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October 18, 2010

Ernie Els

Martin Kaymer

Graeme McDowell

David Toms


THE MODERATOR: David Toms is with us from his first experience on this golf course.
THE MODERATOR: Maybe some thoughts on what you saw out there today.
DAVID TOMS: First thought, it certainly helps to play this golf course a little bit. There's a lot of areas that you got to know where you're going off the tee.
My caddie did a good job yesterday walking the golf course, so we didn't go in totally blind. With the breeze we had today, which was really not much of a breeze I would say for Bermuda, it was a challenge off the tee to get your line, especially on some of the shorter holes.
But I enjoyed the golf course. It's in great shape. Greens are rolling really nice. The rough is not very deep, but you don't really want to be in it. With our grooves that we're having to use these days, certainly the flyer lies comes into play. With the greens being fairly firm, tough to get the ball close to the pin if you're in the rough. You want to hit the fairway. That will be the premium to score well the next couple of days.
THE MODERATOR: David, we have some questions.

Q. I was wondering, it's not the longest course you will play, the way it sets up equalizes it for the four players.
DAVID TOMS: It certainly helps me, though it's not a long golf course. Some of the par 3s were pretty tough and long. There were a couple of long holes out there that were into the wind as well. If you can get by those, it's not too bad.
The short holes, you have to be a lot of times in the section of the fairway to have your best chance to attack. Like I said, you're going to have to hit the fairway.
For me personally, there's some bunkers on the golf course that I can't carry that maybe I'm not sure about Graeme, he's a little bit longer than me, but two of the guys, Martin and Ernie, won't have any problem carrying some of those fairway bunkers. That will be an advantage to them.
Overall the golf course is fairly tight and the length is not that big a factor overall. We should all be able to play pretty equally.

Q. Did you get a chance to play 16? What were your thoughts?
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, it was almost 250 today into the wind. I hit a 3-wood in the front right bunker, hit it up on the hill. It came back. Not a bad spot to play from. Certainly worse spots to be on the hole.
Could be a pivotal hole in both rounds, but certainly coming down on the second round, if you're trying to protect the lead. You can look at what Lucas' plaque says on the tee, probably sums it up.

Q. Talk about your reaction, what you were doing when learned your invitation to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and take us through your thought process on what got you here.
DAVID TOMS: First of all, when I got the phone call, they needed to know pretty quick. It was just this past week. So my first thought was, you know, I wanted to go, but I just had to figure out where I was going, first of all. Last time I played it, it was in Hawaii. I had to know what I had to do, when I had to be there.
I had a college event that I sponsor in Louisiana. It was actually taking place today and tomorrow. We had our ProAm yesterday. So I was there playing in that yesterday. So I wasn't able to make it in till last night.
It was all about the logistics. It was never whether or not I wanted to go. Certainly it's an honor to be here. It's a great event. It was just about how I was going to get here.

Q. How did you make it happen? Any good anecdotes on how you got this put together in such a short amount of time?
DAVID TOMS: Not really. Our biggest concern was was my wife coming. If she was coming, we had to get somebody to take care of the kids. That's really the only concern. It was never really about whether or not I was going to be here.

Q. How about the LSU Tigers and how they're playing?
DAVID TOMS: They didn't play very well, but they won. Seems like that's the story with every game. As long as you keep winning, that's the story in sports. Certainly not how pretty it is. Style points are good for the rankings. In the end if you keep winning, that's what it's all about.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
DAVID TOMS: All right. See you tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Ernie Els, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.
Ernie, we really don't care about your golf game today on the golf course, as you can see by the images up on the monitor, we care about your cricket. Give us a hole-by-hole on actually what was happening and what we're looking up on the screen.
ERNIE ELS: I just made contact. That's why I'm laughing (laughter).
The guy behind you there, his name is Brian Lara. The locals will obviously know him. American media, he's a legend in the game of cricket. In his era, he's probably in the top two, maybe top three players of all time. I got to know Ryan through golf, obviously through cricket. I'm a cricket fan. When they toured South Africa, we started knowing each other.
He's a golf freak, I'm a cricket freak. You know, it's easy to keep both of us happy. He actually came to my wife and my wedding. That's how good a friend he is of ours.
Nice seeing him on the strip. Actually caught me by surprise. I haven't played cricket in 24 years or whatever it is. Last time I think I hit a cricket shot was in Jamaica in '94. At least I made contact. Brian, as you can see, I'm amused.
THE MODERATOR: The premiere was pitching?
ERNIE ELS: The premiere was bowling at me, thank goodness not too fast. I could make contact. Actually hit a couple of shots. The one over there, that looks like I'm playing golf actually (laughter). But we had a bit of fun there. Beautiful backdrop on the No. 16 tee. Beautiful hole.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for that insight. Your first look at Port Royal?
ERNIE ELS: I really enjoyed it. Obviously we didn't have a lot of breeze today, which is really good for golfers. I know the wind can blow here. Today was quite a nice day.
I think the green-keeping staff must get a lot of credit for the golf course. I heard there was a hurricane that came here a couple weeks ago. Obviously it made it tough for them. The green surfaces are really good, world standard. The fairways are great, too.
The golf course itself, if you put it in play, you can make some birdies. It can be quite a fun course, especially when the wind's not blowing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ernie. Questions, folks.

