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Beautiful, Unbelievable

Beautiful, Unbelievable
TIP FROM THE MASTER……Former world No.1 Ernie Els(left)with Australia golfer David Micheluzzi at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on July 31, 2018. The duo will tee off with Lucas Herbert in day one of the Fiji International tomorrow.Photo: PGA Australia
August 01
11:28 2018

The Natadola Bay Champi­onship Golf Course was de­scribed as being beautiful, with an unbelievable landscape.

Former world number one golfer, Ernie Els, who is here to compete at the four-day event Fiji Internation­al Presented By Fiji Airways tour­nament at the Vijay Singh-designed Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course described the setting as “a tropical paradise.”

“Obviously the tradewinds are here and it seems like 11 on the clock it starts blowing and the course plays well with it,” the tall South African said.

“I started on the back nine, yeah, beautiful views down to the ocean and back.

“Quite a bit of undulation on the course. I played the first four holes on the other nine, on the front nine where you definitely need a cart, thank goodness.

“Beautiful golf course, landscape is unbelievable. You almost have a bit of mountain golf course on this side and then coming on the other side on the back nine you see the ocean,”he said.

So it’s a wonderful golf course and I think the wind will keep it fair.”

Els arrived in Fiji with his wife and daughter and caddy Cassie from the United States.

“Never been to Fiji and I want­ed to have a little bit of holiday if it’s possible around the golf tournament, so it’s great to be here.”

On his thoughts on Singh’s de­sign of the golf course, Els said this was a tropical paradise and everything was green.

“Just very different golf.”

He said Carnoustie Golf Course in Scotland where the British Open was played last month, ran for miles and so on, but that was a different part of the world and different vegeta­tion compared to Fiji.

Young Guns

On what shape his game was in, Els said he has not been the headline act for a while so it was kind of a bit different for him than the last couple years.

“Yeah, it’s great to play in Fiji. My great friend Vijay, he’s the host I guess of the tournament, he’s from here.

“Always wanted to come and play golf here in Fiji and hope­fully we can play together at some point this week.

“But it’s great to be here and great to see some Australians. I haven’t seen some of the guys for quite some time, and the Asian players and some Euro­pean players. It’s a great event.

“As a junior when I started to leave South Africa to play in big events, started doing it as a teenager and kept doing it as a pro. Now I’m almost 50 and I’m still doing it. It’s just where we’re from, and I think Austral­ians are very similar to us. If you want to get to the big stage, you must leave home. So it’s kind of tough sometimes, but that’s what we have to do. I’ve kind of naturally progressed into that role.”

As the International Team cap­tain, Els said it was more impor­tant to him over the next year and a half to travel the world and meet a lot of the young guys who will be pushing for a selec­tion.

“I’m fortunate that I’m an honorary member of the Asian Tour and I play some events on the Asian Tour so I can keep my eye on some of the youngsters coming through,” he said add­ing this included young Austral­ians.

Els will be up against two Australians, amateur David Micheluzzi and professional Lu­cas Herbert.

“I’m playing with one really young Australian amateur and Lucas Herbert, which is just go­ing to be fun.”

“There are so many young guys that it’s really pushed hard now. From Joaquin Niemann, he’s only 17, turned pro and he’s already had four or five top 10s on the U.S. Tour so he’s making a huge push.”

He said has seen a lot of young, young blood coming through.

Tiger Woods Back

On Tiger Woods top five plac­ings in the British Open, Els said that was good and that it had been coming for some time.

“He’s had a solid year ever since he started back again and playing a lot of events.”

“Seems like every time he plays, he’s competing and he’s up there. That really showed go­ing at the British Open.”

Els said he was glued to the tele­vision on Sunday watching most of the play and when Woods hit the front he got excited.

“He made a couple of mistakes after that but finished strong and finished in the top 5.”

“You know, he’s just working himself back.”

“That was his first real taste of major golf in contention again, so I think more things are going to come from that performance, definitely.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.fj

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