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May 8, 2014

Ernie Els


Q.  (No Microphone.)
ERNIE ELS:  I got away with some breaks and it's an adventurous course.
Obviously, I enjoyed my second shot on number 4.  I've seen a lot of guy's hole their seconds there, mine went in the hole today.  So that was very nice.
Chipped in on 14 for birdie after missing the fairway right.
I got pretty fortunate on 12, too.  Pushed my drive right there when I made the par.
But I hit a couple of greens, too.  One of the things I'm working on, my short putter‑‑ seems like we talked about the putter all year last year‑‑ and, you know, I am on the short putter, so I'm getting used to that.  It's been good.  It's been a good round.  So I haven't had a good start here for many years.

Q.  This golf course you mentioned that you can make a big number, fight back.  It will jump up and bite you, but it's keeping the momentum going, making those par saves that keep a round going.
ERNIE ELS:  Exactly.  Every hole here is a birdie opportunity, but every hole is a double opportunity or a double bogey also.  If you miss a shot, you're playing catch up all the time.
This morning we were fortunate.  It was pretty soft, no wind, guys were taking dead aim.  It starts blowing and, as you say, it gets firmer, then it starts getting tricky.  So it will be the same way again over the weekend.

Q.  (No Microphone.)
ERNIE ELS:  No, I said to Andy, I said, I was going to come here Thursday morning, I got a Thursday morning tee time.
So I got here yesterday afternoon and played 18 with Charl and Billy.  The tee boxes here all aim right.  Pete Dye's a genius, but he's a sinister man.  I've always felt very uncomfortable on the tees here.
Today again, because I got to get myself a little spot in front of me, I can't just aim down the tee, because I'm aiming 20 yards right.
So he's, although it's a short course, he's got his little tricks of the trade.  So I always felt uncomfortable off the tees here.

Q.  A little softer today, 64 of the 72 guys this morning have shot even or better.
ERNIE ELS:  Yeah, as I say, it's short enough so, if there's no wind, the guys are going to take advantage.  That's what they did this morning.
Now the wind is coming up and it's causing us a little bit of difficulty.  So that's what happens here every year.

Q.  What was the club and yardage on 4?
ERNIE ELS:  I only had 112, I would believe.  Sand iron.  52 degree wedge.

Q.  With your putting stroke, going back to the short one, what kind of tinkering did you do on that and what have you settled on?
ERNIE ELS:  I'm looking at tape.  It's funny, I was looking at tape at the house last weekend and I was watching the '96 Buick Classic at Westchester.  I had a certain way of putting.  Almost a pendulum out of my chest.  And I'm trying to get back to that kind of feel.
It's so long ago that it was Ken Venturi and Jimmy Nantz and I was playing with Tim Herron and they described Tim as one of the longest hitters, he was a top‑5 hitter, he was averaging 282.
(Laughter.)  That was 1996.

Q.  Tell us about 18.
ERNIE ELS:  Yeah, again, I was using an anti‑left device and hit it right.  I wanted to get it near the green with a driver to spin the ball, because the flag was front right.  I missed it way right and I had a fortunate lie where I could get it on the green and 2‑putt.

Q.  Come away from a day like this thinking, I got this place figured out or I'm closer to getting it figured out?
ERNIE ELS:  No, in the '90s and turn of the century, I had quite a few good finishes here.  I remember 2004 when Scotty won, I was right up there.  But kind of lost it the last couple of years.  Just running out of patience, I think, on the course.  But having a lot of patience, putting it in place, and just kind of moving yourself around.  So, no, tomorrow it will be a battle again and just try and hit every shot the way you're supposed to hit it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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