Team South Africa

European Tour: Christiaan Bezuidenhout Speaks on 2nd Hole Playoff Loss at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic

European Tour professional and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout speaks to the media following a runner-up finish on the 2nd playoff hole at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

European Tour: Christiaan Bezuidenhout talks to the media following playoff loss

Q. You first shot into the water but you managed to gather yourself and hole an extremely brave putt. Tell us about it from your point of view?
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: I laid it up to my perfect yardage, I had 78 flag, I made a perfect lay up. It just came off a little bit right, a little bit on the face and in the air, I actually knew it was going to be short of the flag. Yeah, a little bit soft. I didn’t know where it was. I actually tried to make a birdie on last, but yeah, just to make that putt, my caddie just said to me — brilliant whole week and just make a stroke.

Q. Average score, 74.8, and you shot 68. What was the secret to it?
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: Putting. I was hit something great putts. Made great saves coming in. Made a great up-and-down on 14 and 15 to keep myself going. Yeah, I just think we played in the tougher conditions. Weather came. Those last five holes played quite brutal. Happy to finish off the way I did and make the save.

Q. It’s a cruel, cruel sport at times. Tell us about 18. It looks like some of the rain that came this afternoon was what made the difference.
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: Yeah, I mean, laid it up to my perfect yardage, 78 flag. The first shot just came out a little bit right. Didn’t fly the yardage — just spun back. If it landed on the green, it was quite firm, landed just in the fringe and spun back into the water. With the spin, it was always going to be in the water.

Q. Tell us about the putt. Felt like the whole crowd was willing that ball into the hole.
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: Yeah, they were pretty upset after I hit the third shot in the water. So happy to have gathered myself to make the putt on the last. Hopefully it was an important point. The par 5s are birdieable, so it’s a waiting game now. See what happens.

Q. We know what the course has been playing like this week, but we weren’t quite expecting some of the scenes with the weather today. Tell us, how much harder has it been? It looks like at least four or five shots different today?
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: It’s brutal. The first nine holes is the tougher nine, so I just tried to kick myself, just turning level par, minus one. Drove it beautiful which kept me going in the wind. The greens was also hard. Yeah, in this weather, especially the last five holes, those are the toughest. Proud of that. Hopefully it’s enough.

Q. You came into this tournament outside of the top 500 and this week, you’re inside the top 90 this week. Do you feel like you’re continuing to extend that trajectory of improvement?
CHRISTIAAN BEZUIDENHOUT: Yeah, me and my coach, Grant, have been doing work which I believe in. I believe we’re doing the right things and we’re working towards the right stuff, and nice to see all the hard work’s paying off, and paying off on the course, especially in big tournaments like this.

January 26, 2020

Dubai, UAE

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Team South Africa

European Tour: Louis Oosthuizen Talks Long History at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

European Tour and major champion Louis Oosthuizen speaks to the media following a first round score of -1 under par at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Oosthuizen has a long history at the event, participating yearly since 2004.

European Tour: Louis Oosthuizen speaks to the media following round one of Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Q. 71, 1-under. What pleased you most about your play?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Yeah, it was solid. Just one hole I messed up with hit are four or five bad shots on the par 5. Just made double-bogey out of nowhere, really and missed a few fairways on the front nine, and it’s brutal. You can’t miss fairways around this golf course the way it’s set up. You know, the greens are getting really crispy. I think the boys this afternoon are going to have a tough time on the greens.

Q. You’ve been coming here since 2004. Ever known it to play this difficult?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: No. This is by far the toughest I’ve ever seen it. The fairways are tight. The rough is close to U.S. Open standards, and the greens is rock hard and really crispy. I would think they would water it tonight.

Q. Five top-six finishes for you in your last six starts, either side of Christmas. What’s clicked in your game?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN: Just a lot of things that I’ve been working on is sort of coming together, and rolling it nicely. Making a few putts here and there. Just need to keep on doing what I’m doing.

