not so easy for ernie

LOCH LOMOND, Scotland - Ernie Els says he must work on his anger management in order to rekindle the magic that earned him three major championships.

LOCH LOMOND, Scotland - Ernie Els says he must work on his anger management in order to rekindle the magic that earned him three major championships.

The smooth-swinging player known as the "Big Easy" has found it difficult to cope with a slump in form in recent years that means he no longer occupies a place in the world's top 20.

"I've been losing my patience a little bit and in this game you can't really do that," Els told reporters yesterday on the eve of the Scottish Open, the warm-up event for next week's British Open at Turnberry.

"The more angry you get the worse it can get so I fall into that trap a little bit.

"Physically I feel good, it's just a couple of mental issues when I'm on the course."

The 39-year-old Els, who has won more than 60 tournaments around the world including two Scottish Opens, may be approaching the veteran stage but still yearns to succeed.

"I definitely have a burning desire to do well and win golf tournaments and I don't know when that will ever go," said the world number 23.

"If it does I will probably walk away but right now I'm still very dedicated to my sport."

Els, who won the US Open in 1994 and 1997 and the British Open in 2002, said he needed to improve his concentration and perhaps take a more sanguine look at his overall game.

"My swing feels pretty good and I haven't lost too much distance through the years," he said.

"Sometimes I'm not quite there for some reason on the course. I need to work on that and really get focused and see every shot and be ready to play every shot for four days."

It seems unlikely that Els will turn his back on the game any time soon, even if he fails to recapture former glories.

Asked why he retained his love for the game, he replied: "It's been in my blood, it's what I have always done." - Reuters

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