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October 6, 2004

Ernie Els


SCOTT CROCKETT: Ernie thanks very much for coming in. Welcome to the Dunhill Links Championship. Talk about last week, a fantastic performance, tough conditions, and you came out on top. You must be delighted with your performance.

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I mean, exactly. You know, you always want a win. Wherever you go, it counts. It was great to play last week and I worked hard for it. It was not easy and Thomas was in there, and it was a good week all in all.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Has the excitement of the win caught up to you this week yet?

ERNIE ELS: No, actually, I got in yesterday and I played nine holes on the Old Course and I'm going to play nine holes again now with my dad. You know, I've played the Old Course so many times, I know it quite well. And the weather, the way it's been the last couple of days, I didn't want to play too much golf. You're going to have to play well when it counts and the weather conditions are tough anyway. So I'll be taking it easy.

Q. Have you had a chance to catch up with Vijay at all?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I played a couple of holes with him yesterday. You know, we shot around and we talked a little bit and obviously, he congratulated me on my win and I congratulated him on all of his wins and that was that. You know, I think we both are professional enough to know what's going on in the world of golf, and you know, we are out here to play as good as we can. Vijay is No. 1 right now, with eight wins and I've had a good season and we'll see how it goes. I want to play as good as I can. I played well last week and I've had other things on my mind. And the No. 1 spot, if it comes around, it does. I just want to play good golf.

Q. He wants to win ten times this year, do you have a target?

ERNIE ELS: Well, I think you know I'm playing this week and next week and I'm playing two more in America and I'll play two more at home in South Africa. So I've got six events left. So, you know, I don't know how many tournaments I'm going to win. I want to play as well as I can. I'm going to play every event as I come, prepare myself as good as I can and that's that. So I that's my idea of playing good golf is to play each round of golf as good as I can.

Q. When you got married, how was your golf afterwards? And how do you think Tiger will cope?

ERNIE ELS: I definitely felt the pressure. Very first week off, I won and thought I'd get that monkey off my back quickly. It's nice to come back and play an event and win, that's good.

Q. And the second part of the question, can you comment?

ERNIE ELS: How can I? We'll leave it alone.

Q. Were you invited to Barbados.

ERNIE ELS: I said what I said. Ask me a question about my golf and I'll answer it.

Q. Any doubts in your mind in the last round last week?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I mean, I think I spoke about it Sunday evening. Yeah, definitely. I think I really wanted to win badly and regarding that situation on the back nine, Thomas was really tough. Yeah, it was going to be -- could have gone either way really, and I felt that I was, you know, not going to let it go very easily. You know, there's some doubt that creeps through your mind at times. Yeah, definitely. I felt that I was well prepared to win the tournament. I played good golf. So there's always a little bit of doubt, yeah.

Q. You were second in three majors in 2000, did you feel you could bounce back to quickly?

ERNIE ELS: This year I was in contention at all four. But in 2000 when I finished second, there was only one I was really in contention, and that was the Masters when Vijay won, and I really gave up two or three shots there. The other ones, I didn't quite play the way I wanted to, but also Tiger was unbelievable; you know what he shot that year. It didn't really affect me at all at that time. Yeah, this year was definitely different. This year I definitely felt those losses.

Q. Can a year without a Major win be great, or simply good?

ERNIE ELS: I think it's turning out to be a good year, very good year. A great year is winning major championships and until when you really separate yourself a little bit. Four wins around the world, it's a very good year for me. I think it's a good year.

Q. Do you enjoy this format?

ERNIE ELS: Well, you know, the rounds can get a little bit long. Kingsbarns, I remember last year it was six hours, getting on six hours can be a bit long. But I think it is -- the only one in Europe of this format and I think the other people really enjoy it. Especially the amateurs, really get involved with it and we'll try and make that cut. That's the biggest thing for them.

We play a lot of links golf, we play really good links golf courses. I think all in all, it's a pretty good event. The only thing is the long rounds.

Q. Will you use this week to prepare at all for the Open?

ERNIE ELS: No, not at all. I've played too many times. We're playing different tees this week. I see there's some new tees this year. So I might come and see those tees the week of the Open and see all of that. We'll have different conditions this week than we'll have at the Open, so it's very different. So you play it as it is.

Q. Is your dad ever tempted to tell you what to do?

ERNIE ELS: No, not really. My dad, he felt that excitement where he's out there and he does his thing. I'm very lucky in that regard to have a dad like that, to not get too involved and sees my hard work and keeps stepping back. You know he's been great to my career and it's such a wonderful location. Last year, he got us into the last couple of days. He made a very crucial putt at Kingsbarns on the 18th. I made double-bogey and he made par to get us through to the last day.

Q. Do you tell him what to do?

ERNIE ELS: You know, you've just got -- he has an individual swing. If you watch him swing, you'll know what I mean. (Laughing).

End of FastScripts.

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