Ernie’s round 1: What he said

144th Open Championship - Day OneQ. Nice spot on 18 you found there.

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, in the middle of a bunker. At least it wasn’t a pot bunker. It didn’t have any lip on it, but screwed up the shot a bit.

Q. How did it go out there today?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, I actually hit it nice. You know, I didn’t get the birdies I needed on the front nine. It was downwind on the front, and didn’t get it going, and when I did, you know, then I bogeyed 11 and 12 really from nowhere. Didn’t play too badly, but you know, I’ll take 71. I missed one really short putt, but I made some really good putts. I’m feeling good with the putter. That’s a nice sign for me. This right hip is bothering me a little bit. I’ll get some work done on it now. It’s really, really stiff.

Q. Has that just crept up?

ERNIE ELS: I’ve had it a bit since May, and it got a lot better, and I guess hitting balls and so on got me off again. But I’ll get it worked on. But I’m excited about the week. It’s going to be interesting tomorrow. I hear there’s a weather warning now, so whatever that means. The guy just told us on 18 that there’s a weather warning. I don’t know what that means in Scotland (laughter), but everywhere else you’ve got to take cover, I’m sure. It’s pretty nice now, but in 2010 we got called off, so we could be heading in the same direction, so we’ll see.

Q. Have you been working with Sherylle Calder for your putting again?

ERNIE ELS: Yeah, yeah, I worked with Sherylle before I went on holiday with the family, I worked with her, and she got me kind of back on track. So that really felt really good. I just missed a very short putt on No. 5, which I wasn’t really concentrating. But things are there. It was a bit of a slow start, but I’m not out of it, so that’s a good thing.

Q. Nice to see Retief on top of the leaderboard?

ERNIE ELS: Seeing him right there… and Charl, Retief, a lot of the guys, South African guys who have played here a lot, know this course as well as anybody, and Retief is right there. He played well I think in 2005 he was up there. He’s been up there every time, so he’ll be tough this week, and Charl.

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