Ernie ElsÂ three major victories make him the leader of a field crammed with South African major champions at the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club this week.
The 18-time PGA Tour winner is one of five South African major champions to grace the $5,5-million tournament and is feeling confident ahead of the tournament.
ÂÂ these past few weeks have really opened my eyes to what I’m trying to achieve and how I can get back some of the memories and feelings from when I was putting great. That wasn’t so long ago and honestly I feel confident that I can regain some of that form,Â he said in his blog.
ElsÂ most recent result came at the Honda Classic, where he shot a second-round 68 on his way to a share of 21st at the tough PGA National Championship Course, showing that he still has that form tucked away Â the kind of form which has earned him three major victories.
But he is not alone in his major dominance, in fact, South Africans in the field make up five of the 17 major champions. And those five locals hold eight of the 26 major championship between them, which makes for a staggering average Â nearly one in three major titles at the tournament lie in South African hands.
The most noticeable of ElsÂ compatriots would be 27-year-old Charl Schwartzel, who is not only the defending Masters champion, but holds sixth in the World Ranking and finished tied fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship a week ago.
Louis Oosthuizen, who teamed up with Schwartzel for the Golf World Cup last year, had his name added to the Claret Jug when he swept to an historic victory at St. Andrews. He heads into the week at 36th in the World Ranking and is a solid outside pick.
Another Masters champion from local soil will compete this week. Trevor Immelman, who is still struggling to recover from his wrist injury, has slipped down the World Ranking throughout the last two years. Over the course of 2012, however, he has carded many rounds in the 60s and, once he can string four together, will surely be back to compete at the top.
Last, and certainly not least, is The Goose. Retief Goosen, with his two US Open titles, is famous for his cool demeanour on the course. Add to this the fact that when his putter is hot he can consistently drain long ones, and The Goose could rear his head just before the Masters gets underway.