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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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An instructor’s perspective on the Chamblee/Dufner Twitter controversy

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If you have not had a chance to read the latest exchange on Twitter between Brandel Chamblee and Jason Dufner — and his teacher Chuck Cook — you have missed a wonderful controversy brewing. As you may know, Brandel is never one to hide his feelings on his views of the golf swing (he’s against The Golfing Machine teachings). And when people disagree with him (Jason Dufner), he’s not hesitant to tackle his opposition head on.

I’d like to take the time to weigh-in on what I feel should be focused on from an instruction standpoint, instead of what has been said on Twitter in this controversy.

Brandel’s side

First of all, I consider Brandel to be a friend of mine and he has been nothing but gracious to me during my professional career; though we have differing viewpoints on certain things. I have often called or emailed him, asking his opinion on one thing or another, and he has never failed to answer me. In fact, I love hearing what he has to say, even if it’s the opposite of what I feel personally and professionally — he hardly speaks without research to back it up. When you have the kind of stage he has, you must be armed with facts.

As we all know, Brandel is not a fan of the new breed of instruction. He prefers the old school methods, and clearly from his initial Tweet that sparked the entire controversy, he prefers an upright backswing. He is not a fan of most technologies used on the lesson tee, and he is very vocal regarding the Golfing Machine book and the Trackman launch monitor. While I hold both these things dear to me personally, I do understand how he could not be as convinced as I am of their successes within the game.

People must understand his opinion is a matter of perspective, and though he has this perspective as a player, and as a player-turned-teacher, he does not have the thousands and thousands of hours on the lesson tee. This does not make him right or wrong, it just gives him a different viewpoint.

Dufner’s side

As a teacher myself, I admire Dufner’s rise to fame and to the top ranks as a player, and I applaud him for doing so in spite of the odds and the drama that has gone on within his personal life over the last few years. I am proud to see him step up on a public forum and defend Chuck Cook (his long time teacher) on this Twitter thread. It is refreshing to see! Though I don’t know Jason, I’d like to shake his hand for doing so. My biggest gripe with Tour Professionals, in general, is their failure to stand by their instructors when things are not going well.

The last time I saw a player defending his teacher this adamantly was in a text string I had with Kevin Kisner (who is a great guy and friend) and John Tillery (his teacher and also a friend), who was not picked as one of the Top-100 Teachers on the latest list by Golf Magazine. As I told Kevin and John, it is a matter of time before he is recognized by Golf Magazine. The lists are subjective and many things go into the selection process; they make good choices and other times they make mistakes. John is a heck of a teacher and will always be Top 100 in my book! So kudos to Jason and Kevin for standing up for their guys…they both deserve it 100 percent.

Chuck Cook’s side

How Chuck was dragged into the middle of this whole controversy is beyond me, because he is one of the nicest and most soft-spoken guys. I also consider him the top-1 percent of teachers within our business. Chuck was in Vail for many years while I was also teaching there, and we have been on many outings together. He has been nothing but professional to all of us and anyone he comes into contact with personally. When someone questions him or his ability to teach at the highest levels, I can only say look at the two U.S. Open Champs he has taught, as well as what he’s done with countless other people within the game of golf. He is a smart and stand-up guy and deserves nothing but respect from all of us.

Chuck, I wish I could be HALF the teacher and person you are and have always been! That is a fact.

The Golfing Machine

Now, we could write an entire article series on the book I call my bible within the golfing world. However, 99 percent of the people in the world call it a “method,” or too complex, although every top teacher uses its methodologies within their instruction. It is ONLY an encyclopedia of motion — that’s it. It tells you what will and will not work together during the swing. What the book lacks has been the proper messenger to get the word across and that blame is only on timing. That’s not a knock on the past teachers who have used it or the players on Tour who have employed it.

Homer’s great book was born in 1969, and sadly the world would not be ready to hear these type of ideas in this type of format until now. And, like anything, it has been grossly misunderstood. The book and teachings have been chastised and will continue to be until a few more generations realize the greatness of what is contained within its pages. Only time will help our cause.

The Conclusion

Its all good… it’s not a big deal people! Please understand we ALL come from different places within the game and have our own opinions based on our perspective. Remember that these are all subject to change and can at any time. Every one of the people in that string of Tweets have their own agenda to promote and have the basis to call themselves great in what they do for a living. As long as we all have a drink and a laugh together at the end of the day, I see no harm in a gentleman’s disagreement between friends as long as nothing was done out of malice.

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

Related

Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

Related: Wednesday’s Photos

Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Thursday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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