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THE RYDER CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 1, 2019
Kohler, Wisconsin, USA
JULIUS MASON: The 43rd edition of golf's greatest team event is only one year away now, ladies and gentlemen, and it will be played September 25 to 27 in 2020. So let's get to it and meet the captains.
First, he's a three-time major champion and has won 15 times on The European Tour and on 15 other occasions around the world. Please welcome from Dublin, Ireland, PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig Harrington.
Next, he's a 12-time winner on the PGA TOUR and five-time winner on the PGA TOUR champions, including two majors. Please welcome from Madison, Wisconsin, Steve Stricker.
Captain Harrington, let's go ahead and begin with you. Good early morning and welcome to Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. The last time these two teams gathered, it was almost exactly one year ago today just out said Paris at Le Golf National where Europe beat Team USA 17 1/2 - 10 1/2. In a nutshell, what worked and can you talk about the challenges a captain might face playing an away match versus a home match?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: So you really want me to give you all the answers of what worked?
JULIUS MASON: Do we have about -- plenty of time for that.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, we had a good team. There's no doubt about it. Thomas was a good captain. He was blessed with probably one of the best teams we've had in terms of World Rankings. There was a lot of the quality in the team.
They came together very well. Obviously we lost on Friday morning 3-1, which is a setback to us, but we had some nice balance in that team. We stuck to our guns and we came through on Friday afternoon, which was huge for our team.
You know, that Friday afternoon session, obviously you know, it's tough to lose one session 3-1 but to come back in the afternoon and instill the confidence to go on with the plan, I think Paris National no doubt suited the European game. Suited our style of play.
So yeah, you know, after getting the advantage, back home advantage, it carried on from there. As you can see, I'm really trying to avoid anything that actually gives away what exactly happened behind the scenes. I've got to say, it was really a quality team.
JULIUS MASON: And home match versus an away match?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, I think there's a substantial different. I would advocate even too much of a difference between home and away.
Clearly in Europe, we get to set the golf course up and we set it up every way we can to suit our players. And in the States, we've seen that, as well, where the golf courses are set up to be most advantageous for the home team.
I think it's obviously not going to happen probably in my lifetime, but 40, 50 years down the road when the Ryder Cup is still going along, it will probably be best to have a neutral setup where there is no setting up a golf course as we did in Europe so that it was very tight off the tee and it made it a real difficult -- where par was a good score.
Whereas, if you went back to Hazeltine, it was more of a birdie-fest where the statisticians get involved and tell us what suits each team. Possibly down the road, it's going to be more of a neutral setup.
Thankfully here at Whistling Straits, this is a much more natural golf course. I'm interested to see down the road what Steve has in store but doesn't look like you can do a lot with this golf course. As much as it was obviously designed and built there, it looks like it's just in a natural setting all its life and it's going to present its way. Even the weather could be very changeable the week of The Ryder Cup next year.
So in many ways, this is a golf course that is just going to test the players on its own merits.
JULIUS MASON: Captain Stricker, the U.S. Team didn't get the results you wanted in Paris, and on top of that, the U.S. has only won three of the last ten Ryder Cups. Does it concern you that history really isn't on your side?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it does concern us, and to PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig's point there, they had a great team this last time in Paris. They outplayed us. We had a difficult time with the golf course.
Yeah, you know, the last few Ryder Cups haven't gone really the way that we have liked, but you know, for us, it's all about, you know, for me, any ways, it's about moving forward. This next team is probably going to be the first time these 12 individuals -- you know, we'll probably have some new guys on the team. It will be the first team these 12 individuals will be together.
So, you know, for me, it's about moving forward, learning from the past a little bit. Taking some of the things that we haven't done so well in, and then trying to apply that to this next time and next year.
And it's about playing better. Bottom line is, they played great and they outplayed us, and you know, we're going to have to come and be ready and make the putts that we need to and hit the key shots down the stretch that we need to hit to come out on top.
JULIUS MASON: PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, you've played on six Ryder Cup teams, and you were a vice captain three times. Wearing your vice captain cap, what were you able to take away from Paris and from Thomas's captaincy?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: You learn a lot more as a vice captain than you do as a player. A player, it's startling, how I suppose, insular we are as players. It's all about getting your own game ready and doing what you need to do. As professional golfers, we are self-managed, so it really is all about us as we go along.
When you become a vice captain, you start seeing a lot more and obviously because of that, you start learning a lot more the demands of the players and how to fit them together and manage all the different personalities in a team.
