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March 4, 2007

Anton Haig


CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Anton Haig, Johnnie Walker Classic Champion, a tournament that has been won by players like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Nick Faldo. How does it feel right now?
ANTON HAIG: It feels absolutely amazing. Start of the week, I didn't think this was actually going to be possible. But after that 64, I knew I was hitting the ball good enough to win, and thank God that driver went straight for me today and the putts fell. And the putt on last, what a feeling that is. If only I could explain it in words.
Yeah, I really played well this week, and hopefully there are many more to come.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Bogey on 17, the birdie on 18 to join the playoff, and another birdie on 18 to win us. Tell us about those two birdies at the last.
ANTON HAIG: The bogey on 17, I just misread the putt. I hit a good one.
But 18, hit it left and I thought, "oh, this is trouble," and I thought I had actually lost the tournament there. But got a good break and had a shot to the pin and was lying on a downslope, not lying too good, hit a great lob-wedge, one of the best shots I've ever hit, about three-foot and made it for birdie.
And then the playoff hole, hit a good drive down the middle. Hit a smooth wedge to about ten foot and made that. I mean, what a feeling, birdieing one of the toughest holes out there.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: How long was the shot to the green?
ANTON HAIG: It was 121 yards to the flag.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: With a great win now under your belt, and European Tour exemption, what's next for you now?
ANTON HAIG: Well, Singapore Masters next week, and then TCL the following, and then I'll be home for a couple of weeks to relax and let this all sink in.

Q. Could you tell us about your drive at the 13th? It got there in a rather unusual fashion.
ANTON HAIG: I got I bit lucky there. I was planning on hitting my driver to the middle of the green and pushed it slightly and got a very good bounce apparently, used the slope and landed softly and couldn't have put it in a better position. It was a great putt, I thought it was going to go in, but it was short unfortunately.

Q. Can you just tell us a little bit about what you feel you've learned playing on the Asian Tour the last 18 months, two years, and where you'd like to be in maybe another two or three years from now?
ANTON HAIG: Well, the Asian Tour has really helped me through the years. This is my second year on the Asian Tour, and I had a win not long ago. I mean, that win has given me tremendous confidence through these coming up tournaments.
I know that I can win. I know I'm good enough. It's just a matter of time where everything came together and I was able to know that I had a chance. This week fortunately for me, I've been working hard and I've really knuckled down. I actually deserve it in a way.

Q. Any friends in the gallery this week?
ANTON HAIG: My mom and dad, two amazing people, they have really gone to the extreme and I can't thank them enough. And to my management group, Chubby Chandler, Mark Bell, Louis Martin, I can keep going, but thank you to them, they have been a tremendous help. To my caddie Jason: Thanks, you kept me calm out there, gave me a few good clubs. I could have hit you on a few, but on the whole we won and I'm happy about that, thank you.

Q. What was going through your mind when you watched Richard and Ollie miss their putts?
ANTON HAIG: You know, I thought at worst you're going to finish tied second and I was going to keep my card anyway. But a win is a much better -- a much better feeling. I thought to go out and be confident and know that you can win, and that's what I did.

Q. Who has been the biggest influence on you golfing-wise?
ANTON HAIG: Ernie. Being a fellow countryman, he really has set a great example; and Retief also, they are both extremely awesome players. I mean, I've watched them at the Million Dollar from a young age and they have really put a bit of an oomph for me to get to the top.

Q. Scheduling-wise, what will you do, will you continue to play the Asian Tour, or will you join Retief and Ernie playing The European Tour?
ANTON HAIG: I'll continue playing the European co-sanctioned events on the Asian Tour. But now that I've won, I'll be playing a lot more on The European Tour.

Q. Could you pick out -- congratulations of course, could you pick out something you've learned from Ernie and something you've picked up from watching Goose?
ANTON HAIG: Well, their fighting spirit. Goose is not one who ever gives up. Ernie's rhythm and spring is just immaculate. They are just incredible people as well, not ones to brag or anything, they are down-to-earth people. They are the ones to watch. Everybody wants to watch them when they are playing in a tournament.

Q. When you started week, did you expect to be able to win the tournament or did you have a low goal?
ANTON HAIG: I thought I was playing well enough to at least be Top-10 but I really wasn't even -- but that 64 really put me in with a good chance and played solid over the weekend. Happy with my performance.

Q. Could you say something about that prize giving, it was pretty exotic with all of those people marching up the fairway.
ANTON HAIG: Being lifted up by the people in Phuket, I mean, it feels great - it's a bit like that back home. So it almost feels to me like I'm back home. Yeah, what a good way to end the tournament.

Q. Did they lift you on to the throne?
ANTON HAIG: Yeah, put me down in the chair there and picked me up.

Q. I know it's obviously a very special day anyway, but is it extra special to make this sort of first big win in a tournament in which Ernie and Retief are playing?
ANTON HAIG: Oh, for sure. And I having my parents out for the first time, the first time they have been to Asia means a hell of a lot to have them here when I've on the biggest tournament of my life. Hopefully there will be many more to come. I will keep fighting and hopefully be as good as Ernie and Retief one day.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: How will you celebrate tonight?
ANTON HAIG: Well, I've got a few Johnnie Walker bottles for three so I might go and give them a try tonight.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Anton, many congratulations again, and good luck in the future.
ANTON HAIG: Thank you very much.

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