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Reply to topic Els Ready For Asian Jaunt At CIMB Classic

Els Ready For Asian Jaunt At CIMB Classic
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Captain Els Ready For Asian Jaunt At CIMB Classic

Ernie Els

Kuala Lumpur, 4 October 2018: South African golf legend Ernie Els will be on a dual mission when he heads to Asia for next weekís CIMB Classic in Malaysia and CJ CUP @NINE BRIDGES in South Korea.

The Big Easy, as Els is fondly known, wants to enjoy a final fling competing alongside the stars from the PGA TOUR before focusing his attention on the PGA TOUR Champions when he turns 50 in 2019.

As the new International Team captain for the Presidents Cup next year, the 19-time PGA TOUR winner is also keen to follow the progress of some of the new talents who currently feature in the teamís standings and will compete in the same tournaments over the next fortnight.

Els will make his fifth appearance in the US$7 million CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur next week, followed by a maiden showing at the US$9.5 million CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES from October 18 to 21 on Jeju island.

He said: ďHonestly, itís been one of my greatest pleasures, as a player and golf course designer, to have been able to travel extensively around the world and obviously all around Asia. Itís one of the reasons Iím very proud of my role as an ambassador and honorary member of the Asian Tour. Itís a special relationship for me.

ďThe first CIMB Classic in 2010 (where he finished T5) also happened to be the first time Iíd ever played a four-day golf tournament in Malaysia. The golf course and the setting were great and I remember everybody Ė the sponsors and the fans Ė really got involved and made the players feel very welcome. Theyíve got a fantastic venue at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a very strong field and, for me, it feels like the perfect way to get the ball rolling on the new season. So really looking forward to this tournament and also the CJ CUP, especially as I missed out on that last year due to having the flu.Ē

A recent T3 finish at the Fiji International has provided Els with the impetus to begin his 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season on a strong note. The smooth-swinging South African, who has also registered 47 international wins in his illustrious career, feels he can re-produce some good golf before he switches his focus to the PGA TOUR Champions.

ďItís been a frustrating few years, not getting the results Iíd have liked. Itís been pretty depressing at times. But my gameís been in much better shape than the scores suggest. I feel physically fit, healthy, and still have the desire to compete. I donít want to make any predictions. This will probably be my last full season on the PGA TOUR before we switch our attentions to the PGA TOUR Champions, so obviously thereís big motivation to play some good golf, but I also want to try to enjoy it,Ē said Els, who is a World Golf Hall of Fame member.

He is also excited to see the PGA TOUR expanding its footprint in the Far East, which also includes the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai from October 25 to 28.

ďThe quality of tournaments right across Asia says it all, really. You can see it in the way the worldís major tours want to be involved here. Big sponsors are jumping on board. Youíve got this little stretch now, the Asian Swing if you like, with three great tournaments attracting more and more of the top guys. The fans are loving it obviously. Itís all had a kind of snowball effect, so you can only see it getting bigger and better in years to come,Ē Els said.

With leading Asian players such as Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Indiaís Shubhankar Sharma, Chinese Taipeiís C.T. Pan, Japanís Hideki Matsuyama, Koreaís Byeonghun An and Si Woo Kim featuring in the CIMB Classic and CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, Els will be watching their progress closely in view of his role as International Team captain for the Presidents Cup which takes place in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in December 2019.

ďThatís one of the fringe benefits, so to speak, of me coming to Asia and playing these events. Obviously, I know some of the guys already. Thereís a way to go yet before we make any decisions, but itís a building process. This is an opportunity for me to talk to people and see for myself some of the new up-and-coming talent. I love that. Itís one of the nicer aspects of this new job of mine!Ē said Els.

He was also delighted to see American superstar Tiger Woods, his opposing captain for the Presidents Cup, return into the winnerís circle following his triumph at the TOUR Championship two weeks ago.

ďIím not that surprised. Heís young enough and when he came back you could see he had that attitude, ĎI want to compete and win tournamentsí. It didnít happen straight away, but thatís to be expected. When youíve been out of the game through injury, it takes a while to get comfortable again, to get things flowing again. Iíve been there myself; I know what that feels like. Itís got to be good for golf to have Tiger back winning again. I mean, you could see how excited the fans were at East Lake. They were crazy scenes! Heís swinging it well, heís clearly still got the desire and the passion. If you have that, you can compete well into your 40s.Ē


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Els Ready For Asian Jaunt At CIMB Classic
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