So, yeah, the vice captains, for me, that's where you learn the most. It's nice being a player and all that -- and I suppose when you're a player, you see different styles of captaincy that you like and you don't like. I had six different captains, and they all had different -- I had a couple of captains who were very much arm-around-the-shoulder, encouraging you and believing in you.
I remember with Bernhard Langer, he sat there at the evening meeting after the first day's play, and nearly the first words at the meeting, it was at a boardroom table, as well, and he turns around and says, "Now, we'll have nobody laying up into the hazard on No. 5 tomorrow." I was the only one who had laid up into the hazard that day (laughter). And Bernhard will be on the tees telling you what clubs to hit into the par 3s and things like that.
There's so many styles of captaincy. You do see that. I don't believe I'm going to be one or the other. I'll hopefully be a mixture of most. But then as vice captain you tend to learn a lot about the tactics that go in behind that, and it is difficult. Steve will know this from being there, as well.
It's incredibly difficult to put a team out at mid-morning, late morning on Friday, when the guys have only played maybe 14 holes of golf, and you have to put a team out for the afternoon, and sometimes you put players out who end up losing their morning match, and sometimes you drop players who have won their morning match, and clearly you get second-guessed on your team selection.
But you know, oftentimes, people don't realize, those teams have to be decided, and there's so many factors that go into it; that literally, being the vice captain, you do get to sit there and be part of that decision-making, and that's really -- I believe that's going to help me the most to be a captain.
JULIUS MASON: Similarly, Steve, you are a three-time Ryder Cupper and a three-time vice captain. Like PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, you've seen what it looks like wearing a vice captain's cap as a winner and a loser. Is there a big difference between the captaincy and the vice captaincy in your mind?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I think PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig nailed it all on the head. You learn a lot, let's put it that way. You get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to lead a team and you watch these captains, and you pick out your favorite things or your least-favorite things about every captain and you see what works with players, and it kind of shapes you as a captain I think.
Yeah, you learn a lot and you learn how much there is and what goes into it. It's much easier being a player because you can just worry about yourself, worry about your game and get ready for the team and get ready for your partner.
But when it becomes time to make some of these decisions, like you said, when you've got to put a team out in the afternoon, you know, you can see all the assistant captains and the captains, literally running to a corner so try to figure it out, to try to make sure that you're going to do the right thing.
It's an interesting job. It's a fun job, and you know, we look forward to it, but you do, you learn a lot as you go along.
JULIUS MASON: PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, you've played in all three PGA Championships at Whistling Straits, so you're familiar with this venue. Can you talk about what you think it might shape up as, asa Ryder Cup venue?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it will be a great venue for The Ryder Cup. It's a dramatic golf course. We need that in The Ryder Cup.
The Ryder Cup is probably the most exciting golf event in the game -- one of the biggest sporting events but certainly the most exciting in golf. You need a dramatic golf course that lends itself to spectacular play, as well as some disastrous play. That's what match play is about.
The three PGAs I played, most what I remember is the variability of the golf course weather-wise. A change of direction of wind can just massively change how a hole plays. Moving a tee box forward or box can change the whole character of holes.
Yeah, it's an ideal match play golf course. I think people will enjoy watching match play on this course. I think it really does lend itself to that exciting play.
JULIUS MASON: Steve, Americans are 0-for-3 for PGA Championships at Whistling Straits. Do the whispers about Whistling Straits favoring The European Team cause you any concern at all?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: You're sure bringing up a lot of negatives here, Julius.
I've got -- yeah, it concerns us, when we look out, and I don't know if you brought this weather today or what, but hopefully we have nice, sunny 75-degree days next year at this time.
But yeah, you know, when you look out here, it has the feel of -- does it not, over there in Ireland --
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: It looks like an Irish day out there, yeah.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: But the whole setting next to Lake Michigan, it looks like we could be overseas somewhere for sure.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: It looks like an Irish summer's day out there. (Laughter).
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: But yes, it concerns us, and you know, we'll -- it's a great venue. We're going to have an unbelievable support crowd here. The atmosphere should be much like Hazeltine or even more so.
The Wisconsin people from what I understand are very excited to have this event here. It's going to be an exciting time here, and you know, the course is beautiful. It's one of our best courses in the State of Wisconsin, and to have the Kohler people here; Herb is a friend of mine, and David and Nina. Just to be able to play it here is really a special treat for all of us.
