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BMW INTERNATIONAL OPEN


June 23, 2013


Ernie Els


EICHENRIED, GERMANY

PAUL SYMES:  Many congratulations, you must be delighted to be holding a trophy and not out in a playoff in the pouring rain, could it have got any better?
ERNIE ELS:  Thank you very much, unbelievable week.  I've got to just start off with saying again, thank you to BMW for their continued support in golf in Europe, especially here in Munich.
Wonderful to have sponsors like that around the world, and especially on The European Tour.¬† And obviously with Marco doing the golf course setup‑‑ I mean, the tournament setup.¬† Marco with his staff and everybody that he's been involved with this event for 25 years, also, we have got to thank him, also.
So there's a lot of people that are working behind the scenes; the volume veers, the Golf Club of Eichenried.  There's quite a lot of people getting involved in the golf course; we've got to thank all of them.
And obviously my play this week has been great.  We talked about how much tougher the course is.  I just felt good this week.  I just felt my game was there and lucky enough it was one shot good enough.
PAUL SYMES:  Great crowds as well, such an exciting day for them with Thomas Björn pushing you all the way.
ERNIE ELS:¬† Thomas played great.¬† He started off very nicely.¬† He was 3‑under through five holes for his round, and obviously from that point on, he was my main rival.¬† I was looking at the other guys, also, but seemed like Thomas was the guy.
Thomas stumbled on 14.¬† We both basically stumbled on 11, actually but 14 I was lucky enough to make par and then he made double‑bogey, and then he made a charge coming in.¬† But you know, I just tried to stay steady.¬† I hit the ball on the greens and tried to 2‑putt, and that's kind of what I did.¬† You know, the three shots on 18 were very special, drive and 4‑iron.¬† Special feeling.
PAUL SYMES:  And you're the oldest player to win this trophy; do you still feel young at heart?
ERNIE ELS:¬† I'm really young, believe me.¬† I'm a very young 43‑year‑old (laughter).¬† There's no younger 43‑year‑old than me, I promise you.

Q.  How important is it to have a win going to The Open?  How important is it to go into a Major Championship with a victory, what does it do for your confidence?
ERNIE ELS:  It does a lot.  I've got basically two to three weeks off.  I see my name is down for the Scottish, but my plan is not to play the Scottish.  I've got a nice break coming up.
As always, get to my age, to get a win, it's a wonderful feeling.  Hopefully it gives me the confidence that I needed.  Two more Majors left, I've played quite well the last two but I need a bit of a spark in the next two.
So hopefully this will help; it definitely will, especially the way the week went.  From day one, I had the lead, and to keep the lead all the way through, that was quite a lot of pressure, so it's been a good week.

Q.  You mentioned day one, how important was that?
ERNIE ELS:¬† Yeah, as it turned out, it was the most important day, wasn't it.¬† To shoot 63 the first day, and for the next three rounds, I played 9‑under, so just shows you how wonderful the first round was.
Obviously that was the basis of my win.  I played good in the next three rounds after the first round, but I made mistakes in each of those three rounds.  The first round was just flawless, so it really helped me win.

Q.  My colleague just mentioned you led the tournament from the start, and then you cruised along, and I saw you missing some putts, and when other players looked grumpy and they can't believe it, you kept smiling it.  What gave you such a good feeling about this?  You never looked like you were going to lose, actually.  You always looked really calm, really cool and cruising along?
ERNIE ELS:¬† Well, thanks, very nice (laughter).¬† I don't know, this week, I just felt okay for some reason.¬† Some weeks you just feel a bit grumpy maybe, your game is not ‑‑ I just felt my game was in quite a good shape.¬† And the run‑up to the event, which was fine; we did a nice fun thing in the park when it was so hot.¬† Every evening, there wasn't too many functions which helped.
Obviously the Friday night was funny when we got dressed up and milking cows and stuff.  But it's just been a nice week.  For some reason, I felt comfortable this week.  When you shoot 63 in the first round, that also calms you down I think.

Q.  You've played here many times, your 21st time now in the tournament, so what about the best story you had here in Munich?
ERNIE ELS:  As I said to the crowd, I used to drink a lot of beer in this town, and I even met the boss, you know, drank a lot of his stuff.  So I've met a lot of great people here.  That's a very interesting story.  We met up in Hawai'i after meeting them here, and then we've become friends with a lot of people in the city.
Robert Baker is a dear friend of mine; he's got a golf school here now.  I mean, we were playing amateur golf together in the South African army, that's how long ago we go back.  He lives in Munich now and he has a golf school here.  So there's a lot of great stories, you know, but those are the clean ones (laughter).

