Editor's note; Ernie Els is writing a weekly blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2013 and this is his most recent installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall oF Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.
Obviously, it’s disappointing to be posting this blog … having lost in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship against Freddie Jacobson, but it kind of sums up my record in this event. It wasn’t a great quality match, to be honest. I was 2 up early on, but I played the last 10 holes in probably a couple over par and if you do that you can’t be surprised when you lose.
It’s strange. I just can’t seem to get a run in this tournament, but that’s 18-hole match play golf. There were another 32 disappointed golfers packing their bags on Thursday night, as well. This format takes no prisoners!
I’m back home already and we’ll do some work on my game over the weekend, just basically get ready for next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National. With us living at the Bear’s Club this is pretty much a home game and that’s always nice. Actually my schedule for the next few weeks shapes up well for not having to travel far, another of the benefits of being based here in Florida.
We’ve had some good times in this tournament over the years, the highlight being a win in 2008, and of course it’s always great to come back to a place where you’ve won before – it always gives you a good vibe.
The Champion Course, a Tom Fazio design with Jack Nicklaus updates, is definitely one of the more demanding courses on the PGA TOUR. You can shoot a low number here, but if the wind blows it’s a serious test. You've got more opportunities to make birdies on the front nine, but I don't think there’s a tougher finish line than this anywhere we play. The 15th, 16th and 17th are such strong holes and the 18th is a wonderful par 5.
I remember playing a great final round in the wind to win here in 2008 and that gives you such a buzz – to play well in tough conditions on a tough course. At times like that you have to commit to your shots and execute what you see. That’s what we hit all those practice balls for. I’d love to put myself in the same position again. A bit of local knowledge can’t do any harm!
Anyway, I’ll write again very soon because we’re just about ready to make an announcement on the 2013 Els for Autism Golf Challenge. The guys have done an incredible job putting together a great schedule of events hosted by some of America’s finest golf courses and we’d love for you to be a part of it.
Okay, that’s it for now.