New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) Indian golf today received a huge thumbs up when World number 4 and title contender Ernie Els said he was really excited to be here and added that he will come back again to play in the Indian open.
''I'm really excited to be here'' the 38-year old South African said and then added, ''I'll come back for the Indian Open, we'll see.'' He expresed confidence that his first visit to India will be fruitful for him saying ''I have worked hard on my game and now i am building my concentration for the road ahead.'' Els is here to take part in the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters starting at Delhi Golf Club(DGC) from tomorrow.
He admitted that it will be hard to beat the Indian challenge but said he was ready for it.
''I'm really excited to be here.I played the course, the full 18 holes, and I think it's a wonderful golf course, old-fashioned course,'' he said about the DGC.
He was asked if he was prepared for the noise during the Indian Masters, he shot back ''Well I think compared to the cricketers we are pretty small here but it was nice to see people's. They seem very golf knowledgable.
To a query whether he has played on anything like DGC before, he replied ''I have played a lot of courses around the world obviously and this course for some reason reminds me a little of South Africa.
''The vegetation and some of the trees are very similar to what we have in South Africa. The lay-out is very old style and design which I really like and I enjoy the course. You never play two holes which are similar and you never really see any other holes out there when you are playing which I like too.'' ''You have to put your ball in play and while, with technology, the course will be playing a little bit shorter than you would have liked it to play, you have to put the ball in play. The greens are very well designed too and it is well bunkered. It is a true old style golf course which I really enjoy.'' He was asked to compare China and India in golfing terms and his reply was ''They have a couple more tournaments in China and a lot more golf courses but India is right on the heels of China and growing at a very rapid pace. I feel that the Indian golfers at the moment are at a better level than the Chinese players.
''If you look at Jeev who has won in Japan and on the European Tour and Jyoti, Shiv doing well and Arjun playing on the US Tour, they have all broken through.
''You do play a lot of ball sports here like hockey cricket and tennis and so the ball sense is there for the youngsters so for them to pick up golf it might be easier than it is for the youngsters in China.'' About the weather, Els said ''Well if we had the fog we had this morning there is no way we could play so hopefully that will lift for tomorrow morning. But apart from that, conditions are perfect for golf, a good temperature and not much breeze, not too cold, so we should have good scoring.'' Will you be hitting many drivers this week,he was asked ''I will be hitting a lot of three woods and three irons and maybe some five woods from tees.'' Asked about the Dubai Desert Classic, where he finished joint third last week, after leading the field at one stage, he said ''It was disappointing to say the least. Losing to the World's Number One is no disgrace but it doesn't make it better. I had a chance and I probably should have won but I didn't but I feel my game will be good this year.
UNI HSB CS RK1940