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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ernie on a Roll

Padraig Harrington is playing at the Travelers this week (he's tied for 2nd, in case you didn't know) and he had an interesting take on the whole "playing the week after a major" thing. He said that most players try to peak for the major but they miss it by a week. Then they decide to play the week after and, because they no longer feel the pressure, they relax and have a good week.

Conversely, I suppose you could argue that players who do well at the major don't play that well the following week, due to fatigue. The limited number of players who have won the week after winning a major would seem to support that idea.

And then we have the curious case of Ernie Els. After a T4 at Merion last week, he skipped the Travelers -- perhaps a three-hour drive away -- and jetted instead to Munich, in Germany, to play in the BMW International Open, a tournament he's never won.

At the halfway point, he leads by one at -12.

Ernie at the BMW

Ernie's been playing pretty well over the last couple of months. If you just look at his finishes, they seem erratic until you realize that he's been hopping back and forth between the US and Europe. The first week when he arrives doesn't look so good, but the next week (or weeks) are solid. Missing the cut at the RBC Heritage after a T13 at the Masters is the only real aberration; the following week at the Zurich Classic was a T15.

Which brings up the question of whether Ernie will peak for the defense at the Open Championship. A quick check of his schedule the last two years shows no US starts between the US Open and the Open Championship, and his website lists no tournaments between the BMW this week and the Open this year at Muirfield (in Scotland). Ironically, he HAS played the Scottish Open both years. If his past pattern holds, I could see him adding the Scottish Open -- the week before Muirfield -- just to get himself back in form.

I must say, I'm starting to like Ernie's chances to defend. Especially if he shows up at the Scottish Open. Why change the routine when you're on a roll?

Especially since, according to what I can find, rolls are traditional in Scotland.

The photo came from europeantour.com.

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