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Els looking for immediate return to form

World number three Ernie Els will be looking to bounce back from missing the cut at last week's Bay Hill Invitational when he competes in The Players Championship which starts on Thursday.

After rounds of 73 and 72 in his adopted hometown of Orlando, Florida, the South African missed the cut on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2002 New Orleans Classic.

"Definitely I didn't have that in my sights to miss the cut," Els told reporters on Tuesday. "It happened, it's history, it's gone now.

"This week to last week, it's totally different. So that's a good thing. I've got to kind of get it together."

As preparation for The Players Championship, widely regarded as the fifth "major", and the U.S. Masters which begins on April 8, the timing of Els's missed cut was inopportune.

Els said: "It's a wake-up call, yeah, definitely. As I said, I've had a pretty good run for a while and it's kind of a fresh start now.

"I've got to vindicate myself in a lot of aspects. I know where the weak points (of my game) are at the moment and I've been working on it now.

"You've got to head on out, you've got to get out of it, shake it off and have a fresh go."

Els has three major victories to his credit but has never won the Players.

He missed last year's event at the TPC at Sawgrass because of a wrist injury and his best finish in the tournament is a tie for eighth place in 1996.

But the Masters has been good to Els, with five top-10 finishes in 10 attempts and four top-10s in the last four appearances at Augusta.

"This course, you've really got to be very accurate off the tee, and your second shots are so important, same with Augusta," Els said.

"In Augusta, we have a little bit of a break off the tee, it's not as penal as it is over here. So if you have a good week this week, if you finish in the top-10, you can look at those players, they're going to have a good week at Augusta.

"The speed of the greens are the same, the slope is the same. Your second shot, as I say, you've got to be accurate, and your short game has got to be spot on.

"This is very much like a major. And, if you're peaking, you're going to be well prepared for Augusta."

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