth Raynor designed Waialae CC in 1927.

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Paul Goydos tees off on No. 16 during the third round of the 2009 Barclays.

“There are no new (courses) with doglegs. Here, you kind of have to hit the ball the right distance, not necessarily a long distance. I like that kind of golf.”

Els will be 40 in October, but he said he is starting the season rejuvenated, not only with great expectations, but with a commitment toward more golf on the PGA Tour and no overseas commitments.

“The last two years we’ve been talking about (less travel),” Els said.

Skipping the Middle East tournaments for the first time in years, Els will focus on the West Coast swing. He said he’ll miss next week’s Bob Hope Classic, then play the San Diego Open and Northern Trust Open. Pebble Beach is “still up in the air,” but Els would then play the Accenture Match Play Championship to give him starts in at least four of the first seven tournaments.

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