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Defending Champion

By: Claude Pope

Ernie Defending Champion

Ernie Els had an appointment this past Monday with the head of the Royal and Ancient, Peter Dawson. It has been ceremonial since 1873 to keep the Claret Jug for the year after you win the Open Championship. Els said about the Jug,

“It went all around the world, just about in every part of the world except maybe South America,” said Els, 43, a four-time major champion who recently won a European Tour event in Germany. “Taken some great photographs with it with fans and friends and families. And I think that’s the great bit that comes with it. Winning this championship you can have the actual trophy and keep it for a year. It was a wonderful time.”

Ernie Els is sort of a double defending Champion this week. He is the defending Open Champion having won at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s last year; but he was also the last player to win the British Open at Muirfield in 2002

Els begins play this week with US Open Champion Justin Rose, and Brant Snedeker. He has played many practice rounds the past few weeks at Muirfield, and he even came early last week after missing the cut at the Scottish Open. Els on how he feels coming into this week,

“I really have a good feel about it. Since I’ve played my first practice round two weeks ago to last night, it’s amazing how the course has changed. The weather has been unbelievable. The course is getting firm and faster.” “So you have to keep your thumb on things. Things are changing quite rapidly out on the course every day with the weather.”

Ernie Els has had quite the year winning recently on the European Tour 3 weeks ago. The 44 year old will have just as good of a chance as anyone this week with his past experience and great attitude. Playing in a major is a marathon, not a sprint. It would be no surprise to see Ernie Else in contention on Sunday.

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