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March 7, 1999

Ernie Els


DAVE SENKO: Questions for Ernie.

Q. How bad was the lie on that last -- was it in the divot or --

ERNIE ELS: It was up against the thick cut, just came running down the hill there and the stuff really stopped it from going in the water, really. I was -- it was short and then you know it kind -- kind of up. It was almost unplayable, really. I mean, I tried to just get it on the green really, from there, but I couldn't get myself to hit it hard enough. What do you do, you need par, you try and play a miracle shot from there. It just didn't come off, just unlucky, really.

Q. Second shot to 18, you mentioned that was the same swing that --

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, 154 yards, a little breeze to our faces off the left and I really had to step on the 8-iron there. I had to really swing it hard and I was trying to hit it right of the flag, I mean, but again, you know, you want to hit it right but you also want to go at the flag. I just -- I tried to hit it too hard just came over the top of it like I did yesterday, so -- the way I played over the weekend, I really didn't play good enough to win really. I just hung in there and you know, the putt on 16 I thought was going in. I made the putt on 17 and I had a chance to win it on 18. I just -- I just didn't play the shot.

Q. Despite not playing your best you had to feel pretty good about -- especially after the birdie at 17 you put yourself in that spot, -- what did you hit into 17?

ERNIE ELS: 17 was a 9-iron, I hit -- I had 146 yards to the hole and really again a good solid 9-iron and I made about a 15, 18-footer up the hill. But, yeah, believe me, I can't say I am pleased right now. You have got to give me a bit of time, but -- you know, it was a solid week, put it that way.

Q. Were you watching the board during the day when Elkington --

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, yeah, I watched that. Again, I think I was really playing solid, really playing solid the front 9. I was 4-under after eight holes, hit it back of the green on 9. I think when I 3-putted 9 I lost a bit of concentration there. It was uncalled for there. I had a birdie hole on 10 and 11 and 12 and really lost a bit of focus after that 3-foot miss there, just didn't play very good for the next three holes. I really -- 10, 11, 12, really birdible holes and I was trying to make pars. I had a birdible putt on 13, but then again I hit the wrong club on 14, so, you know, all and all, I was almost getting everything out of my round until the last.

Q. When you went out there early and saw -- did you see the scores early how good they were, did you feel like you were going out to a track meet?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it was unbelievable. I watched David Toms. I thought they made a mistake at first when they put the numbers up, you know, most of the guys went out solid and I think Steve was the only guy that really played solid the whole round. A lot of guys went out and then came back, you know, making pars and bogeys. I guess he deserves to win, I mean, really shooting 64, in the last round, but he didn't have any pressure going out today. He wasn't playing in the leading groups and -- but still, he played a good solid round of golf and he probably deserves to win.

Q. Did you have a number in mind when you went out?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I thought, you know, I thought 15 really after -- especially after the way the guys started out there today, I really thought 15 was going to be the score. It was really nice and calm out there today again. So I really thought the guys were going to make a lot of birdies. I was right on track until maybe 9 when I 3-putted that kind of threw me off.

Q. Steve actually 3-putted 18.

ERNIE ELS: Really?

Q. Did you guys get to say anything at all?

ERNIE ELS: No, never saw him. I kind of stormed off the 18th there. I wasn't going to talk to anybody then.

DAVE SENKO: Birdies, Ernie.

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, birdied 1. Hit drive and 4-wood, green-side bunker got it up to about five feet, made birdie. Two, I hit a 9-iron in there about actually right of the hole, 25 feet, made a downhill putt there. 6, I hit really good drive, sand wedge second shot -- excuse me, what am I talking about -- No. 6 was a drive and 9-iron actually to about two feet and 8 was a drive, 4-wood, right of the green, pitched it up to about six feet. 9 was the bogey. 17 was a drive and 9-iron, got there and 18 you all saw. Okay? Thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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