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THE RYDER CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 4, 2018
JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon. I'm The PGA of America's Julius Mason and I'm very pleased to welcome you today to the 2018 United States Ryder Cup Captain's pick news conference.
Joining me is the 2018 United States Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk.
Jim, on August 12, eight players qualified for a spot on the 2018 United States Ryder Cup Team based on a points system. Today, you are naming that will join those automatic qualifications, and on September 10, you will select another player to complete your 12 member team.
With that, are you ready to let us know who you've selected as your newest team members.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Yes, I am. Thanks, Julius and good afternoon, everyone.
I'm going to cut to the chase: The three members of the team are Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
JULIUS MASON: Collectively, Jim, can you tell us how these three players complement the eight that you already have on the team?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Yeah, I think we talked about all year, we were looking for a number of different things, but players that had a good body of work that had played good this season, players that were in good form and we're headed over to Europe.
We're heading over into foreign soil. It's going to be an interesting crowd. They are boisterous, I have a lot of respect for them and we are looking for players that we thought would handle that situation well and would thrive, love the challenge ahead of them, and naming these three players, that's what we've done.
Q. It's hard not to notice that you named one of your vice captains as a captain's pick today. Can you bring us up to speed on who your vice captains are and will be?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Yes, the others are smiling, as well. Tiger and I have had this conversation. I've been asked about it all year, and what Tiger and I have decided is he will play in this Ryder Cup, and we will name another vice captain.
He has been instrumental in helping not only the captains before me, but me, as well, as far as strategy, as far as planning, as far as pairings, and I'm going to continue to use that knowledge and that strategy.
But I also want to make sure, you know, Tiger gets very focused on that, and I want to free him up. I want to allow him to be able to practice, to prepare, and work with his partner or partners in that preparation. So when he needs to step out, that gives him a little bit of freedom and it gives me another set of eyes over there.
So collectively, his role won't change much but he will be considered a player instead of a vice captain. So with that, I'm going to name three vice captains today, in David Duval, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
JULIUS MASON: Let's invite Bryson DeChambeau to the stage right now.
So before we hear from Bryson, quickly, Jim, you have to be impressed with what you've seen out of Bryson the last couple of weeks.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Unbelievable. Obviously a tough spot. Finished ninth in points and it's tough to get really close and not quite get over the hump, and probably he put a ton of pressure on himself, we all do, as players. But to see the way he worked through that, came out, hit the ground running, won his first two Playoff events at both THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell, just incredible.
And not only won, but won definitively on the back nine. Took control and seized control of those tournaments and took big leads and was able to finish out tournaments. So I have to say, I guess, thanks, you made it really easy on the captain.
JULIUS MASON: Bryson, congratulations on making The Ryder Cup Team.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: I understand you actually attended The Ryder Cup at Hazeltine as a spectator for a couple of days. Can you tell us what that experience was like?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, first off, I have to say thank you to captain Jim Furyk here. He's been incredibly nice to me throughout the past couple of months when we had our dinners and whatnot. It's been a treat to be around The Ryder Cup Team, and to be able to have this honor is incredible. So thank you for everything.
Yes, I attended in 2016 at Hazeltine and that was awesome. It was a great experience. I went up with my friends, family friends, pretty much, the Baxters, and went up there, had a great time. And also, at the time, I think you guys were working with Microsoft a little bit, too, and they were sponsoring me, so I got to see a couple of my friends up there, was a part of the team there.
And just hanging around. I wanted to get a good feel of what the atmosphere was like. You know, at the time my game wasn't that great, but I knew one day, if I could work hard, I could potentially be on a Ryder Cup Team. You know, as I look back, it was a great decision to go there, and get a good experience of what it would be like, the atmosphere around that whole environment. Now I'm going to get to experience it, which is going to be great.
JULIUS MASON: So true or false: I understand the captain at the time, who happens to be with us in the back row in Davis Love III, actually did a double-take?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Yeah, I think it was one of the holes on the front nine, a par 3, I believe, Captain. It was kind of interesting. I think he looked over and did a double-take and looked, like, "Bryson; that you?" I was standing outside the ropes, chilling, have a good time, watching everybody play well.
I said, "Yeah, it's me, I'm just coming here to support. I want to get a feel of what it's like."
He's like, "Good on ya, man. That was cool. Thanks for coming out and supporting."
I was like, "Yeah, man, I wouldn't have done it any other way." So pretty special, and it was nice for him to call me out of the crowd. That was cool.
Q. You look like you were in pretty rough shape walking out of the PGA after that disappointing finish, and to pull yourself together, what sense of internal pride does that give you how you respond to a tough situation?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Absolutely. I've had a couple tough goes the past couple months, and I think that it's always about how you respond in situations.