The state is going to show up big time and we're going to have the crowd on our side, so hopefully that will deter from what it really looks like out there as far as an Irish setting. You know, we're looking forward to it.
JULIUS MASON: PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, take a look at this slide which reflects European-born winners over the last year. Some names are familiar to us and some are not. Can you take a look at that and tell us what brings a smile to your face?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Shane Lowry for sure.
Clearly we have a nice array of players winning there. There's some young players coming through. I think Steve said it about his own team. There does feel like there's a changing of the guard coming in some ways. There's a lot of young players that I have to get to know coming through.
I do like the fact that on the right-hand side of the slide, we have a solid base there to work off and you expect most of those guys to be in the team.
But there will be, you know, three or four, five rookies in the team, new guys, fresh faces. That's just the world of golf, what's coming through.
You know, as I always say, the nine guys who qualify for my team, it doesn't matter who they are. If they qualified, they play well enough to be there. They deserve to be there. They are the nine best in-form players, and we can work around those nine guys. They are the ones I want on the team.
So it doesn't really matter until you get those nine guys. They are going to be the nine best players we have at that stage. You would like to fill it with the old, experienced guys there on the right-hand side, but you're comfortable with the younger guys, also, coming into the team.
JULIUS MASON: Speaking of your team, you're only two weeks into the European points standings. Any thoughts? Any surprises as you look at this?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: The surprises I'm looking at -- and I have looked at it. I told myself, just don't look at the points and things (laughter) like it's a full year away. And as vice captain, again the experience you get as vice captain, you start to get involved in looking at players and what the captain is feeling. During the course of the last three months, you pick a new team every week if you're looking at it. So this is very early doors.
Yes, I have looked at it. I said I wouldn't and I will continue to look at it and people will continue to remind me of it. But you know, as I said, if any of these players -- like Victor Perez there is a young guy just starting off. He's right up there. If he qualifies; if he holds on to that position for the next 12 months, he really deserves to be there. That's going to be a quality performance because the pressure is on him.
So I'm happy with any rookie who makes it into my team. You know, they are the ones, especially at this stage, if they do it for a full year, it means they have the experience to handle the pressure and you're going to be looking forward to that type of player making the team.
But the fact of the matter is, you know, we have statisticians and they tell us who has got what chance of making the team, and it's amazing. It's a pretty slim chance for most people at the end of the day because only nine people qualify automatically. Even for good players, for a lot of good players, it's down to maybe a 1-in-20 chance, a 1-in-10 chance of making the team.
This will change over time, but I'm comfortable with a few rookies making my team for sure.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you. Steve, same question. As you can see, here is a list of winners over the past year, from U.S.-born players. I'm kind of guessing you like the way the majors played out this year?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, you know, again, it's so early in the deal. We're a year away, 11 months away from making our picks and the guys finalized on the team.
But yeah, you've got some great younger players that are starting to prove themselves, like a Patrick Cantlay and watching Cameron Champ do what he did this past week was really impressive down the stretch that last hole.
Yeah, we are going to have the main stays, I'm sure, as well, the Dustin Johnson, Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele who has been playing really well.
Again, you just keep looking at it. You look at it. I get those e-mails from you on a weekly basis to show me the points system and how everybody's playing, but I love watching golf. I love watching the guys compete.
So I'll keep a good eye on everybody and see how they are playing, and to PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig's point, if they make it in the top eight, they deserve to be there, and then it's up to us to pick those last four guys, and here you see that list there, too. Tony Finau pulling up the eighth spot. Gary Woodland had a great year. Webb Simpson has been really.
Steady. Obviously Tiger has been right there and coming off the knee surgery; so anticipation for him to play well and keep coming back is interesting for all of us to watch and see how he does. You know, Kisner, another good match-play guy. There's a lot of good names on that list. Justin Thomas down there, you expect him, and Patrick Reed. You look up and down that list, there's a lot of great names there with a lot of experience that we'd love to have on the team.
JULIUS MASON: Steve, PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, thank you very much.
We're happy to go to Q&A right now.
Q. Can you talk about the broader implications of hosting this event here in Wisconsin, even outside of golf, as a great Wisconsin native, what it means to you as a native and to the state to be able to host an event of this magnitude?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, it started off as major championships. We had the PGA here three times and the U.S. Open over at Erin Hills and this is the ultimate, here. To have really the ultimate event in the game of golf, to be here at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, you know, it's just really, from everybody I talk to, the anticipation, the excitement level is through the roof and it's no different for me, either.
