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July 9 2013

11:22 AM

Els blog: Looking forward to the links

Ernie Els , who defends the British Open next week, won the BMW International Open.  (Little/Getty Images)

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

Since winning the BMW International Open and returning from Munich we’ve had a great couple of weeks at the house at Wentworth. I’ve played a lot of social golf with friends at Queenwood and at Wentworth, which is always a lot of fun and of course,it helps keep my game sharp between tournaments.

We also made a couple of quick trips up to Muirfield to play some practice rounds. It felt great to be back at one of my favorite golf courses in the world and some of the holes in particular brought back some wonderful memories. The course is in fantastic shape, playing very tough but also very fair. That’s Muirfield in a nutshell – just a pure, honest, tough test of golf. It’s going to be the classic links challenge in next week’s Open.

Aside from the golf it was really special being able to visit Wimbledon and see some incredible tennis. Liezl and I were lucky enough to be on Centre Court several times over the course of the two weeks – in fact it has become a bit of a tradition in recent years and one that we both enjoy enormously.

It’s time for me to get back to work now, though. Everyone who knows me knows that I love playing golf in Scotland, and especially links golf, so it’s exciting returning to Castle Stuart for this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. I’ve won three times in Scotland during my career – two Scottish Opens and an Open Championship – and the fans are always so good to me. They really know their golf, so if we can get some decent weather we should be in for a great week. Not only does it feel like the perfect preparation for the Open, it’s also a tremendous tournament in its own right.

Genuine new links courses don’t come along very often, especially ones as good as Castle Stuart. It is an outstanding layout, a great test of golf and a beautiful setting. In 2011 and 2012 we didn’t get much wind, but we did get a lot of rain around that time, which made the ground relatively soft, so it wasn’t quite the pure links test we’d expected. Hopefully this time Mother Nature will be a little kinder to us. From the forecast, it looks like we might be in for a dry week with a bit of sun!

We’re lucky enough to be based at Skibo Castle this week, as we were last year also. We’ve stayed in some great places on our travels around the world, but Skibo is something else. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere more beautiful and David Thomson and his team do an incredible job. It has that perfect mix of being friendly and relaxed, but with everything done to an unbelievably high standard, and there is so much for the kids to do as well. Skibo also has a superb golf course, so I can play a few holes and embrace that 'linksy’ vibe.

Naturally, a lot of the players will be excited about the prospect of playing some links golf for back-to-back weeks and I’m certainly looking forward to it. This style of golf never fails to excite me and it also seems to bring out the best in me. My record of top-10s in the Open very much reflects that. It suits my eye and I think the fact that you have to use your imagination and be creative with your shot making is good for my overall mindset.

That’s it for now. We’ll be posting regular updates on the website and on twitter @thebig_easy in the coming few weeks. We’ll also have exciting news about my new soon-to-be-launched App, so be sure to stay posted.

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