Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a 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.
I had a really good time in Indonesia last week and I want to thank everyone at the tournament, the sponsors and the fans for making me feel so welcome. The hospitality was amazing and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. As Open champion I like to play around the world and coming to Asia was a good call for me. A win would have been fantastic, but second place is not that bad, either. This performance has helped boost my confidence and it shows me I’m going in the right direction. I’m starting to feel really good about my game now.
So let me talk you through the week. On Thursday I played nicely and really my score should have been better than 68, but 4-under par is a nice start to any tournament and on balance I was pretty satisfied with that. Friday was the one round of the week where I struggled a little bit and I think maybe a bit of jet lag had kicked in. My game was there; I just lacked a bit of energy and I definitely needed to get sharper mentally.
Saturday was a better day all round. My body felt good and my concentration was a step up from the previous couple of days. I was comfortable with my swing and only missed one green all day. Again, I didn’t make as many putts as I could have, but I hung in there and in the end I grinded out a 68. Maybe I should have gone very low, but still I was right there in with a chance. The final day was looking interesting, with a bunch of players all in the mix.
I wasn’t quite at my best on Sunday, especially in those first four or five holes where I was really slow to get going, but my attitude was good. I played hard and fought hard and right there at the end I had a sniff of a chance to get myself into a playoff. But my hat’s off to Bernd Wiesberger. I played with him the first two rounds and then again in the final round and I think he played better than all of us. Congratulations to him; he deserved this win.
This week I’m back on the PGA TOUR for THE Players Championship, which is about as big as it gets outside of a major or World Golf Championships event. I can hardly believe it but this will be my 20th appearance in this event and I have only four top-10s to show for it. It’s hard to put my finger on a reason for that. It’s a wonderful golf course but there is something about it that I often can’t seem to get to grips with. Still, I always look forward to teeing it up here. There is obviously a really strong field and it has that buzz of something a little bit special.
Pete Dye’s Stadium Course is one of the best-known layouts on the PGA TOUR and there is very little margin for error on a lot of the holes. You need to be patient and there are moments when you need to play the percentages and make par your friend. The key I think is you have to hit it in the fairways. In fact, when I look back at the times I’ve struggled here it is when I haven’t driven the ball well enough. My long game feels in good shape, though, and if I can get the putter going we might set the record straight this week. That would be nice!
I’ll write again soon and tell you all about it.