I'm very excited to have this opportunity to be here in my home state to try to help this team and lead this team to try to win this Cup back.
Yeah, it's a great treat for all of us. I know the Kohler people will treat us unbelievably. They already have, and we look forward to being here and getting the ball rolling.
It will be here before we know it but we are all super excited.
Q. I think one of the first big decisions you had to make was how many captain's picks your team would have and you chose to go down from four to three, which in theory could prevent you from taking some veteran when you make your picks, the way Thomas did in Paris. I was curious to hear the logic behind that choice.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: The logic is basically anybody you pick is under pressure, more pressure, more stress, than a player who is qualified.
The way I looked at it is the ninth guy, how often with you skip the ninth guy in the rankings and pick four people after him? Not very often. It's not something that you would probably do. You would normally pick the ninth guy. And why pick him and put him under pressure? Why not let him feel like he's there on his own merits, no second-guessing, no judging. That would be my thought on it.
Q. If both of you could talk to being -- your rookie experiences when you were first on a team, and what that is like and what you can bring to rookies who are going to be on this team because obviously both of these teams are going to have some rookies on them.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, my rookie experience was at Valhalla 2008. Paul Azinger was the captain. We went on to win there. It was a great experience.
Paul did a wonderful job. I learned a lot from looking back at it today, I learned a lot from what he did there. You know, he came up with a system that we bought into and he was a really good captain. The players, the fans, responded to the fans there that week. The crowds there at Valhalla were unbelievable.
Yeah, it's a nerve-wracking time. I'm sure your rookie time on the Ryder Cup, too, is -- it's a nervous time. You don't know what to expect. You're playing for your country. You know, probably the most nervous I've ever been playing the game of golf is when you're playing that first Ryder Cup.
So you remember it. You look back at it. During the time you're like, why do I want to do this; it's so nerve-wracking that it's not fun, but after it's done and it's all over with, you're like, that was fun. It drives to you make that team again and keeps you going to want to be on these teams.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: My rookie experience would be '99 in Brookline. Still goes down as probably the most electrifying week I've ever had on a golf course. It was just so exciting, the atmosphere, the buzz of it. It was quite a contention one in Brookline, but it was in Boston so I had a lot of Irish support.
It was fantastic for me. I only just qualified in the previous two weeks by finishing second and second and holed a putt to get into it. I was playing great. Just everything about that Ryder Cup bar the result was just spectacular.
Actually on the Sunday, I beat Mark O'Meara, and it looked like I had won The Ryder Cup at that stage because JosÃ¯Â¿Â½ was 5-up or something like that. Once we had that point in the bag, which I wasn't obviously following the leaderboards; I assumed that.
Literally I did an interview on the back of 18 thinking I got the winning point, and maybe five minutes later, literally five minutes later, I'm just about to sit down, or just sat down on the 17th green when Justin Leonard holed that putt and it was all taken away.
The highs and lows were exceptional. You'd never see it in any other event like it, and that's why we love Ryder Cup. I think that's why people, not just golf fans love The Ryder Cup. I think that's why sports fans love The Ryder Cup. It's dramatic, exciting. It goes -- the ebbs and flows in it, there's just nothing quite like it. You get to root for your home country, your home continent. Really, it's spectacular, and you know, once you play one, you'd never want to miss out on another one.
And I had some great experiences afterwards. We had a lovely Ryder Cup in 2006 when we won in Ireland because it was in my home state, a bit like Steve going this year. Like the Irish one was really nice because we won comfortably at the end of the day. I prefer the ones that are tight and there's a bit more excitement in it.
So while I think you find every time you play a Ryder Cup is it throws up something dramatic and exciting. It really is; it never ceases to keep giving.
Q. We're used to you being pretty stoic on the golf course, but on the hype video we saw a couple of fist-pumps there out of you. Will we see that guy again? Who is that guy?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: I think I pulled a hamstring on one of those (laughter). I don't know if I can do that again anymore.
But you know, I don't know. This event, it brings out some crazy emotions in you as a player, and even as an assistant captain when I've been a part of some of these teams.
So yeah, it's hard to say. Especially here in my home state. But I try to keep it under the radar and low-key, but you never know. We're sure looking forward to it. The eight or nine months since they announced me as captain has flown by and I'm sure this next year will fly by, too, and we'll be here before we know it.
