Ernie Els is preparing for what will likely be his final appearance at Augusta National as a player next week.
When the Big Easy won the 2012 Open Championship, he earned a five-year exemption to play at the Masters. Since then, however, the South African has notched up just one victory and plummeted down the world rankings.
That said, it’s been a distinguished career for the veteran, who has four majors amongst his 71 professional wins.
Next week Thursday, Els will tee off at his 24th Masters, which is an achievement in itself.
“I’ve had 23 goes at it and had a great time,” the 47-year-old told augusta.com.
“I’ve got to do something special to get back there. I’m not really looking at it as my last one, but if it is, it is.”
Els has been a real contender for the Green Jacket on a number of occasions on Sunday afternoon at Agusta, most notably in 2000 and 2004 where he finished solo second.
These oh-so-close moments have left a sting on Els.
“I’ve put a lot of energy into that event, and that’s why after 23 times there I’m not really looking at going to win,” revealed the father of two.
“I’m hoping to have a nice week, and if I can play the four rounds that’ll be great and that’ll be that. A lot of guys have never had the opportunity to have a chance to win, and I’ve had a couple of chances to win. So I knew how that felt like. It didn’t quite go my way. I just want to have a good week.”
The pros at the Sony Open in Hawaii were sent scrambling for cover on Saturday after a ballistic missile alert was sent out by mistake.