Q.  You said you felt comfortable here this week; how often do you get to feel that comfortable?
ERNIE ELS:  Well, you feel comfortable when you know your game's there.  At times in the last couple of years I struggled with my putting or my driving, or even my body; I've had injuries.
So this week, I just felt everything was quite there and I could just actually concentrate on playing golf and try and do that.  And I felt comfortable on the golf course, so wish I could feel like that all the time.

Q.¬† Talk about Friday night‑‑
ERNIE ELS:  Back then, you know, the beer is so good in Germany, you don't really get those hangovers that you get with the other stuff.  Yeah, times have changed a little bit, but still have a lot of great fun here in Munich.

Q.¬† Even though you looked school throughout the weekend, there's still a competitive fire and you played the Pro‑Am with Wladimir Klitschko; anything that you shared in terms of going for the kill or the win, whether in the ring or on the course?
ERNIE ELS:  It's interesting, he said how tense and nervous he felt playing golf, and I said, you know, you have a lot more courage than I have.  There's no way I would get in the ring.  That's the great thing with golf; you can compete with everybody.  You know, in the boxing ring, none of us get in there, so you get my point.
We just spoke about how he prepares and mentally, you know, those kind of things.  But it was interesting how nervous we get when we don't do things good.  Like he doesn't play golf very well, but he gets nervous, so I would be exactly the same if it was the other way around, but I would never do that.

Q.  You mentionedRobert; how did you celebrate hit birthday?
ERNIE ELS:  You know, I was going to go for drinks with Robert, but we got quite stuck at the party on Friday.  I only left the party at about a quarter past 11, and that's way past my bed time.

Q.  Is he still important for you?
ERNIE ELS:  Yeah, well we don't work together like we did back in the day, but we won two Majors together, myself and Robert.  He branched out on his own.  He did a lot of his own stuff with business people and so on, and I stuck with Leadbetter, and then with Butch, and he's one of my greatest friends and he always will be.

Q.  Are you come to his opening in Monte Carlo?
ERNIE ELS:  I would like to.  When is that?

Q.  In three weeks.
ERNIE ELS:  You know, it's getting a little close to The Open, you know (laughing).  I can party for a couple of days; I can't do it for three weeks.

Q.  You and Thomas, being over 40 years of age, we joke about the fact that you are the oldest winning here, does that send out a message to guys half your age that you guys can still compete at this level?
ERNIE ELS:  Well, obviously we are healthy and we have our games, I think we can still play obviously.  You know, I'm still chasing Majors, so I'm not thinking at all about retirement or anything like that, even after 50, I think I'll still be fine.
So like I said, I feel probably the youngest 43 in the world right now.  I'm fine; I can compete with anybody, and those boys have got a long way ahead of them.  We can look back on a long career but they have a lot of things still to prove and so forth.
You know, you look at Mickelson, myself, Thomas, there's quite a few of us, there's at least ten of us in our 40s that can still play, Jiménez and so forth.

Q.  How much has Gary Player had an influence on that; that he still plays, he's not chasing Majors but still traveling around the world and playing?
ERNIE ELS:  Yeah, I mean, obviously Gary was the forefront; he's the leader in this regard.  He's the guy that started working out before guys even thought about it obviously.  I wouldn't say I'm a fitness freak, but I feel in good shape and so forth.  You have to; in golf, the whole body has got to feel good for you to hit a good golf shot.
So you have to take that quite seriously, which the guys have done and we've done it for the last 15 years, and you can reap the benefits from that now.  I think Gary was definitely the guy that moved into that direction first.

Q.¬† Maybe one word on the round today, when you were looking at the leaderboard, who did you have‑‑
ERNIE ELS:¬† I think Thomas had a great start, he was 3‑under through five in his round and I was looking on the board and Thomas was the only one making that move.¬† I made a couple and then we both stumbled on 11 and that really threw us off a little bit, both of us.
And then I looked around and the youngster, Alex Levy, he looked like he was doing well, and I was looking at Martin Kaymer Weisberger, there's quite a few guys I was watching a little bit to see if they were going to make big moves at the end but it didn't quite happen, so I just stayed steady.
PAUL SYMES:  Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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