The Tour Report
  • Els blog: Off to The Barclays

  • Ernie Els is a four-time major champion. (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)Ernie Els is a four-time major champion. (Darren Carroll/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.

Having played very nicely in the previous week’s PGA Championship, it’s hard not to be disappointed with my result in the Wyndham, even though I played some good stuff out there.

Still, I’m so pleased for Camilo (Villegas) with him getting his first PGA TOUR win in a while. He’s such a great guy and back home in Jupiter, Florida where we both live we’ve had quite a few chats in recent years. He’s proved that if you keep working hard, keep grinding and believing in yourself, you can get back to where you want to be.

This week sees the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs beginning with The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club. This course is a Tillinghast design and in some ways has a similar look and feel to classic layouts such as Baltusrol and Winged Foot, two of my favorite courses in America. I’m looking forward to it and it’s always enjoyable coming to the New York area. The people here love their sport; they get very vocal at times, but that’s good! It always creates a lively atmosphere.

Anyway, a strong performance this week is much needed, with me being in 91st spot in the rankings. Obviously it was comfortable getting into this week’s tournament, but the way this Playoff series works you know things could quickly get a little too close to the edge and suddenly you’re fighting for your survival – remember, the top 100 make it through to the Deutsche Bank and then the top 70 for the BMW, before the points re-set and the final 30 then tee it up in the TOUR Championship by Cocal-Cola.

To be honest, though, I am quietly optimistic about playing well in New Jersey this week. As I said, I like these old traditional style golf courses. Driving the ball well is a key factor, because you’ve got a lot of tree-lined fairways here. So, if you can hit a good percentage of fairways, that then sets you up nicely for your approach shots into the greens, which are typically not that large and also have quite severe slopes. Overall it’s a very fair, solid test of golf.

We’re already in New York having flown here on Sunday night for a golf day this Monday with one of my sponsors, Breitling, at the Bayonne Golf Club.

It’s a superb golf course and the conditions are just perfect. I’ll be playing with some of the guys at Breitling, who we’ve got to know pretty well the last few years. Not only does the company make great timepieces, but Thierry Prissert and the rest of the team have also been great supporters of Els For Autism and of course we’re very grateful to them for everything they’ve done.

Okay, that’s it for now. Follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.