Q. As you just said, it's been about eight months since they announced you in Milwaukee. Can you tell us what the first eight months have been like? What have you done to start of start the preparations for next year, and maybe PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig can address that, as well, since he's been named.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: It hasn't been too overwhelming to start with. A lot of little things, designing bags, looking at clothes. We've come up here a couple of times. There's just the constant thinking about it, really, which is really cool and neat for me, is trying to come up with ways to make sure that I have everything ready and have the team engaged.
You just try to think about every little thing that you can do and make it a special week for these players because it is a special week. It's a week out of the year that if you make the team, it means a lot. You build some great relationships during the week. The team camaraderie is unbelievable.
It's just one of those weeks that you want to be a part of and you want to make sure that I do everything that I can do to make sure that those guys have a great week.
You know, it's just the constant thinking about it and now we're a year out and now it becomes more, who are we looking at to play, what's the team going to look like.
But yeah, it's been fun, constantly trying to look at it and take things from other captains, other assistant captains. Talked to a ton of people. I've just been gathering a lot of information and going from there.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, quite a bit of administration stuff over the last number of months, just like Steve: Golf bags, clothing. I've come in here to look at the team rooms, the bedrooms. You'd be amazed the detail that goes in behind the scenes, the little details. Keeps you pretty busy. Kind of have to manage that if I'm still playing, so you kind of have to manage your time well.
I kind of have the feeling well that we kind of turn a corner soon. Obviously a lot of the administration stuff needs to be done a year in advance, you know, when it comes to designing clothes and making the clothes. They need time.
From now on, I think it's going to turn more to my time with the team, my time getting to know the players and understanding what's going on. So it will be much more -- I'm hoping from now on, it will be much more of what people perceived of what the captain's job is of just, you know, watching his players, getting an understanding; getting a feel for what my captaincy -- how I want my captaincy, what I want it to be like.
And you know, from now on, it's going to get more into the real Ryder Cup stuff, the stuff that I would be certainly more interested in and the stuff that will hopefully make me a better captain when it comes around to the event in a year's time.
Q. Both you guys have talked about the golf course. Steve, I think it's no secret that you like to take some of the things at Hazeltine and bring them here. How do you that on this course because it's so different than Hazeltine?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, good question.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Tell us (laughter).
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, there's no real tricks. They know how we like to set up the golf courses and we know how they like to set up the golf courses, and you know, I'm sure what he's got envisioned in his mind is going to be the way it's going to be. And I know the next time when we go -- where do we go next time?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Rome.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Rome. And I'm sure it will be much like Paris.
Yeah, there's to real tricks here. It's not going to be 8 on the Stimpmeter like it was in Paris (laughter). It's not going to be as high of rough as it was in Paris. But you know, there's no real tricks, but it is a little bit more of a challenge here.
To PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig's point earlier, it's a link-style course, but I don't know if this is a true links-style course. A lot of this is still played through the air here. Some of the links-style that I've played on over the years overseas is you really bounce the ball up, you roll it up and you can flight it down low. Here, I think it's a little bit more in the air than it is overseas, personally thinking.
Yeah, we'll see how it goes.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: Didn't give much, did he.
Q. When you were talking earlier about your mainstays on the team, you didn't mention either Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods. Was that a case of you possibly hinting subconsciously that they may have a different role here rather than a playing role?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: I think I mentioned Tiger. Phil I know I didn't mention but not by -- it's just that went over my head, I guess.
But no, not at all. I think both are very capable of making the team. Tiger probably will make his own team this year in The Presidents Cup. He's played well again. It doesn't surprise me if either one of those guys were to make the team next year.
It looks like Phil is building up his calves and getting thinner and hitting more bombs; so anything is possible with Phil, and with Tiger we know what type of player and competitor he is.
No, I didn't mean to leave anybody out. But like I said, it wouldn't surprise me if either one of those guys -- and we welcome that as a team. They are both unbelievable in the team room. They obviously played on a number of teams and have had so much experience.
But to leave any of those guys out would be hard to do, just because of what they mean and what they have meant to these teams over the years.
Q. In your experience, what are the challenges of being the visiting captain and maybe what about your personality suits you for putting together a team to come to the United States?
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose it's a different challenge to being a home captain. There's no doubt when you're a home captain, a lot of your captaincy is setting up the golf course and the challenge that everybody is going to get. You get to make a lot of choices when you're the home captain.
As the away captain, you are presented with a lot of -- presented with certain options, the only options. Mostly about my captaincy would be just managing my team, the nine players and then the three captain's picks.
