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January 10 2013

2:41 PM

Els blog: Excited to get started

Editor’s note: Ernie Els will be writing a weekly blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2013 and this is his most recent installment. To learn more about the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

The family had a wonderful break either side of Christmas, first in Florida and then in South Africa, but it’s definitely time to get back to work now. And I’m delighted that my 2013 schedule is teeing off this week at the Volvo Golf Champions, playing in front of my home fans and on one of my favorite golf courses in South Africa.

I’ve always enjoyed my golf at Durban Country Club. I’ve won here a couple of times before, most recently the South African Open at the end of 2010, and have some great memories of the course. It is a fantastic layout and the home fans really encourage me whenever I play here. I feel a special bond with them and the club.

It should be a great week for South African golf. A prestigious European Tour event like this is broadcast to millions of homes around the world, which not only showcases the fantastic golf facilities our country has to offer but also highlights the current strength of our nation’s golfers. Branden Grace is defending this year and there’s also Retief (Goosen) in the field, Louis Oosthuizen, as well as Jbe Kruger and Darren Fichardt – that’s a pretty strong representation in a limited field event such as this.

Although it was disappointing to miss out on winning the Volvo in 2012, with Retief and me losing to Branden in a playoff at Fancourt, it was good to see Branden make his mark as one of the world’s best players in front of his home crowd. Not so long ago he was a member of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, as in fact was Louis, and we’re so proud of what they have gone on to achieve. They are such an inspiration to our current crop of members.

Anyway, looking further ahead I have a full schedule planned for this year. There is a lot of golf and a lot of travelling. That’s the way it should be. The Open champion should play all around the world and represent the game of golf, but at the same time I’m also planning my schedule around the majors again. That’s my main focus and I’ll be making sure I give myself the best chance to play my best golf on those four weeks. I really like some of the venues this year, especially Muirfield for obvious reasons.

Winning the Open last year means that for the next five years I’m going to be at Augusta, I’m going to be at the U.S. Open, the Open and the U.S. PGA. I see every one of those as an opportunity to add to my major tally. To be honest, I’m excited about my golf and I’m really looking forward to my future again. It’s a great feeling.

Okay, that’s it for now.

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