Date: April 05, 2007

Experience valuable: Els

As the world&aposs best golfers prepare to tackle the sprawling fairways at the Augusta National Golf Club, a combination of big hitting and major experience looks set to decide the winner of the US Masters . But former US open Champion Ernie Els believes that while a long drive is a key, a successful Masters campaign depends on a player&aposs ability to cope with pressure. “Experience helps around this golf course (Augusta),” Els said. “This course probably more than any other major really gets your nerves up. Your nerve-ends really get into a tail spin here because the margin of error here is so small.” “You&aposve got to be on your toes all the time, you&aposve got to be really mentally ready this week, more than any other major we play and that&aposs including the US open.” “I would say guys with experience who have done well here, I feel those kind of guys always have a chance.” “You go through the list from Tiger (Woods) to Phil (Mickleson) to Vijay (Singh) to Retif (Goosen), Adam Scott, I mean there&aposs so many guys.” But while the Augusta National course seemingly caters to big hitters, Jim Furyk believes that the right conditions could level the playing field. “For a guy like me, I&aposm obviously rooting for firm, fast conditions,” Furyk said. “If I can get seven irons in my hand instead of four and five irons into some of the holes it&aposs a big bonus for me. Even if the fairways if it&aposs wet and it rains, the fairways play soft, the ball doesn&apost roll off the tee it leaves long irons into the greens.” “Here at Augusta they tend to drain very, very well and the greens get firmer before the fairways do and it makes it tough for an average-length hitter.” “This golf course has always been one that probably favoured power hitters and you&aposve had your players along the way, the Ben Crenshaws the Gary Players, the Nick Faldos, guys that were able to contend and play and win here (Augusta) and with the addition of all the length in last few years I think it&aposs refocused on power and probably favours the long hitters a little bit more.” “There&aposs always a chance for a good player that&aposs not long to win a golf tournament.”