x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Els turns over poor form by 'cheating' on belly putter that he hated

So why the transformation with Ernie Els? Well, one of them is his decision to go with the controversial long or belly putter, that he wanted "banned".

It was great to see Ernie Els challenging again last weekend.

He has spent most of 2010, and much of this year, telling everyone that he did not know how to play the game anymore.

No matter how hard he worked, no solution looked like presenting itself.

Els even once joked that his nickname of "The Big Easy" should be retired since he was finding swinging a golf club so difficult.

It is a far cry form the days when David Leadbetter described "the synchronisation of club, hands, arms and body" as "the best I have ever seen".

However, at the Frys.com Tournament there were signs of a renaissance. The South African finished tied fourth.

It was his first top-10 finish in 12 months. Rounds of 69, 66, 67 and 68 are not the form of a washed-up golfer whose best days are hard to recall. Those are numbers of a man ready to challenge again.

So why the transformation?

Well, one of them is his decision to go with the controversial long or belly putter.

Els once said the piece of equipment should be "banned".

"I think nerves and skill in putting are part of the game and you should take a tablet if you can't handle it," he added.

It smacks of double standards but it seems to be getting the big man back on track.

"As long as it's legal, I will keep cheating like the rest of them," he said.

Cheating or not, Els is back with a bang.