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February 21, 2014

Ernie Els


LAURA NEAL:テつ We'd like to welcome Ernie Els to the interview room.テつ Nice playing today, give us your overall impressions of today's match.
ERNIE ELS:テつ I'm glad to go through.テつ The first couple of holes, I made some mistakes.テつ I 3‑putted on 2 for par.テつ Jason made birdie and then I made bogey on 3.テつ I hit it in the bunker.テつ He made par there.
And then he made a couple of mistakes on 5 and 6 to give me two holes.テつ And then we kind of played a little bit better.
But the back nine, he gave me No. 10, again, hit it way left in the scrub.テつ And I think I went 1‑up there.テつ And then it was a really tough game.テつ We didn't give too many holes away.
And obviously the shot on 18 was a perfect yardage for me.テつ I had that same yardage on 17 the first day, so I was quite comfortable playing that club.テつ And it worked out perfect.
Obviously I've got to play better.テつ I hear Jordan made a lot of birdies today and I'm playing him tomorrow.テつ But I'm really excited that I'm into another day.

Q.テつ Can you talk about 18?テつ A lot of guys seem to play it conservatively and you kind of took it on, it makes it a much easier second shot.テつ Your philosophy on that hole?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, today the wind was not as strong as yesterday.テつ Yesterday was playing quite a bit over our left shoulder.テつ And I hit it way down there yesterday.テつ Today I still felt I could carry the right bunker with a bit of help with the breeze.テつ I just feel comfortable with that shot.テつ I can hit that little cut shot with my driver.テつ And I think it's about a 290 carry over that right bunker, and that's just in my wheelhouse.テつ I hit some good ones.テつ I felt where the flag was today, you needed to be aggressive again, to spin it off that bank.

Q.テつ What did you hit?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I went with a 52 degree wedge.テつ Jason's ball was inches away from coming down, as well.テつ But he just came in with a longer club and couldn't spin it.テつ So it worked out for me.

Q.テつ You're playing Jordan Spieth?

Q.テつ About half your age?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Less than half my age.テつ I'm 44, remember.

Q.テつ 20 year old kid, though, talk about him.テつ Have you been around him a little bit?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I've been around him a bit and we've played some golf together.テつ I actually even met him when he was in college still at Riviera, I believe, a couple of years ago.テつ He's just a solid kid.テつ Just a really solid, solid kid.テつ Not big headed at all.テつ And he's got his feet on the ground, that's what I'm trying to say.テつ We played together last year in November at HSBC and he told me that he was really excited on working on some new stuff, improving his game.テつ He was going to go back to his coach at Texas and work on some stuff.テつ And obviously he's on the right path.テつ If he keeps getting better he's obviously the man to watch for the future.テつ He's already there.テつ What he's done the last year, without any eligibility to play anywhere, to get a card, win a tournament and be where he is today is quite an accomplishment.テつ It's quite something.

Q.テつ What were your expectations coming in?テつ Are you a little surprised with this nice little run?
ERNIE ELS:テつ Yeah, if you look at my record, I had a losing record in this tournament.テつ I was 11 and 13.テつ I believe I'm 14 and 13 now, so at least I got into positive figures.
Yeah, I mean I guess it's the last event here.テつ We're not sure where it's going next year, it might come back here, hopefully it does, I love it out here.
I'm a little surprised, playing with new equipment.テつ And not quite being at my best as far as I am, I'm quite fortunate.

Q.テつ In your younger days, both at LaCosta and here, you would come in and unfortunately go out quickly.テつ All of a sudden now as a veteran you seem to really make the big shots.テつ Is there any difference or are you more relaxed?テつ Not that you could be?
ERNIE ELS:テつ I don't know.テつ I just‑‑ it's happening a bit this week.テつ I feel fresh mentally.テつ I had a nice big break since November.テつ I've got new equipment, new golf ball.テつ I feel kind of fresh.テつ It's a new twist, so to speak.テつ And looking forward to getting better.
There's got to be some kind of a mental better attitude that I have that I haven't had before, a bit more optimism or something like that.
But I've got a tough one tomorrow.テつ I've got to be on my game.テつ And I'd love to play good tomorrow.
LAURA NEAL:テつ Thanks so much for your time.テつ Good luck tomorrow.

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