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April 2 2013

10:01 AM

Els blog: Long putter's back

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.

Tuesday (April 2) is the sixth World Autism Awareness Day and all around the world there will be autism organizations hosting special fund-raising and awareness-raising events. For us, today is a doubly significant day in the sense that it also marks the start of this year’s Els for Autism Golf Challenge with our first regional qualifier of the year at Floridian Golf Club. The timing is perfect.

In fact, throughout April we are supporting Autism Awareness with a series of initiatives right across America. Among them we asked PGA TOUR players to support autism and spread awareness by wearing blue every Saturday at tournaments during the month of April – that’s the Valero Texas Open, The Masters, RBC Heritage and Zurich Classic of New Orleans. During these weeks you’ll also see players wearing a special pin-badge, which we created especially for this campaign.

Anyway, I’m recently back from Thailand having competed in last week’s first ever Chiangmai Golf Classic. I must say it was a great experience for me. The people are just wonderful and the golf course was in superb condition. I just wish I could have made a few more birdies! Seriously, though, I took a lot of positives away with me. Everything is kind of in place; I’m just searching for that little bit of confidence and momentum in my game.

I feel like I’m slowly getting there, though. We played the first three rounds with the short putter and on the whole I was pleased with the outcome. Thursday was a comfortable round of golf, bogey free with three birdies, and I made some good putts out there. Friday I had a bad start, which cost me, but Saturday was better in every department. I tried to take an aggressive mindset into the day and really I’d say 66 was about the highest number I could have shot. It was my lowest round of the year and that was encouraging.

For Sunday’s final round I decided to switch back to the long putter, not because I was dissatisfied with how I’d putted in the first three rounds, but simply that this was my last competitive round before the Masters and mentally I’d already decided to use the long putter at Augusta. I wanted to feel a bit of pressure with it. I played well, but didn’t get much out of my round, and finished on 12-under par for tied-14th. So an enjoyable week and, all in all, I’m very glad I made the decision to go there and play. I’m hitting it nice again.

Bye for now.

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