You can be frustrated and disappointed, but that passion is always there, and I think that's why I was so disappointed and frustrated was the fact that I knew what I could do and I knew the capabilities that I had. I just had to figure out a couple things in order for me to move in the correct direction and be able to correct the faults that I had at the PGA and Akron and certain events like that.
You know, and it was disappointing to not make the top eight, but I regrouped, had a week off, and was able to figure out a couple things in my putting, and was able to play well at Ridgewood and then this last week.
Q. Did you go into the Playoffs or post-PGA thinking you had to win to get his attention?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I knew I had to play really well. Look, any time you're trying to make your first Ryder Cup, it's not easy and I know that to be a fact, given I experienced what I needed to do to make the team.
And even after I won at Ridgewood, I still thought, man, I've got to play well at Boston just to show them that, yeah, I'm a contender and I'm going to keep doing the right things to be a valuable asset to the team.
You know, and again, this is about the team, and I wanted to be a part of this experience, so badly, that I worked twice as hard, and it showed and it paid off.
Q. Just curious, where were you at the time and what were you doing when Jim actually phoned you to confirm you were in the team?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: Well, I just took a shower (chuckles). I just got out of the shower and Davis actually texted me and said, "Give the captain a call."
So I gave him a call. He invited me to the team, and that was a tremendous honor. It was a moment -- there are some moments in life that are just too good to be true, and that was one of them, but it was true, and it was an honor that I'll never forget. That will be locked away in my memory for a long time.
JULIUS MASON: Bryson, thank you very much and congratulations on making The Ryder Cup Team.
Next up, ladies and gentlemen, let's please welcome to the stage, Phil Mickelson.
So Jim, if anyone knows what an accomplishment it is to make this team, qualifying on points or being a pick, it's you, but specifically, for Phil, playing on a record 12th Ryder Cup, it's got to get your attention.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Actually, quite amazing. We grew up together. I knew how special Phil was when we were kids and playing in college, but to be able to play at that level, that elite level for as long as he had, to be that consistent for 23, 25 years, is an impressive feat and one that will be very difficult to be equalled.
Excited to have him on the team, and really, just from a veteran leader, someone that really provides -- knows the inner workings of our team room, and provides, I don't know, a spark. I think he's a lot of fun in the team room and has a knowledge of kind of the other players and will help -- significantly help a lot of folks on our team, so it's great to have him be a part of it.
JULIUS MASON: Congratulations, yet again, on making yet another Ryder Cup Team.
I've got to ask: Is there anything that you haven't accomplished yet playing on Ryder Cups that you still need to?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's obvious that the one thing that has been missing is for our team to go over to Europe and win. I'm very excited about the team this year. I'm excited to be a part of this team. We have some incredible players, great leadership, and a really special opportunity to do something that we haven't done in a long time.
It's going to be a great challenge because we know how strong the European side is and how well they play at home, but it's a wonderful chance, an opportunity for us to do something I haven't done or been a part of in my career, and would very much like to.
Q. Can you share anything with Bryson, being a veteran -- I don't know if you like to be called a veteran -- the experience of The Ryder Cup, or what can you share?
PHIL MICKELSON: It will be very similar. The only things I try to do are very similar to what Captain Furyk did six months ago when he got the guys together and laid out what to expect. Because when you take away a lot of the uncertainty, you also take away a lot of the pressure.
So the only thing that I will try to do with some guys that haven't been on the team is just let them know what to expect so that the pressure doesn't mount, that's all.
Q. 14 years later, what is your interest level in being paired with Tiger, once again?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, my excitement to be on The Ryder Cup itself is at an all-time high because I know how much I cherish these events. I know how the relationships that get formed during these weeks, how much they mean, and I know how -- as I look back on my career -- how meaningful these team events are. So for me to be a part of it is something very special.
And to have Tiger back in the game of golf and playing at such a high, elite level, has been exciting for everybody, including the players. We find ourselves watching with interest, just like all the fans do.
Q. I realize you want to be on The Ryder Cup Team every year, but did you get a sense of how badly you wanted to be on this team, given your age, given Europe, compared with the other years?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly, this is most likely my last chance to go over to Europe and to be a part of a winning U.S. Team in Europe. We haven't done that in 25 years.
I set out this year, on really, a strong commitment and journey to get on the team. I got off to a great start this year. It's been a really good year, and although I fell just shy of making it on points, it feels great to be a part of this team and serve this team in any way I can.
Q. How important has it been, or do you think it is, to be playing into The Ryder Cup as we've seen here these last several years, or is it better to have rest going over there?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think it's been a massive improvement in our performance having the FedExCup lead into the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, both team events, but specifically The Ryder Cup, because we would oftentimes have a four-to six-week break after the PGA Championship, and a lot of times guys would take some time off and head into The Ryder Cup not as sharp competitively as we would like.
