Ernie Els says his agonising loss to Tiger Woods in Dubai on Sunday is history and he is fully focused on etching his name on the inaugural Indian Masters trophy this week.
The world number four started the final day at the Dubai Desert Classic four ahead of Woods but his approach to the green on the 18th went in the water and it cost him the tournament. He eventually finished third.
Despite the disappointment Els, who has made it his season’s goal to win Majors and close the gap on Woods, said he took positives out of the experience — his first event of the year.
”It was obviously a pretty disappointing way to end the tournament on Sunday. It’s always tough to take, but I have to look at the week as a whole and try to draw some positive conclusions,” he said on his website.
”I felt like I was swinging the club well and, considering it was my first tournament in six weeks, I was pretty sharp and competitive out there.
”In the end, like I said, it just came down to a couple of mistakes. Obviously I have to eliminate those from my game, but other than that everything is okay.”
The 38-year-old South African is among the most widely travelled golfers on the circuit, regularly globe-trotting to events in Asia, and he headlines the $2,5-million Indian Masters at Delhi Golf Club this week.
It is the first time the European Tour has visited India and he said he was keen to be here for the historic event.
”Personally, I’ve been here before and it is definitely one of the game’s big emerging markets,” he said.
”So this is an exciting week for golf in the region; it provides the Indian players with a great opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world. It’s obviously great for the fans here, too.
”I’m looking forward to the experience. I have to put behind me what happened last week in Dubai. It’s history — there’s nothing I can do about it now.
”What I can focus on are the positives; the fact that I was swinging the club well all week in Dubai, hitting my driver great, and that overall I felt comfortable with my game.”
Also in action this week are European stars Thomas Bjorn, David Howell, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, who finished fifth in Dubai.
Local hopes rest with Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and Shiv Kapur, all of whom have plenty of European experience. — Sapa-AFP