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August 28, 2009

Ernie Els


ERNIE ELS: I'm playing good. I've had three water balls so far this week, two double-bogeys and quite a few bogeys, especially yesterday. I was 4-over through four holes yesterday, so I've got to be pretty pleased with where I am right now. Overall game is pretty good. I guess I'm still trying to get used to the holes, the way they are designed, and maybe I should play away from some of the trouble. That's what I'm still trying to figure out.

Q. 16?
ERNIE ELS: Today it was downwind, 288, I hit a driver for a change, straight, to eight feet for eagle. That was kind of nice.
Overall I'm playing good. I've really driven the ball well so far. My iron play feels good. My putter feels better. You know, I might even have a chance this weekend, we'll see.

Q. Your second shot on 18 seemed to be one people really responded to.
ERNIE ELS: They loved it. I had a little kind of a -- whatever, sticking up behind my ball and that kind of affected my shot a little bit. But I had a bit of interaction with the crowd there. They have had a couple of beers, I'm sure you saw that. I said to them when I came up, I would probably be in the same shape as them if I was a spectator; they kind of liked that. Made a nice shot and made a good par there.
I had I think 210 to the hole and I hit 4-iron, tried to just run it up the left side.

Q. Toughest course you've played in a non-major this year? Had some of the guys in the wet wave of the day, were saying.
ERNIE ELS: Well, it's soft. You can keep the ball in play. I know there was a bit of breeze and a bit of rain, but I've seen a lot tougher conditions than that. The golf course, yeah, there's some holes playing into the wind that are really demanding. Some of these greens, as you guys have seen, are really quite tricky. So it can test you. But I like it. You know, it's different. We kind of play the same stuff over here so many times, so you know, I guess when the guys see something different, they don't like it.
It's a great setting. You couldn't ask for a better clubhouse. The range is great. Even the golf course is in great shape. It's just some of the greens we don't agree on with the designers. They can design what they want. As I say, it's a little different but I have no problem with the golf course.

Q. Does a new course force you to change your mind-set?
ERNIE ELS: You have to have a game plain. The golf course is such where it keeps you off balance, you don't get into a flow. You think you string a couple of good holes together, then there's an awkward shot that you're faced with and so it doesn't really get you in good flow. That was my case today, I hit it in the water off the tee on 5. There's a couple of holes which you can really get penalized on.

Q. Did you see a low score out there?
ERNIE ELS: I felt there was a score yesterday. After my start, I got all the way to 1-under and then I bogeyed a couple coming in. That middle stretch gave me some faith that I could play and make birdies on the course. This morning, I felt really good on the range, striking it well, so you know, it's soft, as I say. If I get my putter going, I can go low.

Q. Can you talk about your putting and how it's gone up-and-down and sometimes down this year and the last couple years?
ERNIE ELS: Well, I think this year has been a bit down. I haven't been that out of sorts with my putter, ever in my career. I've had ups and down, but this year has been a little bit of a niggle to me. I've been working hard on that. I've been watching old tapes. I've even lengthened my putter a little bit to get it a little bit further up. I feel today I made some good putts, some good saves and I've just got to keep that going.

Q. Is it kind of a Catch 22 that the harder you try, sometimes the worse it can be? Is it sort of trying to find a balance there?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I guess so. But this year, my whole game, I've kind of pieced together again, and I've started feeling good about it now. It's just to get my mind to believe that it's good now and I just have to keep going. I think I've gone over that little hump that it's been in. In this game, you're always working on something, as you know, and you try and get better and sometimes you go the other way.

Q. Having a good week overall, are you staying in Manhattan now?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I want to catch the ferry now.

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