Golf: The Big Easy just can’t wait to jet in and defend his title at Muirfield

OPEN champion Ernie Els savoured the prospect of returning to Muirfield as Open champion and declared: “I can’t wait to get there.”

The South African has often said he’s eager to be back in East Lothian, where he won a four-man play-off to claim the title in 2002. Now that return has been made even more 
appealing after he became a two-time Open champion following yesterday’s dramatic end at Royal Lytham.

The South African trailed Aussie ace Adam Scott by six shots with nine holes to play and was still four behind with four to play.

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But a combination of Els picking up a birdie at the last and Scott dropping shots at each of the final four holes saw the Big Easy claim the Claret Jug.

“I can’t wait to get there,” said Els when asked what it meant to him to be heading back to Muirfield in 12 months’ time as the Open champion. “Muirfield has always been my favourite so everything is groovy at the moment.”

Els also revealed that he could warm up for the East Lothian event by 
taking another EasyJet trip to 
Inverness – if Castle Stuart is the venue again – for the Scottish Open.

He flew there with the low-cost airline a fortnight ago because he is waiting for a private jet – and reckons it brought a change in his fortunes. 
“I think they’re a lucky charm,” he said.