Editor’s note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2012 and here is his most recent installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.
I think everyone was expecting a very tough test at Bethpage. Remember, this place has a sign that reads, ‘The Black Course is an Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers!’ So the big surprise on day one was that we had perfect scoring conditions and that there were some low numbers to be had out there. It didn’t last, though. In the end the winning score was not far off the leading score after day one, which is unusual. Bethpage got to show its teeth in the end.
If you break 70 it’s a good start to any tournament, so I was happy to shoot 68 on Thursday. I made my score thanks to a nice little stretch on my front nine where I went birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie. My scoring cooled off after that, though. I played okay. It was just a combination of the golf course playing tougher as the week went on and my game not quite coming together. There’s not much more to say, to be honest.
Obviously I’m looking to step it up in this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, the second tournament in the FedExCup Playoffs series. My ranking on the points list has dropped from 11 th to 18 th after last week’s Barclays, but that’s no great drama. A lot can happen very quickly in this series, as we saw at Bethpage where Nick Watney won the tournament and jumped from 49 th place into the top spot.
You don’t want to tread water for too long in these playoffs, though. I need a strong performance in one of the next two tournaments so I can get myself into the mix going into the TOUR Championship. Maybe TPC Boston this week? The last few years haven’t been great here, but I had a chance to win on this golf course in 2008 when I started the tournament 66-65. It would be nice to repeat that start again!
It’s a good venue. This is an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and although it’s only around 10 years old, you wouldn’t know it. The course has a mature, almost traditional feel about it and it’s in a beautiful setting in the lovely New England landscape. It’s a good mix of holes, too. I like it. Anyway, let’s see how we go.
Moving on, as I’m sure you are aware the Paralympic Games start in London this week. As one of the official ambassadors for Team SA, I am proud to send my best wishes to all of our nation’s competitors. Part of the ethos of this summer’s games is to inspire a generation and the incredible exploits of our Paralympians in London will surely do that. I have so much respect for what our athletes have done in order to be competing in London and I know they’ll do South Africa proud. Even though I’m busy with tournament golf I’ll catch some of the action on television. We’ll also have regular updates from Team SA published on ( www.ernieels.com).
Okay, that’s it for now. This week’s Deutsche Bank Championship is a Friday start and a Monday finish on Labor Day, so I’ll write again next Tuesday.
Bye for now.