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Ernie Els changes plans to make FedExCup playoffs
August 17, 2011

Ernie Els enters the “last-chance saloon” at this week’s Wyndham Championship where he hopes to reignite his game and qualify for the PGA Tour’s lucrative end-of-season finale.

The three-times major champion is one spot shy of securing a place among the top 125 qualifiers and this week’s event is the final opportunity before the FedExCup playoffs begin at the Aug. 25-28 Barclays Classic in New Jersey.

Els had initially not planned to compete at Sedgefield Country Club but changed his schedule after missing the cut at last week’s PGA Championship, the year’s final major.

“This really is last-chance saloon,” the South African former world number one said on his official website (

“The simple fact is if I play well, I’m in (the playoffs) and if I play poorly, I’m more than likely not. This is traditionally a pretty low-scoring week and I need to find a way to get something going.

“The PGA Championship was going to be my last FedEx Cup qualifying event, but I really don’t want to miss out on those big events and a chance to tee it up in the Tour Championship.”

The leading 125 players in the FedExCup standings after this week qualify for the four-event playoffs, which whittles down the field each week toward a climax at the Sept 22-25 Tour Championship in Atlanta where only the top 30 compete.

Els lies a precarious 126th in the rankings after a frustrating PGA Tour season. All too often let down by his putting, he has not recorded a single top-10 in 16 starts and has missed five cuts in his last eight events.

“I’ve had a pretty tough year,” he said. “I’m putting a lot of work into my game. I need to basically find a way of letting it happen, and I’m waiting for that week for it to happen.”

Els, who is popularly known as the ‘Big Easy’ because of his smooth swing and generally laid-back demeanour, has previously played in only one Wyndham Championship.

“I had a top-10 finish in 1997, but that was on a different golf course,” the 41-year-old South African recalled. “Another top-10 here would be a pretty good result for me, especially given the circumstances.”

Arjun Atwal, who last year became the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour with a one-stroke victory at the Wyndham Championship, is back this week to defend his title.

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