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September 22, 2014
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, Tom, welcome to Gleneagles. It was a year ago we sat here at the Year To Go function and we talked about what it would be like the week itself. Now it's here. Tom, perhaps you'll start us off just by giving us your thoughts now. You've touched down on Scottish soil for the week of The Ryder Cup.
TOM WATSON: It went like that. It's amazing how fast it went. A year ago here with the Year To Go event was spectacular, and now it's right here. Our team came over in good shape. They are trying to get their legs right now. They are getting a little food in them, getting their clothes fitted the right way and going out and chipping and putting and just having an easy day of it today. Now, the process begins. First the captains' conference here, the things we are going to be doing tonight and the next few days before the matches actually begin are part of the process. But the real thing on everybody's mind is Friday morning at 7.35, is it, or 7.36?
SCOTT CROCKETT: 7.35, Tom.
TOM WATSON: 7.35. I'd better get that right. No late to the tee, okay. But that's what we are thinking about. I can just say that our teammates, we came all over on the plane today, we had a nice little conversation before we got on the plane and during the bus ride over here, just logistics, some things, trying to get all the superfluous stuff out of the way before they get down to business. I'm very happy to be here in the role of being a Ryder Cup Captain, and just being in Scotland again is very special to me. I have somewhat of an affinity for Scotland. Done pretty well over here in a few tournaments in years past, long years past, a long time ago. But it's great to be back, and if you can assure me of the Scottish weather for the next six days, I'd really appreciate it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, same for you, the players have been arriving over the past couple of days. Give us your thoughts as the week gets underway.
PAUL McGINLEY: Echo everything Tom said, it's an exciting time, an exciting time in both of our lives. As great as Tom's achievements on the golf course, I'm sure he's very proud to sit here as captain as well, too, in a country that's been so good to him in terms of his major championship wins and he has an affinity. That's only natural. I'm sure he'll be very much welcomed by the Scottish people, as he will indeed by the Europeans, too. Yeah, we are arriving, not as collectively together as the Americans did. We are arriving at different stages, people coming from all over the world. Obviously Martin coming from Germany and Henrik from Sweden and Sergio from Spain and Graeme from Northern Ireland. So they are all coming from different parts, but the deadline is 6 o'clock tonight. I think the last one to arrive today is Graeme around 4 o'clock today. And other than that, everybody will be on site, and we are just like Tom said, raring to go.
Q. Do you use your picks to build chemistry, or do you just pick the best available golfers when they go out there on Friday and Saturday?
PAUL McGINLEY: Sorry. I didn't quite get the question. Are you talking about the picks -- wow (military plane flying overhead.)
TOM WATSON: Are you using them against us this week? Is that friendly?
PAUL McGINLEY: Friendly fire.
TOM WATSON: I'll answer that first. There's a part of me that when I chose the captain's picks, that was about chemistry. Obviously Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, they have a very good chemistry, and Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson have great chemistry. It's shown in the past. You have to kind of bank on past experiences, that's part of it. Also, the way they are playing is a big factor, as well. But there's no one factor. There's a combination of factors with me.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, again, it's similar. I picked two players very experienced in Lee and Ian Poulter, and then I've gone with Stephen Gallacher, who is arguably the hottest player. Who wasn't on the team and who just missed out. A bit like Tom; it's a mixture, and three guys that you know would fit into the team, and you know could be easily paired.
Q. Your European Team are going into this as the favourites. Is that a tag that sits comfortably with you and your team, and Tom, kind of related to that, are you happy to be going into this competition as the underdogs?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I think we're slight favourites. We're not overwhelming favourites. We're slight favourites. But we have been favourites before in Ryder Cups. This is not like this is the first time ever. And I think our players have deserved it, and I think it's a situation, if we are going to be favourites, to embrace it. It's not something to be afraid of or be ashamed of. The guys have worked very hard to be in the position they are. Having said that, I did a bit of calculation myself when the two teams were formulated, and Tom's team's average ranking position was 16 and ours was 18. So this is not a weak American Team. We might be slight favourites with the bookies, but the two teams are very well balanced and very close together. We know it's going to be a very tough contest ahead of us.
