Excerpts from Thomas Aiken interview (T25):
THOMAS AIKEN: It was a fantastic day. The golf course finally lent some birdies to me. I mean, they put a couple of tees forward today. There were a few pins that were kind of accessible early on, because it seemed like they put a lot of water on the golf course last night to try to soften it. The wind was blowing a little bit this morning and if the sun came out and the wind stayed up the way it looked like it was going to, I think it would have baked quite a lot. So there’s birdies out there, but there’s also a lot of trouble out there and you’ve got to stay patient. But all in all, very happy with the way I played.
Q. What was the biggest difference for you out there?
THOMAS AIKEN: I just made a few more putts than I did the first few days. To be honest, my long game has been fantastic all week. I’ve driven the ball unbelievably and hit a lot of greens, but just struggled on the greens. But today hit a few closer and made a few more putts and that’s really the difference. If you look at Louis Oosthuizen, he struggled on the first day and I think he struggled on the greens a little bit, and the last few days he’s found a few putts and shot 66, 66. Around here that’s pretty impressive. It shows there is a score out there. You can get it done, but it’s not easy.
Q. A lot of South Africans doing well. Is that good for the country, good for golf in your country?
THOMAS AIKEN: Always good. South African golf has been in a great spot for the last few decades. It all started way back with Bobby Locke and Gary Player and then Ernie and Retief and then Trevor Immelman won a major, then Charl and Louis, and now Branden is up there today. I wish him all the best. He’s been in many situations and won many times before and hopefully he can get it done today. If he doesn’t, there’s some really nice guys that have got a good shot. I mean Jordan Spieth, who I know very well, has been playing phenomenal golf over the last how many months. And he’s got a great opportunity to win his second major. And then there’s Jason Day, you can’t get much of a nicer guy. And I think he’s been through quite a bit this week and I’m sure he’s the crowd favorite to try and pull through, even though he’s not American. But I think golf is in a great spot in general. We’ve got some really young kids that are at the top of the game in the world and not only are they great golfers, but they’re just genuinely nice guys, as well, and that makes a huge difference.