Ernie warming up in Texas

Every player has their own way of preparing for the Masters. For Ernie Els it’s all about competing, and he’ll do just that at the Valero Texas Open this week.


“There’s no substitute for getting out there and playing some competitive golf – doing it ‘under the gun’ as they say. That’s why I’m excited about this five-week stretch of tournaments coming up, with the Masters sandwiched right in the middle. Hopefully I can generate some momentum in my game and give myself that little bit of confidence and sharpness that you need in order to post some consistent numbers,” he wrote in his blog on Monday.


The Big Easy has played TPC San Antonio once before, back in 2010, where he managed a 12-unde-par total and a share of third. This week he’ll want to repeat that performance, but the major focus is on putting together four consistent rounds.


“I remember making a slow start that week, but I played pretty tidily over the weekend to finish 12-under par and tied for third a couple of shots behind Scotty (Adam Scott),” said the world number 33.


The course has a range of greens that make putting tricky, but Els ranks 21st on the PGA Tour for strokes gained in putting and should be able to manage the short grass pretty well. He also ranks 33rd in sand saves and that means he should be doing a lot of scoring from around the greens this week.


“It’s a tough test and you have to be very accurate, but also very creative. Every green is different, with a lot of run-off areas, and it always keeps you thinking. It’s different to what we play most weeks, but personally I felt comfortable out here in 2010. Hoping to have another strong week this time around,” he said.


Els leads the PGA Tour in approaches from 150-175 yards, a statistic that says a lot about his chances on the make-or-break par fives at Augusta. This week he’ll need to test his accuracy and take advantage of the chances he creates. The Texas Open will give Els and his fans some good insight into his pre-Masters form.


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