January 23, 2020

Dubai, UAE

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Team South Africa Team UK

European Tour: Amateur Phenoms Josh Hill and Jayden Schaper Preview Omega Dubai Desert Classic

15 year old J Englishman Josh Hill and 18 year old South African Jayden Schaper talk about their experiences on the European Tour so far at such a young age and also preview their expectations for this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic

European Tour: Amateaur Phenoms Josh Hill and Jayden Schaper at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Q. Just ask both you guys how you’re feeling coming into this week. Very exciting for both of you?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Yeah, I mean, just excited to be here. Great opportunity. Obviously last two weeks, a bit of a different feel, but yeah, I mean, I’m just excited to be here and give it a go.

JOSH HILL: Yeah, obviously last week was a bit disappointing, but excited to come back here.

Q. Obviously South African was pretty impressive and what do you take from that?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Getting a Top-10 in the SA Open is a pretty nice achievement. Give myself an opportunity over the weekend to get the win is pretty cool.

Yeah, I mean, come off that great experience playing an event like that. I’ll approach this week the same. Shouldn’t be too much different between tournaments.

Q. Josh, what did you learn from Abu Dhabi, and have you put that into practice already for this week?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, I missed a lot of fairways, which you can’t do around there. You can’t score well around there. I just put a new shaft and driver, so hopefully that will improve it. I played nine holes yesterday and it did, so hopefully keeps going that way.

Q. From what I’ve been hearing, the rough is pretty juicy, more juicier than Abu Dhabi. Is that how the course is set up?
JOSH HILL: I don’t know. I feel like it was a bit better than last week. I think because the greens are a bit firm that they can’t really put them as thick as last week, otherwise it would just be so hard to stop the ball. But I don’t know, I thought it was better than last week to be honest.

Q. How big was the Junior Players Championship for you? You’ve won 11 times, I was just going through your stats, and 11 times in the last 104 weeks, and I think the biggest must have been the Junior Players Championship, isn’t it?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Yeah, so the Junior Players was pretty special to go out and play TPC Sawgrass. I mean, you watch THE PLAYERS Championship every year and it’s one that every player wants to play in. To be able to play with Junior Players in that and with my idol, Rory McIlroy, yeah, it’s pretty special to go out there. The golf course is unreal. Not too often you get to play a golf course like in conditions like that.

Yeah, it was a pretty good win, and yeah, just experience playing tournaments like that gets you to a place like this.

Q. You just mentioned your ideal being Rory McIlroy. What about the South Africans? You have such a good system for juniors and I know guys like Ernie, they are so much more involved over there. I’m a little surprised that you didn’t mention somebody like Ernie and said Rory.
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Rory is just something special. From even off the golf course, it’s pretty special to watch him off the golf course and on the golf course he’s just magical, his swing, the way he approaches the game and obviously South Africa we have so many great golfers. Obviously Louis Oosthuizen being one of them, I look up to him. Yeah, I played in the SA Open two wreaks ago with him in the first two rounds was pretty special.

Yeah, there’s so many people to look up to, and I see Rory as a guy that I want to go up and kind of compare my game to his and just work towards that. Again, Louis, he’s an unbelievable player. He is definitely one of the best from tee-to-green that I’ve seen, and yeah, I was just fortunate to play with him.

Q. For both of you, playing two huge events, is there any little bit of information or advice that you’ve taken from anyone that you’ve played with or that you’ve spent a little bit of time with, whether or not it’s practice or during the tournaments itself?
JOSH HILL: Well, not for me. It was mainly just all the practicing and with Brooks and stuff like that. But yeah, obviously I’ve got some stuff from people but the biggest thing was from Brooks, from being world No. 1, hearing from him was great.

JAYDEN SCHAPER: Yeah, going back and playing with Louis two weeks ago, he basically said, you know, just keep doing the same and have fun and with my team my dad my coach, we just approach it the same as any other tournaments. He said it’s the same 14 clubs in the bag, same golf course, just different field. That’s the way I’m looking at it. Nothing should change how you approach the game because how you’ve been playing to that point is what got you there, so nothing should change.

