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March 14, 2010

Charl Schwartzel


PAUL SYMES: Runner-up finish, Charl, congratulations. You gave it your best shot today but you came up against an inspired Ernie Els.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: All credit to Ernie. He played flawless golf today. Whenever you shoot -- whenever anyone makes six birdies and no bogeys on a windy day like this, you're almost bound to win. I thought I played really good. Gave a good charge. I was ON his heels all the time. I got tied with him after ten.
And then, you know, it was close all the way, and he made a big save on 14. It's a turning point, but in my mind, still one shot in it. I felt like I hit a good shot on 15, but the wind slightly turned on me, ball came up short and plugged, and that was a bit of a killer blow.
PAUL SYMES: You can take a lot more positives than negatives from this week, though.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Definitely. Like I said, I felt like I played really good. It just shows me that I can play against the best in the world. My time will come, I suppose.
PAUL SYMES: 600,000 Euros, that's quite a consolation, takes you back to the top of The Race to Dubai, as well.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: That can put a smile on my face. (Smiling).

Q. We saw you, obviously at times during the round, you and Ernie were talking together and chatting back and forth and whatnot. Was there a point in the round where the conversation had to stop a little bit, and the focus had to get back on beating one another?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I mean, we didn't speak that much. Occasionally we were sort of walking next to each other. We were just talking about something.
I think both of us were pretty focused. We were trying to win, and you know, I felt like both of us really gave it our all. He just played a bit better.

Q. I saw you smile after Ernie made the putt on 14. What was going through your mind there?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I did it against the guys, back in the first weeks in January when I won. There's always a turning point, and it's amazing, you can just see it. When he knocked it in, I just sort of thought to myself, "Don't let this be the turning point."
But in the back of your mind -- that was big for him, for his confidence.

Q. Had you ever played with him before in a tournament on this TOUR or any other tour?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I've played quite a bit of golf with him. On The European Tour, I've played a few rounds, a lot of practice rounds, but never in front of a big stage like today.

Q. How different was this?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: You know, I felt better than what I thought I was going to feel. You know, the whole -- tee off time of 2:45, you have a lot of time to think and your mind sort of runs away with you. I felt really good and felt like I was focused and didn't really pay too much attention.

Q. When you finished, what did he say to you on the 18th green?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: He said to me, "Congratulations. That's your TOUR card for the U.S."

Q. Looked like you had a couple of nasty lies out there today, two in particular I'm curious about, 8, you were looking at that lie for your second shot, looked like a lot of grass came off; and also, 17.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, 8, straight down the middle of the fairway, and you're in an old divot that they did not fill up with sand, and it was a small divot. It wasn't like it was a long one. If it was a long one, it was fine, but it was small and the ball was right down like a buried lie. So I had to hit a wedge out, and I dug it out and that's why so much grass came out.
17, the ball was down, but really, it's soft cross, and sometimes you don't know exactly if it's going to come up, and that's what it did, it caught the branch.

Q. What does your schedule look like leading up to the Masters and will you be playing more in the States now?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I'm going to play a few events in the States. I'm playing Bay Hill, Houston and the Masters, and then probably come back for THE PLAYERS Championship. I haven't looked after that.
PAUL SYMES: Thanks a lot, Charl, and well played this week.

End of FastScripts

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