Ernie’s Latest News – 20 January

20 Jan

It’s been a while since we last posted a report, so I’ll start here by wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year. Hope 2020 is happy and healthy.

This is a significant year for me, as I’ll be dipping my toe into the Champions Tour and that started with my debut in last week’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii. It was an exciting week, kind of felt like a rookie again! Obviously I grew up with these guys. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last 25-plus years and it was fun to reconnect. And actually, it’s a privilege to be out here, really, if you think about it. You’re playing on the regular tour for so long and then, of course, they called this the Champions Tour for a reason…if you’re a champion, they reward you on this side. I want to have fun, play with the guys and hopefully put some good numbers up.

I kind of knew what to expect. The courses aren’t that easy and these guys are sharp, so you have to bring some serious game in order to compete and win. So the first round, it was pretty disappointing, to be honest. It felt like I left every putt short, but we changed putter for round two and then everything clicked into place. I played some really good golf, shooting a pair of 65s to finish tied-1st on 14-under par. Obviously it was a bit disappointing not to get the win in the playoff with Freddie and Miguel. I had a couple of chances, but didn’t take them. That’s the way it goes. But actually it’s all good. I can reflect on a great week, really enjoyed my debut, and congrats to Miguel on getting the win.

At this stage we’re not sure how many tournaments I’ll play this year on the Champions Tour. We’re just looking at the schedules at the moment. The truth is, even though I’ve enjoyed almost 30 years on the PGA TOUR and European Tour, it feels a little too soon to call time completely on that part of my career. So my intention is to play across the main tours and the Champions Tour. As I said, though, it’s a little premature to say which tournaments exactly. We’ll see.

Next up for me is the Saudi International, my second appearance in this impressive new event. I want to continue competing against the best players in the world and the way that this tournament is shaping up, it will be one of the strongest fields in golf in the early part of 2020. The course was in great condition last time and it’s an enjoyable layout. The Saudi Golf Federation is doing a lot to grow the game in the Kingdom and, like all of the guys playing here, it’s good to be part of that initiative.

Okay, that’s it for now. There’s a bunch of other non-tournament related news that we want to share with you, but we’re going to save that for the coming weeks.

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