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March 4, 2005

Ernie Els


Q. Talk about your opening two rounds?

ERNIE ELS: You know, today I feel like I played better, especially from the tees, but I could not quite get yardages into the greens correctly. The greens are getting a little firmer and I don't think I've ever played this course without any breeze. Today was just perfect this morning. I feel like I'm striking the ball well, I'm putting well, everything is really good. But then the last four or five holes I felt I could have got a bit more out of my game. All and all not a bad start.

Q. Just talk us through that recovery at the ninth.

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I must say, obviously I hit it further right than I wanted to off the tee. I hit 3-wood, it came back down into the west area where the crowd was walking. You know, I wasn't a happy camper standing over the second shot, but I was happy to get the club on the ball and to run it up the green.

Q. Talk us through this driver, you've hit some phenomenal drives, most of them over 300 yards?

ERNIE ELS: This is the driver they gave me last October, and I actually won with this driver in Ireland. That was the very first time I used it. I felt that the noise it was making wasn't right for my ear, so I got another driver, a TaylorMade, and I thought I hit it better when I went to the test center. I went through all of the drivers they gave me and this driver gave me the best launch angle and the best ball speed, clubhead speed and all those things, it's a great driver. I've been using it since the California swing again and I'm hitting it quite nicely.

Q. What was it like to travel over here in economy?

ERNIE ELS: It was good. I had good company and you know, that's the way I used to travel and obviously in the last couple of years, we've made a couple upgrades and stuff like that. But to be on the plane, it was very full and it was the only seat that was left. And I had my brother next to me and we had a couple of good chardonnays and fell asleep, so it wasn't a bad flight at all.

Q. Your thoughts on the weekend?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I'm looking forward to it. I feel my game is right there. I feel I need to break out of where I am now and I want to play well this week and I want to play as good as I can and see where we're at. Obviously Jiménez is playing great golf at the moment and as well as are a lot of other guys. I just want to play as well as I can.

Q. You have to work hard to keep up with the leaders, don't you?

ERNIE ELS: I played this morning, Miguel played this morning, and the course is firming up a little bit. We had perfect weather conditions, so you could see some good scoring coming up. You had to hit some good iron shots and obviously make some putts.

Q. We know how important it is for you to be an international player and come to tournaments and support places you've been so many times before, but does it become a pressure on you that you have to perform, as well?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, well, that's true. We come here and people look after us very well, but on the same token, you've got to perform. I really enjoy this golf course, I enjoy playing in Dubai and I feel when I come here that I can play good golf and that's definitely what I'm going to try and do.

Q. You talk about coming here, we tend to know you as someone who travels in his own private jet; what was that about?

ERNIE ELS: I was just happy I got on the flight. I was a little late to get to the check-in and they gave up my seat and everybody else's seat away. I was just lucky to get on the plane.

But I had some good company back there, we struck up very nicely back there and we had a couple of wines and we fell asleep. It was like back in the old days. It was actually a great flight.

Q. That's the way you used to go?

ERNIE ELS: Absolutely, as we've played better golf, we've moved up in planes. So it was good to be back there again.

Q. Doesn't seem to have affected you any adverse way, are you where you want to be going into the weekend?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, today I felt like I really struck the ball well, didn't quite get my irons close enough and burned a lot of edges. But I'm playing good golf, just see what happens over the weekend. It all depends on what the weather conditions are.

End of FastScripts.

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