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March 22, 2003

Ernie Els


ERNIE ELS: Yeah, yeah, kind of lost my putting touch. The shot I really missed was on 6. It was set up perfect for me, I was trying to hit a hard cut and I just  -- that was my bad shot, if you look at my history. That really kind of set me back. So I made a 6 there but I wasn't quite comfortable.

The hand wasn't all that great today. I hung in there. I played the last four holes really well, so I'm really happy about that.

A little disappointed. Conditions were perfect today to go low, but it was nice playing with Tiger. He's a great guy to play with and he obviously played well again. He loves playing with me, I can promise you that. But I think this is a good start for the season, if we are going to play together, I feel my game can stand up, and I've just got to get 100% fit, then I'll be all right. It was a little disappointing, obviously.

Q. You said your wrist  was bothering you?

ERNIE ELS: Yes, I was a little bit, not on the driver, funny enough. But any time you want to try to keep the angle and really hit into the ball with your iron shots, I could not quite be as aggressive as I wanted to be and kind of flinched over a couple of times. I still hit some good ones coming in. It should be okay by next week.

Q. Sounds like you're expecting to spend a lot of time with Tiger this year?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I mean, that's my plan, as I said to you guys, is to play really good when I'm playing and to be there 100%, just give it my best effort.

If I can keep doing that, I think I can play with him for a few times, and he's still the man, but got to just keep going.

Q. If you give yourself enough chances to play with him Saturday and Sunday, you'll have a shot.

ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, obviously. I just want to be in the last group come the weekend in the future. Hopefully, you know, it will go my way one of these days. Just keep battling away, just got to keep improving and learn from my mistakes today. I've got to really learn from that and not do it again last time.

Q. Your wrist  --

ERNIE ELS: It's been like that since yesterday really. Kind of got away with it yesterday and iced it last night and treated it this morning. It's like an ankle, takes a while to recover. I've just got to give it some time.

Q. With a lead like this  --

ERNIE ELS: I was just trying to play my game, trying to stay aggressive. That little putt I missed on the third hole, it was  -- that was ridiculous. I hit it on the green on the next hole and then  -- yeah, as I said, my putting touch was not quite there to start. I felt I was going to shoot low today. I was swinging well this morning.

Q. Did you sense the gallery was  more --

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, you know, there's a lot of support out there, it was great. They really want somebody to step up. You could really hear them today, and if it's like this, you know, we are going to have a great time.

Q. What do you take away from this?

ERNIE ELS: This, I came back to make the cut. I had a good day yesterday and I was really happy to be in the final group today. You know, it's a good thing to have it the first time out, wasn't it, played in the fined group on the third round was not too bad. Obviously, Tiger just did his thing. I made my fair share of mistakes and things didn't quite go my way, a couple of putts didn't go in.

End of FastScripts....

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