#VenetianMacaoOpen: What they're saying

Wed 14 Oct 2015

#VenetianMacaoOpen: What they're saying

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Read what the stars at saying on the eve of the Venetian Macao Open.
Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
It’s nice to be back in Macao again. We practised nine holes yesterday and this year the course is more difficult as the rough is growing and is very long. It’ll be important for you to hit fairways. The course is tough. You have to have good tee shots. If the wind is too strong, it can be difficult. The key for this tournament is to hit fairways but a lot will depend on how the weather is. I’m confident coming back. I’ve played well recently, played the Presidents Cup last week and I’ve fresh for this week. It’s always good to be back.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand
It’s good to be on the team last week. It was good to give some points for the International team. It was a good experience, especially for my age 46 years old. Played with strong players last week which is always good. Played with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler on the first day and then against Bill Haas and Chris Kirk. I won’t forget this event in my life. It’s another event in my memory. It was good fun and it is good for my career. I enjoyed the week.
This season, my performance has been very good although I’ve had some not so good weeks. I won in Germany a few weeks ago. I’ve never shot 17 under to win a tournament in Europe so it was good for my confidence. This week, we have a strong field here and we’re playing for US$1 million which is good for everyone. Coming back to Macao, it’s very exciting to come back here. The course is great and the hotel makes me comfortable.
Ernie Els of South Africa Ernie Els of South Africa
In golf you don’t know who wins. You can’t win every week. I try every week but for me my age is 46 and I still train hard. I work hard with my coach and I’ve got a lot of experience.  I have learned how to protect your game when you’re under pressure. Everyone gets pressured, the last three four holes in Germany I was the co-leader and it was very difficult. I was trained by the army and it has helped. Golf is very hard sometimes, but you need luck too.
When I was leader in the Malaysian Open a long time ago, I shot 81 on the last day. That’s what I learned from there. I knew that when you make mistakes, your game will suffer. You have to be calm to improve for the future. That’s what I learned from my mistake. That’s what I learned from that event.
Andrew Dodt (Aus)
I had six weeks off before playing twice in Europe recently. We have 10 straight weeks now so I wanted to have a break. In the first three weeks I was doing nothing, just getting my energy back, feeling fresh and then I got back into the gym and started practice as well. Played Germany and Dunhill, last week off and here we are in Macao for a good run home.
First time here was in 2009 I think I led after two rounds and finished in the top-10. It’s a fun course to play. The rough is as thick as I’ve ever seen it and the guys are saying the same thing. I think they’ve had a lot of rain here. So there’s massive premium on hitting it straight. The course is not massively long but the wind does make it long. You have to take it on a bit and if you do, you get rewarded.
The win in Thailand was great, but a month later, I had my appendix out and was out of two months. I haven’t hit it as well as I would have liked to but the last two events in Germany and Dunhill, there were quite nice. I was quite happy with how I played.
This time of the year is a good time to be playing well. It’ll be nice to kick start the run in Macao. That’s why you try to peak and play your best golf as we’ve got some really big events.
Some technical flaws had crept in which I didn’t know about. It’s hard to work on something when you are playing and those six weeks at home gave me the chance to sit down and see what was working and what was not working and to get to the core of it. Just sort of fine-tuning the game. The time at home was good to get that done.
I think about the Order of Merit quite a bit actually. Anirban has got a bit of a healthy lead and it’ll take a lot to chase him down. But having said that, there are some big events like the CIMB Classic, if you won the event, it’s a nice big cheque. You just have to try to play well week in week out and the rest will take care of itself.
Scott Hend of Australia Scott Hend of Australia
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)
My game is on fire right now. My game is solid and I’m hitting the ball great. My iron play is sharp. I’m choosing the right shots now. My game is still the same but I’m growing up and thinking better on the course. It’s made my game much better and I’m improving.
If you look at the past few months, my results have improved. In my golf career, I want to play in the big events and you need to have a good game plan. I’m able to shape my driver now, although I lose a bit of distance, it’s more important to hit fairway.
When I played last week, I laid up in a par four which was 272 to the flag and I hit a four iron. Robert Karlson came up to me and asked “what’s wrong bro, are you sick?” as I was hitting driver against him at the Paul Lawrie Match Play final. On that hole last week, my driver was probably too long and I didn’t want to hit a controlled wood as there’s water. That was why I hit an iron and I still got a birdie on that hole. I know that’s not my game but sometimes, you just have to play the hole.
I practiced a lot. Now that I’m top 50, that’s my goal at the start of the year. My next goal now is to try to hold on to that position and then jump to top-40 by the end of the year. I want to get into the Majors like the Masters and also in some of the World Golf Championships events.
This course doesn’t suit my game as it’s narrow but like I’ve said, I’m growing up and I’m changing a lot. I am more cool and not so moody too. A lot more three woods and irons off the tees here. When I come back to Asia, I get a lot of support and I don’t want to let them down by not hitting driver. I will hit drivers but will see how the situation is too.
Anirban Lahiri (Ind)
Anywhere that you win, it’s good luck or a charm. There are times you play well and you don’t win and there are times you get rewarded with a win. Anytime you go back to a course where you’ve won, it’s always fun.
It’s so different from where it was last year. The experiences I’ve gained in the last 12 months is like I’ve grown a few years as a golfer. You play some of the toughest golf courses in the world and some of the best players in the world week in week out. You have some good results and sometimes, you don’t get a result. It’s been a massive learning curve and you can’t quantify, whether it’s the Presidents Cup, the Open or the Masters. Every tournament teaches you stuff about the game that you didn’t know a week ago.
This is the beginning of an important stretch. Not just prize money but also for a lot of world rankings. There are guys who can make a serious move up the Order of Merit, especially at the CIMB Classic.
It’s a critical event. This is when you want to get on a roll and start playing your best hopefully. It was great timing for me last year. The goals have changed slightly for me and the targets are slightly different now than 12 months ago. I’m so glad to be back at the Venetian Macao Open.
Ernie Els (RSA)
It’s wonderful to be back.  It’s a great resort, and great entertainment. I started enjoying the course after a few years. I came close two years ago when Scott Hend beat us all. Love to do a bit better and it’s good to come back.
I played a couple of weeks ago. Had two really good rounds but hit some pot bunkers coming in on Sunday (at St Andrews). Feel good, feel really fresh and look forward to get something going.
During my month long break, I’ve chilled with the kids and worked out with my trainer. Feels nice and fit.  I just played some golf with buddies. But I’m looking forward to end of the year. I’ve decided not to play too much. I want to get really fresh for next year. I’m playing here and then in Malaysia and Australia. Just want to get ready for next year where I believe good things will happen.
I didn’t get into Presidents Cup, no top-10s, no nothing this year. It’s been a tough year on the golf course. Off the course, it’s been unbelievable. We opened a centre and school (for autism) in Palm Beach, and the junior golf foundation is doing well.  Getting the Payne Stewart Award was also something special. I think my focus wasn’t there totally. I had my mind on other things. Just want to get the freshness back, get the hunger back.