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November 3, 2004

Tom Lehman

M.G. Orender

JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am Julius Mason director of media relations for the PGA of America, welcome to the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Amelia Island, site of the 88th PGA Annual Meeting. Thank you for joining us today for the 2006 United States Ryder Cup Captain announcement. We have a few guests in the audience that I'd like to introduce, beginning with, PGA of America vice president, Roger Warren; secretary Brian Whitcomb, honorary president Jack Connelly; CEO Jim Awtrey, and several PGA of America board members, past presidents and delegates from the PGA Annual Meeting this week. We are joined this afternoon via telephone by several media representatives from the nation and around the world, and at this time I'd like to go ahead turn it over to the president of PGA of America, Mr. M.G. Orender.

M.G. ORENDER: Thank you, Julius. On behalf the more than 28,000 men and women of the PGA of America who are dedicated to growing the great game of golf, I'd like to welcome to you thank you for joining us today for the formal announcement and introduction of the next United States Ryder Cup Captain. We are coming off one of the most successfully staged Ryder Cup Matches in the history of the event. Oakland Hills Country Club in the great state of Michigan proved to be a wonderful backdrop for one of sports greatest and largest spectacles. The only thing that didn't go our way last September was that the U.S. Team did not walk away with a victory. With that said, we are very proud of our U.S. Team and especially our captain, Hal Sutton; with the way that they represented the Ryder Cup, the United States, the PGA of America, and of course the PGA members across the United States. 2006 Marks the 36th edition of the Ryder Cup Matches, which will be played at The K Club in Straffan, Ireland, September 22-24 of 2006. As most of you know, U.S. players have already begun compiling points towards the 2006 U.S. Team, since the week after August, the PGA Championship in August, at Whistling Straits. After September's loss to Europe many people had numerous opinions and thoughts regarding the U.S. points system, and we do, too. We will continue to review the points system, as we do all aspects of the Ryder Cup, and it's our hope to share a final decision with you before January 1. Today we are here to share another important announcement regarding the Ryder Cup Matches. An event of this nature requires a strong and experienced leader. Today we are pleased to welcome him as our captain. Our 2006 Ryder Cup Captain has been a PGA member for 22 years, and becomes the 24th individual to be chosen U.S. captain since the Ryder Cup Matches were inaugurated in 1927. He has competed in the '95, '97 and '99 Ryder Cup teams, and is perhaps remembered for leaving his mark in major championship golf by winning the 1996 British Open trophy at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. That same season he was the PGA Player of the Year, the leading money winner on TOUR and was the winner of the Vardon Trophy, as well as the PGA Grand Slam of golf. He is a Minnesota native and now makes his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. His competitiveness and passion for the game and his leadership and past Ryder Cup Matches makes him a consummate captain to guide the American team. He has one mission now and one mission only: To bring the Cup back to the United States. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce you to the man who will guide the 12-member team that seeks to regain the Ryder Cup at The K Club in Ireland in 2006. Please welcome Captain Tom Lehman. (Applause).

