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February 9, 2008

Ernie Els


Q. Your assessment of your three rounds so far?
ERNIE ELS: Well I am playing quite consistently but struggling a little bit on the greens, I am having a tough time reading the putts. I am not saying that they are bad, I am just struggling to read them right. But the course is in wonderful shape for this time of year which is your wintertime and I think they have done a great job with that. It is a wonderful layout and if you miss any shot you are going to pay the penalty.
Unfortunately the first day I made a nine and that really cost me, four shots on one hole. If it wasn't for that hole I would have had a really good chance but at least I am playing nicely and swinging nicely. Shooting 75 on the first day was really disappointing but I have really worked my tail off to get under par and now I am two under par and I feel like I have really worked hard for that so I do feel kind of satisfied after my first day.

Q. You said six under was your target to get to today, you've fallen a bit short of that - what does that mean for tomorrow?
ERNIE ELS: Well, it was a tough day today and the wind was blowing a bit. I had a lot of chances on the front nine but missed a lot of putts. I came back a little better but it still leaves me a lot of shots behind. But as I said, it is quite a difficult day out there so hopefully the leaders will feel it as well.

Q. Everyone is talking about how Tiger has raised the bar on fitness, how do you feel it has changed in international golf?
ERNIE ELS: Well, even before Tiger there was a guy called Gary Player that did the fitness stuff in the 1950s and 1960s and everyone thought he was crazy. When I started playing as a pro about 17 or 18 years ago, it definitely wasn't taken too seriously but I would say the last ten years things have changed, kids coming from college and younger kids are really taking gym seriously and are a lot fitter and stronger than maybe when I started.

Q. Presumably being fitter means you prolong your career?
ERNIE ELS: Exactly. I am 38 now and I don't want to brag but I think I'm in better shape now than when I was 27, so I think it really works and exactly as you say, keep your flexibility and your strength and it will really prolong your career.

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