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Els plays down rankings battle

October 07, 2004 11:25 IST

Ernie Els played down on Wednesday suggestions that this week's Dunhill Links Championship is just a continuation of his battle for the world number one spot with Vijay Singh.

Earlier, Singh said he wanted to win ten tournaments on the U.S. Tour this year but Els, fresh from last week's WGC-American Express Championship victory, which lifted him to number two in the rankings behind the Fijian, was not thinking too far ahead.

"I played a couple of holes with him (Singh) yesterday and it was quite funny," said Els.

"We also sat down and talked a little bit. He congratulated me on my win and I congratulated him on his wins, that was that.

"We are both professionals and know what is happening in the world of golf. Vijay is number one with eight wins.

"I have other things on my mind. If the number one spot comes up, then all well and good.

"I've got six events left around the world (this year) and, I'm going to sound boring, but I'll just prepare the best I can and my idea is to play each round as best I can."

The South African triple-major

winner is playing with his father Neels at a tournament in which the professionals have amateur partners.

Former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance won the event last year with his son Daniel.

"It's such a wonderful occasion," Els said. "Last year my dad got us into the last day when I double-bogeyed a hole at Kings Barns and he made a magnificent par."

The teams play over three courses, St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kings Barns, with a cut-off for teams and professionals after three rounds.

A host of celebrities are playing, with some of Europe's successful Ryder Cup men teaming up with film stars.

Padraig Harrington plays with Kevin Costner, Paul Casey with Hugh Grant, Ian Poulter with Dennis Hopper, David Howell with Samuel L Jackson and Thomas Levet with Michael Douglas.

Singh plays with the man who has taken over his management company IMG, Theodore J Forstmann, and defending champion Lee Westwood has again opted to play with his manager, Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler.

Norman Dabell
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