When I have that team, it's putting them together in the right format for foursomes and fourball. It's hopefully managing their expectations during the week for what they are going to see and what they are going to, how the event will -- you know, how it will -- the ebbs and flows of the event.
You know, that will probably be more with rookies than the senior players. They have been here before. They have seen it before.
But even then, I'd be the sort of person, I'd be more of the Bernhard Langer style of captaincy than the warm and Fuzzy Ian Woosnam style of captaincy or Sam Torrance. I wouldn't be the guy -- I will try and be the guy to put the arm around the shoulder, but I will definitely be more on the Bernhard Langer style of being practical, and try and be organized and give the guys as much help as I can.
Outside of that, just like Steve said, you try and pick up from all the captains over the years the good and the bad, and try and develop the good. There won't be too much -- I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here.
There's not going to be too many -- I don't have new ideas that are going to come in and revolutionize how we captain a team or a European Team. Just going to try to be more of the same and present all the options to my players so that they are in the best possible position to play their own game and their best game.
Q. I'm wondering if you can take a trip down memory lane and think about the first Ryder Cup you remember as kids, maybe the first one you watched or the first big moment that you can remember.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: I guess the one that really sticks out in my mind is the winning putt of Davis Love. Where was that at when he raised his arms?
JULIUS MASON: Belfry, '93.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: What year?
JULIUS MASON: '93.
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: I'm sure I watched them before then, but that one sticks out in my memory, being an away match and a tight match. You know, just an iconic, really, kind of picture when he made that winning putt and raised his arms. Knowing Davis now, you know what that meant and what that feels like.
I still remember that and still look at it. It's in a lot of our team rooms, pictures and all that throughout the years. It's probably the one that sticks in my mind the most.
CAPTAIN PÃ¯Â¿Â½DRAIG HARRINGTON: I think for me personally, I grew up as an amateur playing -- we used to play our winter series of golf a lot on a golf course called Royal Dublin which is the home of Christy O'Connor, Sr. He at that stage had played the most Ryder Cups in Ryder Cup history. I think it was nine. His golf bags are obviously in the memorabilia cabinets and things there.
So I grew up with The Ryder Cup being very much in the forefront of golf in Ireland, and obviously Christy O'Connor junior hit that 2-iron in '85 would probably be the first shot. I probably saw shots before that, but '85 would have been -- that was the one for me against Fred Couples, then quickly followed by Eamonn Darcy, another Irish pro, holing the putt at Muirfield Village. Holed like a six-footer -- well, maybe a four-footer down the hill on 18 at Muirfield. Eamonn would not have been the most beautiful putter to hole a putt like that in The Ryder Cup.
Philip Walton, then winning in '95, holing -- took two down the last.
There's a lot of really great Irish heritage in The Ryder Cup, and that's something I would have been brought up with. So those are the standout memories for me.
Q. Over the last few Ryder Cups, there's been some evaluation, I guess, of the American Team and their ability to play match play as compared to the proficiency of the European Team. As you're approaching this, what would you look to work with their mind-set to work to match play versus stroke play that they are used to week-after-week?
CAPTAIN STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, and I don't know if we are weak in that department. I think the Europeans have outplayed us the last few times. We get a lot of practice at it. We play a Presidents Cup every other year, and we play this event, and we also have the World Golf Championship match-play event.
Maybe, if anything, we have been looking into stats, as well. We do the same thing as the European side, and we gave myself a lot of holes away in France by making something other than par. We made almost as many birdies, if I remember right, during that week in France, but we just gave so many holes away in making different numbers.
So it could be our style of play. Our guys on the U.S. side are aggressive players. They make a lot of birdies. Usually the guys that make the team are leading the birdie average for the year.
You know, they are just aggressive players, and you know, sometimes in match play, it's okay to back down and try to make a par. It's showed in France that if we could have just made some pars that it could have been a different match.
That's easier said than done, too. France was a tough setup. The course was very demanding, very difficult. Our guys didn't have any experience on that golf course.
Yeah, so I think if anything, the message for our guys would be, you know, sometimes backing off and making pars and making the other team earn it is a good thing, and wear them out a little bit.
Yeah, I don't -- it's a tough question. You've got to hole putts. Bottom line is you make more putts than the other team and you're going to win. Hopefully we can do that.
JULIUS MASON: Questions? Questions from media twice? PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig, Steve, thank you very much for joining us. We look forward to seeing you in a year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports