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October 19, 2010

Ernie Els

Martin Kaymer

Graeme McDowell

David Toms


David Toms -4
Ernie Els -3
Graeme McDowell +1
Martin Kaymer +3

THE MODERATOR: Martin, in at plus three after your first experience at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. What was it like out there today?
MARTIN KAYMER: It was fun to play. Obviously not the best score. Plus three is not the day I was hoping for.
But, well, I don't know what to say. I didn't play the best golf today. I think I made only one birdie today. Didn't hit the balls close to the flag. Not a lot of birdie chances.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, folks.

Q. I watched you on 16. You were taking a long look into the ocean contemplating something. Would you like to share what you were thinking about?
MARTIN KAYMER: Well, I was just trying to enjoy that moment. I was just trying to enjoy it. Like in Pebble Beach this year at the U.S. Open, it was similar. I was just trying to really, yeah, enjoy that run of golf.
For me, I'm only five years a golf professional. I just thought about it's quite stunning to be here already that early in my career. Yeah, just tried to enjoy it.

Q. Martin, could you talk about the wind out there today. Didn't seem to be too bad on the front.
MARTIN KAYMER: The entire day, it was not very difficult. I think it was less wind than yesterday. Obviously, a totally different direction than yesterday. But it was not very difficult to play.

Q. Martin, you were saying you were just only a golf professional for five years, looking out at the ocean, thinking about that. Is that sometimes something which cannot get on top of you but something that you have to put to one side, to think about how far you've come in such a short period of time?
MARTIN KAYMER: Once in a while, I think about it. That was one of those moments where you realize you've made your winner, that you're playing with a three-time major winner, Ernie Els, David Toms who won the 2001 PGA Championship. It takes sometime to realize. It's not normal what I've done the last few years, especially this year.
It was just one of those moments where you think about it.

Q. What were you thinking about it?
MARTIN KAYMER: What I said: that it's just stunning to be here that early, what happened this year, quite impressive. The win last week at the Alfred Dunhill, that was always one of my goals to win in St. Andrews. Obviously, it would be nice to win the British Open one day. But two weeks ago was fine, too.

Q. How do you stop it getting on top of you?
MARTIN KAYMER: If you take it really serious. I'm just doing my job, you know. There are definitely more important things in life than golf. I think if you really think about it, it's a sport what we do, it's a game. You shouldn't take it too serious what you do out there.
Obviously, you should give always a hundred percent, but in the end of the day there are more important things in life than golf. You keep that in mind, then I think it's not that tough.
THE MODERATOR: Martin Kaymer, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming in.
THE MODERATOR: Graeme McDowell, ladies and gentlemen, is joining us after his first experience in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Plus one. Interesting day out there today with what happened on No. 11. But you finished strong.
GRAEME McDOWELL: What happened (laughter)?
It was just one of those days where one swing kind of unravels the day, shall we say. I made the mistake on the tee on 11 missing the fairway left. Very difficult to hit it close out of this Bermuda rough. I tried to hit a bit of a fancy bunker shot on 11, tried to clip one with a bit of a spin, clipped it out of bounds. It wasn't ideal. In this format, you can't be making mistake like that.
Happy to finish with a couple of birdies. Gives me half a chance tomorrow. This golf course is tricky enough with three, four, five under par are great scores. David Toms and Ernie played exceptionally well. Birdies are hard to come by. It's hard to get the ball close. These greens are quite tricky.

Q. Martin was talking about how on the 16th hole, he was thinking about everything he's accomplished so early in his career. Did you think today a little that you're here as a major champion?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I went through that experience six or seven weeks after the U.S. Open. Martin has had a bit of a whirlwind since his win. He's been pretty much unbeaten since the Firestone. It's been a ride for him. At some point it's got to hit him. Maybe today was that day perhaps.
Like I say, I went through that experience. Took me awhile to come to terms with what I achieved. When you achieve one of your biggest dreams in golf, it's got to come up and hit you smack in the head.
It's definitely great, a great experience. It definitely takes a little bit dealing with as well. Obviously as a player you've got to reset your goals and keep working, keep motivated, keep moving on. That's a great problem to have, obviously.

Q. Did you have an epiphany moment when it sunk in?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I had a similar-type moment on the golf course first round of the British Open this year, third or fourth fairway. Hit me right in the middle of the forehead. I was like, Wow, you know. I can remember welling up a little bit. When you're out there trying to switch on the golf mode, trying to get focused, all of a sudden it just kind of comes crashing in, what you achieved. It's probably just on emotions more than anything. It's been such a ride.
Like I say, 'an epiphany' is a good way of describing it. I definitely had one of those first round of the British Open, it just kind of smacked me.

