home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 18, 1994

Ernie Els


ERNIE ELS: I have had some good rounds this year, but obviously not in a major championship like this. Especially starting off in the way I did. It was just you know, it was just happening for me, that is the kind of things you are looking for. I hit good shots and THE good shots came off for me. I was up there, man.

LES UNGER: Questions, please.

Q. Nick Price has great regard for your golf game. Was he an influence?

ERNIE ELS: I met Nick for the first time in 1993 just after he won the World Series and I was still a junior player. I won a little tournament back in South Africa called the Mini masters. I won that tournament and then I came to America and Nick, he did a prize game (sic) for us, that was my first time I met Nick Price, but I never played a lot of golf together now. I have been playing in Europe and he has been playing in America. We played together a couple of times in South African tournaments and what can I say, he is a great player, nice guy too.

Q. How do you feel knowing that you are going to be the leader going into tomorrow's round?

ERNIE ELS: I feel pretty good. Obviously you got to play as best as you can and if you are leading the tournament after three rounds it is kind of nice. I am going to have a lot of guys shooting at me tomorrow, so I have to play solid golf tomorrow, but I think I know what to do, keep on playing solid golf and just try and keep them away.

Q. What would it mean to you to win the U.S. Open?

ERNIE ELS: What would it mean to me? Everything. I mean, it is a major championship. I think any professional golfer in this world would love to win a major championship and if it is U.S. Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA, it is a major championship and I'd like to start, yeah.

Q. A week ago tonight you were leading in Westchester. What did you learn from Sunday's round that maybe you can use tomorrow?

ERNIE ELS: Well, last Sunday I was just near a guy that was making everything and playing really good. It was happening for him and I was one shot behind Lee last week and we were chasing each other and he just made the huge putts coming at the stretch at 16 and 18, so I got pretty close though. But I feel this is my week.

Q. Ernie, your yardages in on 1, 9 and 18?

ERNIE ELS: On number 1, 160 yards to the hole. That is downhill, 9-iron. Number 9, I had-- I came out of the rough had about 180 yards or something. 18, I hit 145 yards.

Q. After a fast start did Johnny Miller's 63 ever bother your mind and what were your thoughts on that front nine?

ERNIE ELS: Not at all. I was just going to play as best I can and that didn't really come into my mind. I guess if I made par on number 10 maybe later it would have flown into my mind - no, I was just trying to play my game.

Q. I noticed you chew gum during your round. How much gum do you go through in a whole round and why do you do it?

ERNIE ELS: Actually the first time in a long time I have had gum in my mouth. My girlfriend over there gave me gum just before I teed off, so I just didn't really notice it in my mouth actually. I just kept on chewing. Maybe I will chew it tomorrow again.

Q. Ernie, how aware are you of the streak foreigners who have not won the Open and how important is that to you to break it?

ERNIE ELS: How many-- I think there have been 3? The foreign players are doing pretty well this week. We got some good players in Europe especially. This type of course suits Montgomerie. Frank gets it very straight too so we have all been playing pretty well coming into this week and I think we just getting it on. Yeah, it is kind of funny, I think Nick Faldo came very close a couple of years ago, what can I say? The golf course does not really suit foreign players coming into the U.S. Open. I think you need a couple of weeks before the U.S. Open to play and get used to the conditions.

Q. You are going to be playing with Frank tomorrow. Will that make you more uneasy or more comfortable?

ERNIE ELS: I am playing with Frank?

Q. Yes.

ERNIE ELS: Hopefully he behaves himself. Yeah, I have played with Frank before, you know, he is a good player, but I guess we are going to get serious tomorrow, is a little more serious, I guess, tomorrow, and hopefully we have a nice day tomorrow.

Q. On number 10 was it a little bit of a lack of concentration to playing that lead to that double bogey or just a bad shot?

ERNIE ELS: I think I just tried to get too cute with that little chip shot. Obviously, the greens are very quick from above, but I just hit it too soft. Wasn't really a good shot. The putt also-- I guess maybe the heat got to me a little bit there, but I just -- I don't know what happened. I just -- I could have lost concentration, maybe.

Q. Have the changes politically in South Africa made a difference for the sportsmen there and have you noticed it in playing internationally and the response of the public?

ERNIE ELS: It is really great what has happened in South Africa. It's a great country. We got some good sportsmen down there, good golfers. There is a lot of talent down there and with all the doors Open for us, you are going to see a lot of talent coming through in the near future, I am sure, and you know, it is really great for our country. I think the guys are very optimistic playing abroad and getting their name written down internationally, so I think it is pretty good. I am very pleased the way it has been going.

Q. Ernie, you said a little while ago the golf courses really don't suit the foreign players coming to the U.S.; they need a few weeks to get used to them. What is it about these courses that are alien to you and what do you have to do to get used to--

ERNIE ELS: I think it is the rough, the way they grow the rough here around the greens and on the fairways. The fairways are very narrow you know, the greens are firm and very quick. So those are the kind of things you got to get used to before you come here, get used to it in the practice rounds you play. I must say I played on Monday and Tuesday and I think the greens were a little quicker even then. So there is a lot of things you got to get used to. Also it is a big tournament and a lot of media guys, it is a lot of people walking around; spectators, and there is always a lot of noise going on, so, you know, it is quite a big thing you got to get used to.

Q. The other day you were talking about your experience in the Majors already. But you said you learned a lot watching John Cook play the 18th hole at Mirafield. Could you tell us what you saw that day and how you might apply it with your own game tomorrow?

ERNIE ELS: First of all, I think John played a great round of golf that day. I felt really sorry for him. I think he could have been a little bit too quick on that putt on 17, but I think John played very well that day and coming into 18, I think he just lost his concentration when he left his second shot at right there. But it just shows you how quick things can happen in this sport; especially in Majors, you make a little mistake and it cost him. I think he played really well and hopefully I would have learned from that; especially playing tomorrow, you know, obviously you don't want to make mistakes, but everybody is going to miss a putt and everybody is going to hit a couple of bad shots, so that is just par for the course.

Q. You talked about learning how to adjust here. How important was it for you to play Westchester and also what is your schedule up through August?

ERNIE ELS: First of all, it was a good warm-up for the U.S. Open. And you know, as you know, I have got a couple of invites onto this tour this year and Westchester was one of my invites. It was perfect. It was a good warm-up for this tournament and it is a good test of golf. It is not as demanding as the U.S. Open courses, but it is that type of golf course. It is an old fashioned course and with no hazards and stuff. It was a good warm-up for me last week. Next year I will be playing almost -- well, maybe a full schedule over here. I will play at least 15 tournaments and just have to take it from there.

Q. How about the rest of this year; any others?

ERNIE ELS: I am going back to Europe next week. I am playing Scottish; British opens; Dutch Opens; Scandinavian Opens; so I will be playing those couple of tournaments and I will be coming back for the PGA the week before.

LES UNGER: Ernie, thank you. See you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297