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September 13, 1996

Justin Leonard

Kenny Perry


WES SEELEY: We have Kenny Perry and Justin Leonard who beat Nick Price and Frost 3-2. Why don't you give us some thoughts about the match and also how you spent the morning.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Biting our nails.

KENNY PERRY: Go ahead. Everything's been pretty much every day, you have to get up early, get the bus and get on out here, pretty much a routine, and now all of a sudden you have a morning off. And I know Justin said the same thing, I heard all the guys leaving this morning to come to the first match, all our rooms are together in the hotel. We heard them all leaving, and I rolled over and slept for another couple of hours and tried to relax as much as I could. And I think foursome matches are so tough because it's hard to get in a rhythm out there, and I was kind of wanting to play the four ball where you play your own ball and you have a partner playing your own ball. But Arnie knows what he's doing and I love the partner he put me with. And I just think Justin was a terrific player, he's got a lot of fire, he's a great competitor. He hits the ball so straight. And our personalities, I'm laid back, and I went with the flow and he took over and hit it tremendous, so I wasn't going going to let him down.

Q. It looks like the U.S. is staking itself to a pretty nice lead. Is that important getting off to a quick start and talk about that?

KENNY PERRY: Absolutely. In any kind of matchplay form and especially a round like today, it's very hard to press an alternate shot and once you do that your mistakes are magnified because it is tough to get into a rhythm. And if you can get the other team down early then they have to start forcing things, and it's the same thing throughout the tournament. Each point and half point is so crucial that it doesn't matter what you're doing; whether it's bowling or volleyball or golf, it's always nice to have a lead.

Q. Along the same lines, how important do you think it was for you guys that in the morning matches Fred and Davis were able to beat what looks like their No. 1 team and they're playing them well again this afternoon?

KENNY PERRY: That's always nice. We came out and had a 4-1 lead. What a great feeling that is. It would be terrible if we were down 1-4. And here Justin and I have never -- he's had a lot of amateur competition playing in matchplay, but I've had zero. I've got very little experience in matchplay. And I never played much amateur golf. We teamed up tremendously. There's two things you can look at in this type -- when you have two rookies going out there, you're either going to go after them and play great or you're going to fall apart out there. We've both been playing tremendous all year. We fell on each other out there, on our shoulders, we were strong. And what was important about our match, we never hit it in the heavy rough. We missed a few fairways, but they were in the thin, light cut, we always had a clear shot to the greens. We always had a flow going out there. It's tough in a foursome to have a rhythm. We hit fairway after fairway and hit balls on greens on greens on greens and had birdie putts. They were missing the greens and they were making mistakes early, we could have put a hurt on them on 10 or 11. I had a 4-footer on 10 to put us 4 up and Nick hit it in the hazard on 11 to par 3 then Frosty chipped short and all I've got to get it down anywhere for Justin, and I hit a terrible putt on the fringe and it went way left and he had a 15-footer. I let him off the hook on four in a row. Other than that we kept the heat on. We never hit any fouls out there. We kept the ball in play and that's so important out there.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Not planning anything, but we played practice rounds together on Tuesday and Wednesday and we both, I think, had a lot of confidence in the other player because we'd seen how each other had been hitting those two days. And I think between us in those two practice rounds, we each might have missed one or two fairways. So even though we were rookies, this is our first time in this format, I think we were both comfortable with each other and just really ready to get out there and do something.

Q. I wonder if I could get an answer from both of you on this, please. Even though this is your first Presidents Cup, do you realize - have you thought about the tradition that is building and the prestige that is building with the Presidents Cup?

KENNY PERRY: When they say the top 12 Americans are here representing the United States, that's a great feeling. What an honor that is. This is only the second year for it. You've got the President out there watching this right now. You've got President Bush, the honorary this year. You've got all the States and the State Heads, and General DeClerk, and just so many people that may make this event so prestigious now, and it's really growing. It's neat when you get people like Norman and other big names wanting to support it. So it's definitely going upwards and will get better every year.

JUSTIN LEONARD: I think the same thing. The people involved, you've got Byron Nelson there on the first tee shaking everybody's hand - all these foreign dignitaries. And it's just incredible the amount of support it's gotten for such a young event. And to see guys like Norman and Jumbo and Steve Elkington and everybody just excited about it, because this is something they really wanted to do. And it's a great feeling to be here and just see it kind of coming into its own.

Q. Having not played in the morning, were you able to feel any of the momentum carry over, even though you didn't play?

JUSTIN LEONARD: Not really. I woke up, watched on TV and those guys, of course, were playing great. But we're kind of out there about an hour, hour and a half before the tee times and there's about four people watching us hit balls. And we're kind of keeping an eye on the score board, seeing what's going on. We're not exactly sure who we're playing with or what time we're going to go. So it was kind of all thrown together pretty quickly. But once we get out there and got playing, I think we settled down a little bit. And just kind of enjoyed each other's company out there.

Q. It looks like by the end of the day you guys might be up 7-3 or even 8-2. I know that's what you want, but is that good for this event?

KENNY PERRY: It's good for the Americans. We're here to win. I'm sure -- we're all good friends. Most of those guys play the American TOUR. So we all know each other out there. And like Mr. Palmer said, nobody is going to go away enemies after this is over. We're all going to go out and do our best. If they can beat us 8 to 2, they're going to want to step on our throats, also. It's very competitive, but yet it's all in good fun, too. We all want to win just as badly as they do.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Remember, this is just one day. There's two days left and a lot of points at stake. So we're not going to count any chickens yet.

Q. Justin and Kenny, could you talk about what Arnold's mood was before this started? Did he give you a pep-talk, or has he been kind of low key about that?

KENNY PERRY: He got me off to the side at his birthday party and said some private thoughts to me. And that meant more to me than anything. Here's The King. He's got his arm around me and telling me some things I need to do to make me a better golfer. He pumped me up, I'm sure. I know the team is rallying around him. They want to win this for him. Obviously we want to win this for us, too, but we'd love to win it for him, too. He told us, if I put a little pressure on you, I mean to, but I want you to win. You can see the fire in his eyes. And that's what I love about him. That's what I love about Justin. I love guys who are such good competitors and just want to win and that's a neat feeling.

JUSTIN LEONARD: It's just his involvement I think is what makes this event so special for us. For me getting to spend time with him and see him at work, it's incredible. It's something that not many people are going to have a chance to do much longer. It's very special and it's something that -- a memory I'll carry with me for a long time. And I think one of the greatest things about him is that he's just one of the guys. He's giving everybody grief a little bit and I think he wants to hang out with us and go to dinner and ride on the bus. I think he enjoys that and that's a lot of fun to see.

WES SEELEY: We won't go birdies and bogeys, but could you give us a quick -- how the holes that were won and lost played?

JUSTIN LEONARD: Well, the first hole Kenny made about an 8-footer for par to half. 2: He hit a good drive and a good second shot and made par. 3: The same. 4: This was one of the best shots I've ever seen. The par 3 and the wind is starting to come into us and it's really starting to rain. And Kenny hits a 3-iron in there about five feet and everybody went nuts and then I was able to make the putt. 5: Won that hole off the par. They got in trouble on their third shot. 6: I kind of flamed a 6-iron out right in the bunker. Their team was also in the bunker and Kenny hit a great bunker shot out about four and a half feet. They were six feet and they missed it and we made it. 9: I hit another poor iron -- bad tee shot and Kenny hit this great full swing, Phil Mickelson; the ball hit and stopped within about three inches and so I made that putt to half. 12: The par 5, I did not hit a good second shot, left Kenny with a tough chip. He hit a good chip. They were on the green in 2 and two-putted and I missed mine. 13: I had a good drive and Kenny hit a great 4-iron in there about 20 feet. They made bogey. 14: Kenny hit 101 yard sand wedge about two and a half feet for birdie. 15: I hung my drive a little bit, it was in the first cut but a little hanging lie and Kenny hit just short and I putted about 8 feet past and we missed that. 15, there, I don't know what I was thinking hitting that putt so hard. But Kenny had a 5-footer to win, and it went dead center. So we were happy to get it over with at that point and just pleased all around.

WES SEELEY: If Kenny were going over these holes --

KENNY PERRY: It would be different.

WES SEELEY: I would think so.

Q. Strategy much more so than I know when you go out on the final day in a regular tournament you're thinking I may do this, may do that, but play the best and hope for the best. There's a lot of strategy involved, three different games of golf that you're going to be playing here over the next few days. Have you guys thought about that and how do we best get a point? The whole object is to to get No. 8, hit 9, get a 10 point, that's a whole different concept.

KENNY PERRY: I was watching the guys this morning play the four ball. And I never thought much about it, but I was noticing that if the other player was closer to the hole, they were allowing him to go first and putt and make that birdie and put the pressure back on the other team. There's a lot of different strategies out there. But in a foursome's match it's important to play your own game. I think it's important to leave the other guy alone, let him play his own game, because that's how he got there. Hit fairways and just go on with it. But in four ball, there's more strategy involved. Foursome is where you've got to be steady and go on with the flow.

End of FastScripts....

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