What he said: All the quotes from Thursday at the Open
“I don’t feel like I was overly aggressive. I felt like I hit a lot of irons off the tee. The first four holes I hit iron off tee. I hit driver on 5, driver on 7, 16 and 18. Thinking back on it, I would have hit driver one more time on 17. I hit 2-iron off the tee and didn’t hit a very good shot. But getting up there with the wind conditions, the way the wind was, driver might not have been a bad play. I feel like I stuck to my game plan.
“I am glad that I went up to Aberdeen last week and played under some different conditions. I thought that it might prepare me well for this week. I’ve seen that there could be some weather moving in tomorrow afternoon and high winds and maybe a bit of rain, maybe a couple of thunderstorms.
“But I feel like I’m well prepared this week for whatever the conditions. I’ve practiced in windy conditions the last few weeks. I’ve practiced the shots that I might need for a bad day like tomorrow might be.”
“It’s just the perfect start. As you all could see out there it was calm. It was just a really nice day to get off this Open Championship. So birdies were out there, but this golf course it’s not easy. So you have to play really solid. You have to play smart a few times just to take your par and go. And then maybe possibly attack if you’re playing well.
“If you’re playing solid, you can attack in a few other holes. And then obviously to make seven birdies you need quite long putts to drop sometimes and a bit of luck. But it’s been a really good round and I’m really pleased with it.”
I think that I was surprised at how much faster the greens got today, after how slow they were in the practice round" “It wasn’t exactly the greatest of starts but I turned it around, and ground my way round. It felt like, even though I was 2-over through two, I still had four par-5s to go and I still had a couple of short holes. So if I played those holes well and the tough holes even par, I’d be somewhere under par.
“I felt like today someone was going to shoot seven or eight under par, the way it was early. But the wind is picking up now. It was dancing all over out there. It was hard to get a bead on where it was coming from. It kept changing, different angles. But I was able to get it round today.
“I think that I was surprised at how much faster the greens got today, after how slow they were in the practice rounds. I thought they were probably going to keep them there. But they definitely sped them up probably maybe six inches to a foot faster than they were in the practice rounds. It will be interesting to see if the rain comes in what’s going to happen to them.
“But they definitely started getting more of a sheen to them. The balls are starting to chase, starting to bounce. And we were on the morning wave, too. That was a little bit surprising.”
Ernie Els (On opening with a seven)
“I hit the guy right in the face. And there was blood everywhere. I felt pretty bad about it, because I was trying to hit it, you know, left, which I did.
“And obviously I probably should have started to move the people left on the left side, but I didn’t do that. So I really felt bad hitting it there into the people. And hurting the guy the way I did. Hopefully he’s better now. There’s blood all over. And I was quite rattled. It wasn’t nice.
“Yeah, I was kind of finished. And then started missing short putts. It was a nightmare. So I’d like to put it behind me. I just hope the gentleman feels better, because he looked really bad when I left him there.”
“Every time you start a major championship and an Open with a 4-under, you’ve got to be pleased with it. Obviously a couple of birdie chances on the last three that I would have liked to do better with. But I got a little bit lucky on 18, too, with my tee shot. I can’t really complain too much about it.
“It’s difficult not to see scoreboards because they’re everywhere. You do take a peek here and there. But I don’t think that it is that big of a deal on the first day. Probably when it comes down to Sunday and stuff and you have a chance, you take a glance here and there to make sure that you’re close, to see if you’re in the lead or close to the lead. But I don’t try to focus too much on it.”
“It was pretty good. Definitely off to a good start. I’m definitely happy with the round. Made a lot of good swings out there. Made a lot of good putts. Just didn’t finish as strong as I’d like to. Good solid start at an Open, at a major. I’m happy about it.”
“Even par always feels like a waste of five hours, really. I felt like there was a lot of good stuff today. Really felt comfortable with my game early on, to be honest with you, and felt like a posted a nice score.
“But I ran out of a little bit of steam on the back nine. The back nine was playing a little tricky, and had trouble with club selection off the tee.
“Tried to force the 2-iron a couple of time when I should have hit 3-wood or driver. I’ll learn from that for tomorrow. And I’ve got to make a low score.