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September 24 2012

4:01 PM

Els blog: 2012 was a ‘step up’

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British Open champ Ernie Els finished 26th in the FedExCup.

Editor’s note: Ernie Els is writing a weekly blog for PGATOUR.COM. This is his most recent installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola was my 21 st and final event on this year’s PGA TOUR schedule, so obviously I was hoping for a better week than I ended up having at East Lake. I didn’t drive the ball anywhere near well enough, especially the first three rounds, and if you miss fairways on this course you make life difficult for yourself. I played better on Sunday, which was good. In fact I had a nice round going but got a couple of ‘unplayables’ in bunkers to drop four shots in my final three holes. Shame.

Like I said, it was a disappointing way to end my PGA TOUR season, but at the same time 2012 was a step-up from last year so I have to take a lot of heart and satisfaction from that. Obviously I had the win this summer at Royal Lytham and also five other top-10s in the U.S. There were some weeks I’ll happily forget, but overall when I look back at the season I’d say the pattern of my scoring – my competitive rhythm as I often describe it – was much better than in 2011. All in all, it gives me a lot of optimism about the state of my game and what I can achieve next year.

You may have noticed that my usual caddie Ricci Roberts wasn’t on the bag at East Lake. He’s been in and out of hospital the last few weeks and has been diagnosed with a couple of blocked arteries in his leg. I spoke to him at the weekend and it seems it’s not as bad as they first thought, which is a relief. We’re wishing him well obviously. Ricci is as tough as they come and I’m sure he’ll be back very soon.

Before I wrap things up today I want to send my congratulations to Mark Williams who won the Sunshine Tour’s Big Easy Tour Championship last week at Els Club Copperleaf, shooting three under-par rounds. That’s a really solid effort because Copperleaf is a properly tough test of golf. Congratulations also to Teboho Sefatsa, who won this year’s Order of Merit, and to all of this year’s Big Easy Tour winners.

As I’ve said before, this is a wonderful format instigated by the Sunshine Tour and sponsored by my good friends at Stonehage. I commend them for their support for SA golf. This series is all about providing more competitive playing opportunities for our nation’s up-and-coming golfers and this is just the platform they need in order to make the step up to full tour status. That’s certainly what we all hope for.

I’m next in competitive action at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland next week, but I’ll write again before then.

Bye for now.

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