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May 28, 2004

Ernie Els


Q. Maybe not quite what you had in mind?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it was a bit of a difficult day. I actually struck the ball well the first couple of holes, but I had no feeling with the putter. The greens were a little bit uncomfortable to say the least. I missed a short one on 3, 3 putted 4 for par. I was shaky on the greens. The back nine, I started hitting better putts, and then kind of lost my swing a little bit.

A bit of a battle out there today, but I'm fortunate to have made that putt on 18.

Q. Making the turn into the back nine, you must have been thinking about 17 and 18?

ERNIE ELS: Absolutely, that was going to be my saving grace today. I started hitting the ball a little better on the back. Just couldn't get the right clubs, couldn't get it close enough to the holes.

Today I thought the golf course played a little more difficult. The weather was great.

Q. Your reading for the weekend with so many great names up there?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I think it's turning into an interesting tournament again, like always. You have Justin Rose up there. I played with him last week, and it looks like he's really playing well. And some other players have been playing well all year. Should be a close finish.

It could have been a really tough day, but I just tried to hang in there. I obviously wasn't playing as good as I played yesterday. And as I said, I was a bit shaky with the putter on the first couple of holes.

Greens were a little bit difficult today, and especially when I missed that short one on 3, I really got into hot water and then I 3 putted 4.

So I threw a lot of shots away on the front nine, and kind of got it back a little bit to end there, but it was a tough day. But I think nobody really played very well this afternoon, so I don't think I lost too much ground, although I lost the lead.

Q. What were the lengths of your putts?

ERNIE ELS: On the first, I was only ten feet away.

I 2 putted 2; I was eight feet away and I missed that.

3, I made a very good first putt from the bottom of the first tier and I hit it up to three, four feet. Hit it past the hole on my second putt.

Then on 4, I missed a 6 footer down the hill for my birdie putt. So, I missed that.

Then, you know, I couldn't get the ball close enough from there on. My next birdieable putt was on 10. I hit it to about 10 feet and missed that.

12, I was lucky enough to make one putt from 15 feet there for birdie.

Then I wasn't sharp enough coming in. I was fortunate to get two birdies on the last two.

Q. How were the greens today?

ERNIE ELS: A little bit faster, almost. Maybe with the traffic, not as smooth. We got spoiled by the greens yesterday. But I made some now, so a bit more comfortable again.

Q. Is it always hard following up on a round like yesterday?

ERNIE ELS: I've been around and I've shot really low scores after low scores. But I wasn't thinking about that. But, yeah, if you look at the percentages, guys normally go from a low one to mediocre one, so maybe I was mediocre today. (Laughing).

Q. Your second shot on the 13th, 25 yards behind you

ERNIE ELS: The one on the right, yeah. The line was a bit down. I hit 9 iron, and I actually I had 150, I just pulled it really. I hit it quite solid.

Q. Have you played with Justin the last few months?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I played with him last week. He struck the ball quite well, but I think he was a bit rusty last week. He came off a break. He's obviously got it together this week. He's obviously playing well, and it's a good tournament.

Q. You don't mind chasing?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, to have a lead now, it's just a score, really. We'll talk about a lead when we get to Sunday afternoon, that's when you really want to hang on. Now we're just trying to play for position, and obviously, Justin played two wonderful rounds. But there's a lot of guys chasing and you just have to keep playing. He knows what he's got to do. It will take a couple of low rounds to win this thing. So that's what you've got to do.

Q. Do you think it's a question of time before he truly blossoms?

ERNIE ELS: I think already, he's got his TOUR card in America and over here. He's got one hell of a career going already. He's won quite a few times. I think he's one of the real talents that will compete in majors. He showed that again at the Masters. I think, leading, after what, two rounds? He's still going through the apprentice, but he's obviously the talent that England is looking for. (Laughter.)

I played with Paul Casey, he's another one; really good players.

Q. What do you think about added round for The Match Play?

ERNIE ELS: It's good, for that kind of money, they should let us play ten rounds of golf. I think it's good.

Q. Are you working on anything at the moment?

ERNIE ELS: I'm trying to just get my legs going. I've been just a little too straight with my legs and my upper body has been leaning over too much. I've been working with Lead a little bit. So, you know, trying to get my feeling that my weight should go on the feet. Must look quite funny.

End of FastScripts.

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