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ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP


October 6, 2012


Ernie Els


CARNOUSTIE & KINGSBARNS, SCOTLAND

Q.テつ 2‑over par for the first 29, 10‑under par for the last 25; what changed?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I think I just got a bit of the rust off a little bit.テつ Started hitting proper shots.テつ Started putting a little better obviously.テつ That helps.テつ Yeah, so that was kind of the difference, obviously the weather was great today, and I got off to a better start, so just got my game kind of in shape a bit more.

Q.テつ In that you had to shoot 4‑ or 5‑under to make the cut, what was your mind‑set teeing off?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Well, I knew there were birdies to be made, seeing the guys shoot really low around St. Andrews and Kingsbarns, not too much wind around, and I had to get off to a decent front nine, because the back nine was down wind and that's kind of what I did.テつ Yeah, I played quite solidly.

Q.テつ You also need a low round to qualify in the team event, playing with the chairman of the championship committee, does that bring its own pressures?
ERNIE ELS: テつA bit of pressure.テつ He really held his own.テつ At Carnoustie he helped us out, I was nowhere there.テつ And at Kingsbarns yesterday, he started out like a house on fire, I think he shot 30 on the front nine or something.テつ Today he was a bit off and today I kind of came to the golf course, so hopefully we make the cut.

Q.テつ Give us some perspective from a player's point of view from what Branden is going out there.テつ You know how good this guy is.
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, he's one heck of a player.テつ South Africa, coming through the amateur ranks, the junior ranks, was always a quality player.テつ He's very young still.テつ He's won three times on Tour already.テつ His game is so suited for links golf.テつ He hits those low, bullet drives which don't really move too much, and he seems like his iron play is really on, and he can really putt.テつ So all in all, it should be fairly quality player right there.

Q.テつ Nice to get this sort of reception from the fans coming back to Scotland as Open Champion?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, absolutely, always nice to come back, and as Open Champion, makes it so much more special.テつ Playing with Louis today, last time it was played here, he obviously won and really nice playing with him and Johann, spoke a lot of Afrikaans today, not too much English, very nice day for us.

Q.テつ What happened on 12?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I drove it way left and I chipped it in from about 60 yards.テつ Kind of one of those lucky shots.

Q.テつ You said you were right in form today‑‑
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I don't know what was wrong, maybe blame it on a lot of things.テつ I was just maybe rusty.テつ Just wasn't quite myself there, and even at Kingsbarns yesterday.テつ Almost I had to shoot a good back nine every day to just be around.テつ I shot 39‑34 and shot 37‑33 yesterday.テつ I guess I just got it together a little bit more.
I'm just glad I'm around for the weekend and hopefully Johann makes the cut and we can have another day out there many to.テつ I don't know how sober the boys are going to be tomorrow but hopefully we'll be there.

Q.テつ When did you first come across Branden?
ERNIE ELS:テつ He was in our foundation for, I've got to check, probably a year, year and a half.テつ And that's where I obviously saw him.
I remember winning the South African Open in Port Elizabeth and he was top amateur there. テつI guess that was four or five years ago.テつ He's always been a quality player, and he's really come on now.テつ So he's a world contender now; wherever he plays, he's got a chance to win now.

Q.テつ Was he asking you for advice coming through?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Well, he was in my foundation, so whenever I have the opportunity, I will go down there, especially in December, we do clinics and I'll hang with the guys and so forth.
He's one of those guys that just from watching, he's learning.テつ He doesn't have to say too much.テつ He keeps watching and learning that way.

Q.テつ Must be a special feeling when you see guys coming from your foundation.
ERNIE ELS:テつ Absolutely, that was the whole goal.テつ We started the foundation in 1999 and obviously got very lucky to get Louis and some of the guys.テつ Yeah, it was just‑‑ I mean, especially in South Africa, you know, with our exchange rate; it's so expensive for families to get their kids out of South Africa to play golf.テつ It's almost impossible in some cases.
And then a lot of those kids get left behind.テつ I was fortunate enough to travel the world from when I was 13, 14 years old, and that was the difference.テつ I see a lot of guys back home who didn't get that break I had, and their careers never came off.テつ So the whole plan was to give guys a chance, and pay their way out, and then obviously they had to work for it.

Q.テつ In the past you've paid for some of the foundation guys to come to St. Andrews and stay here and play; would Branden have been one of those guys perhaps?
ERNIE ELS:テつ No, he was out of there already.テつ I think the last time the guys were here, about four years ago.テつ But it's pretty expensive.テつ Rand ‑ pound is not a good exchange; good for you guys, not for us.

Q.テつ Recommend he go for a PGA TOUR card?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I think he's good enough to play both tours.テつ I think he's a quality enough player to play both tours.テつ I think he's good enough.テつ Obviously he's established here now.テつ He's got a couple of years exemption and he'll probably get more starts over there.テつ He'll be Top‑50 after this week.テつ So he could go the same way as Louis and Charl and the guys and myself.テつ He's good enough to play both.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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