PRAGUE – Despite turning 50 this October, Ernie Els is fighting fit and raring to go as he prepares to make his debut at the Czech Masters on Thursday.
The four-time major winner is making his first appearance at Albatross Golf Resort as Prague plays host to the Race to Dubai event for the sixth consecutive season.
Els was forced to withdraw from the Scottish Open last month due to a back injury, but finished in a tie for 32nd at the Open Championship the following week.
He is looking forward to teeing it up in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
“I have had a lot of treatment on it,” he said of his back. “Nothing too serious, but serious enough where I couldn’t play the other week.
“When it’s in the rough, it’s tough to follow through. I’ve had it before, so we worked it out, and it should be good.
“I haven’t been to the course yet, but Ricky (Roberts), my caddie, was out there and said there has been a lot of rain. So, it will be very different from last year, and we will see as we go along.”
Els will play alongside last year’s victorious Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn for the first two days as he prepares for a leadership role of his own later this year.
Great to be here in Prague & enjoying meeting the people of this beautiful city. Staying in a beautiful hotel, too, thank you @MO_HOTELS. Looking forward now to teeing it up in #CzechMasters @EuropeanTour— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) August 14, 2019
The South African will skipper the International team against the United States at the Presidents Cup in December, and admits he will be seeking the advice of both Bjorn and Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington this week.
“Well, I would love to play with him (Harrington) this week and get his thoughts, or maybe Thomas Bjørn or somebody,” he said.
“I’m a little bit further on in my campaign. We are almost getting ready to play and a lot of our players are ready to go, but our top eight will qualify this week in America, and when that happens, we will have more clarity of what we want to do with selections.
“That’s coming up in November, which is a long time to go. But at least we can get the pairings going for a start.”
African News Agency (ANA)