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October 15, 2004

Ernie Els


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Ernie, it seems like you've been made to work hard for your place in the history books this year.

ERNIE ELS: It was a tough match today. I knew it was going to be tough. I didn't play all that good from tee-to-green this morning, but I got it a bit more together this afternoon. I hit a lot of good shots coming down the stretch and I didn't make, you know, my putts, and at 16 I just went over the green.

But, you know, it's tough. I was up by quite a few this morning early, and then he came back. Went into lunch, I was 1-down and I had a really good start. Then I let him back in, I was just all over the place.

But coming down the stretch, obviously not one of us wanted to lose, and I think he got a little unlucky with his tee shot at 17. I never thought it was going to fly that far. I mean, he's such a long hitter, but still.

Anyway, I hit a good tee should have there after this morning's fiasco, so I had a good 4-iron in there. So we made birdie and then, yeah, got a good up-and-down on 18. He almost holed his chip shot. So, you know, that's match-play. You've just got to kind of stay with it, stay with it all the time, and I think both of us did that quite well today.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do you feel you're starting to find a bit of momentum now, get into the groove?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I think I made a lot of putts here yesterday against Scott. Today it seemed like I missed quite a few. It depends how the match is going. You've got to just try and, you know, play within yourself and see what your partner does.

But yeah, getting through the first two rounds, certainly you start getting some momentum going.

Q. Did the tee shots on 17 in the morning occur to you in the afternoon?

ERNIE ELS: Well, as I, said I really started swinging well. I started swinging the way I wanted to swing all week by 14. After seeing his tee shot go right, obviously I had to take a bit more aggressive lie, especially with a driver. Yeah, obviously, at least I had some good practice this morning, to get that little cut shot going, because I tried to hit it this morning and I pulled it. Yeah, I felt good on it, but you can never really feel 100% on the 17th tee, let me point it that way. That's one of the tougher tee shots.

Q. What did you find down the stretch?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I've been trying to -- it's kind of the take-away. I've been snatching it away a little bit again. I've been working on it actually for almost two days now, and only now it's started kind of clicking in with the body.

So, I don't know if it was the cold weather from last week, and then you seem to try and hit it really far at St. Andrews, the fairways are so wide. So I think I kind of brought that swing here. I've just been snatching the club away and I've just been trying to hit it too far. I've been trying to get into a different rhythm and it's starting to get there now, especially on the take-away.

Q. IWhy have you played better in the afternoon?

ERNIE ELS: Well, as I said, I've been working on something and I know it's really come right this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow morning I can play better.

Q. Did you expect to be asked to putt on the sixth

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I think, yeah. I mean, he was -- I think I was very borderline, but he was -- I think he was 2-down or 1-down at that stage, so yeah.

Q. Inaudible?

ERNIE ELS: That was just stupid. If you miss the green from there, it's your own fault.

Q. When you snatch, do you hit the ball go any particular way?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it seems to go left. My bad shots today were definitely left. If I get at away too fast, I don't get it into the position I want to and everything just is a little bit of a blur.

Q. Have you had experience playing Padraig before?

ERNIE ELS: I think we played here one time and I think he beat me on the 28th. I think it was five, six years ago. That was quite a good battle there for us.

Stroke-play events, no, not really.

Q. How do you react to hitting shots from close to trees?

ERNIE ELS: I think we'll all play some other day. Both golfers, you pick the times you can. I think, what was he -- I don't know how many he was up at that stage. I think that, as you say, the situation, but I think most times we would like to have a go at it.

Q. Why did you feel you had to be aggressive at the 17th?

ERNIE ELS: I wasn't quite sure. I had seen the ball go through but I wasn't sure how far it went through. There was a crowd that stopped it, so I wasn't too sure. But I was, you know, at that stage, my mindset, let's go. Just try and hit as good as we can and at that stage. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel different, but today I felt good about it.

Q. Talk about the second on 18.

ERNIE ELS: Well, I had a reasonable lie but the rough is getting very heavy. It's very -- there's a lot of moisture in the rough obviously. And with that long iron, I tried to cut it. I had a decent lie but I didn't make the contact I needed to. I definitely didn't want to get out of it and hit it way right, so I just wanted to give myself a chance. It wasn't my best shot, no.

Q. What was it?

ERNIE ELS: 2-iron.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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