Els sticking to tried and tested

Ernie Els insisted that he is as ready as ever to achieve his goals in the New Year, stating that he has not lost his passion for the game.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of this week’s South African Open Championship, the 45-year-old revealed that he has put in the hard yards in training and that he would approach this season not be too different to years gone by.

“My targets and priorities for the year ahead remain the same as ever. Competition is what still drives me; it’s in my blood,” said Els who will act as ambassador to his native tournament which he won for the first time in 1992.

“Any time you lift a trophy it’s a wonderful moment so I want to keep working hard, keep giving it 100 per cent, to try to experience that again and hopefully win one or two more majors before I’m done.

Els said that he will take great pride in the honour that has been bestowed on him at the Johannesburg tournament.

“The South African Open means a lot to me, as it does to all South African golfers. Whatever successes we might have around the world, none of us ever forgets the incredible start we had in our careers by being able to play in tournaments such as this.”

Els, a five-time winner of the SA Open, will be joined by fellow major winners Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen this week.