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.
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