• Els ‘fit and firing’ for Prague test

    Ernie Els
    The Big Easy is ready

    Ernie Els is fighting fit and raring to go as he prepares to make his debut at the D+D Real Czech Masters this week.

    The four-time Major champion is making his first appearance at Albatross Golf Resort as Prague plays host to the Race to Dubai for the sixth-consecutive season.

    Els was forced to withdraw from the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open last month due to a back injury, but finished in a tie for 32nd at The Open Championship the following week and is looking forward to teeing it up in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

    ‘I have had a lot of treatment on it,’ Els said.

    ‘Nothing too serious but serious enough where I couldn’t play the other week. When it’s in the rough it’s tough to follow through. I’ve had it before so we worked it out and it should be good.

    ‘We have just arrived here this morning. Beautiful hotel, beautiful city. I haven’t been to the course yet but Ricky [Roberts], my caddie, was out there and said there has been a lot of rain. So it will be very different from last year and we will see as we go along.’

    Els will play alongside last year’s victorious Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjørn, for the first two days as he prepares for a leadership role of his own later this year.

    The South African will skipper the International team against the United States at the Presidents Cup in December and admits he will be seeking the advice of both Bjørn and Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington this week.

    ‘Well, I would love to play with him [Harrington] this week and get his thoughts or maybe Thomas Bjørn or somebody,’ he said.

    ‘I’m a little bit further on in my campaign; we are almost getting ready to play and a lot of our players are ready to go, but our top eight will qualify this week in America and when that happens we will have more clarity of what we want to do with selections.

    ‘That’s coming up in November, which is a long time to go. But at least we can get pairings going and that.’

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