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June 12, 2008

Ernie Els


Full Audio Interview

Q. You get to come back in the morning and get off and running?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, obviously I would have taken anything around par, even today, anything not too bad. Under-par today, you know, is a great score for me. I really felt very comfortable with my swing. I worked so hard with Butch on my swing. So it's starting to feel really comfortable.

The greens were very tough this afternoon to putt on. They were very bumpy. You really couldn't have a go at anything, really. If you had 25 to 35 feet away, you almost had to three- putt and not do anything stupid. It was very tough.

I'm very satisfied with that, obviously being 3-under with six to go, finishing 1-under, I went a little backwards, but I'm very satisfied with that round.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: Well, you get seaside /PO*, and it starts losing moisture. You're going to start getting brown spots and a bit of green spots, that gives you a lot of bumpy bunkers. And I think that's only going to be the start of it. I don't think they're going to give these greens much more moisture, and that's going to be the defense of the golf course this week, is going to be the bumpiness of the greens and the flag position.

Q. (Inaudible.)

3 ERNIE ELS: Well, that's exactly what I said. I'm pleased with that. It's a tough flag position on 8, downwind, an 8-iron, you couldn't even keep it on the green. So you're starting to get those kind of situations and starts playing with your head a little bit. You've almost got to play away from some of these flags. It's very tough conditions out there.

Q. Does this give you confidence playing tomorrow morning, when the winds should be a little quieter?

ERNIE ELS: Hopefully. Hopefully, it's softer and smoother and everything is gravy. I don't think the course is going to change much. At least we'll have fresher greens and hopefully that's a bit of an advantage.

Q. What do you do to get it out of your head and sort of right the ship?

ERNIE ELS: Like I said, some of the flag positions you can't be too aggressive with them, and you almost have to play away from them, that's what I mean.

Q. You said you had a weird thing on your elbow the other day that I couldn't tell what that was. Was it the right elbow?

ERNIE ELS: It's just trying to get the swing on plane. I got a bit long on my backswing, and subsequently got out of sync with my lower body and upper body. And trying to be very aggressive through the ball, going forward instead of leaning back. And that's basically just starting with a good position on the backswing. And from there you can really power the ball. I felt like I drove it really well. It's starting to feel a lot more comfortable.

Q. Does it feel like when you won your three Majors?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, absolutely. Even with all the bad golf I've had the last couple of months, you know, the last couple of weeks, I've started hitting some really good golf shots. My head was up my behind a little bit, there, and that's the game. The game kind of grinds you a little bit.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I was just trying to get some positive feedback.

Q. Did Butch tell you that -- obviously, making the change from David to him, it's going to take a little time to get your swing back, did he try to encourage you as well, because obviously sometimes you get down on yourself?

ERNIE ELS: Well, absolutely. And that's exactly what's happened. With my scores, I've always been a guy that's been able to score, even though I might hit some ugly golf shots. But I started -- couldn't score, you know, the last couple of weeks. And I ended up hitting some really very nice golf shots.

It's all about scoring out there, isn't it? I can tell you I'm hitting it great, but I'm not scoring. That doesn't mean anything. But that's the way it's been the last couple of weeks. I got a little down on myself, and I think that's why I got Jos back. My wife has been talking to me a little bit. It starts with a good golf swing and from there you can move forward.

Q. The way the greens are (inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: I guess that drive from back there one of the four days.

Q. You had success in the U.S. Open, do you think it's a mental thing? Do you think it's the way of course management?

ERNIE ELS: It's everything, mentally, physically, but a lot involved, everything. It's a great championship.

Q. You've been, since the early '90s, one of the top three favorites every time at this tournament. Now you're kind of under the radar. Is there a value playing under the radar?

ERNIE ELS: Not really, but, yes, you know, in the same breath, yes. I didn't have too much going on this week, and I could just work on my game, which is great, so that's a great thing. But...

Q. You were talking about having your head up your behind before. How far along is this? It's your best U.S. Open golf in probably three years?

ERNIE ELS: Yes, but saying that it's been virtually impossible to break par the last few U.S. Opens. Yeah, it's ironic that I'd shoot an under-par score. I haven't shot an under-par score since TPC on a U.S. Open type of course, so that means I'm doing something right.

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