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, thank you very much. What a thrill and what an honor to be here today. Sometimes you never dream big enough. I guess, in my life, I've had some dreams and some hopes and some things I've wanted to achieve and I've been very fortunate in some of the things I have been able to achieve and some things that have been given to me. Being the Ryder Cup Captain I think certainly is beyond my wildest dreams and it's very much an honor to be here today. The PGA of America, I just want to say thank you, specifically to M.G., to Roger Warren, to Brian Whitcomb, to Jim Awtrey, Jack Connelly, thank you so much for putting your trust in me for this upcoming Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup to me is, I think, the ultimate golf experience. When I think of my career and where I've been, even going way back to college golf and amateur golf professional golfer, the mini tours, playing in South Africa, Asia, just all over the world and so many of great experiences I've had and some of the great things that have happened to me, without question, I think including the British Open victory my greatest moment in golf is being a part of the Ryder Cup Team. I have just a real passion for the event, and I love the emotional side of it. I love the excitement of the fans and I love the excitement that the teams have. I love the way the golf world just focuses on it. To me it is just the ultimate, ultimate golf experience. And so to be chosen as a captain to be a part of this next coming Ryder Cup Team is a thrill beyond belief. It's an honor, I said that, it truly is. But also, I think it's a great opportunity. It's a great opportunity I think for the United States Team. At the end of the day, we have a bunch of great, talented individuals on our golf team, on our Ryder Cup Team. We have a bunch of guys who have done incredible things in golf. We have been somewhat unsuccessful recently in the Ryder Cup, and I see the opportunity as this: We are going to a place that's never been played before, in Ireland, for the first time ever playing in Irish soil, which for the first time itself is a great opportunity, a great thrill. The Irish people, the country is one of the greatest places I've ever been to. When I think of Ireland, I think of without question, the nicest, most genuine warmhearted people in the world. And so I look forward to going back there and leading our team to go to Ireland and do that. We are going to have a tough road ahead of us, quite frankly. I think four of the last five Ryder Cups, the European Team has won; five of the last seven, and we always go into the Ryder Cup as the favorite. And I think simply the facts show that no matter how good our players are, no matter how high you are ranked in the world, no matter how many major championships our team has won and how many victories we have, how talented we are, we always seem to have a difficult time with the Ryder Cup. And I think it probably is because of the fact that the European Team is very, very strong. And so for the first time ever, without meaning any dishonor to the American players, we'll probably be the underdogs. I think without question, the facts show we are the underdogs. You go to Irish soil playing on a golf course that they play the Irish Open on every year; a course that the European players have played many, many times with all of their fans and their home base in their backyard. They will be the favorite and we'll be the underdogs, and that's just fine with me. I look forward to the challenge, our players look forward to the challenge. And I think we have a chance to really make up for some experiences in the past that we are all not really happy with, and to do it over in Ireland will be a huge thrill and we expect to do that. Thank you.

JULIUS MASON: Thank you, Tom. Congratulations, Tom. Ladies and gentlemen we'll open the floor to questions first in Amelia Island.

Q. You had talked about how you were interested in possibly playing in one more Ryder Cup and you played so well the last five weeks of the year, how tough of a decision was it to give up on playing and go to the captain side?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: That's a good question. I don't think I am giving up on playing in terms of being a competitive PGA TOUR player. In fact, my goal would be to make the team. In talking to my wife about the decision, I told her it would be, to me, the ultimate achievement is if I could play my way on to the team. With that said, I don't see myself playing on the team unless there was some very interesting situation where I had won a bunch of tournaments leading up to it and feel like I could help the team. For me, the ultimate scenario would be for me to play well enough, make the team and step aside and take No. 11.

Q. The week of the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, how much of that did you get a chance to see on TV? And from whatever advantage point you were able to watch it, what are your thoughts on pairings, getting players acclimated to the formats, the doubles, and just in general what can you do for the next few years to try to come up with combinations that play the best together?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, definitely, I watched -- I played that week at the Texas Open, and so I watched as much as I possibly could. I was extremely interested in the matches and the outcome of The Matches. I was living and dying with every shot that took place with every putt that the American team missed, just like every American player in the clubhouse. We had a huge group of people at the Texas Open clubhouse watching the event, and there was a very definite line of European players who were playing there who were cheering for the Europeans and the Americans who were cheering for the Americans. What I saw, quite frankly was the fact that the Europeans made a lot of putts. I'm not sure you can say any more than that. They made it seemed like every putt they looked at, and that's become what they do every time the Ryder Cup rolls around. They putted extremely well and made a lot of putts; and therefore, are very difficult to beat. In terms of the other part of the question, you know, all I can say is that I grew up playing team sports. I grew up playing basketball, football, hockey, baseball, and one of my heroes growing up was John Wooden, who I think is maybe the greatest coach of all time. He had a thing about second-guessing. He thought second-guessing was a complete waste of time. And I happen to admire and respect him so much that I actually agree with that very much. I think second-guessing any pairing, second-guessing anything that anybody has ever done is a waste of time. I know this for a fact. I know that every player that I know of who has played on the team, every captain who has captained the team, every person who I have talked to all take it extremely seriously who have wanted to with all their heart to win the Cup. The fact that it has not come through should never be I think a reflection on their effort or their motivation or the decision the captain makes or anything. It simply comes down to the fact of who has played the better golf that week, and the Europeans have definitely done that. In terms of my job as the captain, I think my biggest job as the captain is to do one thing, to create an environment for our players to play the best golf they can possibly play. Whatever it takes to do that, that's what I'm going to do. Whatever makes them most comfortable which allows them play to the best of their ability, that's what I plan on doing. I'm committed that. No more, no less.

