Questions For Ernie Els

March 14, 2005

After eagling the 72nd hole to come from behind and win in Dubai, Els spoke about Tiger, tees and flying first-class

Q: Can you remember the last time you made an eagle on 18 to win?

EE: I can't remember that. You'd have to look it up.

Q: How long was that putt?

EE: I don't know. It had to be six or seven yards.

Q: How much break did it have?

EE: It had a bit of a swing, probably six balls outside left. It was downhill, quite fast. I was a little tentative on a couple of putts today, but on that one I felt good for some reason. I could see the line and got it on line. It was a great feeling when it went in.

Q: Miguel Angel Jimenez three-putted the last green to open the door for you. Could you understand what he was going through after missing?

EE: I've been there many times, and I've lost a lot of tournaments like that. I know what he's going through now, and it's not nice.

Q: How important was it to send a message to Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh?

EE: I watched them on TV a bit. They are playing at a very high level. Tiger seems like he's really striking the ball well again. And so is Vijay, only he's not making putts at the moment. It's a very exciting year. Nobody wants to back off. A lot of guys are looking for big years, and we'll get together in a couple of weeks and see where it goes.

Q: Outside of the majors, you seem to be monopolizing a few events--Johnnie Walker, Heineken, Nedbank, the World Match Play. How do you explain that?

EE: Sometimes you simply like a place--you like going there, you like the course, you just feel comfortable.

Q: I don't know if you're superstitious, but your previous two Dubai wins came before a victory in a major.

EE: I like that. I am superstitious. I'm a sportsman, and we're all superstitious. I hope that works in my favor this year.

Q: What are your superstitions?

EE: I'm not telling.

Q: Are there a lot of them?

EE: I have a couple. I play with white tees, always. What else? Always get up on the left side of the bed. Those are only two.

Q: A lot was made about the ticketing snafu that forced you to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Dubai in economy class. Will you do that for every tournament now?

EE: I really enjoyed my flight, but hopefully I can keep flying by other means. --ASAP Sports

KEY STAT

84% - Increase in the TV ratings for the final round at Doral on Sunday over the last round in 2004.

COLOR PHOTOANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES (ELS)Q: HOW GOOD IS IT TO HEAD BACK TO THE STATES WITH A WIN?EE: I NEEDED A WIN. I'VE HAD SOME NEAR MISSES, WHEN IT LOOKED AS IF I COULD HAVE WON BUT DIDN'T. I PULLED THIS ONE OUT OF A HAT, SO IT'S A BIT STRANGE FOR ME.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)