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


March 16, 2006

Ernie Els


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Ernie, for joining us for a few minutes in the media center at the Bay Hill Invitational. Nice, solid round, no bogeys and it looks like you were able to handle No. 6 today, you were talking about yesterday that that 6 was beating you up.

ERNIE ELS: That's one round under the belt, I'll tell you. I made 3 there. I think it's probably my first eagle ever, so that was nice. Yeah, it's nice to play a round without any bogeys. I started on 10 and missed quite a few on the first four or five holes, but got my round underway on 16. Kind of got fortunate, I hit it a bit short left and hung up in the high stuff and I chipped it to about three feet and made birdie.

I birdied 17. That's always a bonus. And then I made some good saves on No. 1 for par from about 12 feet, I plugged it in the front bunker.

And 3, I hit it in the water off the tee and I had to drop it way back there, I had 185 to the hole and I hit a 7 iron and made about a 14 footer there for par. So that was definitely the positive swing in the round.

Then I birdied No. 4, and obviously the eagle on 6. So it was a nice way to finish.

Q. Can you walk us through that eagle?

ERNIE ELS: I hit a driver, I was aiming a bit further left than where the ball ended up, but obviously I played away from the water with the driver. I hit a very smooth 3 wood for my second. I had I think 240 yards to the hole and it was into the breeze. So I took enough club there and I hit it left of the flag on the green and made about a I don't know what the ShotLink will tell you, probably 50 feet. That's my guess.

Q. Were there any anxious moments as the 3 wood is in the air? It looked like a little more left than you wanted.

ERNIE ELS: Exactly. I was aiming left, the wind was little into me and I wanted to hit a soft cut in there, and the ball came out very straight and I didn't cut. I only made the water by maybe three yards on the left side. We're not drawing any pictures, are we? (Laughter).

Q. How did the course play in your opinion?

ERNIE ELS: It played surprisingly soft on the greens, and the greens are quite slow. I think the greens are slower than I've seen them in the past. It looks like they have got a lot of grass on them.

So the speed was quite crucial. You had to hit your putts quite firm. But they were soft, so I can see scoring pretty low all day today. The weather is perfect.

Q. Did you hit it in the rough at all?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I did. On 15 I hit it right, and it was deep. I couldn't get it to the green from 100 yards. I made a good up and down there, too. The rough is thick. If you go into the rough, you're going to have a half a shot penalty over there.

Q. What was part of the game that you needed to fix the most coming into this stretch, long game, putting?

ERNIE ELS: I worked really hard on my long game the last two weeks, and especially last week. I'm working on a bit of a flatter plane through the ball. I got a little bit steep on to the ball so I'm trying to flatten it out a little bit through the shot, through the hitting area. That felt quite nice.

I hit a couple of irons left coming in, so I might work on that a little bit. But my driver feels quite nice. The putting today was really good. All in all, I'm really trying to sharpen up my short game the next couple of weeks.

Q. Will the family be joining you this week at all?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, they arrived here Tuesday evening. So they are all here, so everybody's happy.

Q. Mom and dad, too?

ERNIE ELS: No, no, I don't think they are probably going to make it this year. Taking it easy.

Q. When you won in South Africa so soon after coming back, was it sooner than you expected, but yet did it also kind of make you think that it was going to be easier than it's been to recover from what you had gone through?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I think, yeah, I wasn't surprised that I won, not taking anything away from the field that I played with against down there but it was a bit of an easier tournament to win if you want to put it that way. It's like my home golf course, so I know that course very well. But yeah, still, it was a very good win, and it was very early, so that really set me on my way in a way and then.

And then the week after against Retief at the South African Open, that was really good stuff. That really surprised me the way I played there. Then I took a month off again after that, and then came back in Qatar and I really didn't practice too much in England. So I was a little rusty there.

To come back to your question, I cannot complain about the way I came back. This could have been very different. I could be sitting here without any confidence now, hitting the ball all over the place. But the knee has been pretty good, and it's given me time to practice my game and get my game back in shape. So I'm very happy where I am right now.

Q. Are you still rehabbing the knee or what is the program?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I'm compensating in the rest of my body for the knee. So I've got kind of little pains everywhere else in my body. I won't tell you where at the moment. But it's kind of all over the place, but it's really not bad. So I am rehabbing still, yeah.

Q. Is it physical or psychological more at this point?

ERNIE ELS: No, it's a little physical. Sometimes it's a little the knee is a little tighter than other days. So you're thinking about it a little bit more. But I'm over the worst in my head.

Q. If a tournament was interested in trying to keep scoring down, would one way be to slow down the greens? ? In other words, is it sometimes easier to putt on slick greens as it is when you've actually got to putt some hit into it?

ERNIE ELS: No, not really. I think if you guys were at Seminole on Monday, on Monday we played Seminole and those greens are a little flatter than Augusta's, but they are a lot quicker than Augusta's. They must have been running at 14 on the Stimpmeter and they are very firm. If you get them that kind of speed and very firm, that's the only way you're going to hide the guys. Not as ridiculous as Shinnecock, but get them firm and fast. That's the way you keep scoring down. (Laughter).

Q. You talked the other day about not expecting too much and all that, but I'm wondering, now that you're in the mix of a tournament, how much of a battle will that become?

ERNIE ELS: I'm happy with where I am, I tell you, I've had some slow starts the last couple of weeks on TOUR. In L.A., I had a slow start there and Miami, I had a very slow start. So I had to basically just play well to make the cuts.

Now I've got a good start and I'm in the mix and, you know, this is where I want to be.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks, Ernie.

End of FastScripts.

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