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Els sets timetable to take over from Tiger Woods as world number one

The 37-year-old has been revitalised after shaking off a lingering knee injury and winning last week’s South African Open. “I see 2007 as the start of three years where I totally re-dedicate myself to the game,” the world number five told his official website. “I want to win more
majors and start giving Tiger Woods a run for his money.” Woods (20.41 ranking points) has a huge lead at the top of the official world rankings, with Jim Furyk (8.88), Phil Mickelson (7.17) and Adam Scott (7.03) also ahead of Els (6.05) in the list. Ranking points are earned over a two-year rolling period in a complex system based on the strength of the fields competing at tournaments and a player’s finishing position.

“If you look at where he is at the top of the rankings, it’s a big lead so no one is going to get near him any time soon,” added Els. “I’ve got to give myself a three-year stretch to try to approach him and I really believe I can do it.” Els, who has won three major titles compared to Woods’ total of 12, said his renewed self-belief is down to the improvement in his knee injury. “I’m fitter than I have been since I came out of the army,” said Els. “My knee is strong and the important thing is I trust it, I really trust it. That means I can swing the club the way I want to, without feeling I have to protect it in any way. “I can really start moving forwards now and concentrating on my goals.“I’m a very happy man. Since I returned to competitive golf just over 12 months ago, after injuring my knee following the 2005 British Open in July, I’ve basically been playing patch-up golf. “As hard as I tried, it just wasn’t happening for me. It was frustrating.”

Els’ victory in Port Elizabeth was his 62nd professional tournament win and maintained his record of winning at least one tournament every season since 1991. “The South African Open was my last chance to set the record straight. Now I’ve done that the relief is immense,” he said.

 

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