So the FedExCup has been a huge thing for us to compete and play at the highest level, so to compete and go right into The Ryder Cup has been a very good thing for our side.
Q. Just wanted to double-back to Bryson, just before we lose you here one more time, but with all the emphasis on ping-pong at The Ryder Cup, are you bringing the robot?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: I will definitely have my paddle, I'll say that. The robot, we'll see if it's allowed on the plane. I don't know.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: You have some game?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: A little bit. I played Kuchar, shoot, when was this, before the Walker Cup. We actually had a Walker Cup practice session, and played Kuchar two games, and I was able to win the first and he was able to win the second, and we left it at that. So we've got to finish that, that last game.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Rubber match.
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU: You never know.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, let's go ahead and welcome Tiger Woods to the stage, please.
So Captain, it's been a little while since we have seen Tiger play on a Ryder Cup, and I know you have spent some quality time with him over the years discussing The Ryder Cup.
How excited, are you, really, to have him on the team right now?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: I think we're all excited. Tiger and I spent time as partners. We spent a lot of time as vice captains talking strategy, talking pairings, and I can attest to the amount of texts that Davis Love has received. I think I'm maybe not quite as many, but I'm darned close.
But it's been great to have his help, and to get like a little feel of, you know, one of the best minds in the history of the game on your side helping you out, it's been great to have.
But I have to say, we are all excited to see him healthy and playing the way he has, backed up against the wall, to play so well at The Open Championship, to play so well at the PGA; Phil is correct, we have all kind of becomes fans, as well, and it's a feather in our cap to have him playing in our side.
JULIUS MASON: Tiger, we have seen you as a Ryder Cup player and we have observed you as a Ryder Cup vice captain. In both instances, it's very clear that you're excited about this event. Why the drive; why the desire to be part of The Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS: Well, when I first made my first team at Valderrama, it was quite an honor and more than anything, it was a great learning experience to see the passion that our late, great team leaders and -- and they made me understand how important The Ryder Cup is, and from that moment on, I always wanted to be a part of each and every team.
I haven't been part of the team playing-wise, for six years, and served as a vice captain a couple years ago, and that was absolutely incredible to be part of the team, to be part of these young guys and just trying to help, help them with whatever it is -- whether it's spikes or sandwiches, whatever they needed, I was there.
And this year, to have the honor of be able to again, is beyond special.
Q. Can you assess from what was actually your vice captain position until just recently the strengths of what this team has?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this team is young, full of guys in their 20s, and we have an unbelievable veteran leader that has accomplished so much, even before some of these guys were born. It's just a great mix of guys but one of the things I learned a couple years ago is a lot of these guys grew up playing junior golf together, and they really know each other really well. They played junior golf. They played college eight golf, some amateur stuff, and then came out on TOUR about the same time. They have really grown up with one another, and it was pretty evident how close this team was in 2016, and again, this year in 2018.
Q. You might recall at Riviera this year, the subject came up about this possibility. It was actually asked, could you do both; could you be a vice captain and a player, and it was -- your tone was sort of joking at the time. Can you recall deep down what you really thought about your chances of being in this position now way back then?
TIGER WOODS: Well, at the beginning of the year, that was one of my goals was to make this team. I got the call from Jim and he asked if I would serve as the vice captain, and I said, absolutely, anything to help you out.
But also, deep down, I wanted to make the team. I really wanted to play on it.
Now, I had not started playing golf really yet, but still, I wanted -- it was a goal at the end of the season is to be able to make this team. As the year progressed, I've kind of gained some traction, and was somehow able to get some high finishes and lo and behold, I'm a part of this team. It's incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and now to have accomplished a goal like that, to be a part of this team, and now to be a player is just -- like I said, it's beyond special.
Q. Could you be brutally honest with us and tell us how LONG you've known you were a pick?
TIGER WOODS: Probably for -- I played well at the PGA, so we are hinting at -- sorry. The vice captains and the captain were hinting at picking him (laughter) as a player, so as a vice captain, I put my hat in for that player (laughter).
But yeah, so, you know, it's one of those things where it evolved the last couple weeks.
Q. Can this be one of the most memorable Ryder Cups you will have played in, given what you've gone through these last few years?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. To have an opportunity to go to Europe and to have an opportunity to win a Ryder Cup, and we haven't done it in 25 years over there, and to be part of this group of guys to have that opportunity to go there, it's exciting, it really is.
We're going to go over there and give it our best, and try and keep this Cup.
Q. Captain, how do you think of the composition of The European Team with your decision about the picks, and what's your guess about the last four picks for Europe?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: You know, I don't want to make any guesses for what Europe is going to do. I think some rumors came out today in the paper from what I heard right before we came to this press conference. But I don't really want to guess.
You know, I think I had an idea in my mind what Europe may do, but I was really more focused on what our strengths would be and how I could add and complement the three best players possible to the eight that we started with.
