Inconsistent play still haunting Els

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET

The last two weeks have been indicative of the way it has gone for Ernie Els in the four years since he returned from knee surgery, but you can't help but admire the way he doesn't make excuses for inconsistency.

You had to go well down the leaderboard to discover that The Big Easy missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Saturday, less than a week after kicking off the FedEx Cup playoffs with a tie for second at The Barclays in New Jersey.

"I've been playing okay for awhile, but at least the results are coming through a little better now," said Els, the day after his impressive finish in Jersey as he and fellow tour player J.J. Henry arrived at Aurora's Magna Golf Club for the Golf Town Invitational last Monday.

"It's still not a win, but getting closer. To me, it's just getting into that situation a bit more often and then making the putts when it really counts," he added.

DIFFERENT SWING

"I'd like to win a tournament, whether it's in the FedEx or whatever. If I can get into that situation more often, I think a win will come. I like the course this week in Boston. I played pretty well last year."

Needless to say, Boston wasn't as kind to Els as it was last year when he was 14 under to tie for third. This year, he was six over to remind a guy with his 40th birthday on the horizon next month that his first PGA Tour win since the 2008 Honda Classic will be an elusive one.

Until that happens, there will be no excuses, such as the knee injury he suffered in a 2005 boating mishap. "I don't know if you're ever 100%, but you adapt. My swing's a little different. My move through the ball's different than it was before the knee injury, but I'm not in pain," Els said.

Coping with autism, which his son Ben was diagnosed with, is not an excuse either, said Els, who has become a prominent spokesperson and fundraiser for that cause, but emphasizes it isn't a distraction.

"You come to terms with everything. It becomes a way of life. You adapt. Everybody has issues in life. I can't blame anything for the way I'm playing," said the three-time major champion.

"I just lost my swing. Doing one thing for such a long time, you're going to have ups and downs. What happens on the course is on the course. What happens off is off," said Els, who has been working with the renowned Butch Harmon to rediscover his swing.

"When I started working with Butch, my swing was in disarray. I was all over the place and he helped me out a lot. He gave me a lot of drills to work on and, for over a year, I worked on the stuff and I felt I made the changes and started seeing the benefits of it," said Els, who will play in next month's Presidents Cup.

Greg Norman will announce his final captain's picks for the International team tomorrow and, while it wouldn't be an individual win, a victory for the Internationals against the Americans who have dominated that event might be just the tonic Els needs. He says Norman is already stoked.

"He's all fired up," said Els. "He's trying to fire up the whole team. He has spoken to all the players who are in. We've got a strong team. We should have a very good chance."

Richshot earns card

Kelowna B.C.'s Samantha Richshot a final round 68 to tie for third at the season-ending ILoveNY Championship, which left her fourth on the Duramed Futures Tour money list with $59,292 US.

That position earns Richdale a full-time LPGA Tour card for 2010 and she will join fellow Canadians Alena Sharp of Hamilton and Lorie Kane of Charlottetown. Richdale finished the season with two wins.


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