All in the mind for Ernie
Els reveals revolutionary coaching helped cure putting woes
Last Updated: July 23, 2012 8:44am
Ernie Els: Turned to South African doctor for inspiration
Ernie Els had a 'visualisation coach' to thank for helping him turn his game around and become a major championship winner again.
Els had dropped out of the world's top-50 for the first time since 1993 last year, as putting woes undermined the rest of his game.
"People were laughing at me and making jokes about me and really hitting me low, saying I'm done and I should hang it up.
Ernie Els Quotes of the week
In desperation the 42-year-old turned to Sherylle Calder, a South African doctor who worked on "retraining" Els' eyes to improve his much-criticised stroke.
"I was coasting everything up to the hole and wasn't giving the hole a scare," said Els, who was winning his fourth major at Royal Lytham.
"That's why I started working with Sherylle, just changed the whole thing, mindset, training, everything. I was really going from a totally different angle, which I liked, because I tried everything else.
"In March I looked like an absolute fool. People were laughing at me and making jokes about me and really hitting me low, saying I'm done and I should hang it up.
"So to come through and make a putt like that (on the 18th) and make pressure putts on the back nine, that was the whole goal."
So it was no wonder that Calder was one of the people Els thanked in his victory speech at Royal Lytham after holing four birdie putts on the back nine in his final round of 68, including the one from 15 feet on the 18th which eventually saw him finish one shot ahead of Adam Scott, who bogeyed the last four holes.
"I'm still numb," added Els, who was on the practice putting green just hoping for a play-off as the drama unfolded. "It still hasn't set in. It will probably take quite a few days because I haven't been in this position for 10 years, so it's just crazy, crazy, crazy getting here.
"But I really feel for my buddy, Scottie, I really do. I've been there before. I've blown majors before and golf tournaments before, and I just hope he doesn't take it as hard as I did.
"Thankfully he's young enough. He's 32 years old. He's got the next 10 years that he can win more than I've won. I've won four now - I think he can win more than that."