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February 23, 2011

Ernie Els


Q. That was a bit of a battle for you today, Ernie?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, yeah. I thought I was really on form. I did a lot of practicing and did a lot of good work coming into the week, but obviously tournament golf is a different matter and kind of exposed me a little bit today. He drives the ball really very well. I didn't quite make enough putts, but I just hung in there, kind of used my experience a little bit just to hang in there.
Geoff wasn't a hundred percent on his game, either. There was a lot of mistakes being made out there, but it was an exciting day.

Q. 3-down after three holes, what were you thinking?
ERNIE ELS: I was just trying to get through it, trying to go as long as I can, and, you know, I won the 5th hole and then I gave the 6th away again. Then I won five in a row, and then I couldn't close him out. And then he came back and he made an unbelievable putt on 18 under the pressure. I had a nice birdie putt, just came up short, and didn't feel very good going into the 19th hole because my record in extra holes is not very good. So I kind of had that against me. But again, he made a mistake on his second shot and that led me through.

Q. Your neck problem, was that giving you an grief today?
ERNIE ELS: No, not at all. My neck was a hundred percent, just wasn't quite there, and hopefully I can play better. I think I need to play better tomorrow. I think this course suits J. B. Holmes to a tee, so I'm going to have to be much better tomorrow.

Q. Quite comfortable winning here, 14 and 15 the key, and then the long -- when you sunk the long putt on 14 to par and then 15, he plunked it in the bunker, and that was the turning point, I guess?
ERNIE ELS: I don't have to say another word.

Q. Was it a relief to get over the line again?
ERNIE ELS: Absolutely, always when you win. I'm 41 now, with the Grand Slam last year I won four events. So it was very nice to win quite a few events, so I'd like to get that going again this year.
I haven't played much, so I'd like to get in the swing of things, and today was big for me to get through and play another round and see where I am.

Q. You said on this one winning gets harder as you get older. Was that physically or mentally or just all the young guys coming through?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it's just the way it is. A lot of young guys coming through.
Yeah, it's just the way it is. There's a lot of talent out there, a lot of hungry guys. So any win you win now, you savor it. I've won 67 times. You don't know how many is left in the tank. But I like to keep building up.

Q. A new sponsor on board, Cadillac, should give the Tour another boost?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I think it's a great sponsor. James has been a big sponsor for many, many years, and it's great to see Cadillac back. I drive a Cadillac. No, it's great, you know? Obviously in this day and age if you have sponsor and playing for the money we're playing for, we're very fortunate.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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