Ernie Els would have been in in the dark without eye coach
OPEN champion Ernie Els says it took an eye ‘shrink’ to guide him out of a golfing black hole.
The 42-year-old landed his second Open title at Royal Lytham as he cashed in on leader Adam Scott’s dramatic collapse.
And Els reckons if it hadn’t been for visual skills coach Sherylle Calder, he might still have been in the dark.
The big South African, rated the hottest putter around a decade ago, admitted he had to swallow his pride and seek help after slumping out of the game’s top 50.
Els said: “Ten years ago, s***, I was the best putter in the world. I didn’t want to listen to any advice.
“But, to use a cliche, she has opened my eyes about putting and helped bring back memories of what I was when I was one of the best around. I knew if my putting came around, I could start winning the big tournaments again.”
Els took the £900,000 winner’s cheque as he shocked the world with his fourth Major. The dark days seemed light years away as he celebrated with friends and family back at Wentworth before flying out to Canada almost immediately.
Els admits he questioned whether he would ever be able to dig deep enough to get back among the winners again.
He added: “I just worked at it. I missed the Open cut last year and I was in a slump. I was in a bad place in my game and without confidence. I just didn’t play well.
“I’m 43 this year and don’t have a lot to prove. I’m just looking forward to playing good golf and screw the people who have criticised me.”
The man known as The Big Easy says Dr Calder has given him his focus back. He added: “Sherylle has worked with the Springboks, training the guys’ reflexes.
“She’s got eye exercises that I do, getting me a bit more focused on specifics. So it’s coming. I’ve got her on the payroll now.
“I’m starting to read putts better. I’m seeing things differently.”
Dr Calder said: “I saw something special in him and said to him: ‘We’ll win a Major this year’. He just laughed.
“He was absolutely terrible, the way his hands moved and the way he hit the ball.” Els enjoyed proving the critics wrong especially former pro David Feherty, who introduced him in a live interview as the man who “putted with a rattlesnake.”
Els said: “That wasn’t a classy move. If you’re going to take the p**s out of me, fine, but don’t do it in front of the world.”<< back
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