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Report: Els 'changing the cycle' led to 2012 success

Ernie Els
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SONOMA, CA - OCTOBER 27: Denis Watson of Zimbabwe lines up a birdie putt on the second hole during the third round of the Charles Schwab Championship Cup at the Sonoma Golf Club October 27, 2007 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Marc Feldman/Getty Images)  - 

In an article published in the November issue of Golf Digest, British Open champion Ernie Els details some of the lifestyle changes he made that helped to resurrect his game and led to his triumph at Royal Lytham.

'I'd say I'm at a different stage of life now,' Els said according to the report. 'I'm older. I've moved away from the parties.'

The struggles of the four-time major champion were well documented throughout the 2011 season, culminating when Els missed The Masters this past April for the first time since 1993. In the article, he explains that cutting back on drinking and partying helped 'change the cycle,' as his father Neels did by giving up drinking shortly after Ernie was born.

'Excessive drinking is not good for my health, my family or my game. There has definitely been a change, and I feel better for it,' the South African explained. 'If I don't have one more party for the rest of my life, I'm still ahead of the game.'

According to the article, Els regrets the message that his former lifestyle conveyed to young golfers, especially in his home country.

'They see me as this big drinker, for whom everything was automatic,' Els described. 'It doesn't happen like that. You have to practice. You have to train.

'I still never forgot that it's hard work that gets you a little bit of the reward. And now that I've figured out that less alcohol will give me a better chance, too, that's what I'll do.'