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July 6, 2006

Niclas Fasth


GORDON SIMPSON: Niclas, a lovely round of golf today, highlighted by the eagle at 7, I would imagine, but six other birdies and leading the tournament at 65. What was the key to your game today?

NICLAS FASTH: I was playing solid all the way through. Didn't miss many shots. The one slip and 3 putt was the only bogey, and didn't get in a lot of trouble really. I played very well and I was quite happy with all parts of the game.

GORDON SIMPSON: How would you assess the season so far, because you know what everyone is talking about, and I'm sure it's somewhere in your mind as well.

NICLAS FASTH: I've had a win, so I really shouldn't be complaining, but I feel rather disappointed with how I've been playing in general. The game is there. The swing is there. The putting is there. Still, I've struggled to really play as well as I should, and therefore, the scores what I've shot.

So it's all there and has been for some time. I'm just trying to get back into my rhythm and do things my way, and hopefully, the results will follow.

Q. Inaudible?

NICLAS FASTH: Yeah, I did that's really what I believe. It really should have been, even less maybe. I did everything that I was planning to do and I just couldn't believe it when I had a bad run of form. That was very disappointing I must say. Even through U.S. Open, I really wasn't performing as well as I should. A bit disappointed with that, yeah. I mean in, Spain, the game wasn't fully there, but I was doing a good job of it so I was expecting it to just come around slowly and nicely, but it didn't.

So I've had to go back, see my coach again a couple of weeks ago, and made some small adjustments, not to the swing or anything but just to the general approach and hoping it will just come around. There's nothing left to change. The game is good. The shots are there. The swing's there.

Q. How much help has Dave McNeilly (caddie) been?

NICLAS FASTH: Who? No, it's great. (Laughter) He's had a huge role in developing my game to where it is today. He's a great support and obviously very experienced. But unfortunately sooner or later, it's down to yourself, so I've just got to figure out how to use it. But the swing is good, the technique is good, and he's played a big part in that.

Q. Inaudible

NICLAS FASTH: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I've been trying to fade the ball, which is what I've been most comfortable with years now. I've had to come to terms with the fact that the swing sends the ball straight, so that's a bit of a problem. So however nice that sounds, you've got to get used to that. I've only just very recently had to accept the fact that it doesn't want to fade and when I try to fade it, I actually lose a bit of control, not that I can't play the base shots, but my base shots.

Q. What do you think of the course?

NICLAS FASTH: Yeah, it is a good golf course and it is in fantastic condition. It would have been an even tougher test if it was windy like the last time we were here. I'm sure we'll get some before this week is through. But it's a good test of golf, the greens are superb and well, everything is in great condition.

So if the conditions are like today, you can score here. You play well. You can hole the putts. The greens are true. But it will be a much tougher test when the wind starts blowing.

Q. How good are the greens in relation to others we've played this year?

NICLAS FASTH: How good they are relation to everything else? Well, they don't come better than this. They simply cannot get better than this. They could get faster and, I don't know, maybe they could get smoother, but they are rolling 100% true, and I don't really expect them to spike up, either. So that's a pretty good combination.

I think they are the same kind of greens we played at the Irish Open, aren't they, and those were also well, those were the other set of greens that were the best of the year. U.S. Open was different grass. It's a lovely course but it's hard to get those very running very nicely.

Q. Inaudible?

NICLAS FASTH: I have probably I've always played with both shapes pretty much but I favour the fade in general and especially this year I was trying to settle in on something and not mess around so much. But the swing has just got better and better over the last, what, two years. There's nothing in the swing giving the ball a fade. So I effectively had to do something and didn't do a good job of that.

So I mean, last week and this week, I'm effectively hitting most shots straight. I can draw it and I can fade it. Yeah, fine, but what do you do in general when you're setting up for a basic 7 iron or drive or whatever and I'm more going with straight now. But I will obviously shape the ball both ways again which I prefer and like to do.

Q. Is Sorenstam an inspiration?

NICLAS FASTH: Sorenstam? Not really. Because there's what do you say, we never meet. I'm sure there will be things to learn but it's kind of hard to learn from watching them play on the telly or whatever. There is no exchange, is the word I was looking for, or very little. The Swedish Federation has tried to achieve some and we've had some training camps together with the girls, but very small extent.

Q. A lot has happened to you since finishing second in the Open in 2001?

NICLAS FASTH: It was a breakthrough there for me of course and I kept developing my game slowly after that. After I think after two years at some time I had an interview like this maybe where I had to accept the fact that I was waiting to take the next step with my career and it wasn't happening. My basics weren't good enough to really reach the top level. Sure, once in awhile, but I felt I had more in me.

So I've done a lot of work the last few years, too, and that's where McNeilly has helped me a lot as well to help me achieve the basics that would withstand the test of top level golf. Now obviously you've got to get there as well, which I'm not quite yet, but I think I've got the tools for it now. But it's been years. Well, I guess, fair enough, it's not easy, but I thought well, I was hoping I would do more since my second place in the Open, and after a few years where I did improve in some ways, but where I didn't really get going in taking that next step. I had to accept the fact that I need more development, and I have done that.

Q. Are you more intense now?

NICLAS FASTH: No, there's more like I've always been. I don't want to take anything away. I really enjoy it when the heat is on. That's wonderful news for anybody playing the game to have that situation. But I like to be intense, again, when the time is right, and today I was well focused and all. Unfortunately it will rarely be as intense on Thursday which it can get on a Sunday, which is a potential problem because you need to push hard for four days. You can't just make it all up on the last day. So in general, I've been a very good Sunday player, especially when in contention and in general, I have been a bit slack if anything on Thursday, Friday over the years.

Q. Your thoughts on Paul Casey?

NICLAS FASTH: I haven't played with him at all so I can't tell you. But he's obviously playing very well.

Q. Tell us about the eagle.

NICLAS FASTH: The eagle, the thing that stood out, driver and 3 wood. It was helping off the left so it was reachable but not easily. So I had a good 3 wood just off the fringe near the hole, maybe eight or ten yards from the hole. And I chipped in, again, from just off the fringe.

11 was a sand wedge up to a foot.

14 was 8 iron to seven feet.

15, sand wedge to four feet.

18 was a drive and a tee hybrid. I hit that just through the back fringe, just past the green. So two putts from back fringe.

4 was a sand wedge to four feet.

He last hole was a 3 wood down the fairway quite a long way off and a small 7 iron pin high left.

End of FastScripts.

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