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One of the reasons Paul is a top iron player is that he centres his chest over the ball and holds it there through impact.

You can see from the building behind how Paul actually keeps his head very central in the takeaway.

You can draw a straight line down from the right shoulder to the left foot in this textbook finishing pose. Look how the right knee has worked towards the left – a classic leg action.

Golf www.golf-world.co.uk World / SEPTEMBEr // MAY2008 2009 58 35


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hink of it like Pandora’s box. Once you’ve let those demons out, then rounding them up is going to be a bit of a problem. Right now, Ernie Els is not where he wants to be. He’s not winning tournaments, he’s not contending as much as he’d like and, as he succinctly puts it himself, he’s become adept at “turning 67s into 72s”. Those demons are misbehaving. What may also be alarming is that the scourge Ernie’s relationship of Ernie’s dissatisfaction with new coach Butch Harmon is comes from two areas. He is starting to pay off, looking to resurrect his short especially in his game and his mental goal is long game. to turn the clock back to those halcyon days when he was laid back enough to enjoy himself on the golf course. “My short game is a bit of a problem at the moment,” he says. “Take Hawaii, the first tournament of 2009, I was nine under par after the first two days. Then, I played really well from tee to green on the third day, but I really got tentative on the greens. Then, once you miss a few putts, and then you miss some greens, and don’t get it up and down, it snowballs. To keep your patience in with the highly-respected sports those circumstances is very tough.” Now, if we were all doctors and Els psychologist Bob Rotella. “Enjoy the things you used to be good at”, he’s was sitting across from us discussing been telling him. “If you enjoy it, it’ll his symptoms, talk of short game be there. It’s not like it’s going to have woes may well lead us to demand more tests. ‘Tentative putting? Loss of gone away”. Rotella has been telling Els to be himself. confidence on the greens? How old But that, as they say, is easier said did you say you were?’. than done. Can the world No.14 “Thirty nine.” Life may begin at 40, but golf these remember who he once was? After all, the last time Els was on the edge of days seldom does. Els, though, has the top 15 players was way back in not quite reached that landmark yet 1994. The Big Easy is not quite as and, on the positive side, he sees that as a positive. “I’m 39, and yet I’m still big, in image terms, as he once was, really driven. I’m determined to get it and the game that he once dominated in his sleep is no longer “easy”. right. If I didn’t have this drive it “When you’ve had success and you would be very easy to step back, don’t have the same success you really design golf courses and enjoy the question yourself and you get hard on family. But, I’ve still got the drive to yourself. That’s been me,” he told get it right and win Majors.” Golf World. “Not playing the way As for turning the clock back, this I’ve wanted to play in the last few comes from the work he’s been doing

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46 MAY 2009 // www.golf-world.co.uk

Els broke into the top 10 in the world for the first time in June ‘94 when he won the US Open.

‘When you’ve had success and you don’T have The same success you really quesTion yourself’ years has been difficult to handle. I’ve been a pretty easy-going guy for most of my career, but... “I’ve been looking to win golf tournaments when I haven’t quite had all areas of my game up to par. I’ve been looking for a win when my short game hasn’t been there and that’s not going to happen. And, that’s when you need to be patient; and that’s what I’ve found difficult. When you get under pressure when your short game isn’t quite there, you’re not going to win a tournament. One bad shot, at the In ‘98, he had two spells of four weeks each at No.1. The second ended on June 7 – the last time he topped the world. In ‘99, he missed the cut in two Majors.

Els was No.1 for one week after winning his second US Open in ‘97. His average ranking for that year, however, was third.

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