Els Unsure of Proper British Preparations

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04 Barclays Scottish OpenLUSS, Scotland -- Ernie Els knows better than to use the Scottish Open (begins Thurs. at 9:30 a.m. ET on TGC) as any kind of gauge for how his game stacks up for the British Open.
 
For starters, Loch Lomond will never be mistaken for a links course.
 
It was designed by Tom Weiskopf along a gorgeous lake north of Glasgow. The grass is lush and often soggy from rain, favoring players who hit the ball long and high.
 
The results certainly are no indication. Els won the Barclays Scottish Open a year ago, then went to Royal St. George's and stumbled to a 78 before recovering to tie for 18th in the British Open.
 
The year before, he tied for 50th at Loch Lomond, then won the British Open at Muirfield.
 
The British Open will be played down the coast at Royal Troon in Scotland next week, but Els is not looking at this event as any kind of tune up for golf's oldest championship.
 
'I don't know how you should prepare for it,' Els said Wednesday. 'You've got to take this tournament for what it is. It's the Scottish Open. It stands on its own, played on a great golf course.'
 
Els is the defending champion against a field that includes Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Darren Clarke, Colin Montgomerie and Tom Lehman. U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was supposed to play, but withdrew last week after winning the European Open.
 
Mickelson is playing the Scottish Open for the second straight year. He was not at the course Wednesday, instead practicing at Royal Troon to get ready for next week.
 
Els, who made his British Open debut at Royal Troon in 1989, also played the links on the Ayrshire coast and gave it a favorable review.
 
'I think it's set up very well,' he said. 'The rough is a factor but it's not going to kill you. The greens have a beautiful surface and will get faster. It's set up very fair. I think if we have decent weather, the guys will score well.'
 
For now, however, Els wants to win a third title at Loch Lomond.
 
'I'd love to win it again and hopefully change that little rut in a major,' he said. 'I hope I have a good week and find some form going into Royal Troon for the Open.'
 
Els has played well in the majors this year, but not well enough.
 
Despite a 67 in the final round at Augusta National, he finished one shot behind when Mickelson holed an 18-foot birdie on the final hole for his first major. Els was in the final group with Goosen at Shinnecock Hills, two shots behind, until shooting an 80.
 
'I thought I did very well just to be in contention at Shinnecock,' he said. 'It was a six-week run. I won a tournament (The Memorial) and had a few top 10s and felt good about it. Just one round that I played bad.'
 
Montgomerie also won at Loch Lomond in 1999.
 
The Scot, who had to go through qualifying to get in the British Open, tried out several putters for Loch Lomond and settled on the one he used at the 2002 Ryder Cup, where he won 4 1/2 points in five matches.
 
'I would love to win here again and I am quite capable of doing so,' Montgomerie said. 'It's just a matter of getting off to a decent start.'
 
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