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Ernie Els deflated by missing out on Majors

World number three Ernie Els says he feels a failure after narrowly missing out on three of the year's four major championships.

The big South African has set himself a fitness goal to try to add to his career tally of three majors.

Speaking on Wednesday before defending his European Masters title, Els, second in the U.S. Masters and British Open and fourth in the U.S. PGA Championship, agreed he felt deflated.

Els three-putted the 72nd hole and missed out on a playoff for the U.S. PGA title won by Vijay Singh last month.

He lost a playoff to Todd Hamilton for the British Open in July, having finished runner-up to Phil Mickelson in the Masters after leading the American going into the last nine holes.

"I was three shots away from winning three majors," said Els. "I was in contention for every one and walked away with nothing. That is definitely a downer.

"A lot of preparation and commitment goes into it and when you play good and get nothing you don't feel good about it."

Els said his defeat by Hamilton at Royal Troon had hurt him the most.

"At the (British) Open I didn't play a very good playoff," he said. "I tried to be aggressive but didn't hole any putts."

Els's route to success next year revolves around his fitness.

"I want to try and be happy again. You can quickly feel like a failure," he said. "I'm already in decent shape but I want to be stronger and fitter and then the enjoyment should come back again.

"The last couple of weeks I've been thinking about it and I feel disappointed with myself.

"All the work and sacrifice I put in, at my stage, it's pretty hard to take."

While Els targets the 2005 majors he can lift himself by winning the European money-list for a second successive year.

"I'm playing the World Match Play (Championship) which now counts towards the order of merit, in Scotland (Dunhill Links Championship) and the Amex (American Express WGC)," said Els, top in Europe by 364,115 euros from compatriot Retief Goosen.

"They are big money events and if I play well in them, I should have a good chance."

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