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ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP


September 28, 2013


Ernie Els


ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND

Q.テつ Your thoughts on 64 around here, that's pretty special, isn't it?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, it's very benign out there, so she's there, she's there to take it for once.テつ The flags were quite decent. テつObviously with the amateurs playing in the field, they have got quite easy flags, and on a day like this, hitting a lot of wedges into the greens, and green speeds are good, a lot of guys are going to shoot low.

Q.テつ You seem to be enjoying yourself that you could stop and do interviews on the course, as well?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I think that's a first.テつ I don't think I've ever done that before.テつ Like I said to Timmy, it feels different, playing with my father, and playing in a Pro‑Am event, I think I needed this.テつ I don't want to say it takes the pressure off; it's almost the same pressure, because I'm trying to get my dad into Sunday.テつ But it just feels different, and obviously playing with my father, he's 70 this year, is great.

Q.テつ How is he doing?
ERNIE ELS:テつ He's good.テつ He had an off‑day today but had helped us with a crucial hole out there on 11.テつ Hopefully 25‑under, we make the cut.

Q.テつ Dunhill Links one of those bucket list championships?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I think so.テつ I've been playing here a long time, Dunhill Cup, obviously we won a couple of times but I've never won this event.テつ I've come close quite a few times, and especially with our close connection with the Rupert family and Dunhill, I feel I need to get my name on that trophy.

Q.テつ When you arrive at the Old Course and there's not a breath of wind, it's opportunity knocks, but I guess it brings it's own pressure as well to take full advantage?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Exactly, and that's exactly what I felt.テつ I felt I needed to at least get something under 66.テつ I felt the whole week, everybody has been shooting low, so putts a little bit different pressure on it, you're right, so I felt like I needed to get off to a start and get something going.

Q.テつ And you did get off to a start; that was a sensational front nine?
ERNIE ELS:テつ It was, shooting 30, I don't think I've done that all year.テつ Really great to do that at the Old Course.テつ So quiet out there that you can really take advantage.テつ And then the back nine, obviously a lot of times plays a lot tougher, so it felt really nice out there.

Q.テつ Seems your form is turning around.テつ How much has it been a help given the unique format that you have this week?
ERNIE ELS:テつ You're absolutely right.テつ I think it helps so much this week.テつ I needed a change.テつ I've been in a bit of a rut playing in that FedEx over in the States and almost playing week‑to‑week, and kind of going brain dead.テつ You know, you don't know exactly what you're playing for.テつ I was in a bit of a rut there.テつ So to come here and play with my dad at these beautiful links courses makes a change and that's what I needed.

Q.テつ And it would mean a hell of a lot, wouldn't it, to lift this trophy?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, I'm in a great position.テつ There's a lot of guys in there.テつ It will be a great shootout tomorrow, depending on weather.テつ If it's like this tomorrow, it will be quite amazing.テつ There will be a lot of birdies made, but we'll see.テつ I've got a nice chance, and we'll see what happens on the back nine.

Q.テつ What would it mean to you?
ERNIE ELS:テつ It would mean a great deal.テつ You know, we've got such a connection here with the South Africans, especially with the Rupert family, the Dunhill; as I said to the guys, I've played the Dunhill Cup so many times and been coming here sinceテつ '92.テつ I never got my name onto this trophy, so I'd love to do that.テつ But there's a lot of hard work left.

Q.テつ Could we ask you a few memories of playing with your dad when you were a little boy and what it would mean after coming here all these years?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Between my dad and my grandfather, ever since I remember, I've been playing golf, probably since I was seven, eight years old.テつ And he's always been there.テつ You know, always played with him on Sundays.テつ We weren't allowed to play on the course on Saturdays, no juniors were allowed, but Sundays we played, and I usually caddied for him.テつ He used to have his little gambling games Sunday mornings and so on.テつ But always been around him and around golf, and it's just so great to be able to play in a professional event with him.

Q.テつ It would be emotionally really special, then, if you could do this tomorrow?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, absolutely.テつ Been trying for, I don't know, 13 years or whatever it's been.

Q.テつ How many times has he played in it?
ERNIE ELS:テつ He's played most of them.テつ Yeah, I think he's played most of them.テつ Came close a couple of times, but as you get older, things start meaning a little bit more.テつ He's 70 this year, and I'd love for him to come back forever, but, you know, it's always special playing with him.

Q.テつ The second phase of changes to the Old Course start pretty soon.テつ What do you think of what they are doing to the Old Course, are you okay with it?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, it's not too dramatic.テつ I think they are trying to get flag positions.テつ I see on 17, the front left is not running down as much, so might get a flag position front left there.テつ The bunker looks like it's a little bit bigger but not as deep.テつ So in many ways, it's a little easier almost, and 11, they have got those flag positions on the left side.テつ You never could get in there.テつ You know, whether it's right or wrong, I don't know.テつ The changes are being made.テつ You can have that argument if it's the right thing to do or not, but it's been made and it's really‑‑ it fits the golf course.

Q.テつ Because that's the whole debate, whether it's the personality of the course is the same, do you think it's changed?
ERNIE ELS:テつ It will take awhile for it to really blend in and look like all the other greens.テつ But I've seen some changes made on links courses, at Birkdale, and a lot of the links courses we play, they have made changes.テつ And some of them, I don't agree with, because they go away from what's there, the flow of the place, as you said.
I think they have done quite a good job here.

Q.テつ When you talk about the FedExCup, is that sort of a ‑‑ where you have to play every week and try to do your best‑‑ when you talk about getting in a rut?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, since The Open, even since The Scottish Open, I've played almost every week.テつ I've got sponsors stuff that I have to do with RBC after the Open, and then the FedEx thing came along, and now The European Tour has got their own Race to Dubai now and they want you to play all those events.テつ It's getting a little tricky, especially with a family at home living in the U.S.テつ I'm going to have to start making decisions soon.

Q.テつ A win here would be a big lift to take to The Presidents Cup next week and into The European Tour final series, wouldn't it?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, that's --テつ got a lot of work left here.テつ We've got to get into that European mode.テつ I don't know exactly what that is.テつ (Laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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