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June 23, 2010

Ernie Els


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ernie, your thoughts on being here at the BMW International Open after last week?
ERNIE ELS: Whoever went through last week's tournament is suffering from a bit of jet-lag. I have a bit of jet-lag but other than that, I'm just happy to be back here in Munich. Haven't been here for a while. Hopefully we'll have a good weather week.
Yeah, you know, quite a long flight, and I've just got to get over the jet-lag. Should take another day or so, but I'll be fine. It's not like we haven't done it before.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Good week for you last week? Can you judge it as a good week?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, disappointed, but at least I had a chance. I guess everybody had difficulty on the greens. You know, I had a lot of problems on the greens. Couldn't quite get a nice roll going on those greens and that probably cost me the championship.
But you've got to take your hat off to Graeme. He played wonderful. He played nice and steady. But, you know, I wasn't the only one that had chances. I played with Phil and he also had chances and Tiger and a lot of guys in there with chances. So, you know, came down to the wire and I'm a little disappointed, but it was a good tournament.

Q. How did you decide to come here this year?
ERNIE ELS: Well, I've got a contract to come here. I had a deal with Marco. You know, I think I entered the tournament a year ago already almost, so it would have been unfair not to come here. And, you know, when you have obligations, you haven't just cut the ties. So I wanted to come and I'm ready to have a good week here this week.

Q. Certainly a lot of confidence after last week?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it obviously. This is an event I'm playing, and after this BMW tournament, I'll have two weeks off, holiday, and try to get myself physically strong again and do some practising. I'll go up to St. Andrews beforehand and play a day or two, and then maybe take it easy through the week. Maybe just play a Wednesday practise round; I've played St. Andrews so many times.
You know, I probably needed a little bit of a form injection, because I haven't had a lot of good form over the last six weeks, two months, since my wins in March in Florida.
So I needed a little bit of a jolt, and I got that now, and hopefully I can kick on from here. You know, there's two more majors left, and St. Andrews is one of my favourite events, and then obviously the PGA, as well.
So looking forward to some good tournaments.

Q. For the first time in history, I believe, two Germans were in the Top-10 at Pebble Beach. How do you consider Martin? You know him quite well, and Alex Cejka.
ERNIE ELS: I think it's great. You know, Alex has been around for a while, like myself. He's about the same age as me. He's done wonderful for himself, playing on the our fine tour for a long time and now he's on the U.S. Tour now full-time; excellent player.
Martin, we know all the talent he has. He's young. He's young stuff enough still to gain some more experience maybe in the next year or so. But he's getting closer to stepping up to the next level to maybe really contend and start winning one of these tournaments. He's got enough talent to do that. So look forward to seeing his future. I've always liked Martin's game, and I like him as a person, also. He's a good guy and I think he can go a long way.

Q. Are you in any way connected to the World Cup in South Africa?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I've been following it a little bit. In the U.S. the coverage is not as extensive as over here. Tried to catch a couple of games on ESPN over there and I watched the Opening Ceremony and I thought it all looked very good. Obviously it's disappointing, our team lost and are out of the competition, but it's not like we were the favourites going in (chuckling).
But still, it was a little disappointing. They beat France, which still didn't qualify, but so far it's been a big success. In speaking to my friends down there, the soccer fever is running in South Africa, and I think it's a wonderful occasion.
I'll see, maybe I can get down there for a game or two, but it's going to be interesting this afternoon, big games obviously being played, Germany and England. It will be a shame if either of those two don't get through to the next round, which is unthinkable. But I think it's a wonderful occasion down there for us.

Q. Who is your favourite?
ERNIE ELS: My favourite? I thought before, I thought Germany maybe, but obviously now it's changing. I think Argentina is looking good now, and obviously Brazil. But we'll have to wait and see if Germany gets through this afternoon. Maybe they are my favourites again. (Laughter).

Q. Why do you think the Europeans and the internationals are doing so well in the States this year?
ERNIE ELS: I think it's kind of the wave of players. There's certain players that have been around now and they have probably hit their stride so to speak. I think Lee Westwood, you know, he's been playing unbelievable golf for two years. Paul Casey has played a lot of great golf. Ian Poulter has won. And all of these guys are in their 30s now, so they are probably hitting their form now. And I think these guys will be around for quite a few more years.
I just think The European Tour is so strong at the moment. The players are world-class players now. They have won all around the world, and it's just the fact of the matter; The European Tour really is so strong. We have so many points that we play for on The European Tour, and guys who play well can really accumulate a lot of points, and I think that's why you get so many guys in the top ten, top 20, top 30.

Q. With your result on Sunday, as disappointing as it was, is The Race to Dubai title back on in your eyes?
ERNIE ELS: I think so. I've been looking a bit at the Money List. I think I'm still leading the Money List in the U.S. and just behind Graeme over here. And some special events now, as you know, majors coming up, so there's a lot of points and a lot of Race to Dubai points and Money List points. So important little period now, through till September.

Q. And yourself, what did you bring back to having chances to win?
ERNIE ELS: You know, I could feel it last year already. I could feel some form coming. I changed golf balls. The Callaway golf ball, I changed to the softer Callaway golf ball, the ix, and that's helped my short game a lot. And I just feel like even from last year, I felt my swing was coming around nicely. Even had chances last year at the British Open to maybe win, and the PGA, so I felt there was some good things coming. I just needed to start closing some golf tournaments, which I did in March.
You know, I feel like my form has been coming for a long time now. I'd like to maybe even kick on a little bit more and maybe try and see if we can win a major this year, which would be nice.

Q. And win here?
ERNIE ELS: Absolutely. This is my last tournament before my vacation, so it would be nice to play well here.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Where are you going on vacation?
ERNIE ELS: In England. (Laughing).

Q. How often do you get to South Africa?
ERNIE ELS: We go down one, twice a year. If I can, we go down this time year but maybe not this year, and obviously we spend December and a bit of January, which is our summer holiday in South Africa. My family is all back there, my brother, sister, parents, everybody is down there. We have a great time Christmas and New Year's. So always go back then and we try and sneak in one or two other visits. So still very actively involved in South Africa.

Q. And some businesses?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, we have the winery there and we have some golf courses we have designed.

End of FastScripts

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