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February 26, 2009

Ernie Els


Q. Birdies in seven holes seemed to be decisive. What was the key to that one?
ERNIE ELS: Yes, thanks. He hit a beautiful shot into 9. He was almost to a give. I hit a really good shot, I actually had a really nice bounce off the bank and it came off to about six or eight feet. Managed to hole that. His putt was good, obviously. So I halved that hole.
And on 13 he basically gave me the hole. He hit it unplayable on his second shot so I made par into the wind.
And 11 was even the bigger one, because I had to get it up-and-down from 65 out for par. And he made par, he didn't make birdie there.
Birdied the par-3, the next hole, with a 9-iron. Nice shot down the hill there.
Yeah, so then I just had to try and hang on. He came back, birdied 14 after I birdied 14.
He birdied 15 and I didn't make a birdie on 15. And then I did birdie 16.

Q. You made lots of birdies in two days. Did you think you would make as many as this on these difficult greens?
ERNIE ELS: Well last week I made 20 birdies and finished 3-under for the week. So I had a lot of mistakes in between.
But when you're making birdies you're doing something good. And I'm striking the ball quite nicely. I've been working with Butch and so forth, so I feel I'm really comfortable with my swing.
I just thought I needed to start making some putts. And as I said yesterday, I went back to my old style putter, the Callaway, and I've been trying to get comfortable with that.

Q. Do you think that old style putter is the reason that you're playing so well or eliminating mistakes?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I've also been looking at some old tapes, because I've been changing my technique and where my hands are and stuff. And I've gone back to a 35 inch putter, with the old shaft, and it's got a little bit of give in the shaft. And I had Callaway copy an old putter of the one I used to use. So I'm going back to the old thinks that I used to do.

Q. You look like you got that glint in your eye. Is something coming back?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I've been working my ass off a lot and I'm starting to feel a little bit better. I'm really swinging nicely. I got to stay within myself and not get ahead of myself. Just stay in the moment.

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