Ernie Els was once the best golfer in the world. I know — the television commentators at the Barclays on the weekend liked to remind us of the fact, and Rod Black, who was the MC at Els’ appearance at Magna GC in Aurora on Monday said it over and over again. Els was a great golfer — and remains a very good one, even after a 2005 boating accident nearly finished his career. Anyway, Els is an affable guy — a real talker on a variety of topics and spoke with the media after doing a clinic at a GolfTown charity event on Monday at Magna alongside JJ Henry. He was pretty frank — which made him interesting , and even in an exhibition, his long, languid swing is a sight to behold. Turns out Els has some strong opinions — some of which will make the basis for my Sympatico column this week.
On the new groove rule:
I cant wait. I think itll bring color to the game, so to speak. Youll see different shots that we havent seen since the late Ëœ80s. Ball strikers will come to the foreground and youll have to manage your game differently. You cant jsut drive the ball all over the place and hit it out of the rough. Strategies will change and golf courses will show their teeth more. Itll change the whole landscape.
On the Presidents Cup captains picks that will be announced next week:
I think on paper again, like every year, [the team] is pretty strong. We need to get together and play well as a team.I spoke to Greg [Norman] last week. Hes all fired up. Weve spoken about things a little bit, but I dont want to get into that too much. We have a very strong team, and whoever he picks will be good.
On making PGA Tour players tee it up more often:
A guy like Tiger “ it is a totally different world that he lives in. Guys like myself, I play a worldwide schedule and have done so for my career. Ill probably play two, maybe three events. The tour is what it is.
On the recovery from the accident in 2005:
My swing is a little different and my move through the ball is a little different. But Im not in pain and you have to adapt. I think if you spoke to Tiger hed say the same.