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August 21, 1999

Ernie Els


LEE PATTERSON: You had a wonderful finish. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that.

ERNIE ELS: It wasn't that wonderful. I think the putt on 17 was wonderful, but the rest of it wasn't wonderful. Bogeyed 16 and 18. Missed a 6-footer on 18 and about a 5-footer on 16. So I birdied 15; it was a reasonable finish probably. I just couldn't quite find the rhythm out there today with my driver. I didn't hit the ball very well off the tee. Unlike yesterday and the day before, I was in the fairway most of the time and I could really attack the course from there. Today I was in the rough a lot of times. You've got to play away from some of these flags. To top it all off, I double bogeyed 10 again. I guess that is my nemesis now. But I am playing okay. I hung in there today. As I said, I wasn't as solid as the first two days ball-strikingwise, but got myself out of trouble with that putt on 17 and the birdie on 15. So I have got a reasonable chance probably.

Q. Is the rough growing a little?

ERNIE ELS: It is not as bad as previous years. You have got a shot out of the rough this year. You can advance it quite a way down.

Q. You have been saying for years and years that this is your favorite tournament; that if you could walk, you'd be in this tournament. You must also feel you have got to win it one of these years. Seems like it fits you and you love it here. You normally play well here. Do you agree with that?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think the course sets up perfect for me. I can reach the par 5s in two and hit short irons into the par 4s. And that is what you've got to do to score well here. I think it sets up really well for me. I have just got to just play it the proper way. Like today I had 8 points. But I feel like I left some shots out on the golf course. I missed those short putts on 18 and 16 and the double-bogey on 10, I mean, that is five points. It seems like I do that quite often. Seems like I make a double-bogey. I have got to try eliminate that. If I do that, maybe I will win.

Q. With all the talk of the, obviously, Sergio and Tiger and Duval, how eager are you to kind of jump in that mix and say hey, don't forget me?

ERNIE ELS: It doesn't bother me at all. It is a media thing. It is a public thing. Whatever they get out of it they deserve it. They have earned it. They have played well. When you play well you are going to have fans supporting you. Especially Sergio now he is coming through. He is 19 only. He has got the world at his feet. Hopefully that is a good rivalry between him and Tiger. I think they are more in the age group, you know, unlike me I am 29, I am six years older than Tiger and I think I am two years older than David. The younger the guys come through the better for the game, so good for them. It doesn't bother me at all. I just do my thing.

Q. The scores don't seem to have gone up quite so much today. Was it particularly a hard pin placements or was the course playing harder today?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I also noticed that, the guys didn't quite score the way they scored the first two days. Could be the flags probably. I think the greens were a lot faster today. They are still soft, but you can't quite RAM it by or be too aggressive on the greens. I think the flags are really tight today; especially on the par 5s, so it was hard to score on the par 5s, I think, today.

Q. How did you double the 10th again this time, water obviously?

ERNIE ELS: I drove it -- wind was behind us I hit 3-wood off the tee I thought I hitter good line it went through on the left and didn't have a shot to the green so just kind of chipped it out there and hit it on for 3 and 3-putted. So I thought I played safe today. I still made 6.

Q. You are in a reasonable spot?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, as I said if David Toms doesn't get too cute, if he is at 39 or 38 or 40 points I think I can still have a go at it. I need a hot round tomorrow. I think I need to probably get to 50 to win the tournament. We will see how it goes.

End of FastScripts....

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