November 11 2013
Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a weekly 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.
Enjoyed a pretty quiet time at home last week and it’s more of the same this week, to be honest. Really it’s a case of working on my fitness and generally re-charging the batteries after probably one of the busiest years in a while.
We did make one significant decision, though, and that’s to play in this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in early December. It looks like a strong field this year and I’m really looking forward to coming back and playing such a special event. Also, this was, in part, a family decision – Liezl, Samantha and Ben are with me for a short while and it made a lot of sense to compete at Sun City.
Obviously, this tournament holds some really wonderful memories for me and for my whole family. Golf-wise, the highlight was the period from 1999 to 2002, where I won the tournament three times and in the other year finished second in a playoff. My combined aggregate score for those four years was 86 under. That was a good little stretch right there!
That third win in 2002 was probably the most I enjoyed my golf all year and the final-round 63 is still to this day one of the best rounds of my life. It was one of those beautiful golfing days where you see every shot crystal-clear in your mind’s eye, you’re relaxed, you have control of the golf ball and the hole looks twice its normal size. Trust me -- you don’t forget those rounds.
So this tournament has been good to me, a point that was brought home to me even more when my team sent me this little fact file over the weekend, which we thought we'd share with you...
>>> This will be a record 17th appearance for Ernie in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, more than any other player in the history of the event (the next best is Bernhard Langer, 14 appearances).
>>> Ernie made his debut as a 23-year old in 1992.
>>> Ernie has won the Nedbank Golf Challenge on three occasions (1999, 2000 & 2002). Two other players have also won three Nedbank titles (Nick Price and David Frost).
>>> His stroke average in 16 appearances (64 rounds) is 69.93.
>>> Ernie holds the Nedbank scoring record (25 under in 1999) and has shot the most sub-par rounds (46 rounds).
>>> Ernie’s lowest round in the Nedbank is 63 (2002).
>>> He is also the tournament’s leading all-time money winner ($7.971 million).
>>> Ernie has finished second on four occasions and third on two occasions.
Who knows, maybe in this year’s event we can add a few more nice numbers to that list!