Ernie Els likes the stability he’s building into his 2011 schedule, but he starts the year at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with one notable change.
Els has a new caddie, Mike Kerr.
Kerr replaces long-time Els’ caddie Ricci Roberts, who was alternating on Els’ bag last year with Dan Quinn. Roberts has been with Els for almost 18 years and was on his bag in all three of Els’ major championship victories.
For Kerr, it’s more than a good consolation prize for losing out on a chance with British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen. Kerr was the guy Oosthuizen was going to hire to replace his long-time caddie, Zack Rasego. Oosthuizen told Rasego on the Monday before the British Open at St. Andrews that he would make a change after the event. Of course, when Oosthuizen won, he told Rasego he no longer wanted to make the change.
Kerr, who is Zimbabwe-born but grew up in South Africa, linked up, instead, with South African Trevor Immelman. Kerr’s former employers include Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Els explained his change to Reuter’s Mark Lamport-Stokes in Kapalua.
“Mike's a nice quiet guy, and I like to have a guy like that,” Els said. “I just wanted to make a change and have a guy who is a little different from what I have had before. He's a low-key, relaxed kid. And he's a good caddie.'
Els said Roberts remains part of his team.
“'Me and Ricci, we are like brothers,” Els said. “He's going to get involved with my business a little bit so he's fine.'