Ernie Els backs Adam Scott to find his form ahead of Presidents Cup deadline

ERNIE Els is certain Adam Scott will be a world top 20 golfer again and in no need of a helpful captain’s pick to be a Presidents Cup force at Royal Melbourne next year.

Jim TuckerThe Courier-MailMay 30, 20185:27pm

Ernie Els of South Africa (L) walks alongside Adam Scott of Australia. Picture: Andrew RedingtonSource:Getty Images

ERNIE Els is certain Adam Scott will be a world top 20 golfer again and in no need of a helpful captain’s pick to be a Presidents Cup force at Royal Melbourne next year.

Former world No. 1 Scott has drifted to No. 65 in the rankings after a winless two years, yet has shown a highly encouraging spike in recent form with rounds of 65 (twice) and 64.

A high finish is essential for Scott at the Memorial tournament in Ohio, starting Thursday (AEST), to push into the Top 60 and secure a spot in the US Open in two weeks.

Aussies Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith would be among the eight automatic picks if the Internationals team was selected today.

As captain, Els would need to use one of his four discretionary picks to get Scott aboard for his ninth Presidents Cup, because the Queenslander is only the 16th-best International on current rankings.

Ernie Els of South Africa (L) has backed Adam Scott to be an automatic qualifier for the Presidents Cup. Picture: Andrew Redington

Ernie Els of South Africa (L) has backed Adam Scott to be an automatic qualifier for the Presidents Cup. Picture: Andrew RedingtonSource:Getty Images

Els recently played a practice round with Scott in Dallas and saw all the signs of a motivated figure who is better organising golf around being a father-of-two.

“I’ve been watching Scotty and he’s striking the ball unbelievably,” said Els, who has stepped up as captain to break the drought of the Internationals team.

“He’s gone back to the long putter and looked far more comfortable after difficulties with the short one.

“He’s a top 20 player and I’m really looking forward to him coming through.”

Four-time major winner Els, 48, is taking teenage daughter Samantha to the Fiji International in August, when he will be the star attraction at the spectacular Natadola Bay course.

He’s been through the juggle that Scott is going through with two young children.

“It’s demanding coming from the southern hemisphere … Scotty has been trying to spend a lot of time in Australia (with his children) and he’s been back and forth,” Els said.

“He’s playing a lot more now (in the US), getting a new plan going and he’s just about there, which will make it easier to perform on the golf course.”

Els said golf’s ban on anchored putting strokes at the start of 2016 was handled poorly, and not just because he was affected, along with Scott.

“The way they (golf’s ruling bodies) went about changing the rule was appalling,” Els said.

“So many players used that method and when we won a few majors and big tournaments, it seemed to become a taboo.

“They changed the rule but it has not really changed, because if it (the putter) is a millimetre from you, you can use it.

“If you want to take away the method (of broomstick putting), make the rule that the putter is the shortest club in the bag, or shorter than the driver, and get on with it.”

Els, who used a belly-anchoring stroke before the ban, has no issue at all with Scott’s return to the broomstick.

“Adam going back to the (long-putter) method is in the rules of the game, so no argument there,” Els said.

Els has never played in Fiji and is excited to add another nation to his map of world stops on August 2-5 at an event tri-sanctioned by the Australasia, European Tour and Asian Tours.

“I’ll do some homework on the course. Vijay (Singh) has played there, Brandt Snedeker has won there, and I watched a little one year when the wind was blowing unbelievably (during Matt Kuchar’s 2015 victory),” Els said.

“Hopefully the wind stays away a little bit but I’ll find some information on it before I get there and go through the course.

“I’m not sure how many countries I’ve been to. I haven’t quite taken count like my countryman Gary Player has … he could probably tell you exactly where he’s been.”

Originally published as Els backs Scott for Presidents Cup

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