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’ve always loved coming to Asia, and it’s been great to see the tour develop so much these past 20 years. Obviously it was a long journey to get here, all the way from Vegas last week, but at the end of the day you just have to get on with it. It always takes a while to get your mind and body in the right time zone – and the older you get, the tougher it is – but my trainer is with me for this stretch of tournaments in Asia and he got busy stretching me and doing everything to get my body going. After a couple of days I was feeling good.
Made a pretty slow start on Thursday, but we pulled it together quickly and played some decent stuff in the first couple of rounds, especially on Friday. I mean any time you make nine birdies in a round you’re definitely having a good day, but the one little missed putt on the 18th green did sting a little bit. Still, it was a lot of fun and when I got here on Wednesday, having never seen the course before, I would have taken where I was after two rounds.
Being right in the thick of it going into the weekend, you obviously want to push on and win the tournament so in that sense it was a frustrating couple of days. On Saturday I felt like I was a bit off my game here and there and I knew I’d have to go low on Sunday.
The start to my final round was good, but we needed to keep the pedal to the metal and making a soft bogey on No. 9 just killed my momentum. My round kind of stalled in that middle section. All in all it wasn’t a bad performance, but Scott (Hend) was very strong; he deserved to win. Before moving on I must also take this opportunity to thank the fans and the organizers of the Venetian Macau Open for their generous hospitality all week.
The good news is it’s a lot shorter journey to this week’s tournament, the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur. My first appearance in this event back in 2010 was a wonderful experience. The golf course and the setting were great and everybody – the sponsors and the fans – really got involved and made the players feel very welcome. We’re at a different venue this year, but it is shaping up to be an exciting and enjoyable week for the players and for the fans.
I’ve always believed that as a top player you have a responsibility to promote the game globally and that’s one of the great things about this week’s CIMB Classic being an official PGA TOUR event – the first ever played outside the U.S. – it increases the tournament’s competitiveness and encourages more of the top players to come and play. We’ve got a strong field this week and there’s no doubt it’s going to be Malaysia’s biggest international sporting event helping to showcase the game of golf to a huge audience. You can’t underestimate the impact of that and how positive it is for the growth of the game.
I’m looking forward to it.