Q. (No microphone.)
GRAEME McDOWELL: I don't think it's anything anybody can say to you. It's daydreaming, reflecting. You work so hard, you're out there, you're focused, it's hard to have that emotional outburst right afterwards. I think it kind of creeps up on you. It did with me. I think Martin is experiencing something similar, perhaps.

Q. What do you do after a hole like No. 11 in a sprint competition like this? How do you get yourself back in the groove?
GRAEME McDOWELL: 3-putting the next hole isn't ideal really (laughter).
You know, you got to pick yourself back up again. You got to realize that, A, you're very lucky to be here. You've got to try and enjoy yourself. It's a great couple days. PGA of America look after us extremely well. You've just got to try to give the fans what they're here to see: some good golf. It's not like a regular golf tournament where you might beat yourself up after a triple like that. It was one bad swing really. I made a good putt on the par 3, thank goodness, and kind of kick started a decent finish to the day.
But it was disappointing, obviously. I played pretty solid all day long. Like I say, it was a couple of swings that threw me off.
Back at it tomorrow, looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Graeme.
Ernie Els with us next, ladies and gentlemen, second place. 3-under after the first round at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Ernie, some thoughts on your round today and your position going into tomorrow.
ERNIE ELS: Thank you. Obviously, not in a bad position. Feels like especially the front nine I left a lot of shots out there. I've got my putter here. I've got to work on the greens a little bit. Got nothing to do with the greens. I'm working on a bit of new technique, kind of new still.
You know, I think I'm in a good position. Hopefully we can play a little better tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ernie.

Q. For a little while there, David was really seeming to run away with it. On the 11th hole, he makes bogey. You see Graeme make a triple. You come away with birdie. Can you talk about how that turned the round around.
ERNIE ELS: That's the neat thing about stroke play. If we played match play, it was just 1-All, move on. I made up a lot of shots on Graeme. Made two shots up on David there. That can happen, you know. I got into trouble on 17. Got away with making par there. I could have made a double easily, too.
That's the neat thing about stroke play, it's never quite over. I remember back in the day, we used to play the Dunhill Cup, we used to play match play, stroke play. There were big swings on some holes.
There's still a lot of golf out there.

Q. (No microphone.)
ERNIE ELS: I liked it today. A 6-iron today. Yesterday in the ProAm, it was a 5-wood. That could easily be the toughest hole you'll ever play in your life. Maybe that one and 16 at Cypress. That could be a really tough hole.

Q. (No microphone.)
ERNIE ELS: No, never. My grandfather was a left-handed player. When I was really young, I tried to play left-handed. Tried to play left-handed with these clubs. No, it's not for me. You would see my backswing was only about a foot long. Further than that, I'll miss the ball.

Q. Martin Kaymer was in here talking about an epiphany moment on 16, being a major champion being in that group with you guys. Do you remember the first time you had it after the Open?
ERNIE ELS: '94, I remember playing at Poipu Bay. Played with Greg Norman and Nick Price, two of my heroes. I mean, I was really nervous that day because I was playing with my heroes. I won a major. I don't think Greg won a major that year. It was kind of weird.
But, yeah, you know, Martin is only 25. Graeme I think just turned 31. They're very young, have their whole careers ahead of them. You can't blame them to really feel on basically Cloud 9. That's where they are at the moment. Especially Martin has had an unbelievable year. You know, he's basically won the European Order of Merit, three, four events this year. I think he's had a pretty good year.

Q. Could you talk us through the second shot at 15.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, that was another interesting moment (laughter). Yeah, I was in that stuff. I don't know what that is. I was trying to talk to my rules man, trying to get a drop out of that. But it didn't work.
I could get my club to it. Didn't have a very long way to go, eight yards. Lucky enough to get away with four there. I've got to be careful on those holes. I missed the fairway only by a yard or so, it went all the way down. So tough holes.

