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Els prepares for Wentworth backlash

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Ernie Els on Wentworth redesign
  • Ernie Els braces himself for criticism over his redesign of Wentworth golf course
  • The course will host BMW PGA Championship, Europe's flagship event, starting on Thursday
  • The 18th hole has new ditch, while contours on all greens have been altered.
  • Golf
  • Ernie Els
  • PGA Championship

(CNN) -- South African golfer Ernie Els is preparing himself for a backlash from his fellow professionals on Thursday when the Wentworth course he has redesigned plays host to the BMW PGA Championship, Europe's flagship event.

"I think the boys could have a real go at me this week," Els, 40, told CNN. "But let's see how it goes, maybe they'll like it. Obviously you're not going to please everybody."

Els, who owns a house on the edge of the course, has overseen a revamp aimed at making the course a tougher challenge for golfers.

The contours of all 18 greens have been been altered, bunkers have been shifted, and the final hole now has a wide ditch right in front of the putting surface.

"The tournament organizers and sponsors wanted a really tough challenge," said Els. "It's a couple of weeks before the second major which is the U.S. Open, this is a parkland venue so we've really tried to toughen it up a little bit.

"We thought we'd put new contours on the greens to give the organizers a lot more flag positions to look at and for the players a totally different look to the hole.

I think the boys might think it's a little unfair if I did very well here this week
--Ernie Els

"A lot of players will be a little bit shocked by their first impressions but when they get over that and find their way to play the golf course it will be a new test waiting for them."

Els underlined a recent return to form by claiming back-to-back victories for the first time in seven years in March, saying he feels more "grounded and energized" than he has done for some time.

The three-time major winner, who will play alongside 2009 runner-up Ross Fisher and Welshman Rhys Davies on the first two days of the PGA Championship, has won the World Matchplay at Wentworth seven times.

But he has concerns about how it would be received if he won at his home course this week.

"I'm hitting the ball really nicely and starting to putt well but I think the boys might think it's a little unfair if I did very well here this week," he said.