Els steps onto the grounds at Royal Melbourne as the three-time defending champion. He hopes to leave as only the fifth player in the history of golf to have won the same tournament four straight times.
The most recent man to accomplish this feat is Tiger Woods, who won the PGA Tours Bay Hill Invitational from 2000-03. Prior to him, it was Gene Sarazen, who captured four Miami Open titles in a row in 1926 and 1928-30 (there was no tournament in 1927). Walter Hagen won the PGA Championship from 1924-27, and Young Tom Morris captured the Open Championship in 1868, 1869, 1870 and 1872 (no tournament in 1871).
No player has ever won the same event on five consecutive occasions (save for Hale Irwin who performed the feat on the Champions Tour last week at Turtle Bay).
Els, the reigning Order of Merit champion, won his first Heineken title by an easy five strokes. He then shot a final-round 65 to win by one over Nick Faldo and Peter Lonard in 2003. Last year, he opened in 60 ' the 11th player in tour history to shoot such a number ' but barley held on for victory.
Els led the 2004 edition by eight going into the final round, only to find himself tied with Adam Scott by the turn, following a treacherous front-nine 42. He composed himself, however, shooting 32 on the back to Scotts 33 for another one-stroke win.
This is the 10th playing of the tournament and the fourth consecutive year in which it has been contested at Royal Melbourne.
There are plenty of local favorites in the field hoping to end Els Melbourne monopoly.
Scott is again in the field, as are Lonard, Craig Parry, Stuart Appleby, Greg Norman and Jarrod Moseley, the only Aussie to win this title.
Colin Montgomerie, Faldo and two-time winner Michael Campbell are also in attendance.