#VenetianMacaoOpen: What they said

Tue 11 Oct 2016

#VenetianMacaoOpen: What they said




I arrived here this morning and I’m very excited to be here. I want to thank everybody for making it possible for me to be here. It’s really an honour to be here and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s very exciting. My fellow countryman Ernie Els has been here many times and he says it’s a fantastic place and a great golf course and the tournament is the way it should be run. So far, it’s been great. I’m excited to play and being top-15 in the world, I hope it would be an advantage and hopefully be there or there about at the end of the week.

Branden Grace of South Africa Branden Grace of South Africa

It’s an eye opener. I’ve heard it’s a bit of Vegas but it’s phenomenal. Since I landed and arrived, the experience of getting here has been great. I’m heading to the golf course later on to see what it’s got to offer but I’m sure it’s going to be a great place.

It’s been a great year. I’ve not been feeling great, feeling ill for two weeks with flu in the past month so just trying to get back into it a little bit. I’m feeling great, I thought I played better than what the score suggested and I don’t feel too jetlagged as well. I feel fresh.

I’ve ticked off so many of my goals, you pretty much have to work out new goals. At the moment, I want to take it week by week, try to win this week and carry on and take the momentum for the weeks coming up. For me, it feels the year is still going on, we still have a lot to play, in Malaysia, China and the Race to Dubai. A few good weeks and I’m right up there.

I had three weeks off before last week (in Scotland) and I’ve got four in a row before taking another week. Then back home for the Nedbank and then Dubai. I’ve got a week off where I’m getting married as well.

Last year, I wanted to make the trip but it wassn’t possible. I’m so good friends with Ernie and he’s spoken highly about this place, not just the golf course but how it’s run out here. This is my first time to Macao. It’s great. I’m sure this week will be fun on and off the golf course. Luckily, I’m from South Africa and and I still think in Rand terms which gives me a bit back!

I’ve been to Vegas but it’s nice to see a place like this outside the States. It’s nice to see a place like this where you won’t expect it being a small island. It’s phenomenal. I’ve not gotten lost in a hotel before and I got lost for 15 minutes coming from the hotel lobby!

I’ve had some good results, won the Volvo China Open (in 2012) and had a great week at the HSBC Champions last year. I’ve had the good finishes here, I feel like I play well here and it’s nice to be back here and hopefully I can put on a show for the fans.

I feel like I’m getting close but it still feels like I’m so far away (in winning a Major). But it’s great. It’s been a tough one trying to get over the last hurdle. I’ve had some great finishes like you say, I feel I’m getting closer. Just one right swing at the right time is going to be all the difference. I’m excited for next year but then I’m also excited for the future. Everytime I tee up in a major now, I’ve not seen the places.

That’s a big goal the whole year, trying to sneak into the world’s top-10 and stay there which has been a big goal of mine all year. It’s been a great season, which I’ve been consistent to be top-15 which shows the consistency. I’ve had some great finishes and also some poor finishes. It’s part of the game I supposed. If I can play the golf that I know I can, I’ll give it a push to get into the top-10.

From left : Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Anirban Lahiri of India, Branden Grace of South Africa, Scott Hend of Australia and Zhang Liang-wei of China From left : Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Anirban Lahiri of India, Branden Grace of South Africa, Scott Hend of Australia and Zhang Liang-wei of China


It’s an amazing place to say the least. We’re grateful for the support from the Venetian Macao. The golf course is presenting itself once again as very challenging, with some wind around and possibly some rain too. These boys here are very experienced, handling themselves on tough golf courses. Branden and Darren are very experienced golfers, and Zhang, the veteran, is always going to be there. So Anirban, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be battling for it amongst ourselves with the talent that’s here. It’s going to be a great week.

It’s always great to sit next to a Chinese champion (Zhang). He’s a legend around this part of the world and a true ambassador for the Chinese people in golf. To be a three time champion here, it will be fantastic. I was fortunate and feel proud to be a two-time champion here. Having a battle with Anirban to win for the first time was fantastic (in 2013) and to win it two times was great and to be held upon the same level as Zhang (a two-time champion) is very rewarding and very satisfying.

I have a few good mates living here and I used to go out and enjoy ourselves, dinner wise and always run ragged and the golf course is so brutally tough and not knowing what to do. Settling down the night time activities and focussing more on the golf has obviously really helped here.

There is risk-reward. There are holes where you can have a go. You weigh up the percentages if you can make birdie. When Anirban beat me two years ago, I had the honour on the tee on 15 and he waited for the green to clear. I hit a five iron down there and he hit a driver down there and made birdie which was great for him. If you get aggressive and have a crack at it, you can be rewarded.

I should have won more times this year. I’ve got eight more tournaments this year and obviously I like to think I can posisble win one of those ones. It’ll be great to be a three time winner of this tournament but it’ll be a tough week, weather wise, golf course wise and there are some great players out here this week.

Last year, I didn’t quite work as hard physically as what I’m working this year to try and stay a bit stronger and a bit fitter. I’ve looked at my dietery requirements, what I’ve been doing and what I’ve not been doing and I’m trying to adjust to all these things. I’m trying to work harder off the golf course and it’s showing some good signs and hopefully it’ll get better.

I just love playing golf. I wanted to be there in Jakarta, I watched two and a half rounds on TV and I wanted to be there. I love playing golf but I needed a week off as my body was telling me to have week off and mentally as well. Even when I’m having a break, I still go out playing with my mates, whether in US, Australia and Bangkok.

Zhang Liang-wei of China Zhang Liang-wei of China


I grew up with this tournament as I’ve played in Macao for 16 times now. From the very beginning, the tournament was small but it’s now come to a time where you get a lot of star players playing in it every year. The growth of Macao and mainland China is very fast and I’m glad to be here whenever I can. A big thanks to Venetian Macao for helping with the growth of the event.


I’ve been here a few years now. I really enjoy the place. The golf course is a big challenge. I had some tough years here in my rookie years and I’ve learned to play the golf course. I think I kind of changed my game to adapt to the course. I do enjoy it now and I think we’ve had a lot of healthy competition over the years and to see the Venetian Macao Open grow into such a major event and to grow with the event, it’s been fantastic. It’s one of those courses that we play every year that is unique. We play a lot of golf courses which are resort style and very modern but this has got a charm of an old school club and challenges you to hit shots especially when the wind is up. I love the challenge and that is what inspires me to play well here.


The last time I was here, I thought it was 15 years ago but obviously it’s longer. We played nine holes this morning with Ian Poulter and the trees are a lot bigger than they were the last time I was here. We used to take some short cuts the last time but I don’t think we can do that here now. On my last trip here, I really enjoyed myself. I probably enjoyed myself more the last time when I was here so this time, I’ll try to play a bit better. It’s always a pleasure to come back here.

My priorities the past 18 months to two years have been towards the Ryder Cup. Obviously, that’s now finished and from my own perspective and from the European perspective, we had a disappointing result. I couldn’t have done any more than I tried to do. Now I’ve got to get back to the day job and try to hit a golf ball and hit it straight. As you can see from the guys sitting here on the stage, you know the standard of which they play, you know we’ll have a fantastic champion here again. From a personal point of view, we’ve got to get back to where it got me there in the first place, which is to play golf. I couldn’t think of a better place to do that than starting here in Macao. It’s almost like a fresh start for me again in terms of playing and I’m excited to be back here.