Q. Do you see yourself as a captain being someone who is maybe going to be like very firm with what kind of decisions you make? Is it something that you will interact more with players on their input? What will your approach be?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, you know, I think I am -- my core personality is I'm a very emotional person. I'm a very passionate person. I'm somewhat of an impulsive person. So I tend to kind of fly by the seat of my pants a little bit, which is why I think in thinking about even further down the road and assistant captains and selecting somebody as my assistant who is maybe a little more deal-oriented, a little more slow-down-and-think-for-a-second, which I think would be a good pairing for me which would help me. I think the whole thing about the Ryder Cup and what really makes a team a team is relationships. It's the people who care about each other, people who are concerned about each other and who are willing to put the team before the individual achievement. I want the star of this next Ryder Cup to be the team, not any one individual. The team is overall, and so I kind of really believe the way I would go about it is getting input. I plan on having a conversation with all of our players, with hopefully the entire PGA TOUR who has a chance to qualify throughout the course of the next two years, and kind of learn from them what their feelings are and combine that with my experiences and my opinions and coming up with a great environment for the team.

Q. I just wonder if you would clarify, I was a little confused. Did you say that if you did make the team on points that you will play or that you would step aside?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I appreciate you asking that. What I was saying is this: If I was playing the kind of golf that was definitely going to help the team and I qualify for the team -- what I mean by that is this. What I feel is we need to put more emphasis on winning what it comes to earning points. I believe there needs to be more that goes with winning, and so I would only want to be on the team if I were winning. If in 2006, leading up to the Ryder Cup, I won three times, I feel like I would be a great asset to the team. But if I simply was racking up Top-10s and getting enough points just to sneak on the team, then I would not really feel that I'm the kind of guy that I would want. So I would probably say that I'm going to step aside, and being the captain is such a huge honor that I would not want to pass that up. So, in a way it kind of, it's riding the fence slightly, but really, in effect, it's not. You know, if I'm winning, yes, I'll play. If I'm not winning, then no, I won't.

Q. Besides creating an environment, what ideas do you have to reverse the trend of the Europeans winning so often and making putt after putt?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, you really can't control what the European Team does.

Q. I know you can't run on the green --

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: That's been tried before. Yeah, you can't control them. The only thing you can control is what you do. We all know that. I think the fact that we have to be underdogs, first of all, is a bit of an advantage. I think no matter what you say, the facts show based on past histories that the European Team has had the upper hand and you cannot deny that. So, you know, I kind of forgot what your question is, quite frankly, but you --

Q. What plan do you have to reverse the trend.

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Those are all things that -- you know, this has been a fairly recent decision. I've only known about this for a week and a half or so. I know I didn't respond to your e-mail in a way that was not totally forthright, Jeff; I apologize.

Q. I understand.

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I have a whole bunch of ideas; I'm sure some of which are good and some of which are bad. But the bottom line is I feel like the whole process starts two years ahead of time. We need to be thinking about ways that you can build stronger relationships, stronger camaraderies two years ahead of time, shared experiences and things that will allow a person to really know the guy who he's playing with. I don't want anybody to take that the wrong way, but the whole thing is, start now. Start now and have everybody aiming for the Ryder Cup, so that two years now at The K Club be something that is on everybody's radar screen so that when the time they get there they are really, really ready to play.

Q. To go back to a well-worn story, can you remember what you dared dream that day 13, 14 years ago when you decided that you were going to give pro golf another try and not coach at the University of Minnesota and rent skis in the winter? And put in perspective what this means for your career.

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Definitely, Rick Bay was the director, and once again for about the 100th time, I'll thank Rick for the great decision to not hire me. I think it was a great decision. Getting back to the dream, when I got back tour, it was a struggle back in '92. I had five goals. My goals were to win on TOUR, win a major, to be the Player of the Year, to be ranked No. 1 in the world and to make the Ryder Cup. Those were the five goals that I had. Being the captain was never even something I even thought about. And so I guess did I expect this? No. Did I even dream about it back then? Definitely not. I thought it was way far and beyond what was in store for my life, but obviously very blessed, very blessed in the way things have gone for me. Obviously my wife was a big part of it. She's been extremely excited about what's going to be happening for the next two years. She's every bit as emotional about it, every bit as passionate as I am. She probably wants to win more than anybody. She's looking forward to the experience, and I think together we are going to have a great time.

Q. Is it true your parents have to reschedule their Irish trip after this?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: You've already talked to them?

