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September 9 2013

1:30 PM

Els blog: Uphill battle in Chicago

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Ernie Els enters the BMW Championship ranked 70th in the FedExCup.

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.

Last week was the perfect mix of working on my game here at The Bear’s Club in Florida and relaxing and spending time with the family. I’m feeling refreshed and focused on the challenge facing me in this week’s BMW Championship.

Just looking back for a second, one significant piece of news last week was the finalizing of the Presidents Cup teams. It’s tough for some of the guys who just missed out, but on the whole it looks like we’ve got a well-balanced blend of youth and experience. As a South African it’s obviously very impressive that our proud nation makes up five members of the team –- myself, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, Richard Sterne and Louis Oosthuizen.

And if you add wildcard pick Brendon de Jonge to the list it means that amazingly half the team is from Africa, although having played in seven of these things I can tell you it feels like all 12 players and the captain and his assistants are united under one flag for that week. The camaraderie is wonderful and I’m really looking forward to it. We’ll talk some more about that in the coming weeks.

First, we have some more immediate business to attend to. In my case, the focus is on trying to play my way from 70th spot on the FedExCup rankings into the top 30 to secure my spot in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, which would be my 17th career appearance in this season-ending event. It’s not going to be easy, though.

Right now it’s too early and way too complicated to start making precise calculations about where I’ll need to finish in order to secure my place at East Lake next week. In recent years barely a handful of players have made that last-minute jump into the top 30. My guess is it’s probably going to require a top-3 finish, no worse. We’ll see. I definitely need to be right on my game.

We’re at a new venue for the PGA TOUR, Conway Farms in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, although some of the young guys will have played it in their amateur days. From what I’ve heard, this Tom Fazio design has a really nice mix of holes and a good bit of variety, both in terms of length and the overall look and feel. Some holes are relatively wide open and others play through tree-lined fairways. Sounds like the wind is a pretty constant factor here, as well. It’s going to be an interesting new look for most of us.

Anyway, after winning in Munich in the summer it would be great if we could make it two BMW wins in a season…that would really take care of business!

Bye for now.

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