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Els taking two weeks off to reflect on loss

Ernie Els has a little more than two weeks to come to terms with his playoff defeat at theOpen before he returns to action on the PGA Tour.

The South African world number two, beaten by little-known American Todd Hamilton after four extra holes at Royal Troon on Sunday, will play his next tournament in The International at Castle Rock, Colorado early next month.

"These next few days will be tough, but my style is to look forward, not back," three-times major winner Els said on his official website.

"I have to think that if I keep putting myself in contention in majors, as I have these past couple of years, then some more are going to come my way.

"It's probably just as well that I've got a couple of weeks off now before I swing back into action at The International."

Twice this year, Els has come desperately close to winning a major and twice he has had to settle for second best.

The 34-year-old lost out by a shot to American Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Masters in April, despite closing with a five-under-par 67 and having led by two with five holes to play.

On Sunday, Els missed an eight-foot birdie putt at the final hole of regulation play that would have won him the Claret Jug for a second time.

Trailing Hamilton by a stroke after the first three extra holes at Troon, he missed a 12-foot birdie putt from the same line on the 18th green that would have taken the championship into sudden-death.

"It's hard to explain how you feel at a time like that," added Els, who won the 2002Open in a playoff at Muirfield. "It was similar to the Masters, really. I'd got so close and to come away with nothing is bitterly disappointing.

"But you have to try to take the positives out of these experiences. At Augusta I didn't put a foot wrong, and it was the same here on the back nine at Troon on Sunday.

"I felt like I played well down the stretch and made some crucial putts to get myself into the playoff. It didn't go my way, but what can you do. I gave it my best shot."

Els will not be consoled by the fact that he became the first player to shoot four sub-70 rounds at an Open championship for the second time -- on neither occasion winning.

He had been the first to do so at Royal St George's in 1993, when he had to settle for a share of sixth place in the lowest scoringOpen in history.

"Sometimes it's not enough," he said, referring to his rounds of 69, 69 68 and 68 at Troon.

"Coming so close in a major and not winning is a really tough blow to take, but I think it's only right to congratulate Todd Hamilton on his performance."

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