Q. I heard.

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Oh, you heard. The rumor has it?

Q. Yeah.

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I guess that's true. I think they were planning on going next year, but I guess I told you them, probably wait a year.

Q. Do you think that part of the European contingent still harbors any resentment towards you for the incident on the 17th green in 1999, and if so, could that have an effect on how contentious The Matches might be?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I think the past couple of Ryder Cups have shown that what happened at Brookline is a thing of the past. I think The Matches have been contested with sportsmanship and with respect, and I am certain that it will continue that way in Ireland. The golf fans in Ireland are some of the best fans in the world, and they deserve a Ryder Cup with great competition and great respect for one another. But I will say one thing is that what makes the Ryder Cup great, what makes it fantastic is the emotional side of it, the excitement that comes with the play, the fans, the way they cheer. To me the song that I hate more than anything in the world is that "Ole, Ole, Ole" song you hear at the Ryder Cup that the Europeans sing when things are going their way. But really, without it, it would not be the Ryder Cup. And without the emotional -- the nationalism and patriotism, it would not be the Ryder Cup. So there is no problem with getting excited and there's no problem with being passionate about it. But I think the past few Ryder Cups have certainly proved that I think we are well beyond the incident that happened at the 17th hole.

Q. I wanted to ask you, your involvement in picking the criteria for the team, M.G. Orender said before you were introduced that they were going to be looking at that and will hopefully have an announcement before January 1. Are you going to be involved in that discussion, and would you like to be involved in that discussion?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I definitely am involved in that discussion and will be going forward. I think everybody is on the same page, quite frankly with the criteria that we are using to select the team, and there's always ways of making things better and I'm sure the goal of everyone involved is to make the selection process even that much better. We definitely want to field the best team possible. And I'm sure whatever changes are made, if any, will reflect that.

Q. I'd like to ask a question on the same theme. Do you not think that, or would you not think that the States should copy the Europeans and the points, the players should start gathering points much nearer to the actual event?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I think definitely the success of the European Team more than anything, I think, has caused everyone to kind of look at the whole process. And I'm not sure exactly how it's all going to shake out, but I'm sure we all want to make it work more efficiently, if there is a way. If that's the consensus of everyone who makes that decision, then I'm sure that things will come down wherever we see fit. We definitely want to field our best team, and it's not just the guys who are playing the best more recently. I think there's definitely a desire for that.

Q. I just wondered, I know that in 2001 you were really disappointed for not being a captain's pick, does this more than make up for that?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was definitely a disappointment not to be on that team in 2001, there's no question. But that's the past. I really don't choose to think about the past a whole lot. I'm not going to whine about it or cry or anything. That's very unproductive. This role that I'm playing now is definitely an honor. It's something that I can only dream of as a kid, as opposed to as a player. It's such an elite group of people. I just saw another video today of captains going down the list of Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus and Trevino and Stockton and Watson, just the list goes on. There's 23 guys before me who are just, you know, the guys who have made golf what it is. So to be a part of that is an extremely humbling feeling for me. It's an extremely -- I feel pretty small compared to some of those guys, but yet I know that my passion and my heart for the game are every bit as big and my desire is every bit as great as those guys.

Q. There were former captains and other players who have said it's time to take a different approach and get someone like a Larry Nelson. Would you just talk about your guys' process and how much thought was given to changing and getting away from guys in their 40s?

M.G. ORENDER: Obviously the committee, the four officers and our CEO, we reviewed who the next captain will be. And it was very clear to us that the passion of the captain that Tom Lehman has shown as a player and a Ryder Cup player made him a standout for us, and really for us, Tom Lehman is the guy and that's who we are focusing on.

Q. I believe at last count Tiger Woods has played with ten partners in the Ryder Cup. What are your thoughts on Tiger's role with this team and what do you think -- what kind of guy works good with Tiger?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think Tiger's role is he's one of 12. That's his role. He's a part of the team. He is an integral part of the team, but there is 12 integral parts of the team. You can't do it without any of them. Every one is important and everyone plays a crucial role. No more, no less than any others. That's my feeling on it. There's obviously a conversation I need to have with Tiger. Tiger and I are friends, and I look forward to developing the relationship with him, as well as all of the other guys in a much more strong and deep way. I think the opportunity that I see over the next two years is developing a lot stronger bond and a lot stronger friendships, and I think with that comes the ability to play with anybody. Quite frankly, I think a lot of guys are somewhat intimidated to play with Tiger. I think they feel like if they play poorly, "it's going to be my fault," and I really want to work to dry any of that feeling amongst any of the players. I think a successful buildup to the Ryder Cup would allow any player to play with any other player simply because of the fact there's a shared respect; there's a bond of wanting to win this Ryder Cup and everybody is pulling to that common goal.