Q. How have you found the increased media attention?
JOSH HILL: I think you’ve got to learn it. You always get media. You’ve got to fit it around your practice which is a good lesson to learn, but I don’t mind it. Just do it and then go out and do what you need to do on the golf course.

JAYDEN SCHAPER: I agree. Media is a big thing for us when you’re just coming up. Obviously it’s a big thing coming up. Yeah, we’ve been exposed to quite a bit of media obviously back at home, trying to get us to get used to moments like this, so it’s not something that we’re not used to, but yeah, I mean, just between practice and going out on the golf course, yeah, kind of used to it, so quite normal.

Q. Have you set any specific targets this week?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Basically, everyone wants to come out and go for the win. Obviously that’s what you want to do. But I mean, I’m just going to take it one step at a time, one shot at a time and one hole at a time and I’m just going to take it as it comes and enjoy the experience overall.

JOSH HILL: I agree. I think if you don’t aim to win, you’re preparing to fail. Aim for the win and just go out there and have fun and see where that leaves you.

Q. You played this golf course quite a few times. What do you like about it and how much has it suited your style of play over the years?
JOSH HILL: A lot of tee shots, like 8, for example, such a great view, it always makes you smile before you hit the tee shot, which I think helps you a bit.

Q. But the kind of doglegs, you have so many on this golf course, does that fit your eyes?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, I think so, because when I try to hit it hard I like to hit a massive hook. I find it fun doing that. So yeah, there’s a lot of holes which are doglegs right-to-left, so it suits my eye a bit.

Q. How did you like the golf course? You’ve played a couple of rounds.
JAYDEN SCHAPER: So yeah, so yesterday was my first day here. Just went out and played the front nine to get a look and a feel of what the course has to offer, and yeah, I think it suits my game pretty well.

Obviously you’ve got to hit the fairways. The rough is up. So yeah, I had quite fun around the greens yesterday around the rough, and I’m pretty sure it’s not impossible to play motivate of the putts. I think chipping is one of the strong points of any game.

And I’ve heard the back nine is more of a drawer’s paradise, so I’m happy to go out there. I can shape the ball both ways pretty easily and that’s basically what I’ve been working on with my coach. Yeah, if I just trust my game and I go out there, I’m pretty sure I’ll do what I need to do.

Q. Have you got a new nickname?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Oh, yeah. There’s been quite a few nicknames. Two weeks ago was the “Shaper,” my surname, but yeah, I’ve got so many different nicknames.

Q. Was “Clutch” one of them, as well?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Oh, yeah, Junior Players, given a few by my mates. Obviously when I’ve had the lead back home a few events, I kind of keep my cool and don’t let go.

Q. What would you prefer for this week?
JAYDEN SCHAPER: Probably the “Shaper” would be a nice one. Obviously I like to shape the golf ball both ways. I don’t know, it’s pretty catchy.

Q. Have you spent a lot of time watching this tournament, like following it?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, a fair bit. I remember when Tiger came here how big the crowd was. It was probably like eight-deep and I was so shocked. I remember being on my dad’s shoulders just watching it from perfect view rather than behind people.

Q. What age would you have been then; do you remember?
JOSH HILL: Four, five.

Q. And what about further on down the years, have you spent much time taking it in?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, I’ve watched a bit of it, but I think I’m — yeah, I’ve watched a bit but not too much. I don’t know, probably playing this week with my friends at clubs, so yeah, I haven’t really done much.

Q. Would you have believed that a few years down the line that you would be playing in this?
JOSH HILL: No, but I mean, it is obviously a dream come true now. Hopefully I can keep on going with it.

Q. Is Steven going to be on the bag again this week? Did he do a good job last week?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, did he a very good job. In between shots, we laughed probably a bit too much. But it was quite nice, laughing with him, especially as I know him so well, so yeah, he’s definitely on the bag this week.

Q. And Toby is taking it well?
JOSH HILL: Yeah, Toby’s done well. It was hard to tell him but he took it well. He said he’ll be down here on Friday, which is nice. So hopefully I’ll see him.

January 21, 2020

Dubai, UAE

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports