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September 5 2012

1:42 AM

Els blog: I can’t afford an ‘off week’

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Ernie Els heads to the BMW Championship ranked 18th in the FedExCup.

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

Before I talk about the Deutsche Bank Championship I just want to tell you about a fun couple of days I had in the Manhattan area straight after finishing The Barclays at Bethpage. On Monday morning I hosted a pro-am invitational day at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset in aid of the Els for Autism Foundation. This club has a great history and not just anybody can rock up and play, so it was great to be there. Around 40 of my fellow professionals supported the event and none received a fee to take part, so I thank them for giving up their time during a busy period of the season.

My sincere thanks also go to the club’s members who generously paid quite a bit of money to play in this event. Every dollar and cent goes to the Foundation and funding the proposed Els Center of Excellence. The other neat thing about this day was that it was great for some of these TOUR players to meet some of the members. These are the real ‘movers and shakers’ of Manhattan. All in all, it was a very positive day for everyone.

Then the next morning Liezl and I went to the New York Stock Exchange where we showed the Claret Jug around and rang the opening bell to signal the start of trading. Liezl and I have never experienced anything like that, so it was a lot of fun. It’s certainly a bit different to the kind of atmosphere we get with my day job!

Talking of which, obviously the main business of last week was the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. In the first round it was a little tougher for the late starters, which included myself, Phil (Mickelson) and Rickie (Fowler). My round was nothing special, but I finished strongly with a couple of nice birdies on 17 and 18. So although 69 wasn’t a great score, the way I finished my round sort of lifted my spirits a bit.

Funny thing is, the same thing happened the next day. I holed a monster putt on the final green to shoot 69. My round was a little bit scrappy here and there, but I was satisfied with 4-under par after two rounds because I hadn’t felt sharp. I was battling a few things in my swing, mainly because my left knee was giving me some pain and as a result I wasn’t getting through the ball as well as I’d have liked. It’s just one of those things. It’s been a pretty intense summer of golf and I’ve not had much time to rest up. I’m in pretty good shape, but I guess you just tend to get a few more aches and pains when you turn 40!

I was still looking to push on over the weekend, but I just didn’t get any momentum going out there. I was just fighting hard for position. You always have to keep fighting, no matter what. Tied-26 th on 5-under par obviously wasn’t the result I was looking for, but when I signed my scorecard on Monday afternoon I could honestly say it was the best score I could shoot that week.

Anyway, now we move on to the final playoff event before the TOUR Championship at East Lake. We’re at Crooked Stick for this week’s BMW Championship. It’s the first time the PGA TOUR has been here since the 1991 USPGA, so for most of us including me this is a new look. I saw some quotes today from the architect Pete Dye who is predicting a low scoring week. Let’s see if I can get something going out there.

The top-70 this week will fight it out for a top-30 spot in the TOUR Championship in a couple of week’s time. I started the Deutsche Bank Championship in 18 th place on the FedExCup points list and that’s exactly where I’m at going into this week’s BMW Championship. I can’t afford to have an off-week here. I need to put in a good performance to lift myself up that points list and at least be somewhere in the mix at the TOUR Championship. It would really be fun to go in there with a realistic shot at winning this whole thing.

Okay, that’s it for this week. I’ll write again soon.

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