SA players in the Open: Ernie Els

While there will be great joy if any South African wins the Open Championship, the celebrations will be doubly sweet should Ernie Els win his second Claret Jug.

And there seems to be an extraordinary alignment of the stars at Royal Lytham and St Annes this year for the Big Easy: He has five top-10s in his last 11 starts around the world, including a tie for ninth at the US Open in his last major championship start.

And, he is one of the players who is not intimidated by links golf generally, and links golf at Lytham in particular: he tied for second and third the last two times the Open was played there.

His record in the Open Championship makes for impressive reading: He has 12 top-10s in 21 starts, with a victory in 2002. That list includes a share of second (1996) and of third (2001) at Royal Lytham and St Annes. His 12 top-10s in the Open is more than any other player since 1980.

  • Open Championship record: 1989 MC; 1992 T5; 1993 T6; 1994 T24; 1995 T11, 1996 T2; 1997 T10; 1998 T29; 1999 T24; 2000 T2; 2001 T3; 2002 1; 2003 T18; 2004 2; 2005 T34; 2006 3; 2007 T4; 2008 T7; 2009 T8; 2010 MC; 2011 MC
  • Major record: won US Open 1994, 1997; 6 top-10s at Masters, including runner-up in 2000, 2004; 5 top-10s at PGA Championship, including 3rd in 1995, 2007
  • Sunshine Tour record: 16 wins
  • European Tour record: 26 wins

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