Q. Ernie, thoughts in general on this Port Royal course, the spectacle and the challenge.
ERNIE ELS: I think it's brilliant. I think it's a great venue. It's close to the East Coast of the United States. I love going to Hawaii. But, I mean, I also love coming to Bermuda, believe me. It's a lot closer. Beautiful scenery. Very good golf course. The golf course is in great shape. We had a big gallery with a lot of enthusiasm. You can't ask for much more than that.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Ernie, very much.
ERNIE ELS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: David Toms, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at 4-under and the leader in the clubhouse at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
DAVID TOMS: Leader of four people (laughter). There we go.
THE MODERATOR: You are the leader in the clubhouse. Let's start with generally talk about your round.
DAVID TOMS: What sticks out to me is really having to pay attention on the golf course. The wind was a different direction than we played yesterday in the ProAm. I think that's why we played kind of fairly slow. We were having to think a lot off the tee boxes, into the green. Probably a wind none of us have seen before in our golf course in our round and a half or whatever.
For instance, yesterday in the ProAm I hit 3-wood to 16. Today I hit a 5-iron. That can tell you the difference in the wind.
To get off to a good start was great. Birdied the first couple holes. That settled me down, got me into the round. Played the front nine real solid. Then birdied 10, was really on a roll. Drove it about 350 on the 11th hole in the middle of the fairway. I was in a sand-filled divot. Chunked it in the front bunker, made bogey. Took the wind out of my sails. I was able to birdie the next hole with a nice putt.
Good golf course. Demanding off the tee. If you want to have short shots in, you have to really drive the ball well. Not always a driver, but you have to get it in the fairway down there because the rough is very penal.
I enjoyed playing with the guys today. We had a lot of small talk out there. The crowd seemed to enjoy the golf. Obviously, the scenery is pretty good, so it was a fun day.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, folks.

Q. Bogey-free front nine. Must have been in a zone.
DAVID TOMS: I played every hole really solid except the 8th hole. Had to get up and down out of the bunker. I actually thought my tee shot, the wind just stood it up. I thought it was going to be perfect, five feet right of the hole. Other than that, it was a great nine holes. Actually a great 10 holes. Nice to get off to that kind of start when you're coming here to compete and you want to play well.
Even though it's a fun event, kind of an exhibition-style event, you want to go out and play great. Getting off to a good start was nice.

Q. You were running away there for a while, especially after the birdie at 10. Talk a little bit about the bogey at 11, then Ernie's birdie, then the comeback on 12.
DAVID TOMS: Yeah, I hit a great drive. One of the best drives I ever hit. Way, way down there. Had 86 yards to the hole. Like I said, I was in a sand-filled divot. I was in the middle of it, which is even tougher. If you're in the front or back, it's not so bad. As you can see after what Graeme did, there's OB over the green. I didn't want to hit it over the green.
I chunked it, not being committed to the shot. I probably could have taken my middle wedge, played it way back, hit a low shot.
That hurt. Mentally it goes from like you're in total control, you get a bad break, you got to somehow come back. To make birdie on the next hole, thought I hit a great second shot, went 30 foot by, made that. Par 3 on the next hole, just too much club. Just right of the pin. Got in a terrible spot to get up and down. Made another bogey.
After that I'm just trying to hit solid shots. Started to get a little windy. Tough holes there by the ocean. Felt like I played pretty solid coming in, I just didn't make any birdies.

Q. You almost didn't play The Open Championship because of an injury.
DAVID TOMS: I did not play the British Open Championship.

Q. But you thought about doing it?
DAVID TOMS: I was exempt to play. At that time of the year I was really struggling with my shoulder. In fact, I thought the Masters at the time was going to be my last event of the year. I had my shoulder injected the Friday before the Masters. Didn't get a very good report. I thought I was going to be done.
What I did was just really stepped up my physical therapy and cut back on my practice. It really hasn't gotten any worse. Was able to play the rest of the year after the summer.

Q. You have had cortisone injections this year?
DAVID TOMS: I had three of them this year, so that's how I've gotten through it.

Q. David, how does playing in Bermuda compare to other tropical destinations you played in and what are your feelings about the 16th hole?
DAVID TOMS: Obviously it's beautiful. Usually when you're on an island playing golf, you're having to deal with the wind. That was obviously a factor on this golf course today. I understand it's going to be again tomorrow.
But it's beautiful. I didn't realize it was so hilly here. You feel it right after the end of the round. I feel bad for the caddies.
I think if all of us would have played this golf course a lot, there would be a lot of four caddying going on. Because we don't know what to hit off the tees, all the caddies are going back. It's a tough walk for them.
It's a beautiful spot. You can kind of get caught up on the scenery out there rather than the golf. Enjoyable trip for me.
THE MODERATOR: David Toms, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.
DAVID TOMS: All right.

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