Q. Ernie, wondering whether you were a batsman or a bowler?
ERNIE ELS: I was actually a bowler, as you can see with my style there. As a bowler, you want to think you're the best, but I was not an opening batsman. I wanted to call myself an all-arounder, but I think I was a worse batsman than a bowler.

Q. Did you and Brian swap tips while you were out there?
ERNIE ELS: No. He's just a different class. Obviously with golf, he's a lot better player now than he was. Obviously he's got a lot more time on his hands now that he's kind of retired. He's got a very good golf game.
I'd like to try to get him into some of those celebrity tournaments in the States because I think he can do some damage there with his game.

Q. At 40, can you run through how motivated you are, how different golf is going forward, how much you think you have left in the tank.
ERNIE ELS: Oh, who knows. I feel really fresh. You know, the game is what it is. It will beat you down at times. I've been doing it for such a long time. You're going to have your good weeks and bad weeks. I've had a really wonderful career. I feel like I can still achieve things in this game and I want to achieve things in the game.
As I said before, you know, I think the technology that I'm playing with Callaway has really helped me stay current. I got a really good driver that I use. I can still get it out there 300 yards every now and again. The ball I'm playing is really good. I feel really happy with that.
You're going to really see a lot different schedule next year. I'm going to play a lot more in the States. I'll still to the odd trip over to Europe and so on, but it's not going to be what I used to be doing. So I'm going to have a lot more time to be on my game and be fresh.
I feel it's time. I've done it so long, I'll still play internationally but not as intensely as I used to. Just feel I got such a wonderful family life now. It's really comfortable. I can practice at home right through the year now. Feels very, very comfortable.
The desire is very much still there. I still feel like I can win majors. Until you guys prove me wrong, I'd like to prove everybody else wrong basically. I still feel like I've got a lot left.

Q. Hall of Fame question. When you started your career, was the Hall of Fame on your radar?
ERNIE ELS: Never. No, never thought about it. Basically never really thought it really existed. Even if it was there, you know, definitely all I wanted to do was just try and make it somehow as a player and play internationally, whether it was in Europe. Obviously, the ultimate was to play on the U.S. TOUR.
1994 really took care of that when I won the U.S. Open. Really been privileged to play in the U.S. and play worldwide really the way I wanted to my whole career. A lot of players don't get that opportunity.
The Hall of Fame was never, ever on my radar screen.

Q. Has it sunken in? It's been a couple weeks now.
ERNIE ELS: It has, you know. I'd like to think it's becoming more a bigger deal now that I'm in there. Yeah, I think in time even more, when you think about it, look at the players that have gotten into the Hall of Fame, obviously there's a great group of guys and women. Yeah, I mean, it really feels special. I never really thought it was going to feel this good. I guess you downplay it until you get elected. It really feels quite special.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ernie.
ERNIE ELS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Graeme McDowell, ladies and gentlemen, joining us. Graeme, your first look at Port Royal. How about some thoughts about how it looked out there today?
GRAEME McDOWELL: It's a beautiful golf course. I played 18 holes yesterday, as well. Yeah, I like it. It's in great condition. Real Bermuda rough. The ball really sits down at the base of the Bermuda. Real emphasis on hitting fairways because of that. Very hard to control your ball if you don't keep it in play around here.
The greens are quite fast and undulating. You have to position the ball on the correct side of the green as well. I think it's a really good test. Certainly when this wind blows around here, this golf course is a real test.
15 and 16 are probably my favorite holes out there, two stunning golf holes. It really is a beautiful, spectacular golf course when you're out on the ocean there. Going to be a lot of fun the next couple days. Looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, folks.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it's been like since the end of the Ryder Cup? You've had a huge season, and to cap it off with the Ryder Cup win, decisive point, what's that been like?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I went up to play the Dunhill Links Championship. The response has been amazing. It means a lot to the European Tour, the Ryder Cup win for us. It's been a big year for European Tour golf, myself, Martin and Louis winning the majors. A few guys winning PGA TOUR tournaments, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood winning tournaments over here. To cap that off with a victory in the Ryder Cup really caps a good year for us.
Certainly to be part of that team, to be the guy that obviously, when I saw the singles draw come out, I was No. 12 man, I was a little disappointed because I thought I was going to miss all the fun. I certainly didn't miss all the fun in the end. It was very exciting to be that guy, to be the guy to have the chance to win the winning point.
It's been great. Obviously it's been well-received back in Europe. Everyone involved with the tour, the tour officials, players, everyone involved, they've been pretty excited about it.

