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THE RYDER CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE


February 20, 2019


Steve Stricker


STEVE STRICKER: How is everybody doing? Thanks for having me.

Q. Congratulations to you. I was really shocked when I got the news this morning.
Would you have thought when The Ryder Cup first kind of came into your mind that you could have ever been a captain without winning a major? In other words, was there ever a time where you thought: If I don't win a major, I'll never be captain?

STEVE STRICKER: Oh, yeah, for sure. You know, when I was part of that task force is when I was first kind of penciled in for 2020, but that was five years away at the time. And even then, I was thinking, well, they are not going to, you know, have me, having not won a major, I've still got time to win one kind of thing.

But as it got further along and me putting in time with these other teams and be a captain at the Presidents Cup a couple years ago, it just started to kind of make sense, and the PGA and The Ryder Cup Committee is telling me that they want to move off of that and move on to a new way and so that's how it kind of came about; so it kind of progressed over time.

Q. If I could ask one more thing, the last Ryder Cup, regardless of the result, ended in a messy fashion with Patrick's comments about the whole week. Have you thought -- I know it's your first day on the job, but have you considered how you would manage that situation if he was on the next team, or is that something you'd try to take care of over the next two years?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I've already reached out to Patrick and we've had a good conversation. As far as he's concerned, and I am, too, is that it's been handled. He's apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him, too. He's like, you know what, I've got your guys' back. I'm there for the team.

He's very committed. He knew that what happened, he was not comfortable with, you know, from Paris, and he didn't like how that all, you know, transformed and what happened.

I said, listen, we're here about moving on and going forward, and let's point towards this next team, and I hope to have him be a part of this team if he's playing well, and a long ways to go yet.

But yeah, that was one of the things on my to-do list, to get that and talk to him and see his side of things.

Q. You mentioned you were penciled in for Whistling Straits way back when the task force came up with this. But was there a time when it really just started to set in that that could actually really happen, what were your emotions when you came to that realization?
STEVE STRICKER: I guess I was never really positive that it was going to happen. You know, I mean, I had good ideas. I had players coming up to me, Phil and Tiger and Zach, some of the guys on the team. You know, I think it helped that we won convincingly when I was a captain for the Presidents Cup a couple years ago. I think that helped.

I've got the support of the players, and The Ryder Cup Committee, and so I guess it just kind of -- good things kept happening. I was being a part of these teams, and then it just kept evolving.

Q. And secondly, you played and have been an assistant captain for a lot of different captains. Is there one that you think you'll pull from their captaining style, maybe what their demeanor was in the team room more than others?
STEVE STRICKER: I think I'll pull from all of them. There's things that I've noticed over the times I've been a part of these teams, and things that I wish I could have done differently, too, on the Presidents Cup team when I was a captain.

You just take all of them in. You kind of look back on what you could have done different or what that captain could have done different, or that -- what they did well. You look at their positives, and see what worked well, what didn't, and you just use it all, and I'll rely on all those experiences.

Q. A question from the U.K., while there's a little pause. Pádraig was telling us he thinks this Whistling Straits is a good fit for Europeans, as well as the Americans, and of course, home advantage has been so big recently. Do you see that it's going to suit Europeans every bit as good as your players?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't know that what it comes down to the course itself if there's a favorite on one side or the other. We don't play it on a regular basis, nor do the Europeans, so it's going to be about learning the golf course in a short period of time.

It's a links-style golf course, which you would think would favor the Europeans, but you know, I'll have to remind our guys that we played on a links course in '91 at Kiawah which the U.S. won.

I don't know if there's really an advantage going to one side or the other. It's just going to be about, like always, it's about holing the putts and making the shots and doing some of the key things that you have to to win that point and win the match.

Q. The decision to go to announcing all four picks after THE TOUR Championship, what was that a product of? Did you feel there was a mistake amongst the group last year of having to wait?
STEVE STRICKER: I don't think it was a mistake. We got the best player last year that was playing the best in Tony.

I think where it was a bit of a challenge was in formalizing your team for sure. You know, we kind of knew it was going to be Tony, but what if somebody else would have won, kind of thing. So you're never quite sure.

But I think now, formalizing it, all the four players at one time, you can move forward a little bit quicker in pairings. You know, talking to your assistant captains and guys on the team on what they feel is good for everybody. And when you leave one guy out all the way up to the end, it makes it a little bit more difficult to do.

Q. I know everyone has talked about the process of learning and that's the importance of having assistant captains move up to being captain. What do you think you learned from last year in Paris?
STEVE STRICKER: I learned that we're on the right track, even though we didn't win. We got outplayed last year. The consistency was there. Jim Furyk did a wonderful job. The guys just got outplayed by the Europeans.

