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March 14, 2012

Charl Schwartzel


Q.  Your first start here, just talk a little bit the golf course, and thoughts on the week and go from there?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Obviously it was the first time I saw it this morning.  Obviously I've only gone around it once but you've got to place your ball in the right places off the tee and you've got to know what you're doing going into these greens.  These greens have got some severe slopes in them.  I can't see guys making a whole lot of putts on them with the big breaks, but you know, it's a course that I sort of like.  I like to play that game.  I don't think the scoring will be particularly low.
I don't think the guys will run away with it.  I don't know what's happened in the past, but by the looks of it, I like it.  Obviously played well last week and my game feels good.

Q.  Has it been a fast year since the Masters?  Has it gone by quickly?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Funny you say that, as I walked up the 18th, one of my playing partners asked me.  The year's gone by so quickly, I can't believe next week I'm going to go play a practice round and then I just can't believe it's been a year.

Q.  You haven't been back since, I take it.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I have not been back.  It will be the first time I go there next week.

Q.  What day are you going?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Not sure yet.  Maybe Wednesday or Thursday.

Q.  Can you just take us real quick through those birdies coming in at Augusta?  What was sort of on your mind as you're on the 15th hole.  Obviously that's a birdie hole.  But the others, not necessarily.  Are you sort of thinking, hey, if I can just get one more, I'm right there?  Do you even recall what was going through your mind as far as the leaderboard was concerned?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I think at that stage, you're so in your own little world that you are pushing, urging yourself.  You can hear by the crowds always what's happening.  At that stage I knew Adam Scott was the guy that was leading and I knew he was in front of me.  So you can see what's going on.
Now and again you see a glimpse of what's going on and you can hear by the reaction of the crowd what he's done.  Obviously he made a good par on 15 and that gave me a gap, stayed one back but I needed to birdie 15.  I still say that was the biggest birdie for me out of the four.  That got me going.  I thought 16 is pretty birdieable, especially with that flag.  When the flag is on the right side, it's a tough hole, but with the Sunday flag, we've seen a lot of birdies, it's a slope that feeds to the hole.
Obviously Adam hit it very close and make birdie, so once again I'm one behind.  But I felt I could birdie that hole, and I hit a good iron shot in there and I made a good putt.  But from there on in, for me, just the gamebecame so much‑‑ I got so involved in my own game trying to just execute each shot I was hitting to the best I could.
You know, that later stage in the tournament like, that you're trying to control the emotions and control what you're doing other than worried about what he's doing.  Basically I was trying to hit each shot that I could at that stage, to do the very best I could and I was executing some good shots and gave myself some opportunities.

Q.  For a guy who won the Masters the way you did, do you feel overlooked going into this year's, with everything that's going on with Rory and Tiger and Phil and such?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  It's nothing new for me.  It's always been like that.  Tiger's always been popular.  Rory has always been popular.  So it's nothing new for anyone.

Q.  And secondly, does it sort of feel like this might be a tougher Masters to win than any other with so many guys playing so well right now?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I think each year it's like that.  Each year, there's a group of guys that go in that's playing well and you've always got the guys that have done well there.  I mean, there's nothing‑‑ that golf course suits their game and suits their eye.  It seems like the guys prepare harder to play the Masters.  It just seems that way.  The guys put a bit more effort into it.  So it's always tough but that's why you've got to‑‑ you can only do what you can do and not push so hard.

Q.  What's the latest on the Champions Dinner?  Are they going to let you grill?  Are you still going to try to do that?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  It's not going to happen.  (Laughter) Well, I can't do it myself; put it that way.  They are still going to do it but they are going to have a chef doing it.

Q.  Did you ask?  Did they say no?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I didn't know what to expect.  I haven't heard what it's like and I have no knowledge.  So I said, well, I do that full‑time at home, that's something I would like to do (shrugging shoulders).  Obviously it's a little different; it's I think a shorter time period.  They do it only in a couple hours.  So they said that it would be nice if we can all just chat more instead of someone cooking and stuff.

Q.  How long would it take you to prepare if you were working the grill?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  It depends how much; if you had a few fires up in front of you, you could do a lot of meat.  I mean, I like it medium, you know, so it doesn't take too long to cook (laughing).

Q.  Do you expect it to be a little overwhelming when you go back, whether it to be it the dinner with just‑‑ it's just the winners and Billy Payne and the Champions Locker room.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I've been thinking about it.  I think it's going to be very exciting with a bit of nerves.  You know, you're around legends and past champions.  It is a dream I think for anyone to do that.  But it will be different to be in the presence of all those people.

Q.  Is there any past champion that you're kind of looking forward to picking their brain a little bit or meeting?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I would call myself a little bit of a shy guy.  I won't go up to someone and ask them their opinions, or‑‑ you know, I just don't do that.  But I just think it's going to be nice to be around everyone.  I've spoken to Jack Nicklaus a little bit.  So feel pretty comfortable around him.
I mean, it's just going to be fun.  Just go with it.

Q.  This year they will come to you.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  This year, I'll tell them, sit down, listen to what I'm saying.  (Laughter).

Q.  How much do you think Rory has grown?  You were in the same management company for a while, how much do you think he's grown since what he went through there last year?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  Obviously a lot.  I've picked up that it seems like he's matured a lot as a person.  Not just in his game.  His game obviously has followed.  But he's got‑‑ he's always had a lot of confident but now he seems like he's got some serious confidence going his way.
You know, he's got the belief, so to me, it's no surprise the way he bounced back after he played badly at Augusta, it just shows you that he's always going to be a world beater.

Q.  Have you spoken to Ernie at all?  He's not in the Masters yet, and he wasn't at Doral last week.  Sort of a little strange to not have him in a tournament like that and not qualify for Augusta.  Have you spoken to him and do you have any sense from him where he's at right now?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I practiced with him a little bit before Honda.  I didn't ask, obviously I could see the guy was working hard at it.  I think not a lot of people realize how hard he practices.  He really puts in a lot of hours and a lot of good work.  If he can get a bit of confidence going, we know how good he is.  But I have not spoken to him about not being in any of those tournaments.  It did feel strange, yeah.

Q.  What club did you give to Augusta National?
CHARL SCHWARTZEL:  I gave them the sand wedge that I holed the shot with on No. 3.

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