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July 10, 2013

Ernie Els


GORDON SIMPSON:テつ Ernie, you were here a year ago, you didn't win, but you won the following week; is that a coincidence, or what?
ERNIE ELS:テつ It's always nice to get a bounty of preparation going into an Open Championship.テつ I've always loved playing The Scottish Open.テつ At Loch Lomond, had many success and enjoyed it there.
Since they moved it to Castle Stuart, I've been fortunate enough to come up here.テつ It also helps staying up at Skibo.テつ I bring the whole family up and we've been doing that for the last three years or so, and they just have a ball up there.
GORDON SIMPSON:テつ Slumming it again?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Absolutely slumming it again.テつ Yeah, it's nice.テつ To come back to the preparation, I was not going to play, but I always had in the back of my mind, tough to go into a major with a three‑week break.テつ I think I might have done it in the past but I feel a little awkward doing that.
So I felt coming up here and having a holiday with the kids or they having a holiday and me working a bit and playing Castle Stuart is good preparation.
GORDON SIMPSON:テつ This is the 18th time you've played The Scottish Open and you've won a couple of times, so clearly something agrees with you when you come to play the week before The Open.
ERNIE ELS:テつ How many times?
GORDON SIMPSON:テつ 18 total.
ERNIE ELS:テつ I remember Gleneagles.テつ Gleneagles was very nice, and then we played Carnoustie I think.テつ I think some of the guys would have thought that was too tough going into the Open.テつ That was a great venue.
Then, yeah, Loch Lomond, I absolutely fell in love with, bringing the family and everybody.テつ I've had some brilliant times playing The Scottish Open looking back and obviously fortunate enough to have had some success.

Q.テつ What's your view on moving this tournament around?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I've heard that and I've never played Royal Aberdeen.テつ I saw a little bit when they played the British Seniors there.
I think it's brilliant; I think any open, National Open, should move around the country, just to give the guys a different feel, not make it like people play a golf course every year, you get very familiar and you have the same kind of names up on the leaderboard.
When you move it around, you get a lot of surprises. テつA lot of people like some courses and some people don't like some courses.テつ I think it's a brilliant idea.

Q.テつ And playing a links course, is that ideal prep?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ I say that, but also one of my favourite places, ever, is Loch Lomond.テつ That's definitely in my Top‑10 courses anywhere in the world.
But obviously playing an Open the week after The Scottish Open is perfect preparation to play some kind of links form.テつ Castle Stuart is a very new links course.テつ I love it because it's not as tough as the week of The Open.テつ I've been to Muirfield.テつ I know we are not going to talk about it, but I've been there, and I just feel to see a bit of bounce in the ball going into an Open is what you want to see.

Q.テつ You're talking about Castle Stuart; Graeme McDowell was saying that he didn't play this year because he thinks the course is too easy and it's de valued this competition.テつ What's your reaction to that?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I read that, last night, actually.テつ It's unfortunate.テつ He gave his answer to obviously a question, maybe the question was asked in a way that you think the golf course‑‑ I'm not sure how it happened.テつ Things have been said but from my own point of view, I love this golf course.
I think they have done an unbelievable job here.テつ I know it's a new links, as I said, and it reminds me a little bit of Kingsbarns.テつ But I like it; the fact is that you are seeing the ball bounce.テつ Guys have had their way with the golf course so to speak in previous years where conditions have been quite easy, and I don't see any negative there.
I don't mind making birdies going into a major, because I know I'm going to get punished next week.テつ I like to have some kind of form going into a major, so yeah, things have been said and it's just unfortunate.テつ I'm sure he didn't mean it that way; it just came out that way, and I love playing this kind of golf.

Q.テつ You already won in Germany this season; coming to Castle Stuart, are you coming in in a frame of mind that makes you very optimistic that you could make a hat trick of Scottish Open wins?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I saw those headlines also a little bit on the website.テつ I'm just really looking forward to the week.テつ Obviously when you play a week after you've won, I've had two weeks off, two great weeks off at home in London.テつ I just want to have a bit of competitive golf before The Open.
You know, been to Muirfield a couple of times now so I kind of know what I need to do.テつ I'm trying out two new drivers from Callaway, and thank goodness, according to Graeme, we have got a lot of width in the fairways, so I can work on that aspect of my game in an atmosphere and in a tournament I've won twice.
Hopefully I've got a bit of game and hopefully I'm there on the weekend.

Q.テつ Is it surprising to you that there's only two of the Top‑25 players in the World Rankings here this week?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yes, I am a little bit, because in all honesty, The Scottish Open goes back a long way.テつ I think it's in a very great time slot on the schedule.テつ Going into The Open Championship, we play The Scottish Open, most of The Opens are played in Scotland in any case.テつ It's just a great time for golf in Scotland, especially with Muirfield coming up.
I would have thought more international players would have showed up here, especially just a drive down to Muirfield, which makes a lot of sense.テつ But as the comments have been made, and some of the guys feel they don't get a real test; it's just quite remarkable.
I would have loved to have seen a bigger field obviously but it is what it is and they have still got a great tournament.テつ We have four that came over from the U.S. Phil loves it here and gives a lot of credibility to the tournament.テつ A lot of Scots are here and the guys are playing really great golf, so we have a good field in any ways.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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