So I think those match-ups may be key in the future but I was really worried about our strengths more than anything else.
Q. For either Tiger or Phil, whoever wants to take it, there's been times over the years, when you guys played together in 2004, and Tiger, when you and David played together at Brookline, having two people at that level lose created even more momentum for the other side. Curious if you look at the team now and what they have accomplished individually, does that even exist anymore, that feeling of taking down two scalps instead of one, because of who you are?
(Phil and Tiger looking at each other).
PHIL MICKELSON: Go ahead.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. Rookie.
I think it's always a momentum shift if you can take down their -- whoever, the best pairings. We've done it on their side, and they have done it to us.
So it is a momentum shift more than anything else, and it's trying to beat the guys that we're paired up against, and we think that we put out the best possible players to win points. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.
Q. If called upon, would you be willing and able to play 36 holes, and Jim, would you call upon them possibly to do that in both the fourball and foursomes?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: That will be a conversation I'll have with every player, how they are feeling, it's the end of the year. We have a lot of young players and a lot of guys that are extremely fit; someone has to play 36, just the way it works out.
But that's a conversation I'll have with Tiger and Phil, and I would say that five matches probably isn't in the equation like it used to be, but four would be possible I would assume.
Q. Jim mentioned that he wants you to focus fully on playing, of course, but how much input do you expect to have with the X's and O's, like you've had the past couple years that you've been praised for your tactics?
TIGER WOODS: I won't be able to have -- I won't be spending the time I did because I'm dedicated to playing. One of the great additions we've had is our three vice captains, they and our captain are going to be basically be rolling through it and trying to decide who is the bet fit to play with who, and when we're going. I may have a little bit of input here and there, but it is certainly nowhere near the role I did last time we did in Hazeltine, for sure.
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: I could actually follow up on that a little bit, as well to, clear things up.
I mean, Tiger is a huge asset, and in preparation, and leading up, I will expect all of us as captains and vice captains to ask for the same opinions we've had. The move that we've made in this situation is more a lot more for the week of and for his preparations during the week of and make sure that he's able to practice and prepare like he needs to.
Q. This is for Jim. The process of making captain's picks can be very difficult at times. Considering most of us in this room have already written that these three guys would probably be sitting up there, how difficult was the process for you?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: Well, I will say that the three here on stage made it probably a little easier day than most, for most captains.
You know, I think we have a lot of good options on the team and we still have options left that I'm excited about for next Monday. But Bryson separated himself from the field the last couple of weeks, for sure, and Tiger and Phil were -- honestly, you've got 9, 10, 11 on the points list; guys that had a great body of work, guys that are in great form right now, and Bryson put an exclamation points on things. Not that it was an easy decision, but it could have been a lot more difficult.
Q. That being said, the 12th pick, which I know you haven't decided on, we've always talked about, is it looking towards pairings or looking towards form; do you have an idea of what you're looking at for 12?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: A little of both. I still want someone that's had a good body of work, someone that's playing well right now but definitely that person has to fit. We have a very good idea now with 11 players of pairings, and that player is going to fit nicely into a spot to make things work.
So it's something we'll go to work on, not that we haven't already talked about it, but something we'll go to work on even deeper and dive deeper into things this week and make sure we're very comfortable with that selection on Monday.
JULIUS MASON: You're leaving for Paris in your team in 19 days. How do you want to put a bow on the proceedings of the last half hour?
CAPTAIN JIM FURYK: I would have to say I'm extremely happy with the 11 players we have. Got a lot of confidence in those players. I think we have some great chemistry. I think we have some great pairing opportunities. We've got some great veteran leadership and we've got some youth. It's a well-rounded team, and we'll go to work, get set to go.
I also know that I've been excited to get to this position and excited to go to France, and I also know the task at hand, as well. I have a lot of respect for Thomas and I have a lot of respect for the players that have qualified for The European Team, and I'll be anxious to see who they pick tomorrow.
I think the one thing that sticks out, we all know they have an incredible crowd. They make a lot of noise. I love their organization. I love their songs. I love their chants. I'm looking forward to hearing that noise and I know this group of guys is up for that challenge and excited to meet that challenge.
But one of the things that we have coming up is the golf course. The one thing, they know this golf course extremely well. They have played The French Open there for 25 years. They love it. It's a great golf course, massive greens, a lot of unique pin placements. Our big work is getting ready for that golf course, and we'll have a very short period of time in person to do that when we are there in France, and my job is to get them ready the best I can. But those three days we're there for practice rounds will be key. It will be paramount for our success and opportunities.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you and we'd like to thank our Ryder Cup vice captains, Zach, David, thank you for being with us today.
Tiger, Phil, Bryson, congratulations on making the 2018 United States Ryder Cup Team. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today.
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