I've been looking at some of the stats from last year, and we made a lot of bogeys that led to holes won by the other side, and so it's just we got outplayed. And when you get outplayed and get beat, it doesn't look like you're having a lot of fun. It's not a lot of fun to lose, especially in The Ryder Cup.

So we're fine. We're looking forward. We're looking ahead. This is going to be a new team. We'll have some of the same guys, I'm sure, on the team, but there will be some different ones sprinkled in there, I'm sure, and it's going to be a new venue, a new place, and we look forward to us making the putts and doing the things that we need to do to win.

Q. Kind of along those same lines, is there anything that you can do to Whistling Straits to maybe give the home team an advantage?
STEVE STRICKER: Well, there's two feet of snow on there right now. We've got to get that off.

Q. Leave it.
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, leave it (chuckles).

I'll take a look back at other Ryder Cups that we've had some success at and see what the course setup has been like and go from there.

Q. Tiger Woods was asked about your appointment at his press conference in MĂ©xico; and he said everybody knows about how much of nice a guy you are, but that you'll be prepared to put your to the down when necessary. Is that something we can expect to see from your captaincy?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I'm not afraid to speak up now, it seems like, the older I've gotten. I'll take it all in and listen to everybody, and if I have to make a tough decision, I will. I'm comfortable with that.

I realize it kind of rests on the captain's shoulder, and I'm good with that, too, otherwise I wouldn't be so excited to do this job probably.

It's something I look forward to doing. I had to make some tough decisions with The Presidents Cup, and for me, it's going to be about communicating with the players and the captains and making sure that we're all on the same page and making sure that the players know what to expect from me and what I can expect from them. So that's my plan.

Q. Just on the subject of Tiger, obviously, he'll be approaching I think 45 by the time at Whistling Straits, but given the way he's playing, do you expect him to be a playing member of your team?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, who wouldn't want to have him on your team, right, one of the greatest players of the history of the game.

You know, I would love to see him continue to play well and make his way on the team. Yeah, he's always an asset, whether a player or he even showed that at Hazeltine as a vice captain. Excited to see what lies ahead for him.

Q. I'm curious about one thing. You've had great strength and support from your wife for many, many years. I know she'll be the same over the next few years, but personally I'm just struggling with her involvement picking out team uniforms, and you, as well, for that matter. Will you have to hire a consultant?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, Julius is going to do it. Have you ever seen the guy's shoe selection?

Q. On a more serious note. One other thing I was curious about, your last Ryder Cup playing, Medinah, was a tough one. You wound up by circumstances in a decisive match, one team wins, the other team doesn't, and it's just a pill you've got to swallow. How much did that change your outlook on The Ryder Cup, and did you find it different from the last three times spent in the back there?
STEVE STRICKER: It didn't change my outlook on it. You know, I didn't have a great week. I was held pointless that week, and Martin Kaymer made the winning putt against me.

You know, that was a tough pill to swallow, for a while, but I'm over it. I moved on, and that's kind of what I want to do with this team, too, and that's what I've done in my career.

Sure, I learn from some of that stuff that happened in the past, but I always look forward and look forward and move on to what I can do better the next time around.

It's kind of what I'm going to relay to this team, and you know, perseverance is a big thing for me. As you know, my struggles through my career, and then to come back to what I did later on in my career, you know, that's what this game of golf teaches us.

So I'll use a lot of that going forward, but no, still very passionate. I still love being a part of this competition, and it didn't change the outlook of it on me at all.

Q. Depending on the makeup of the team, how much of it will you want them to remember France, and how much will you want them to forget it and just move forward?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I'll think about all that stuff. I'm not sure, but like I said, I think early on, my big thing is looking ahead, you know.

The guys know, the guys who played there, they realize what happened there and what they need to improve on to come out on the other side of things. There will be new guys on the team that didn't experience it all, I'm sure.

So again, it's about looking at what we can do and do better and put the teams in a proper spot to try to win and put them in a favorable environment and try to play their best golf.

Q. Davis has said twice, actually, that the toughest part of the week being captain is giving the speech at the Opening Ceremony. What do you think the toughest part of the week is going to be?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I just got some of it over with today. I thought that was going to be tough.

You know, yeah, the Opening Ceremony remarks will probably be another -- you know, I'm not a big fan of getting up and talking in front of people to start with, so that will be tough.

You know, sitting players has always been a tough thing for me to kind of get a grasp of on these teams. On The Ryder Cup, four guys are sitting every session. Some of the time, you've got 10, 11, 12 players that are all playing good and it's hard to sit somebody. So some of those conversations, I'm not really looking forward to.

But again, my big deal is to communicate with them and let them know where they stand and what to expect from them during that week.

JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your time today. For those of you that are in MĂ©xico, enjoy yourselves, and we hope to see everybody soon.

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