Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM this year, and this is his most recent installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visiit www.ernieels.com.
It was a disappointing finish on Sunday, but there were a lot of good things about this year’s Dunhill Links Championship. To be honest, in many ways it was just what I needed. I’ve been battling away in the FedExCup, almost playing week to week, and kind of got myself in a bit of a rut. To come over and play with my dad on these beautiful links courses made a nice change and it’s done me good.
I’ve been playing this tournament for a long time and have such a great friendship with Johann Rupert that it would have been very special to win here, especially with my dad alongside me. But it wasn’t to be. Still, we had some fun and made a ton of birdies, which always makes you feel good even if the flags are admittedly a little more generous than we get at a ‘regular’ our event.
Anyway, time now to turn my attentions to this week’s Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village. This golf course is one of my favourite stops on the PGA TOUR schedule – I won Jack’s tournament here in 2004 – so it’s a bit of a bonus getting to play here twice this year. Very happy about that!
We flew out of Scotland on Sunday evening and we’re already here in Ohio and basically ready to go. Obviously, the nature of this event is there’s always a lot of activity off the golf course before the real action starts on it. We have some media interviews today and the first team dinner is at the hotel this evening. Our first team practice sessions are on Tuesday and it’s pretty much non-stop between now and the first matches on Thursday morning.
Speaking as a South African it’s a proud week when you can say that half the International team is from Africa. And for everyone at the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation there is additional pride in having two of our former members – Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace – on the team this week. Having played in seven of these things it feels like all 12 players and the captain and his assistants are united under one flag. The camaraderie is wonderful and for me personally it’s been a privilege to be on these teams over the years and to play with such a great bunch of guys.
Nick Price was a great player, a great competitor, and I’m sure he’ll bring those attributes to the captain’s role. We go way back. In fact, one of my favorite memories from this competition was with Nick in a Four-ball match we played in Australia against Tiger Woods and John Huston. We were all playing well that day and it all came down to the last hole. Nick was just outside me – both of us putting for birdie – and he holed his putt first to guarantee we won the match 1 up. It was one of those matches that stick in your mind for quite some time afterwards. In fact, these whole weeks live long in the memory and win or lose I’m sure this year’s contest will be no exception.
Traditionally, we’ve been good in the Four-balls but struggled in the Foursomes, where the Americans have a lot more experience than us through Ryder Cups, so we’ll need to try to figure that out this time. But we’ve got a great team and everyone is really up for this.
Okay, that’s it for now. We’ll have updates throughout the week here on the website and on my Twitter page @thebig_easy. I’ll write again soon.