Nick Gordon
1 minute read
9 Apr 2014
6:00 am

Ernie still gets butterflies

Nick Gordon

When Ernie Els hits his shot off the first tee at Augusta National tomorrow he will have appeared at the Masters a total of 20 times.

FILE PICTURE: Ernie Els during day 2 of the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City on December 06, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images.

The 44-year-old first made the trip to the famed setting in 1994, marking the occasion with a top-10 finish, and he admits that he is feeling the same butterflies, even on the eve of this milestone, as he did 20 years ago.

“This is my 20th appearance in the Masters and let me tell you the experience never gets old. You feel a buzz when you arrive and the butterflies start to dance around in your stomach,” Els was quoted as saying on his official website this week.

“Everyone’s excited to be here, even the champions from 20 or 30 years ago. You never want to stop coming back: it’s that special.”

The Big Easy has a stellar record around the layout designed by golfing great Bobby Jones, but has never managed to acquire the famed green jacket. His best finish was second in 2000 and again in 2004, when losing out to Phil Mickelson by one stroke.

“Trust me, you need a lot of patience to do well at Augusta, but then again you need a lot of everything: this golf course really does test every facet of your game and your mind,” Els said.

“So, this masterpiece that Bobby Jones created all those years ago is still a true test of a top player’s game.

“It’s a unique challenge and as always it’s a challenge that really gets the juices going,” he added.