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April 29, 2012

Ernie Els


COLIN MURRAY: All right.  Ernie, thanks for coming in.  Just start us off with a couple thoughts just on the day as a whole, obviously a solid round, not the outcome you wanted but just talk about the day and we'll go do a few quick questions.
ERNIE ELS:  I played good golf.  I really -- you know, getting on the 10th tee I told myself to really play a good back-9 and see what happens.
I was a little disappointed in my ball striking on the back-9.  I didn't get as many chances for birdies and subsequently I made putts for a lot of pars, which I made.  But it was a nice little charge I made and, you know, nice to catch the leader.  Actually had a chance to actually win the tournament.  So, that's regulation play.
And then, obviously, the playoff, you know, I didn't hit a great putt on that first playoff hole.  It was a better putt than I hit in Tampa (laughter) but it wasn't as good as I wanted to.
So, disappointing with that but all in all, you know, I had a good week.  I really felt shooting those four rounds in the 60s the way I did, was really nice.  Came up short.
COLIN MURRAY:  Thanks Ernie.  Got time for a couple of quick questions, three, four, five quick questions and get Ernie on his way.

Q.  Ernie, talk about the two putts, the regulation putt on 18 and then the playoff putt.  Looked like they were pretty close to the same line, close to the same line.
Was there a misread or did you just not hit it?
ERNIE ELS:  You're right.  The putt on the playoff was a bit further left and in regulation play I hit a bit soft but it kept its line and I thought in the playoff it was going to be kind of the same putt and I gave it a lot of speed, also.  I hit it obviously too straight.  But it turned more than in regulation play.  Misread it.

Q.  On the second playoff hole with your drive, did you give any consideration, did you have any shot at all to advance it more than with the wedge out of the bunker?
ERNIE ELS:  No.  That's a Pete Dye pot bunker.  I was actually fortunate enough to get it that far down.  I had a nice lie and hit a 9-iron out of there and gave myself, I think I had 140 yards for my 3rd shot.  Wasn't a great drive.

Q.  What were the clubs you hit into 18 in regulation and in the playoff hole?
ERNIE ELS:  Regulation I bombed one down there.  I had 250 front and the flag is 27 on.  I tried to hit a 4-iron and run it into the green.  I was actually trying to hit it left of the bunker.  I hit it dead straight into the bunker.  Then I didn't hit a great bunker shot.
And then first playoff hole, I had 228 front and I had a beautiful uphill lie.  Hit a perfect 5-wood.  That thing went another two yards, it could have been a lot different but came up just short.  Like 257 to the hole.

Q.  Ernie, your eagle on 7 gave you a two stroke lead.  Were you aware of that at the time or did you see a scoreboard and did it give you any momentum?
ERNIE ELS:  I needed that.  Obviously I was trying to get to the leader and making birdies and eagles helps.  So making that eagle I knew kind of thought he was roundabout that number but, to be honest, myself and Ricky, we were trying to get to 20-under at the start of the day.  I mean to catch the leader by the 7th hole you've still got a lot of golf to play.  Means a lot but not really, if you know what I mean.

Q.  Can you just talk about Jason and just kind of the vibe he projects out there?
ERNIE ELS:  I don't know how long he can keep it up, that wall, but he's doing a good job so far (laughter).  Kind of reminds me of myself back in the day.  He's a wonderful guy.  I've played a lot of golf with Jason and obviously came close to winning a Major last year against Keegan and been close quite a few times.
He's got a wonderful golf swing and I think this will help him a lot.  I think he'll win quite a few others.  He's got a really sound golf swing and game.  If he keeps that shield up, he's got -- you know, that's a pretty good defensive mechanism he's got there.
COLIN MURRAY:  Great.  Ernie thanks for your time.
ERNIE ELS:  Thank you.

Q.  Tough loss but great playing out there week.
ERNIE ELS:  Thanks.  I enjoyed it.  I really had a good time.  I had my chances there and obviously with the putts I had a great chance.  All in all you play a round without a bogey it's kind of nice.  It's one of those things.

Q.  You played well.
ERNIE ELS:  I did.  I made some putts.  I missed the one in the playoff but made really a lot of putts on the back-9 to keep myself in it.  Lot of positives.

Q.  Great to see you playing well.
ERNIE ELS:  Thanks, man.

Q.  So much good to get yourself into it, all the par saves on the back-9.  Tell us about what you're going the take out of this round.
ERNIE ELS:  I'll go back to the drawing board but I think a lot, you know.  I had a chance to win the tournament with a 6-footer and missed it but I made quite a few putts on the back-9 to keep myself in it or pars and so forth.  Hit the ball pretty well today, no bogies on the final round so there's a lot of positives.  The only thing is the win.

Q.  How much disappointment is there not being able to win?
ERNIE ELS:  It's a disappointment especially when you have a putt to win the tournament.  I had that a couple times this year and that's, in a way, I can work on it but at least I'm doing good things.  I had a chance to win in the first playoff hole.  Didn't hit a great putt, tried to jam it in there and kind of pushed it a little bit.
That's a disappointing thing but, you know, to play 72 holes, four days of golf and have a putt to win, that's a negative and positive.  It's one of those things.

Q.  Coming into city where you haven't played in a long, long time.  First time in 9 years and play some of your better golf.
ERNIE ELS:  I have a lot of support here this week, you know.  I felt the nickname "Big Easy".  Playing good golf was a lot of fun.  Just sorry I didn't win.  I'll definitely come back.  Had a lot of fun.

Q.  This was Jason's first career win.  You had to be happy for him to finally break out and get a win.
ERNIE ELS:  Yeah I am for him.  Disappointed for myself.  He's got a great career.  He's getting noted by y'all and got a bit more cash to spend on his honeymoon.  He's having a good time.  Myself, came close.  Disappointing but good.

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