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October 16, 2004

Ernie Els


SCOTT CROCKETT: Ernie, thanks for coming in as always. Very well-played. You do like to make records in this tournament. I've just been told that you're now the record holder for the amount of finals, but presumably the one you want is the number of wins. You must be delighted to be in the final again.

ERNIE ELS: Yes, it's been quite a lot of hard work to get there, a lot of golf. A lot of shots have been hit and played out there and I'm just delighted to get into the final. It's been seven times now and it's nice. You know, you might as well keep it going. It's one thing making the final; it's another thing trying to win. Might as well try and win now when you've made the final. But, obviously it will be tough, with either Lee or Miguel; they are really good players obviously. So you've just got to try to go through it tomorrow.

SCOTT CROCKETT: It's been a hard week with the stopping and starting. Just a regular 36 holes tomorrow.

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it's kind of bark to normal. Today it was a bit of a wait this morning on the range, and then waiting for Bernhard and Miguel to finish, but so it goes. It wasn't too bad. Tomorrow is back to normal.

But yeah, it's been a long week. I know what the guys have gone through now. I've never had to play the first round and it's quite a lot of work.

Q. Your putting problems in the morning obviously didn't carry on to the afternoon.

ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, but I still felt like I missed quite a few. This morning could have been really some score. I hit the ball really close to the morning. I hit it close all day. Could have been a nice score this morning, but didn't go my way. I just tried to stay there and tried to stay patient. That was my main objective was to try and stay patient, because you can lose your patience and start losing holes. I must say, 16 wasn't pretty. I lost that hole early.

But, yeah, I didn't 3-putt. I made some good putts on 11 and 12. I think they have definitely, you know, was the match. I missed those two putts, I think it could have been a little bit different, but I made them, and you know that, was that.

Q. Were the greens a tougher today?

ERNIE ELS: No, I think there was a bit more pace on the greens today, and this morning definitely had a factor in the way I missed the putts. I hit them through the breaks a couple of times. No, I've just got to, you know, just get set, just get set and go. I think I overread some of them.

It's a lot of golf and a lot of concentration. Good thing I have a week off next week; I might need it. It's quite a battle, it's worth it, isn't it.

Q. Must be great staying at home and just walking round here to play?

ERNIE ELS: You make it sound very simple. We've had a great time here. Definitely this one and the PGA are one of my favorite events to play. If I get the timing right, I can run my little girl to school before I go to the first tee. So it's wonderful, you know, get home-cooked meals, you sleep in your own bed. With what we do for a living, that's like being in heaven, really, so it definitely is very nice.

Q. How do you actually get here in the morning?

ERNIE ELS: I get Leizl to drop me off sometimes Sometimes I get the courtesy cars if she can't get out of bed. (Laughing).

Q. Lee has beaten you twice in this event?

ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, I lost once -- or I guess I lost to him twice now. I'm sure he's going to go into it tomorrow with a lot of confidence. It's a new game; it's a new match. You know, you've just got to adapt to whatever happens tomorrow. And he's obviously playing good golf and just got to go out there and try to beat him, just got to go out and beat whoever it is out there tomorrow. Doesn't really matter who you play.

Q. You must have been pleased with the way you played this morning?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, that was my -- if you remember, that was my intention this morning, was to have a better start and get comfortable early, and that's what I did. You know, I was really on early on and if it wasn't for those missed putts, it could have been a really good score. I feel a lot better now. On the back nine, I hit a couple of drives right, but, you know, I needed to stay out of trouble. So it's, you know, being a little bit too cautious.

Q. When you have a record such as you have, do you think that gives you an advantage having the experience when the matches get tight?

ERNIE ELS: I think it helps. It definitely helps when you have the experience in close matches. You know, I think the couple that I've lost here have been close, too. I lost to Padraig and to Lee I think on the 36th the one year. I've had close losses, but then I've had some close wins, too. Yeah, it does help. It helps, you know, you've got to try and stay in the match somehow. You have to make a putt here and there and hit a good tee shot here and there. Experience definitely helps.

Q. If you put them together, was this morning your best ball striking and your worst putting round?

ERNIE ELS: Well, getting a little carried away there with the putting, but I definitely hit the ball well. I'm not sure what I scored this morning. I think it was 4-under. It could easily have been a 64 maybe.

But yeah, I was happy that I hit the ball well this morning.

Q. What is your fitness regime?

ERNIE ELS: I do quite a bit of cardio on the bike, and, you know, I do my thing. It's not legendary but it's good enough. (Laughter.) I'm fit enough and I'm in a lot better shape than I was ten years ago, put it that way.

Q. Anything like what Vijay does?

ERNIE ELS: I would kill him on the bike. He does a bit more weights than I do. He does more weight lifting, but he's got no prayer on the bike.

Q. I know you said the money isn't that important, but is it still in the back of your mind?

ERNIE ELS: Definitely, yeah. We all know about it. We are putting it way back in our minds. Tomorrow the only thing in our minds will be hitting golf shots and making putts. But, you know, we know the money is there.

Q. Is it in the back of Leizl�s mind?

ERNIE ELS: I'm lucky, I've got a wife who doesn't go nuts. Not yet, anyway. Neither of us, you know. Biggest expenditure was the plane, and that was a lot. (Laughing).

SCOTT CROCKETT: Ernie, good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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