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


April 11, 2002

Ernie Els


JIM BLANCHARD: I'd ask Ernie to make a few comments on his round on birdie holes or extraordinary events during the round.

ERNIE ELS: I'm pleased with my round, obviously with the score I shot. The way I played, you know, I can definitely improve on that. You know, hitting the shots into the fairways and obviously saying that I can improve on my driving.

Iron play was really good and my putting was really good today. I was pretty well focused out there today, so I'm pleased with that.

Shooting 70, I'm obviously happy with that, so a good start.

JIM BLANCHARD: Be happy to recognize you for your questions.

Q. As soon as they put your name on the leaderboard, it didn't look like there were a lot of pars towards the middle, a little bit of adventures, I guess. Was there any particular thing, was it the driver?

ERNIE ELS: Now that you mention it, I just made the one bogey on the back nine. I bogeyed No. 9. I started with eight pars, scrambled a bit on the front nine, didn't play them very solid, and then I made that birdie on 11. I hit a 9-iron in there to about ten feet, eight feet and made that for birdie. That was my first birdie of the day, so it felt good, to get myself to even.

I hit a really nice shot into 12 with a wedge and it was downwind there today, and I rolled that one in there for birdie.

I birdied 13, the par 5 and I hit 4-iron onto the green there. 2-putted.

And hit it really close on 14. Misread the putt a little bit, I hit the edge, a little bit firm, so I made par there.

15, you know, that was the dumbest play of the day for me today. I hit it to the right, and I only had 210 to the front, but I was close to a tree on the right there, and I probably should have just laid up there, but I figured the first round of the tournament, you're not going to still have a little bit of fun before it starts getting serious.

I probably should have just laid up there, played the percentage and made par. And I tried to make birdie, so I made 6.

Then I made birdie on 16.

So the sensible play on 15, I could have been maybe a shot or two better. But I played really nice on the back nine.

Q. It went in the water?

ERNIE ELS: 15 went in the water, yeah. Short left.

Q. Was the course a greater course before, or is it greater now, and how many of the holes really feel like different holes when you stand on the tee?

ERNIE ELS: They all still feel very the same. But saying that, they are obviously a lot longer, especially the holes they changed. Today without a lot of breeze and a lot of moisture on the ground, the course played a lot longer than I've ever seen it, obviously.

But, coming in with longer irons, the greens were nice and soft, so you can stop the ball on the greens with those longer irons. The biggest changes, the way we played it today, would have been No. 9.

11, for some reason, I got it all the way down there, I hit 9-iron to 11 still. And 13 was a 4-iron in there.

Then 18 is the biggest change of them all. I hit a very poor drive, but if I hit a good one, I probably would have hit 5- or 6-iron in.

So, to answer your question, it was great course before, and it's still great now. It could be even better now, I think.

Q. Have you ever birdied Amen Corner before in a round?

ERNIE ELS: Let me think back now. It's hard to answer that one. You'll have to check into the records. I'm not sure.

Q. How close was it on 12?

ERNIE ELS: On 12, I was about 12 feet. 12 feet left of the hole.

Q. A lot of the holes that they changed, to average golfers, it's like moving from the men's tees to the championship tees, will there be guys who feel that way -- not you because you're so long -- but will there be guys who feel they are out of their league on some of those holes?

ERNIE ELS: Well, definitely, those two holes, 9 and 18, huge changes. I mean, on 9, I didn't hit a particularly great drive. I hit 5-iron in there and I hit into the left bunker, and 18 would have been 5- or 6-iron, but at least you guys know what it's like. I don't think you'll play it from back there.

Q. Is this about what you expected, this kind of scoring?

ERNIE ELS: This is kind of normal from even previous years before the change. I think, you know, I think you'll get one or two low numbers today, because it's out there if you're playing really solid and making a lot of putts. It's out there; you can shoot something under 68. But most of the guys are kind of feeling the ground, feeling themselves around a little bit and trying not to shoot themselves out of the tournament.

Q. Did you get a sense there was more consciousness in this first round than in years past, tiptoeing or so?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I would say. So I was playing with and Greg and David today, and it took us basically five hours to play today. We were extra cautious, I would say.

JIM BLANCHARD: Thanks a million for being with us and we wish you well during the week.

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