Els studies Tiger in comeback bid

Ernie Els is targeting a return to the World’s top 10 – and has been studying Tiger Woods to help him get there.

Ernie Els is targeting a return to the World’s top 10 – and has been studying Tiger Woods’ putting technique to help him get there.

Is it helping rescue a potentially great career that has nose dived in recent years, largely because Els had been failing to find the hole when he could and should have?

It certainly seemed to be doing so at the Tour Championship in Atlanta last week where Els closed with a 71 to finish 9th in a 30-strong field that included all the top golfers on the US PGA Tour and moved him up one place to 22 on the World Rankings list.

“My putting is improving now after a lot of hard work,” Els says on his website this week.

“I have been watching video material of my putting in the 1990s and that has helped a lot, especially as I’m using a longer putter these days. I also watched Tiger and it appears as if my putting is improving again.”

Phil Mickelson is another who has been hard at work on his putting technique and as a result was outstanding, especially on the greens, on the last day in Atlanta. He managed 4 birdies on the first 7 holes for a closing 5-under 65 and a long-awaited victory over Tiger Woods.

His winning score was 271, while Woods finished second on 274.

Mickelson’s victory, his third of the year and 37th of his career. sent him soaring back into second place behind Woods on the World Rankings list.

“It means a lot to me to finish off the year like this,” Mickelson told the media after confirming that he had returned to an earlier putting technique following lessons with Dave Stockton and partly because of it, has managed to avoid making any bogeys on his last 20 holes..

Ironically the quality of his putting last week was not Tiger’s top weapon.

Woods, one of the game’s greatest clutch putters and largely because of it, the World’s highest ranked golfer for 567 weeks, the last 225 consecutively, struggled on the greens for once, saying, “Phil played very well, but I did not putt well and therefore could not put enough pressure on him.”