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April 22 2013

5:16 PM

Els blog: Eager to return to Big Easy

Ernie Els finished second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last year.

Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2013 and this is his latest installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

Obviously, it was extremely disappointing to miss the cut at Hilton Head. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year and also with it being sponsored by RBC, a company for which I’m proud to be an ambassador, you can’t help but feel an added responsibility to put on a good show. I actually felt pretty good coming in here after a final-round 69 at Augusta, but at Hilton Head I really never got anything going. It was one of those weeks.

However, on behalf of Liezl, the Els for Autism Foundation and myself, I want to thank the RBC team and everyone who supported us in our campaign to promote autism awareness. As you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month and we have a series of initiatives taking place right across America.

Among them we’ve asked players to wear blue on designated days at tournaments during the month of April – that’s the Valero Texas Open, The Masters, RBC Heritage and finally this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Friday was ‘Blue Day’ last week in Hilton Head and it is again in New Orleans this week. The players have been great and Liezl and I are so grateful for the extent to which everyone has jumped on board with this campaign and to help support Els for Autism and the wider autism community.

Title sponsor Zurich has very generously pre-purchased some blue autism awareness pins for its tournament volunteers and corporate guests. These pins are also available to purchase in the merchandise tent throughout the week.

Golf wise I’m very much looking forward to my week in New Orleans. In 2012 I was playing this event for the first time in 10 years and had a strong week, with four nice rounds in the 60s, and in the end was one putt away from winning the tournament. It was my first time playing Pete Dye’s TPC Louisiana course and I was impressed – straight away it seemed to fit my eye.

Also, I loved the whole New Orleans vibe and the support from the galleries was fantastic. I had a lot of fun out there. In fact I’ll be happy to repeat every aspect of last year’s tournament…but just go one better with the end result. That would be perfect. I’ll write again next week and tell you all about it.

Bye for now.

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