February 17, 2014
- Ernie Els plays Stephen Gallacher in the opener on Wednesday.
By Ernie Els, Special to PGATOUR.COM
There's always a good vibe returning to a place where you’ve won before and although this time my game wasn’t quite good enough to get into the mix at Riviera, there were signs that things are moving in the right direction.
I’m really feeling good about the putting and also my new equipment. In the bag for the first time at Riviera were my new XTD Tour prototype irons, a bespoke creation by Adams Golf.
The guys have designed these around the existing XTD irons and they’ve retained all the strong features from that club, just tweaking the design to the way I like them. The clubhead is slightly smaller, featuring a thinner top-line and a little less offset, all things I like in a club. The satin finish is easy on the eye, too. First impressions are very good – the feel is great and distance is strong.
On Sunday night, we flew from Santa Monica to Tucson for this week’s World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain. There’s no getting away from the fact that my record in this event is pretty poor, and obviously that doesn’t sit well with me.
What can I say? Every year I come here determined to try to have a good run in this thing, but if the history of this event tells us anything, it’s that over one round, anyone is capable of beating anyone else on the day. It’s an unpredictable format and really there are almost no favourites in any match.
The one thing you can seldom get away with is a slow start and looking back that’s hurt me quite a few times. You’ve got to get your foot on the gas early and try to be the player applying the pressure, not the one receiving it. But listen, that’s the plan every year. Let’s see how we go this time around.
The draw has been announced and I’m in the last match out in Wednesday’s first round against Stephen Gallacher, who recently won in Dubai, so I’ll need to be on my game from the get-go.
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