Els hoping to defend title at home

It wasn’t so long ago that the Big Four in world golf included the Big Easy, Ernie Els. The smooth-swinging South African has fallen off the radar lately but he believes he is now ready for his Big Comeback, in terms of titles.

That could happen on the PGA Tour at this week’s Honda Classic at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Els is the defending champion and the venue is practically his home course owing to the fact that he lives only a commuting distance away. The former British Open champion is now ranked 14th in the world but feels his form is ripe for a return to winning ways. He said on his website:

“My whole game feels very close. I’m happy with my progress and I want to keep working hard and getting better. I’m really looking forward to going back to the PGA National Resort. Every tournament is a bit more special when you’re returning as defending champion. Plus I get to sleep in my own bed, which is always a bonus.”

Els reached the quarter-finals of the Match Play Championship in Arizona last week after tying for 51st at the Northern Trust Open.

His victory last year ended a four-year title drought and Els certainly doesn’t want to go that long without success again. But he won’t have it his own way with Spain’s world number two Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas, of Colombia and Northern Ireland’s teen sensation Rory McIlroy in the field.

Tiger Woods, who reached the second round in Arizona in his comeback tournament, is not playing this week.

The European Tour takes a break following the Indonesia Open last week, while the LPGA Tour stays in Asia for the HSBC Champions tournament.

Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa won in Thailand last week and will be defending her title in Singapore at the Tanah Merah Country Club.

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