(Editor’s note: Ernie Els is writing a blog or PGATOUR.COM in 2015 and this is his latest installment)
Missing the cut is obviously frustrating whenever it happens, but it leaves an especially sour taste at one of your favorite tournaments of the year, such as the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
The reality is I didn’t hit enough fairways and greens, which puts pressure on your short game and makes it tough to get any momentum going. Still, there is no sense dwelling on it. We look forward now and focus on next week’s U.S. Open. With two wins in this great championship, and a total of 10 top-10s (three in the last five years) this is a week that always generates inside of me a lot of excitement, anticipation and, above all, positive vibes.
So, this current week off is all about hard work and basically finalizing the preparations – physically and mentally – to contend for that fifth major win. The desire is still there and Chambers Bay looks like an interesting challenge.
It’s certainly amazing what they’ve been able to achieve here. Just 10 years ago this site was basically all that was left of an old sand and gravel quarry. The architect, Robert Trent Jones Jr., and his team then set out to create a links worthy of hosting the U.S. Open. And here we are. Just look at this place. It looks incredible!
It will be a fairly new experience to many of us, with the exception of some of the younger guys who played it in the 2010 U.S. Amateur. The USGA will have learned a lot about the set-up from that event and it will be interesting to get there and take a look at everything for myself. Majors are all about getting your head in the right place and part of that process is taking care of your own business, learning as much as you can in the practice rounds and making up your own mind about how best to play the course. You have to stay focused.
What we do know already is that Chambers Bay is a links-style test of golf with classic links references almost every which way you turn; authentic fescue grasses, wide fairways and huge undulating greens with run-offs and slopes. It should play like a proper links course, more so than maybe any other venue that I’ve encountered in my U.S. Open career. In fact, the Irish Open at Royal County Down – one of the world’s great links courses – is looking like it was an ideal U.S. Open warm-up. It’s not often you can say that! Anyway, more on that in next week’s report.
For those of you who are keen to play this year’s U.S. Open venue, you can do so on Aug. 10 as part of the Els for Autism Golf Challenge. In fact, Chambers Bay is one of five U.S. Open courses on this year’s schedule, which goes to show the quality on offer.
Finally, it was so sad to learn of the passing of a good friend and five-time Sunshine Tour winner, Sean Pappas, at the weekend. Sean came from a prestigious golfing family with all of his brothers becoming professional golfers. We all know each other well and my thoughts are with the whole family at this tragic time. Sean is gone way too soon. Rest in peace, my friend.