Els Dubai Victory Could Be Good Omen


DOHA, Qatar -- Winning the Dubai Desert Classic could be a good omen for Ernie Els.
The South African posted a sensational victory on Sunday in Dubai, where he eagled the par-5 18th hole to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and Stephen Dodd by one shot. Els hit a long drive, knocked a 6 iron to 22 feet, and dropped his putt for his 19th European Tour title.
His two previous victories in Dubai were followed by victories in majors. In 1994, he went on to win his first of two U.S. Open titles. In 2002, he won the British Open after taking the Dubai Desert Classic.
'My ultimate goal this year is to win another major,' Els said Tuesday, arriving to play this week's Qatar Masters.
'I think I have the game and I feel I am in the right kind of form to go all the way and win a major this year.'

Ernie Els won the British Open in 2002 -- the last time he won in Dubai. (Getty Images)
The 34-year-old South African is also eyeing No. 1-ranked Tiger Woods. Els is No. 3 in the world ranking behind No. 2 Vijay Singh.
'You can say becoming the No. 1 player in the world is also one of my aims for this year,' Els said. 'I know it will not be easy to be the world No. 1 as Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh are currently in very good form. However, I would say I am not far behind and up for winning more tournaments this year.'
Woods has 12.27 ranking points on the world list. Singh has 11.79 with Els on 11.22.
'This is part of my run-up to April and the Masters ,' Els said after the victory. The Masters begins April 7.
'I needed a win, I needed to play really well before the Masters and to do it after a three-week break makes me very happy.'
It may be difficult to keep the momentum on the Doha Golf Course, a new venue for Els.
'I did see it (course) from up in the air when I was about to land today,' Els said. 'I have heard from the players that it is a very challenging playing surface. I always go into a tournament thinking I can win and I feel the same way before playing here in Doha.'
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.