/ 27 October 2009

Refreshed Els looking for breakthrough

Big South African Ernie Els turned 40 this month and celebrated with a family vacation in the Bahamas, arriving for the Barclays Singapore Open refreshed and ready to break his win jinx.

Els has claimed 64 tournaments in his long career but nothing since the Honda Classic and King Hassan II Trophy in early 2008, with his world ranking slumping to 22, its lowest in 15 years.

If he is to break the drought, Singapore could be the place.

He has been a regular visitor to the tournament, now co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, and has always done well, finishing joint second last year with Padraig Harrington behind winner Jeev Milkha Singh.

”I like this tournament. As I said before, I love Singapore as a city. And I’ve played quite a few tournaments in Asia, and believe me this is as good as it gets,” he said on his website.

”Just the quality and the way everything is set-up and run is world class, basically … I’ve had a couple of second-place finishes in this tournament, so it goes without saying I’d love to go one better this time around.”

Despite being 40, Els still follows a punishing schedule with 31 tournaments spanning the globe on his agenda this year.

He said the tail-end of the season was when players like himself started to tire, but the break in the Bahamas has worked wonders.

”We spent pretty much the rest of last week in the Bahamas and it was probably the most enjoyable and relaxed vacation that I’ve had in a long time,” he said.

”It’s just around this time of the season that you can start to get a little tired, but this fortnight with the family in the Bahamas has really helped recharge the batteries.

”I’m ready to go again for the upcoming tournament double-header in the Far East.”

After Singapore, Els heads to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions where Tiger Woods is the major drawcard. He wraps up his season at the Dubai World Championships next month. — AFP