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June 13, 2008

Ernie Els


Full Audio Interview

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: I struggled with my swing there for about three or four holes on the back nine. I made bogeys on 12 and bogeys on 14, just a couple of bad swings.

But then I kind of found it again and it was nice to finish with two birdies. I actually had a chance on 16. Back to even par and in with a lot of guys, and thought, well, I would take that.

Q. You were saying yesterday that one of the problems you were having during your bad patch is you had your head up your behind, you weren't mentally ready. Do you feel like you've got a clear head and feel good about how you're playing?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, mentally I'm good. Mentally I'm really up for it. I've got no problem getting myself motivated. It's just, as I say, I had a couple of swing faults there on the back, that I rectified coming in, and really made some good, aggressive swings coming in. So a lot better. I feel a lot better now about tomorrow.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: A couple of hang backs there on 12 when I pulled it left off the tee. On 14 my second shot also I'm back, and my hands flipped it over to the left.

My bad shot has always been the left shot. But at least I know what I'm doing now and how to rectify it and that's what I did coming down the stretch.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: Absolutely, I mean I haven't won in 10, 11 years, but there was two wins there. I played well in the U.S. Opens before, so I kind of know what to do mentally and what to expect and this is basically experience and actually doing it.

Q. Can you reach back that far, even though it's been a while?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, this course hasn't changed much. And as I say, this one is a lot more playable than the last two or three we've had. So I feel quite comfortable on this golf course.

Q. What do you like about the setup this week versus the murderer's row the last couple of years where no one broke par, hardly at all?

ERNIE ELS: You can basically hit a driver on every hole. You have an opportunity to hit driver on every hole if you want to. There's enough room out there. And if you're going to just miss it, you still have a 50/50 chance of getting it to the green, which I think is a great setup. And everything is in front of you, basically.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: It's nice to play a reachable par-5. You can kind of get away a little bit with your round, which I did. I'm sure they won't play it off that same tee for four days, they'll probably stretch it back and make it a three-shotter for a lot of guys, but it's definitely a hole where you can feel like you can pick one up.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: I hit a good driver on all of those 5's today and tried to go for all of them. On 9 I missed on the wrong side. I missed short right, and then on 13 it's like Robert says -- I hit a perfect 320 down the middle and I still didn't have any second shot. I didn't quite get the right line.

Q. What did you have left?

ERNIE ELS: 280 on 9, 280 on 13. And I think I had 230 on 18.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: On 13? No, not much.

Q. Were you under a lip there?

ERNIE ELS: No, I was just -- it's tough with the green up, 40 yards to the front edge and it's one of those shots you don't want to have.

Q. What did you have in the bunker on 2?

ERNIE ELS: On 2, I had a good lie, but I had no shot. It was a horrible miss there. I had a little wedge and you just can't miss it on the right side. That was a bad miss.

Q. How does it feel being in contention coming into the weekend at a U.S. Open?

ERNIE ELS: It feels good.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ERNIE ELS: That's what I'm saying, I think with a bit of moisture on the greens like this morning, we had an opportunity to maybe shoot something under par, if you played properly. There's not a lot of wind. The golf course is there.

If you're going to play good golf -- I was 3-under through 13 yesterday, so the guys -- you can play on this golf course. And it's as fair as I've seen it.

Q. Do you think they'll be able to attack this afternoon?

ERNIE ELS: You can on a lot of the holes. A lot of the long 4's the flags are open. Like 12 is a long 4, but the flag is open in the middle, if you hit a good long iron you can get it close.

On 4 the flag is back middle. A lot of the tough 4's the flags are in good position, so if you have good shots you can still make birdies, so someone can shoot a good one.

End of FastScripts

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