April 22, 2014
- Ernie Els lost in a playoff at the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. (Tyler Lecka/Getty Images)
Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2014 and this is his latest installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.
In last week’s RBC Heritage, the iconic Harbour Town Golf Links was the challenging, all-round test that it always is.
That was especially true on Friday when we had strong winds and driving rain – usually you have to play the British Open to be lucky enough to get treated to that sort of weather! Anyway, having played quite nicely in the first round, that little stretch of holes in the worst of the conditions on Friday kind of knocked me back a few steps. Despite returning early on Saturday morning and shooting a decent back nine, we never really got it properly back on track.
Big thanks, though, to everyone at RBC Heritage who supported us wonderfully all week and helped shine a light on autism awareness. Friday was ‘GoBlue’ day at Hilton Head, with players, caddies, spectators and media all being asked to wear blue in showing their support for those affected by autism spectrum disorder. Thanks also to my sponsor SAP who instigated the idea that for this special day we swap their logo on my hat for the blue-and-white ribbon motif of Els for Autism. In this week’s Zurich Classic, Saturday is designated ‘GoBlue’ day. Find out more at www.ElsForAutism.com/GoBlue
As we were saying last week, one of the key things we are doing, with the help of partners like RBC, the Heritage Foundation, Boeing, SAP and my other sponsors, is using golf as a platform to promote not only awareness, but also the importance of early detection. The earlier we can diagnose our kids and secure the help that they need, the better chance they have of leading productive and rewarding lives.
So if you can, please join with us throughout the month of April to show support and help spread awareness of this condition, which in the U.S. alone affects 1 in 68 children and incredibly 1 in 42 boys. With these kinds of figures in play, autism cannot be ignored; we believe that everyone needs to sit up and take notice. Find out more at www.ElsForAutism.com
As you’ll probably know, last week also saw the launch of the #RBCGolf4Kids Challenge, involving all of RBC’s golfing ambassadors on the PGA TOUR. For more, see www.rbcmakeyourmark.com #RBCELS
We’re definitely going to have some fun with this, but there’s a competitive element to it as well. We’re all trying our hardest to raise the most money for our designated children’s charities and in order to do that we’re relying on your support in the form of retweets.
My team back in the office is coming up with a whole host of associated competitions, with a bunch of prizes up for grabs, and we’ll run these across our Twitter channels over the next couple of months. Find out more @TheBig_Easy and @ElsForAutism. And please don’t forget to always retweet #RBCELS so we can raise lots of cash and make a difference to the lives of children and families who need our help.
Okay, so let’s get back to the day job, as they say.
At the forefront of my mind right now is making sure I put all my efforts into trying to produce a better performance at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, a city known as the ‘Big Easy.' In the recent past, that’s been something of a good omen for me. In fact, in my previous two appearances here I’ve been 19 under in 2012 when I lost in a playoff to Jason Dufner and 12 under in 2013. That’s a tidy scoring average of around 68, which reflects my fondness for this golf course. Pete Dye has always been one of my favourite designers and courses like TPC Louisiana just seem to fit my eye.
Also, the vibe here in New Orleans is good and the galleries are fantastic. It’s a great tournament and, although this is my fifth straight week on the road, I just want to channel all my energies into this and see if I can kick-start my season and get something going here.
That’s it for now.