Ernie Els has sights set on career grand slam
Coming into this week's Masters, Ernie Els is trying to achieve his remaining goals in a career already studded with success.
With U.S. Opens in 1994 and 1997 and a British Open in 2002 under his belt the South African has won more majors in a 10-year stretch than any player except Tiger Woods.
However, to reach the pinnacle of golf, the career grand slam, Els needs to win the Masters and a PGA Championship.
Winning both tournaments would put the finishing touches to a great career or, as Els put it in his pre-Masters media conference: "That would be the perfect world for me".
Yet Els arrives in Augusta having not played particularly well since his Sony Open win in Hawaii earlier in the year.
He missed the cut at the Bay Hill Invitational and had a poor finish at The Players Championship, which included a six-over-par 78 in the final round to fall out of a tie for fourth and only three shots off the lead to joint 26th.
"A couple of times this year I've hit it great and just missed everything and that kind of creeps into the game," Els said of his inconsistent 2004 season.
"I've been working on everything so...I'm feeling good about my game this week."
In a microcosm of his year, Els played a practice round on Tuesday in which he hit the ball poorly on the front nine but found something on the back nine to reproduce his old form.
As he worked on the practice range he continued to hone his swing but coming into a major championship the last thing Els wants to do is fiddle with his swing. Or is it?
"Well, two of them I was nowhere," Els said of his game prior to two of his majors. "I was maybe a little bit worse off than where I'm at now, especially going into Muirfield."
Els found the right swing before the 2002 British Open at Muirfield and rode it to a playoff victory.
"The same at Congressional," Els added. "I missed the cut the week before and and when I went in there it was kind of a wake up call. You've got to get your game in shape and you've only got a limited time, so I did that."
Els enters this year's Masters with a game that needs work, trying to find the right swing, as he did at Muirfield, but still believing he will be fine when he tees up on Thursday alongside American Mark O'Meara and Australian Robert Allenby.
"The good thing about this golf course to me, you know, is that I know the lines quite well," Els said.
"So it's not like I've got to read it again and again and again and I'm unsure about the lines. I'm pretty sure where to hit the putts, just to get the speed, you know. And the putter feels good this week."