An Interview with: ERNIE ELS

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Ernie Els, thanks for joining us.  Nice round today, 5-under par.  Your second career start at the Wyndham Championship.  You played here back in 1997, finished tied for 9th.

Obviously a different golf course but good result today, good start to the week.

ERNIE ELS:  Thank you.  Yeah, I’m really pleased with that.  Started on the back-9 this morning which is, I think, a tougher 9.  Started off with a couple of pars and, you know, played a birdie on 15 and 17 and then I bogeyed 18 but I was still pleased with my front-9 and, you know, I played a pretty good back-9.

I just had the one mistake, you know, three-putted for a par on the par 5 No. 5, but other than that, you know, got to be pleased with 5-under.  You know, long way to go and it’s a nice way to start and looking forward to the rest of the week.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN:  Okay.  We’ll take some questions.

Q.  Ernie, just curious, compared to last week it was like 7500 yards and this is around 7000.  Talk about the differences in this course compared to last week.

ERNIE ELS:  Well, it’s always a nice change.  I had a bit of a tough time there, I missed the cut.  But I really enjoyed the course last week but, as you say, it was a really kind of a beast compared to this old lady, shall I say (laughter).

It was nice to have greens that are receptive and, you know, you can hit some 3-woods to keep the ball in play and, you know, kind of play the game of golf almost other than trying to survive.  You can almost attack a golf course.  It was nice a change.

Q.  I know from reading your blogs and stuff you haven’t been particularly pleased with your putter. Did it seem to work better today?

ERNIE ELS:  You know, on Friday last week I played in the morning and, you know, my front-9 I played on the back-9 and I really found something, you know, for once in my set-up because with the belly I’ve been a little awkward on my set-up, I felt like that.

I did something and, you know, it feels a lot more comfortable and I can keep the putter lower through the ball which I’ve had difficulty doing but, you know, from an awkward stance it was difficult to do that.  Now my stance is better.  I made some nice putts today.  I feel comfortable on the greens now so we’ll see.

Q.  Your guys’ three-some is kind of in the same boat as far as trying to get in the playoffs.  Do you think about that at all?  You’ve played this game pretty long now.  Do you just kind of play the game and not worry about the points?

ERNIE ELS:  You know, I must say you think about it.  It’s one of the reasons why I’m here.  But, you know, you want to get in.  I finished in the Top 30 now quite a few years, you know, and that’s kind of my goal, to get to the Tour Championship.

I say to the guys my playoffs have started this week, you know, because if I don’t play well this week I’m not advancing.  So most of the other guys have four playoff events, I’ve got five.  I feel like I need to do well and enough to get to The Barclays and keep going.

It’s hard not to think about it.  There’s quite a bit of pressure on us guys lower down the field.  You need to perform well.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN:  Anything else?  Okay.  Ernie, thank you.

ERNIE ELS:  Thank you very much.


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