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November 8, 2007

Niclas Fasth


SCOTT CROCKETT: All right, everyone, Niclas, thank you very much for coming in to join us. An excellent opening round of 64. I take it you must be very, very pleased with your morning's work. Yes.
NICLAS FASTH: Yes, of course good score. I was playing well and putting well. It's a great start to the tournament.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You got off to a great start by birdieing the first and eagling the second. It probably set you up for the right frame of mind for today.
NICLAS FASTH: Yes, of course it does. I holed two putts and like you say, 3-under for two, it's not every day. I was also hitting perfect shots, and to make the birdies and eagles in this case, when you do hit good shots, it really sets you off on the right foot, like you say. I really just kept playing well.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that. We have some questions for Niclas.

Q. Could you just talk us through the eagle at the second.
NICLAS FASTH: I hit a good drive in the fairway, and hit a 5-wood off the downslope that ran to the back fringe. So I holed it from, what, 25 feet off the back fringe.

Q. Chip or putt?

Q. I saw your ball on 15, it went about 40 feet. Did you have some other long ones like that?
NICLAS FASTH: No. (Laughing) There was one on the second, which was maybe 25. I think that was it, and the one on 15, which was the very long one, a downhiller, you hit it like a 3-footer. (Smiling).

Q. Coming off a seamless European Tour season that's finished at Valderrama last week, and now you're starting your season in effect for next year, can you just comment on the golf season which never seems to end?
NICLAS FASTH: Well, mine will end after this week. And so although this is obviously next year's event in a way, personally, I prefer to have a break in between seasons. You have the option of playing year round these days. I need a bit of a break. In a way, yes, it feels weird if you just keep playing throughout the year, which is pretty much what you mean I guess.
But you know, this is the best scenario we can have on The European Tour to get these tournaments in where there's room on the schedule. I mean, this one is obviously a great one for the champions of the year.
But even the other events that we have following this one are good events. You know, to have the option of playing is fantastic. Yes, they are on the wrong side of New Year's Eve, but this is the way it goes these days.

Q. Your name's been on the leaderboard a lot in recent wreaks.

Q. Yeah, Mallorca.
NICLAS FASTH: That's true.

Q. Last week you were in line for perhaps winning the Order of Merit, as well.
NICLAS FASTH: Yes, it's been a good year, where I'm sure not everything has gone my way, but I would generally play better than I have in previous years. So I've been contending much more. I mean, my Order of Merit position shows that.
Yes, I did have some kind of chance last week, so I mean, that was good. I've had one win this year, and two the previous two years. So I have been winning for a few years now, but this year I have simply been playing more steadily at a slightly higher level. If I raise that level just one notch more, I'll be contending with the top guys next year.

Q. You said that with the changes to your game, you've played more consistent this year. What are some of the changes you've made to your game?
NICLAS FASTH: They are more of a mental kind really. I've been more settled this year, in practise and in playing, more relaxed, really. It obviously makes it a little easier to play more stable golf.
I've also improved -- I would say up until this autumn, the big improvement has been my driving. I changed driver to a different Fusion driver from Callaway early on -- well, over winter, really. And it just changed my driving and I was hitting more fairways. Now, that's a scenario where I think we can all still improve, but I'm hitting more fairways.
But then there was another change much later in the year in, well, August, effectively, where I changed my putting and my putter. The new Odyssey putter has been working much better. I've simply been more throwing in my putting, and not every round has been a great putting round, but overall it's been quite a big difference, because before, I've been inconsistent.
So, yes, I've won one week, but there's been a lot of weeks with average putting in previous years. You don't win then.

Q. This would be a good week to kick start a push for The Ryder Cup team next year. Is that at the forefront of your thinking, or do you just tend to push it to the back and let the game flow?
NICLAS FASTH: No, I'm definitely aware of it. We've already had a couple of months to do something, and although I've had a few decent finishes, I haven't really done as much as I would have hoped the last few months. This would really make a difference to have gained a bit of ground already before the new -- well, the new season is starting, isn't it -- already before the new year.
It's something obviously that I would really like or even love to be a part of again, and missed out the last couple of times, but it's really in my thinking, yes.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Niclas, thank you very much for your time. Good luck.

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