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Here's an interview with Ricci Roberts, Ernie Els long time caddy on their win in the 2003 season opening Mercedes Golf Championship from Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.  They then made it two in a row after winning the Sony Hawaiian Open the next week in Honolulu, and now, with their third win of the year, in Melbourne Australia shortly thereafter!

CaddyBytes.com -I know that you were Ernie's' caddy for sometime and you two parted ways for a little while, how long were you two apart?

-I started back with Ernie in May of 2001. We split up in latter part of 1998.                                   

CaddyBytes.com -It's been my observation that you two are a pretty good team.  I know there were two U.S. Open victories with you on the bag, '94' an '96', and I don't think Ernie had too much success in terms of wins since you two were apart is that accurate?  How many times did he win in your absence?

-He won twice on the U.S. tour, The International and the L.A. Open.

CaddyBytes.com -So you're back on the sack in May 2001, Ernie won what, Doral, The 2002 British Open, The Sun City post season event in S. Africa where he set a record, and now the season opening Mercedes Championship where you break the PGA Tour 72 hole scoring record by 4 shots!?

-NO.  He won 7 tournaments last year.  He won the S. African Players Championship, Melbourne Australia, Doral, The Dubai Classic, Then the Open Championship, he won The World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, and The Million Dollar Championship in Sun City (South Africa).   

CaddyBytes.com -Last week in the Mercedes I heard from a tournament official that Ernie was hitting the driver in places they'd never seen before.  Of course it was near perfect conditions there at Kapalua last week.  I was caddying there myself this year.  What kind of yardages did you guys have into the par 5 15th hole last week and what clubs did you hit?

-161 yards was the shortest and about 200 one day.  We hit four iron and the others were seven or eight iron, making one eagle and three birdies.  

CaddyBytes.com  -How about into number eighteen at Kapalua, our 'Featured Hole of The Week'?

-Hit driver every day.  And the most club he hit in there was a 3 iron.  Three birdies and one par.   

CaddyBytes.com -Did you see any indication that Ernie was going to play like this coming into this first tournament of the year?

-He drove the ball great and he hit it farther by 20 yards than he'd been doing previously with a new combination of the new ball and driver.  He was swinging it great the back end of last year.   His confidence is up as he's happy with the change of equipment.  He's switched from Taylor Made to Titleist just last week.

CaddyBytes.com -He made an awful lot of birdies last week on the grainy bermuda greens at Kapalua.  Do you help him read greens?  

-He grew up in S. Africa on grainy greens and he's good at reading them and putting them.   

CaddyBytes.com -So you and Ernie remained close during the time of your parting which was about  a year and a half to two years.  Obviously there's a good combination going between the two of you together historically.  And I know that caddies have to be careful of making any statements of 'taking credit' -after all we never hit a shot out there.  But what do you think is the secret to your success together, as you certainly seem to help make it easier for 'The Big Easy' ?-(Els nickname) 

-The chemistry is just right, I guess.  I understand him and he understands me.  We needed to part back then.  Heck it's like a marriage -sometimes you get tired of each other.  So we needed to have a break.  Sometimes you need to have someone come in 'fresh' just to change things around a bit.   

CaddyBytes.com -So how many career wins does Ernie Els have now with you caddying for him.  I know you've got three major championships with those two U.S. Opens, and last years British Open?

Ricki  -Total in all the years I've worked for him about 35.

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