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January 9, 2014

Louis Oosthuizen


STEVE TODD:  Thanks for joining us again.  Guess you blew the rust off after the first couple of holes and it turned out to be quite a good day for you.  Give us your assessment.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:   Yeah, it was a rough start, not the easiest five holes to start the day with in that wind, but yeah, I got into a rhythm quickly at about the third, fourth hole and felt comfortable in the wind.  Normally when I play in the wind, I don't really hit very hard shots.  It's more just little shots to control my ball flight and take more club and just hit it softer, and so at the moment, that's the type of golf that I like, not having to go that hard at it.  It was good today.  I felt really comfortable out there and just still missed quite a few putts.
STEVE TODD:  You mentioned the time you've taken off over the Christmas period, enjoying with the family, how good was it to get those birdies under your belt?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, I knew it was going to be a tough day.¬† I think level par, 1‑under, for me would have been a nice start just to get the tournament going.¬† But once I turned, when I got to the 10th, I really felt comfortable out there.¬† You know, I still left quite a few birdies out there, not really making any putts, but yeah, I feel good.

Q.  How important is course knowledge going to be with the course playing as fast as it is this week?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, it plays completely different to last year.¬† Last year it was so wet, and now all of a sudden, you're hitting not that long of clubs off the tee and to give you an example, the 14th hole, today I was hitting 2‑iron and nearly got into the bunker on the right there, so the fairway is firming up quite a bit.¬† So the golf course plays different, and you know, you can still have short irons behind hitting shorter clubs off the tee but that gives you the opportunity to hit more fairways, and I don't really see a lot of drivers out on the golf course.

Q.  Tell us about the 13th where you hit the ball towards the kiosk and your recovery there.
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, I thought to hit 3‑iron or 2‑iron but it was a tough second shot, and so with that wind, I knew the driver was going to actually open up my angle.¬† Luckily the rules helped me, because I knew if I was in the grandstand or close to the grandstand I would get relief toward the fairway, just the way it's set up there.
So I took it on and actually didn't hit that great a chip but yeah, I gave myself an opportunity.

Q.  The par save, how important is it to have another one on the card today back in tournament play?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, it's a huge relief, probably early on, I think‑‑ second hole, made that par putt, so I made two or three good par putts and just unfortunately I couldn't make those birdies but yeah, it's all about the start, you've got five really tough holes.
I think once you turn and you get to 6,7, you feel like you can score a bit and coming in today was a little bit easier than maybe into on those last five holes.  So I felt that once you get to 14, there's a few birdies.

Q.  Do you have a wind preference out there and how difficult is it to deal with what seemed like quite a crosswind today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, I grew up in wind like that‑‑ I think I was born with it and it's across the rest of the country.¬† It's golf that I'm used to, and it's all about controlling your ball flight.¬† I think once you control your ball flight, the wind doesn't really do that much to it, but most of the difficulty is once you get above the tree line, you actually see how strong it is, and you don't really feel it down in the fairways.¬† You just have to trust your wind chart and trust your caddie on the wind direction.¬† It's just all about just a good feel.

Q.¬† Are we going to see low scores for the weekend or is 4‑ or 5‑under pretty much a staple for the rest of the tournament?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† I think 4‑ or 5‑under are really good scores today.¬† I didn't think more than 3‑under was going‑‑ there was going to be anything lower than 3‑under today.¬† The course plays tough, and last year, like I said, it was quite soft and you could attack it quite a bit.¬† But 3‑, 4‑, 5‑under today, if there's no wind tomorrow, I think you'll see a lower round.

Q.  How did the greens play today?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:   It's fine.  I think the great shots were better than I thought but it was tough with the pitching and chipping, because it released quite a bit.  My chip on 18 released way past the hole.  I didn't expect that.  So you've got to think your way around the course and it makes it a little more difficult.  But greens are fine.

Q.  How pleasing is it to go into the first round of a new year with a good score in your pocket without practising and putting your feet up?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, I'm really happy for that score today, like I said, if I was 1‑under or level, I would be happy, as well.¬† Just to get the feel of playing here and competitive again after all the weeks off, but yeah, this golf course can bite you very easily, but like I said, I don't see myself taking on a lot of things this week because one or two bad swings out there‑‑ I made a few today, the one on 12 reminded me of my junior days.
So yeah, you're going to get one or two swings out there, especially after a break.

Q.¬† Darren Clarke's new physique has attracted quite a bit of attention this week‑‑
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Yeah, I'm almost at his‑‑ (laughter)‑‑ yeah, it's great.¬† He's been working over the holiday, so that's great for him.

Q.  The first hole, how difficult is it?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:¬†¬† Well, in that wind today, to get yourself to start it out right is not easy, because you know‑‑ it's right there, and I think a lot of times, if you aim it that far right, you actually hit it even wider right.¬† So you have to take it on with a low ball flight, probably get yourself on the left side of the fairway, and the green is completely blocked.¬† Today it was not easy, and on the second shot, you couldn't see anything.¬† You couldn't even see the tower behind the green, and anything left of the green is a no‑no.¬† It's difficult, and especially in a wind that strong to aim it that far right and then commit yourself to a shot.
STEVE TODD:  Well done, Louis, thank you.

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