Els keen to up­stage old ri­val Woods

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia - Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have a decades-long ri­valry and the big South African ad­mit­ted on Tues­day he was itch­ing to out­ma­noeu­vre his old spar­ring part­ner at the Pres­i­dents Cup.

The two have shared plenty of golf­ing mem­o­ries, in­clud­ing the 1998 edi­tion of the bi­en­nial team match­play event at the same Royal Mel­bourne course - the only time the In­ter­na­tion­als have won in the 25-year history of the Pres­i­dents Cup.

Now team cap­tain, Els is keen to 'kick the asses' of Woods and his US team­mates once again.

"He's not a bad golfer," Els said of Woods, who is the first play­ing cap­tain since Amer­i­can Hale Ir­win in 1994.

"He's one of the best, the best of my gen­er­a­tion. It was a priv­i­lege to com­pete against him

"A lot of tour­na­ments come through my mind now where

I've came close and lost to him, but there was a cou­ple where I got him.

"Where the game of golf has gone in the last 25 years is just re­mark­able, and it could not be where it is to­day if it wasn't for Tiger Woods," he added.

"So with all that be­ing said and done, you know, we'd like to kick their asses this week here at home."

To em­u­late the Peter Thom­son-led win­ning team of 1998, Els will need to use all his knowl­edge of the world-renowned sand­belt cour­ses, draw­ing on his course record 12-un­der-par 60 at Royal Mel­bourne set in 2004.

‘Got to earn ev­ery point’

Els might have has seven rook­ies in his young team, but he also has vet­eran Aus­tralian Adam Scott, an­other with in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the course.

"Be­tween me and Scotty, we've played the most Cups on our side. I've played un­der nu­mer­ous cap­tains, great cap­tains," he said.

"I'm draw­ing from what I've learned from them. I'm draw­ing from the play­ers that I played with in all those years, and just giv­ing them what I know.

"We've just got to play enough rounds around here to get to know the course bet­ter for their sake. And maybe they lis­ten to me, you never know. That would be nice.

"But I've got a great young team. I've got some ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

“You know, guys are nat­u­rally just stand­ing up; guys who are quite com­fort­able to speak and I like that. I like the spirit we have this week."

Along with Scott, who is play­ing in his ninth Pres­i­dents Cup, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leish­man, Hideki Mat­suyama and Adam Had­win are the only oth­ers with ex­pe­ri­ence of the event among the In­ter­na­tion­als.

Li Hao­tong, CT Pan, Abra­ham Ancer, Cameron Smith, Im Sung-jae, Joaquin Nie­mann, and An Byeong-hun will all be tast­ing Pres­i­dents Cup ac­tion for the first time.

Like Els, Woods is des­per­ate to win to cap off an amaz­ing year that saw the 43 year old bounce back from in­jury to win his 15th ma­jor at the US Masters and then match Sam Snead's all-time record of 82 PGA Tour wins at Oc­to­ber's Zozo Cup in Ja­pan.

"Ul­ti­mately, that's up to us as play­ers and our vice cap­tains who do a lot of work be­tween now and Sun­day for us to hoist that tro­phy," he said.

(AFP)

Ernie Els (left) and Tiger Woods hold the Pres­i­dents Cup tro­phy

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