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The Tour Report
  • Els blog: Looking forward to Riviera

  • Ernie Els is making his 2014 PGA TOUR debut this week. (Cannon/Getty Images) Ernie Els is making his 2014 PGA TOUR debut this week. (Cannon/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.

It won’t have escaped your notice this week that we have a completely new-look website. I hope you like it. We felt it was due a refresh from a visual standpoint and in that respect the guys have really aced it; this new website gives us so much more scope to better engage with all of you through words, news and pictures. Just as importantly, our new website is upgraded from a technical standpoint so that it gives a massively improved user experience on mobile devices, too. Enjoy!

Okay, so on to business and this week’s Northern Trust Open. Amazingly this is my first tournament on the PGA TOUR since last September’s BMW Championship, but I could hardly ask for a better venue – Riviera Country Club, an historic golf course and definitely one of my all-time favorites.

I won the Nissan Open here in 1999 and to be honest maybe should have won the PGA in 1995 – that was one that got away. I love the vibe here and I’m a big fan of the design, the way the course flows and the angles they have with the greens – you really have to play all the shots to shoot a low number. Also I especially love the bunkering and actually we tried to replicate a similar style of bunkering in one of our Ernie Els Design projects at Hoakalei in Hawaii. It really suits the site.

Anyway, with just two tournaments under my belt, this season is barely off the start line. My game was a little rusty out in the Middle East, but that’s normal. On the positive side, being out there again with the short putter felt right. We’ve looked at some video of me in the 1990s and we've basically been working on getting back to that same old rhythm. The feel off the putter-face with my new golf ball, which is a little softer than I've played in recent years, seems a nice combination as well.

Then last week we put in some serious time on the practice ground at home at The Bear’s Club and I’m enjoying working with the Adams team and getting comfortable with the new kit. Like I said, I’m like a man with some new toys! It makes me excited for the year ahead.