New Delhi: Ernie Els is Tendulkar Fan


New Delhi, Feb 7: Sachin Tendulkar's fan following transcends far beyond the boundary of cricket and former world number one golfer Ernie Els confessed he too was an admirer of the Indian icon.

Cricket was among the games the Els excelled in during his childhood before golf lured him away. But despite his busy globe-trotting schedule, the world number four seems quite abreast with the recent developments in the world of cricket and believes India is undoubtedly the second best team, after Australia.

“India is definitely a good cricketing side. I think they are the number two team in the world, right after Australia. They are quite a competitive side and most of their batsmen are quite aggressive,” he said.

Singling out Tendulkar for special praise, Els said, “He is an unbelievable player, one of greatest players ever. I love watching him. Your (one-day) captain Mr Dhoni is also a good striker of the ball. I also like Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

“You have a good (test) captain in Anil Kumble as well,” he said. Asked about his memory of playing cricket in his childhood, Els said, “I was an all-rounder and bowled medium pace.”

Cricket's loss, however, turned out to be golf's gain with Els rising to the world number one ranking, although just for a while.

Of late, Els has had an intriguing battle with tiger woods, something apparent from the fact that he has finished second to the iconic American more than any other player. In last week's Dubai Desert Classic too, woods pipped the towering South African to walk away with the silverware.

A three-time major winner and a perfect ambassador of the game, Els has been eyeing the pole position once again and in 2007 he announced a three-year plan to oust woods from the perch.

“I mean, it's going to be difficult. I'm finishing high but I'm Not winning enough. I have to be on the roll and I'm searching for that winning streak,” said the omega global brand ambassador as he prepares to tee off in the Indian masters, country's first European tour event which gets underway at the Delhi golf club here.

Asked who in contemporary golf had the best swing, Els, monikered 'the big easy' for his fluid swing, said, “with iron, it's Tiger and Jim Furyk with the driver. As for putting, it's tiger again and I feel Phil Mickelson has the best short game.”

On what drives him to different parts of the globe to compete in varied conditions when he could simply confine himself in the comfort of the PGA tour, Els said, “I'm Glad that I'm One of those top players who go to different places to play the game. It’s good for the game’s growth and my game as well. I get to experience different conditions.”

In the past, PGA tour had asked Els to cut down on his assignments elsewhere and play more in the us. Els not only rejected the request but also publicised the letter much to PGA tour's embarrassment.


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