Els has great memories of Congressional in ‘97
“It’s easy,” he said with a chuckle, “you’ve just got to win a U.S. Open.”
Easier said than done for most, of course, but that’s how Els joined — by winning here in 1997, the last time the Open took place in Bethesda. Admittedly, “It’s a long time ago,” Els said, but there’s certainly a familiarity with the course that could play to the South African’s advantage this week.
Even with a host of changes — a longer 18th hole, for example — Els had no problem readjusting to Congressional last week during a practice round.
“Every time I play it, it brings back great memories,” he said. “The finish was obviously very different than it’s going to be this week, but the rest of the course is very, very similar. They’ve lengthened a couple of holes since ‘97, but I think with technology they’re almost playing the same.”
Congressional is a longer course than it was 14 years ago when he captured his second U.S. Open, but Els probably has changed more. He’s married now with a son, Ben, who has autism. Els said every week on the golf course at least a dozen people come up to him to discuss autism and the best ways to deal with it, and he and his wife, Liezl, are heavily involved in their foundation to raise money to fight the disorder.
As far as his game, Els isn’t coming in talking up his chances of winning, especially considering his lack of success this year. He finished 5 over at the Masters and missed the cut at the Players Championship.
“I’d really love to have a really good week and see where it goes,” Els said.
Reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, a fellow South African who idolized Els growing up, said the veteran’s game is coming around.
“I never see Ernie frustrated. He’s just got that go-with-the-flow [attitude],” Oosthuizen said. “I think all of us as golfers know that whenever you go through bad stretches you will get through it.”
‘Nothing to defend’
Graeme McDowell comes into the U.S. Open as the defending champion following his victory at Pebble Beach last summer, but the 31-year-old Northern Ireland native doesn’t see himself that way. He already has turned the trophy in to the USGA and is ready to move on.
“Defending titles is a strange psyche because, I mean, I’ve got nothing to defend this week,” McDowell said.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
A collection of communities writers columns on Benghazi
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc