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Ernie Rolling As He Preps For Augusta

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"I'd like to put this in some dye–some green dye!” said Ernie Els to the crowd at Bay Hill today as he donned the blue blazer he earned by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. He said not to lessen today’s accomplishment but to imply show exactly what is on his mind these days. Tournament host Arnold Palmer, a 4-time Masters champion understands.

Els, the amiable South African, doubled his PGA Tour win total for 2010 this afternoon and clearly the donning of a green jacket and a silver trophy at Augusta National in well within his current abilities.

The 2002 Open Championship winner had to finish up four holes today after weather and darkness prevented a Sunday finish and it might just have been a blessing in disguise. Prior to the stoppage he had just scarred his scorecard with a double bogey on the 13th hole and followed it up with another miscue and bogey on the 14th that opened up an opportunity for his pursuers

But Els proved the form his win at the WGC CA Championship was no fluke and posted four straight pars today to eclipse runners-up Edoardo Molinari and Kevin Na by two strokes.

Of course Els is no stranger to the winner’s circle. His new total of 18 PGA Tour wins includes a 1998 victory at Bay Hill and puts his worldwide professional victory total at 46.

So what would help to complete that resume and cement his path to the World Golf Hall of Fame? In everybody’s mind it would have to be that third leg of the career grand slam, The Masters. And even with a Tiger return Ernie has to be the favorite, on paper, and in the hearts of his many fans.

Two wins in his last two appearances leave little doubt about it and that feat was not lost on Els who has done it three times in his career. “It feels special. I think if you're a betting man, you know, you would have got really good odds anywhere in the world that Ernie Els would win two tournaments in a row, you know.

I know a lot of guys basically have written me off, you know, and a lot of guys probably said it was a fluke in Miami. It was hard work this week, but you know, two wins is definitely special. I'll just keep working hard. There's still a lot of flaws in my game that I've got to figure out and get right. I know I'm never going to play the game perfectly, but I can still improve.”

Els had originally intended to be at Augusta National today for a practice round but had to settle for a little more time in Orlando and a victory. With an extra $1.08 million in his bank account and a boost of confidence he will instead head for Magnolia Lane tomorrow.

Accompanying him will be former NHL player Dan Quinn who has been splitting caddy duties for Els this year with Ricci Roberts. With Roberts having been on the bag for both Els wins this year some may question that tactic but Els says there is no need to worry. “I know a lot of guys said I should take Ricci, but we have made a decision. I've spoken to Ricci and Dan about it and they are happy and we'll stick with it. You know, I don't think anybody can tell me anything more about Augusta than I already know. I've had local caddies take me through there. I've had everybody take me through there. So I know exactly where everything goes.”

Els will play the Shell Houston this week but even if he does not win that he still feels he has some momentum in his effort to win a Green Jacket. He says he is in a better frame of mind these days, more reminiscent of a time during the 1990’s when he was a contender in just about every event he played.

That bodes well for next week in Augusta.

And his joke about turning the blue blazer into the green one he has wanted for so long? It shows what is forefront on his mind, not just in 2010 but each and every year when the calendar turns to April.

“It's always in my head this time of the year. You try and downplay it, but you do think about it. I mean, today I thought about it on the 72nd hole. I was like, okay, you're standing at Augusta and you've got to hit this hard fade. So even — and there's different circumstances. You think of shots that you're going to be playing over there. And I always think about it. Especially, as I say this time of year, you always think about it. Practice shots, you try and get a draw going with your driver, and high shots with your irons and you try and have your short game very sharp.
That's what I've been doing, and, you know, obviously I haven't won for such a long time, and now to be able to feel like I can tee it up and play with these boys, it feels good.”

And it looks good too. 

As nice as the colour blue is, green really is the colour of golf.

Maybe it finally is time for Ernie Els to get the garment with the most admired shade in the game.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Detroit could be getting a PGA Tour event

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As a business based in the Detroit metro area, GolfWRX is happy to hear this: the Motor City could be getting a PGA Tour event.

With the PGA Tour’s 2019-2020 schedule expected in the weeks ahead, the Detroit News reports the Tour could announce (Detroit-based) Quicken Loans will sponsor an event at Detroit Golf Club. The company ceased sponsorship of the former Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Detroit News quotes a source with knowledge of the Tour’s scheduling discussions as saying an official announcement is near.

While the Tour, Quicken Loans, and Detroit Golf Club are mum on the matter, Quicken Loans’ statement to the paper last year made clear the company’s intention to bring a tournament to the city.

“As we look to the future, we remain interested in exploring ways to highlight the energy and revitalization taking place in Detroit…A prime golf event, featuring the world’s best players, is certainly something we would be interested in pursuing as a way to showcase our great American city.”

If the Detroit tournament takes the calendar spot of the The National, it would be contested in late June/early July. Additionally, with the PGA Championship’s move to may next year, there’s some speculation the Detroit event could be contested in August.

As mentioned, we know the PGA Championship is moving to May in 2019. Additionally, The Players will move to March, TPC Southwind will take over  WGC hosting duties from Firestone Country Club, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap before start of football season.

We’ll have to wait (eagerly) for official word on the Detroit event.

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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