Els On Going It Alone, Giving Up Drinking

Good read from Doug Ferguson on Ernie Els after winning the Open and some of the sacrifices/changes he made leading up to the victory that might have made a difference, starting with going solo during Open week.

His family stayed in Skibo Castle during the Scottish Open, and then Els sent them home. He knew deep down he was getting close, especially after his tie for ninth in the U.S. Open. He wanted to treat the British Open like a work week, as it was when he was just starting his career. He went to the golf course and worked. He went to the hotel to sleep. It was all business.

''Tony Jacklin stayed in that hotel when he won in 1969 - I was born in 1969,'' Els said, grinning at the coincidence.

And this about giving up drinking.

One night at dinner about a month before the Open, he decided to stop drinking. Els doesn't remember the night, and when pressed for the motive behind it, he waved his hand and said, ''Accch,'' a guttural sound in Afrikaans to suggest it was no big deal or not worth discussing.

''I just didn't feel like anymore,'' he said. ''I'm probably going to give it another three months now. I feel really into what I'm doing.''