Q. When you sit around and think about this season, you've had a career in one season. How do you compare the Open and the final in the Ryder Cup?
GRAEME McDOWELL: When I compare the pressure scenario, there's no comparison. I thought the Ryder Cup was so much more pressure-packed than the U.S. Open. As far as personal achievement goes the U.S. Open was so much more for me. The Ryder Cup obviously was 12 guys. It was really one point on the Monday is really all it was. As far as personal achievement, the U.S. Open was a huge amount for me to deal with. It took a couple weeks really, a couple of quiet moments for it to really sink in. It was really emotional for me.
I've dreamt of winning major championships all my life. It was a really big deal. Still is a big deal to me. I'm looking forward to certainly a couple of drinks back home in Ireland over Christmas.
Like you say, a real chance to reflect on what has been a life-changing season for me. I'm concentrating on all the things I need to do to keep getting better and better, be the best player I can be. I'm certainly not going to sit back. I'm looking forward to a big year in the States. Looking forward to the Race to Dubai. Got to reset my goals, keep going, build on a great season, but it's been amazing.

Q. Is your dad with you this week?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I've got my mum and dad with me. They're kicking back on the beach this afternoon.

Q. They were at the Ryder Cup as well?
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, my mom can't really walk 18 holes. We actually had her buggied around. One of the first times she has had a chance to watch me play golf in a long time. I was glad she could be there and experience that. You know, to have them there sort of enjoying everything I'm doing, especially my dad has been by my side since I was eight years old picking up a golf club, it was great to be able to drag them all around the world with me and experience some of this cool stuff.
Being on an island like Bermuda here, playing in probably the best Four Ball in world golf is a pretty special feeling for me to be here. I'm sure they're pretty proud parents as well. Great to be able to give that to them.

Q. I was wondering, you were talking about the pressure of the Ryder Cup, if did it change because of the number of people who were relying you in that situation and how that then translates into when you're playing on your own on the tour.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, for sure. There's no doubt the pressure I was experiencing that Monday afternoon at the Ryder Cup, you know, it was so much more intense than Pebble Beach. I kind of say it was nearly 12 times more intense because I was playing for 11 teammates and a team captain. The 35,000 European fans there, European fans, European Tour, everyone involved, you do feel like there's a bit of weight on your shoulders.
That was probably the toughest day I've ever experienced on a golf course. The first 10 or 11 holes were quite surreal because no one was paying much attention to our game. Then all of a sudden the sideshow became the big show. It was amazing last five or six holes. Certainly one of the greatest moments of my career to hole that putt on 16.
Like I say, as far as personal achievement goes, the U.S. Open is definitely much more special from my point of view. But as far as pressure-packed, fun, the adrenaline, all that kind of stuff, the Ryder Cup, very difficult to compare. You're not playing for yourself, you're playing for your team, whereas major championships, they're much more individual.
THE MODERATOR: Graeme McDowell, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Martin Kaymer next, ladies and gentlemen. Martin, thanks for coming in. What did you think of the golf course today?
MARTIN KAYMER: Very different than in Germany. But for me very Florida like, I would say. The grass is very similar. I think for the tournament, perfect. I think for the spectators, very nice. They can see us playing. Great holes next to the ocean. It's like a paradise, playing golf in paradise. Obviously for me as a German, we don't really have that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, folks.
MARTIN KAYMER: Not the paradise, but those kinds of golf courses.

Q. Were you aware in Bermuda they have an octopus called Squirt. What were your thoughts on that?
MARTIN KAYMER: Last year it worked I think for Lucas. Hopefully it works the same way as last year. It's a funny thing. It's a funny story. But we'll see. I can answer that question on Wednesday (laughter).

Q. Martin, a lot of times when guys win their first major, they have a bit of a hangover, don't play their greatest golf afterwards. That's not been the case with you. Can you talk about the roll you've been on, how you've been able to maintain that level of play?
MARTIN KAYMER: After the PGA, I took three weeks off to try to realize what happened there. Obviously, it was the biggest win I had in my career, and a huge thing for myself that I could achieve such a big tournament that early in my career.
But for me, I actually thought the same what you just mentioned. A lot of guys that win one big tournament, then you kind of don't like really hear from them anymore. But my goal is to win more big tournaments, more majors. That's why I kept practicing, kept playing. I had a good chance to win the Race to Dubai. I had a chance last year already, but because of the go-kart accident, I couldn't win unfortunately. But this year for me it was important to keep playing, keep practicing and win more tournaments.
Yeah, fortunately I could win the last that I played. So I think it should never be the end of a career, especially not at my age. I don't know, when you're 40, 45, I don't know what's going to happen then. But that early in my career, I want to win more tournaments, more majors.
My biggest goal is to win the British Open one day, win at St. Andrews. That would be fantastic. I could win this last week, the big tournament on the European Tour. My biggest dream would be to win the British Open at St. Andrews. In five years' time, I have another chance.
I think it's important you keep having goals, keep practicing. Especially, like I said, at my age, you cannot say, I've achieved something big now and that's it.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, thanks for joining us.

End of FastScripts

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