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Ernie Els Ready to Strike!

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2008-07-23 05:31:48     
Article by Dave Mark

You have to admire the talented South African who resides in the States. The long flowing swing that we can't get enough of. Oh wait a second, Ernie has been meeting with that famed son of Claude Harmon. Who doesn't know the head pro years gone by, was stationed at Winged Foot in New York? I know Phil Mickelson will never forget that mess of a last hole for a Major. Back to Butch Harmon, ex Tiger Woods instructor among his top notch resume. Ernie now has a more compact swing and because Butch tightened it up, Ernie has more control and can play better from the fairway than the rough or trees. With Tiger nursing his way back but unable to play in this upcoming British Open, I like Ernie's chances.

Ernie has been practicing at Royal Birkdale, which will host the upcoming Major. His game looks like it is coming together and just in time. It will definitely help the quiet man to not have a Tiger in his rear view mirror. I am not convinced Ernie has reached his full potential even though he is closing in on forty years of age. Besides his ability with the longer clubs, Ernie is a master with the wedge, especially when he gets in a sand trap. It seems his biggest hurdle is those nasty 4 foot putts. He doesn't seem to have total confidence when faced with putts of that distance. He is certainly a wonderful putter from thirty feet but if he leaves those shorter ones that are so critical, he may have a tough time.

Maybe without the Worlds Number One in the hunt, Ernie will become a wizard on the short grass. I for one would like to see him wins a few more majors before he is ready for the Seniors Circuit. The British Course should be in Ernie's wheelhouse. All Ernie needs to do is get into the final pairing or no worse than three shots back going into the final round.

Should Ernie not be up for the task, my next choice would be Jeff Ogilvy. This Aussie is just too good when the tougher majors are being played. Deadly straight off the tee and a very streaky putter. Loads of confidence ever since he won his first major, the 106th US Open. I know many will say that Jeff backed into it when Mickelson went brain dead and hit shots no one would have believed from Phil. Still, Ogilvy had to be in place to "fall" into the win.

Phil will or should be in the mix for this British Open and may take home the prize if he keeps his cool and makes better decisions than he did in that Winged Foot fiasco. My other pick is Sergio Garcia. Possibly the best driver on the tour and a great short game. His only shortcomings are also on the green. If Sergio is putting average, he should challenge for the title too. I am predicting 8 under par wins.

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