Q. Tiger had talked earlier about being more involved and possibly being a playing vice captain, and do you have any consideration to that and who might be your vice captain?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I think anybody who has played will have valuable input for me. I plan on spending a lot of time with all of the guys who have played, former captains to see, if you could do it over again what would you do differently; what seemed to work for you; what do you feel like as a team member was lacking what was the right ingredient; what do you think was the thing that made this one work or this one not work; is there something that should be done differently. There's all kinds of questions that need to be asked and talked about amongst the players and amongst other captains. You know, the guy that I choose as my assistants, or assistant, whoever he or they might be, will be a person that has experience, who has been there, who people respect, and someone who can help me make good decisions. I think that's what the role of the assistant is, to really bounce things off him, give good advice and make good decisions. It all comes down to the team, as well. I know at Brookline for example, going into the singles on a Sunday after we finished the two days we were four points down and there was -- we had put in the pairings for the final day and Bruce and Bill Rogers got in and all put the pairings together and floated them through the locker room while we were all waiting. And there was some interaction amongst the players with them and look at, you've got Tiger going off last, maybe he ought to go off early; maybe you ought to juggle the lineup and put him more towards the top. So then they went back and juggled the lineup and came back with what we eventually used on Sunday. So there was a lot of question and need for the players and the captain to be interacting and be communicating and for the captain to be listening. I think that's probably one of the strongest attributes a captain can have is someone who is a good listener and that's a big deal.

Q. I was wondering when you go back to the days of when you were coaching at Minnesota and now you are going to be captaining the Ryder Cup Team and we have seldom seen people go from college coaching to into progressional coaching and have difficulty at times trying to coach millionaires. What do you see as the most difficult thing in the translation and what will you draw on your coaching experience in Minnesota versus being a captain in 12 professionals?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: I need to correct you slightly. I never actually coached at Minnesota. I applied for the job and I got rejected, so I never did coach. So when it comes to coaching, the only thing I've coached is my son in the backyard, teaching how to shoot freethrows and hit a golf ball and shoot a hockey puck. Going forward in terms of, I guess, the captain, is not like a coach, I don't think. When I think a captain, I think of hockey has a coach who sits behind the bench and he drills the guys and makes them do this and do that. Then you have a captain who is part of the team and is kind of the leader of the group. And there's a great amount of respect in hockey for the captain and there's a great amount of respect for what he says and the captain carries a lot of weight and the guys actually look to him as a coach on the ice. And that's what I see as the role of the captain. I'm not going to be teaching these guys how to play golf. They know how to play golf. They don't need me telling them how to make a putt or hit a drive or what club to hit. What they look for a captain for, I think is what I said before, is creating that environment where they can excel. I believe in players putting pressure on themselves to play well. I believe in them being self-motivated. I will avoid at all costs the undue pressure that gets put on players by outside forces. I think that we need to ignore those entirely. My team I think will go in there expecting the best of themselves and perform very well.

Q. What plans do you have on how to handle Tiger Woods? It has been, said and the record bears it out, that he's more of an individual player than a team player, and I just want to know what do you think is vital to try to get him to be more of a team leader?

CAPTAIN TOM LEHMAN: You know, I disagree with you about that, Jeff. Tiger Woods, he played college golf he was a great teammate. Talk to anybody, Notah Begay, Conrad Ray, any of the guys who played with him in college; they will all say he is a great teammate. I played with him on a couple of Ryder Cup teams, and he was I think a great teammate. Tiger is not a talk-talk-talk, rah-rah-rah kind of guy, but I can assure you that his passion is to win. I can assure you his passion to apply to the best of his ability. I have no questions and no doubts whatsoever that Tiger Woods is 100% into the Ryder Cup. I just looked at his face in one of The Matches he was playing this past year at Detroit when they lost on the last hole, the look on his face said it all. He was crushed when they lost the last hole so, I know he wants to win.

JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our news conference today. Tom Lehman is the 2006 United States Ryder Cup Captain. We look forward to seeing new Ireland for a couple of years. Thank you very much.

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