Venetian Macau Open: What they said

Wed 16 Oct 2013

Venetian Macau Open: What they said

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Wednesday, October 16
Preview Interviews
Ernie Els (Rsa)
I just concluded a two-day event called “Els for Autism”. We do these 22 events around the country (USA) and the finale is in Las Vegas, two days of party, golf and evenings which was very nice.
We are building an autism centre of excellence in Palm Beach. We are starting to build in March. It’s all fund raising and autism awareness which we’ve been doing for the past three years. We raised US$6 million in the past two days. It’s been a good fund raiser.
Coming into Macau, I was going to come in early. I flew privately but there was a typhoon (Wipha) in Japan and we couldn’t land in Tokyo and we had to land in Sapporo and we got delayed as no flights could leave the area.
We flew five hours to Anchorage, seven hours to Japan and then five more hours to Macau, only 17 hours. It’s nice to be here. I’ve never been to Macau. I’ve heard some great things. I spoke to Nicky Price and he’s been here and he told me I’ll be playing on top of a mountain. I’ve got an old friend of mine Gary Todd caddying for me so we’re going to have some fun. I’ve got to get my bearing straight first!
I played quite well after the US Open. From the British Open right through the PGA and FedEx Cup, I didn’t really catch fire. I was on track until June so unfortunately, I didn’t play too well. I’ve got my three events in Asia and then I’m going home for a long break and have two months off. Going to get my body strong again and get going next year again. Who knows, I can maybe play good this week. I just want to play good.
Thanks for reminding me (about his 44th birthday on Thursday). My wife and kids gave me a little surprise. They gave me some gifts, they put it on a plane without me seeing. On the way here, I opened the gifts and a card and I was reading it and I got a lump on my throat. They gave me this speaker, you’ve got a remote and you can put it in your room. I like music so it was a nice gift.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
Macau GCC is one of my favourite courses on the Asian Tour. When I played in the practice round yesterday, it kind of triggered the memories from last year. I remembered what I did on the 72nd hole. It was one of the weeks where I’m not going to forget in my life.
This is my sixth visit to Macau and over the past four to five years, the course has been improving every year. Last year, the greens were running at about 10 on the stimpmeter and this week, it’s running around 12 which is one of the fastest on the tour.
This golf course and event has matured a lot, not just from a commercial point of view but the potential point of view as well. There is  a lot of sponsorship involved which is great. This tournament is one of the biggest on the Asian Tour.
That’s the goal (to play with Ernie Els on Sunday). I know Ernie and I’ve played with him a few times previously. He inspires the next generation of Asian players to move onto the next level and make it big. With him around, he’s the one to look out for. We’ve always seen him winning on TV and it’s inspired us and try to emulate his success.
This field is one of the strongest fields ever in the Venetian Macau Open history. I’m feeling good and I’m striking the ball good. Just had a bit of ups and downs which is part of the game. I’m enjoying myself and in a good frame of mind. Anything is possible. Definitely I want to go out there and have a good week.
Last year, it was a real battle of emotions, especially over the last few holes. After winning here, my outlook and ambitions changed. It gave me the push that I needed in my career. After that win, I’m feeling secure in my life.  A lot of good things happening and I’ll try to win this tournament again this year.
Last year was the first time I won wire to wire on the Asian Tour which was a great confidence booster.
Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
I’ve been playing okay but in the last two weeks, I’ve been struggling with the putting. The greens have been difficult and a bit slow and the putting has been killing me. But with the greens being so fast here, I hope to get it back to form. I love fast greens and I feel confident about this week.
I’m happy with 2013. I’m in the top-25 in Europe and top-10 in Asia. We have a lot of tournaments coming up but hopefully this week, I will give myself a chance to win. I love Macau. I came here last year after a very long time of not being in Macau.
The course is good but a lot depends on the weather. If it is windy, it will be tough. I love the course, you have to think a lot and have the right game plan.
It’s good to have Ernie Els in the field this week. It makes things a bit different for the players. Good to see the star players supporting the Venetian Macau Open.
I hear the golf course is in good condition, and the greens are good. I think I will have a good chance this week.
Zhang Lian-wei (Chn)
Every time I come back to Macau, it feels like I’m coming home. I’ve had a lot of success here in the past (with two wins in 2001 and 2002) and I’ve never missed the cut in all my appearances here. In my career, I have only missed one Macau Open, so I’m looking forward to playing well again and keeping my record intact. I’ve been working with a coach the past few months and hopefully it will help in my game this week.
I’m also keen to see how 16-year-old amateur Yang Zhi-hao cope in the Venetian Macau Open this week. He won my junior event and he’s a very talented player. He’s got a good swing and a very strong short game. There are so many young players coming out from China now and I think you can expect to see Yang playing well in the near future.