On the Road with Ernie: PGA ChampionshipErnie Els gives readers a preview of this week's PGA Championship, including his preparations leading up to the tournament.
Hard as it is to believe, we’ve come to the point where it’s the final major championship of the golfing year; this week we are at Medinah for the 88th US PGA Championship. While I was at the International last week, I really didn’t give too much thought to this week. Basically, I just wanted to play well and take care of business there, and then come to Chicago in a positive frame of mind. I pretty much achieved that with a T10 finish. I played well and I was swinging the club nicely. It’s a good feeling when you’ve done a lot of work and it starts paying off.
This week we face the longest golf course ever in a major championship – the #3 course at Medinah which will be a tough par-72 layout at 7,561 yards.
When we were last here, for the 1999 US PGA Championship, I didn’t have a great week. But that doesn’t have any effect on how I feel about this week’s tournament. I know this golf course. I know what you need to do. And, as I’ve said in my recent reports, my game has come along nicely in the last month or so. I did a lot of work with my instructors in the early part of July and since then I’ve had three consecutive top-10 finishes, including a third at the British. My swing feels like its stepped up a level and I’m more confident now than I’ve been since coming back from injury last December.
Although the set-up for the PGA is often similar to the US Open, the actual playing conditions are usually a little bit different. US Open layouts tend to play firm and fast, whereas at the PGA, usually the humidity of late summer keeps things a little softer.
Like all major championships, though, you’ve got to bring your whole game to the golf course – you’ve got to drive it well, put your iron shots in the right spots on the greens, and obviously make your share of putts. To be honest, there’s no real secret. At the end of the day, it comes down to one simple thing – execution.
Anyway, I see this morning that I’ve got a really nice draw for the first two rounds; playing with Sergio Garcia and Freddie Couples. They’re both good friends of mine and I always enjoy playing with both of them. Like I say, it’s a nice draw for me. I’m really looking forward to getting on that 1st tee.
We’ll see how it goes and obviously I’ll write next week and tell you all about it.
I hope you enjoy the tournament, whether you’re coming to Medinah or simply watching on television at home. Make the most of it; this is our last feast of major championship golf for another eight months!
Bye for now.
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