Ernie’s Latest News – 30 May

30 May

We’re posting this report having just arrived home after a superb day with my sponsor SAP, down on the Côte d’Azur at Terre Blanche Hotel & Resort. Thanks as always for the hospitality and the warm welcome.

Obviously the big news to reflect on here is last week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, the first time that the players had got to play here since the latest phase of works were completed on the Ernie Els Design-led West Course renovation project.

The golf course looked sensational, so first and foremost we have to thank the greens staff at Wentworth. Kenny Mackay and his team did an unbelievable job getting the course ready. It was beautifully presented and the greens, a key focus of this renovation project, were absolutely as pure as you can find. The new sub-air system allows Kenny and his team to monitor and control the various parameters that give a putting surface the optimum playing characteristics. Everything from the smoothness and pureness of the roll, to the moisture content and bounce levels, can be matched across all 18 greens so you can achieve extremely high levels of quality and consistency. The comments from the players last week would have been music to everyone’s ears. The praise was well-deserved.

Overall, it’s fair to say the West Course is now an accurate reflection of our original design intent. We wanted to make sure the course was a fair and strategically sound test of golf, focused on shot values, where well-executed shots would be rewarded. That is absolutely the case now and we’re so pleased that it has finally come to fruition. I hear the Club’s members love it, too. It’s a moment of great satisfaction for me and for the rest of the team. Big thanks to Jeremy Slessor at European Golf Design, who collaborated with us on this project these past 12 months, and to our partners at the European Tour. A job well done guys!

Congrats to Alex Noren on an incredible victory. Seriously, 62 around there is an unbelievable round of golf. And hats off to everyone at BMW, the European Tour and Rolex. This tournament is world class in every way. And also to the fans who came through Wentworth’s gates in huge numbers, over 100,000 across the five days starting with the Pro Am. All these elements combined to make this tournament very special for the players and it was a wonderful start to the new Rolex series, a great initiative for the Tour and one that can only lead to bigger and better things for everyone involved.

As for my golf…well, I can reflect on a pretty decent performance. Obviously not perfect, but it feels as though we were able to build on the previous week’s play at the Byron Nelson, which is good. I struck the ball properly for much of the four days and there were times when it felt like ‘back in the day’, swinging it well, hitting nice shots and the putter feeling good. On the whole, I felt like I played better than I scored, but as we’ve said, this is a tough golf course and it’s easy to make a bogey or worse out there, especially when the wind is up. At the end of the day this golf course rewards you for good shots, and it penalises you for stray shots. That’s the way it should be in a championship of this stature.

So anyway, I’ve now got a week off, which gives me some time to prepare for my next competitive outing at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis. That’s followed straight after by the US Open at Erin Hills, a new venue for all of us. Really looking forward to that.

There’s just time to say this is an exciting week for Els for Autism as this Monday we hosted the first event on our 2017 Golf Challenge schedule, at Royal Montreal Golf Club in Canada. Thank you to everyone who took part. I’m told it was a really terrific day, raising well over $100,000 CAD. As in the previous six years that we’ve been running the Golf Challenge, we have a superb selection of host courses spread right across North America. If you’d like to jump on board, support Els for Autism, and enjoy a great day’s golf, please visit the website: Don’t forget, event winners and top fundraisers win a place in the Grand Finale at the iconic Breakers Hotel here in Palm Beach later this year. That’s going to be some weekend, trust me.

Okay, catch-up again soon. Follow me on Twitter @TheBig_Easy.



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