home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 28, 2019

Ernie Els

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. I know there's probably one swing out there you want to have back, but 66 is a still a fantastic start on this golf course.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, thank you very much. That freaking 15th hole is no good at all on this golf course. It's a really demanding golf course, especially the par-3s. But yeah, I've really been swinging it better lately, and this is a golf course where you get it anywhere under par, you're really happy, even in benign conditions like this morning. So really pleased.

Q. Kind of a fun grouping out there for you, a little bit of a Presidents Cup vibe. Has to be pretty good to take the young guys out back and give them a little whooping from time to time, right?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, these guys are great. I love these guys. Yeah, two of these guys are probably going to be on our team, and nice to see them close up. Obviously Scottie has been a great friend of mine for 20 years, Kiradech is a great player around the world and on the PGA TOUR now. A lot of good stuff here.

Q. What do you take from today into tomorrow?
ERNIE ELS: Well, I started swinging really nice, especially on the back. I got a little unfortunate here and there on some wayward drives. I've got to work on that a little bit. But otherwise just keep going. I think it's going to get a little tougher, a little firmer tomorrow, a bit more wind, but I've just got to keep it in front of me.

Q. An opening round 66, a little trouble at 15, but overall what did you make of your round?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I was really annoyed on 15. It was my fifth hole in the morning, and I had such a good start, getting it to 2-under to the par-3, and having an 8-iron in your hand on 15, really benign, to hit it in the water there was a really crucial mistake. But I came back with birdies on No. 18 and 1 and so forth, and kind of got it back together.

Q. How about these greens? How receptive are they knowing that they're brand new, first time in tournament use?
ERNIE ELS: They're not very receptive, even this morning, so it's going to get even firmer this afternoon and through the week. But I like that. It means you've got to hit it on the fairway. You don't necessarily have to try and bomb it down there and wedge it on. You're not going to stop it out of the rough. You've got to hit fairways, and you've got to hit it properly to stay on the green.

Q. With Presidents Cup being several months away, I know it's kind of a balancing act right now, but who have you interacted with potentially on the team, whether it be this week or maybe weeks in the past?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, we've already done quite a bit of entertaining, getting together. Got together in LA, and I've been playing a little with groupings with some of the players the last couple weeks. So I'm keeping an eye on the guys. Obviously there's some guys internationally playing very great, and I don't get to see them that often, but I'm going to Malaysia in a couple weeks and I'll get to see some of those guys. So just trying to keep the group nice and tight and keep motivating them.

Q. Just get some comments on the day, Ernie.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, you've got to be satisfied with that. Anything in red around this course, even in benign conditions, you've got to be happy. I made that mistake on 15. You know, you miss certain shots here on the wrong sides, it's a lot like a TPC golf course where you just can't go X, X, and I did that on 15 and made double there. But after that, tried to play safer, play away from the hole sometimes, which you have to do here sometimes. It seems like the par-3s really play difficult here. But I felt good. You know, I had a nice grouping with Adam and Kiradech, and nice morning.

Q. How different is this course now than when you won? It's gone through a couple of changes. Is it that much different?
ERNIE ELS: It's more like when I won now. The greens are firmer. They're still very new. I remember back in '08 the course was very dry and the ball was running and the greens were very firm, and it's kind of similar now, so it's really very important to get the ball in play. I don't think length is going to be a huge factor this week. You've got to try and get it in the fairways and then get your iron shots around the greens and in the hole.

Q. Justin won No. 20 last week. What would 20 mean for you?
ERNIE ELS: I've been stuck on 20 for many years now. But I'm 49 now, so it's not going to mean too much, but obviously 20 is a great number. Secretly on TOUR among the players, you know when you win 20 you get some benefits. It's late in my career, but I'll take any win now. I'm not thinking about it. I'm just thinking about tomorrow's round and so forth.

But it would be magic.

Q. Any Presidents Cup talk? You had Kiradech and Adam.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I've got a big group with a couple of my Presidents Cup prospect players, and to do that again -- Adam was a great friend of mine for 20 years and I was very comfortable with the grouping. Kiradech I think is playing his fourth or fifth week in a row. I think he's getting a little tired. But good to see the guys close up.

Q. The wind isn't really blowing out there; how important is it to take advantage? It's breezy but it's not blowing really.
ERNIE ELS: Absolutely. No, when it's like this, you've got to take your chances when you can. As I say, we're not quite used to this this time of the year, at least 15 or 20 mile-an-hour winds, and that really makes it very difficult. So it was nice to get a round under the belt when it's calm.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297