Ernie by 13 Is That Good

By George WhiteMay 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
Well, what do we make of Ernie Els this time? He won a tournament in um, in Shanghai. Oh ' and did I say win? It was domination, as total and thorough as is humanly possible. No one came within 13 strokes of him.
Herein lies the problem with Western civilization and many of Ernies conquests ' he goes about as far away as possible to win sometimes. He also wins his fair share in the U.S. (two U.S. Opens) and Europe (a British Open). But when the venue is the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club ' well, we're just flying blind when we try to come to grips with what this win really means.
Ernie Els
Ernie Els has 3 European Tour wins so far in 2005.
Els winning by 13? Should we strike up the band and have some sort of proclamation? Or should we merely assume that is was just another victory halfway around the world?
Methinks there really should be the proclamation. Perhaps it's just our American prejudice when we tend to look down our noses at an overwhelming win such as this. There were some pretty good players who were in this field.
K.J. Choi was there from the U.S. tour, as well as Paul Casey. Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Colin Montgomerie, Michael Campbell, Peter OMalley, Nick Faldo, Alex Cjeka, Peter Senior all were there. Els didnt win against a field of sherpas ' indeed, there were just about as many recognizable names there as there was in New Orleans.
Ernie was chugging along nicely when he was playing in the States, too, by the way. The first three tournaments, he finished T3, 2nd, T6th. But then he fell overboard, finally finishing 47th in his last appearance in these parts ' the Masters.
So, he tweaked the ol swing a little. And ' voila ' a 13-stroke win! At least we think, voila.
He says the 47th at the Masters did it. He decided to make some changes before the slide went too far. He tied for sixth two weeks ago the first time he tried it - at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing, when he admitted he didnt quite trust the new moves. Last week, though, he just obliterated the field, starting with a second-round 62.
'I'm a little surprised it came so fast,' said Els. 'But I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do and the changes made it a little easier to focus.'
He said going back to the Ernie of old, instead of barging in for a totally new swing, was really beneficial.

One thing which really helped was when David Leadbetter sent me some pictures from when I was swinging really well, said Els on his website Monday. I was able to study those images and pick out the things I wasnt doing quite so well; basic stuff like posture and ball position.
After a week this week at home outside London, Els returns to the U.S. the following week for the EDS Byron Nelson. He will be in America for a month, then head east to Europe. But he is excited to see where his swing changes will take him.

This is a great confidence booster for me,' he said.
'My goal this year is definitely to win a major, but I've got to take small steps like I did this week and hopefully it will lead to big wins.'
Els won twice earlier on the European Tour, in Dubai and Qatar, but there was still some question of how good the fields were. Then came the runaway last week, and Els is convinced, even if some other observers arent quite yet certain.
One facet that Ernie was particularly proud of last weekend was his composure while protecting his big advantage.
I've been around for quite awhile and experience has helped me having big leads,' said Els, who resumed with an eight-stroke lead after completing six holes in fading light on Sunday.
'It's not the easiest thing in the world. Your mind can wander, but you can't be afraid. It's a good test of character.'
The question still remains, why does Ernie do this? The citizen of South Africa insists it is because he considers himself a world player. Cynics have suggested it is because of the handsome appearance fees he commands, plus it might be easier to ring up wins at some of the venues he plays.
The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. No doubt he considers himself a world player, but an appearance fee of $500k to $1 million certainly makes up for a lot of lost income. The BMW Asian paid Els the equivalent of a little more than $245,000. Tim Petrovic earned $990,000 for his win at New Orleans. But when you factor in Els appearance fee, the final payout may have been roughly the same. So Els isnt penalized too much by playing in the out-of-the-way places.
What could Els be if he confined himself to playing primarily in the United States? Heaven only knows. But if this swing change thing is as positive in the future as it was last week, he may not need the U.S. He will be a jillionaire regardless.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.