Ernie Els looks for boost from Lee Westwood

Ernie Els is determined to prove again that it is possible to go from zero to hero in the space of a week - and that spending time with Lee Westwood pays dividends.

"Golf is a strange and unpredictable game and sometimes things can turn around very quickly," said the 41-year-old South African as he prepared to defend his title in this week's World Championship in Miami.



"I'm hoping the good vibes of coming back here and defending my title will give me the boost that I need.



"Just 12 months ago this win was my first on the PGA Tour for a while after a bit of a lean spell and I went on to win again the following week.



"Yes, winning gets harder as you get older, but I still feel like I've got a lot left."



The comparison is there to be made because a year ago Els was knocked out in the second round of the World Match Play and then finished only 67th in the Honda Classic.



On Sunday he came 70th after again failing to make it into the last 16 in Arizona.



Not only that, but he played a friendly game with Westwood at Seminole on Monday, just as he did this time last year.



"Lee's still hitting the ball beautifully," Els added. "I like to pick up things and I think I have something again, so I think I should play with him more often.



"I think I have a major or two in me and I just want to get back on track here."



Reminded that Jack Nicklaus won his 18th major 25 years ago at the age of 46, Els said: "It gives a lot of hope to us forty-somethings.



"There's been a lot of majors won by guys in their forties - Hogan, Vijay (Singh), O'Meara - but what Jack did was amazing.



"I think everybody would like to hit it a bit further and I'd like to putt better. I've been looking at old videos of mine when I putted very aggressively and confidently. I'd like to get that back."



Westwood is keen to get his season going too, having lost the world number one spot to Martin Kaymer 10 days ago, but the big target for him, Els and everybody is The Masters starting on April 7.



This week, however, brings together the world's top 50 for the first time since last year's US PGA at Whistling Straits.



Kaymer won that event and now that he is top of the rankings life could not be sweeter, you would think.



Except the German himself said yesterday: "Yeah I'm happy and I'm satisfied, but there's still something missing.



"I don't know what it is, what I have to win, what I have to do more. Maybe I will find out in the next 12 months.



"But I've been number one and no-one can ever take it away from me. That was my goal when I started playing golf.



"It is a nice thing, but it doesn't change my life. Yes, I'm maybe a little more busy, that's for sure, and there's more work for my manager, but besides that nothing is changing."



Augusta is also on the 26-year-old's mind and after three missed cuts in three starts, there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.



"My goal is to play on Saturday and Sunday this year. I've struggled a little bit with the draw the last few years and my coach and me are working on it.



"Obviously that makes a big difference. If you fade the ball only you make the golf course even more difficult.



"With the irons it's no problem. I just struggle with the woods a little bit. But I'll get there."



Els, though, doubts the need for Kaymer to go down that road, believing that the Masters course no longer calls for a big draw in the way it used to before it was lengthened.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little