TOM WATSON: As favourites are concerned, the media, the people that look at the teams, they look at Rory McIlroy, they look at Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson; The European Team is loaded. But when the matches start at 7.35 on Friday morning, there's going to be quality of play going on. We'll just see who wins. I know our team is totally committed to bringing the Cup back. I know that. And I'm going to do everything in my power to help them do that and set the stage for them.
Q. Can I just get your reaction on Rickie Fowler's haircut?
TOM WATSON: What's your reaction to Rickie Fowler's haircut? I thought it was great. I thought it was terrific. It brings a spirit, a light spirit to the team and I wouldn't be surprised if, heck, even Ted Bishop over here with the PGA puts "USA" on the side of his head if it means we're going to win (laughter).
Q. You mentioned the significance of Scotland in your golfing life. There's a great pride here, The Ryder Cup here for the first time in 40 years, and we've just been through quite a bruising period in our political history here in the last few weeks. Is there something special about playing here, or once you're out there, could you be anywhere?
TOM WATSON: The second part of your question there, no, you couldn't be anywhere but Scotland when you're in Scotland. This is a special place. When people think of golf, two great golf courses in the world, what do you think of? You think of the Old Course at St. Andrews, and in the United States you think of Pebble Beach. You just think -- you might throw in Augusta National, but you think of those courses. Scotland is where the game of golf was invented, and the history of the game here is rich with wonderful stories about different players, different events, different contests. I remember as a boy, reading about the stories about the older players here from the Allan Robertsons, to the Old Tom Morris, the big matches they used to have. They played 12, 15 rounds for one match, for 500 pounds, it was an enormous amount of money. The game of golf evolved from that. There's a certain element in me that I feel like I'm part Scottish that way. I love the game so much, and I think the reason is, is the reading of the history when I was a young boy.
Q. Do you feel that same way, Paul? Do you have that same kind of affinity about this part of the world?
PAUL McGINLEY: I certainly do, yeah. It's the Home of Golf, as he rightly said. He's got a particular affinity with it with his successes around here that I certainly watched as a boy.
TOM WATSON: Hey, wait a minute, you're older than that. You've got grey hair to prove it there. (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: I was a teenager (laughing). I have memories growing up of Tom winning Open Championships. I was rooting for him. It's a great thrill for him to come back to Scotland, it is the Home of Golf. I go to St. Andrews, and I can feel the spirituality of St. Andrews. I can feel it; the 18-hole walk goes right up the centre of town. It's special. You know you're somewhere special. There's just a sense, there's a feeling. And that's what you have in Scotland. It is the Home of Golf, and maybe because we study the history and we understand it so much, that's why we have that sense. But I certainly feel it when I'm in Scotland, and none more so than in St. Andrews. But I think Gleneagles, is, again, a very historic venue in world golf, and I think it will do The Ryder Cup a lot of justice this week.
Q. Obviously what happened in Medinah two years ago was a painful experience for the American Team. Have you discussed that as a team, and do you think it can motivate your players what happened two years ago, or do you fear it could inhibit them in any way?
TOM WATSON: I made it very clear to them that this trip is a redemption trip. Those players that played on that team, if any players are on this team, it's time to make amends and try to redeem yourselves from what happened in 2012. I think it's a motivation rather than a negative.
Q. Welcome both to Gleneagles. Going back to what you were both saying regarding Scotland, it strikes me that you're both on a lose/lose this week. Paul, if you lose, Scotland's greatest non-Scottish golfer goes home a disappointed man. Tom, if you win, Paul McGinley is deprived the chance of winning The Ryder Cup. It's a heavy burden to bear for both of you.
PAUL McGINLEY: I'm certainly not thinking that way to be honest.
TOM WATSON: I'm not thinking that way, either. Not even close to what I'm thinking. (Laughter).
Q. The captaincy, there are those captains who say that the role of the captains is overrated. There are those who say that actually, it isn't overrated. Would each of you please tell me, which camp you're in as far as that is concerned?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, I've some experience of sitting there as a vice captain on two occasions, and I've seen the decisions that have been made on both occasions where we've been fortunate enough to win, and we won by a point on each occasion. I've certainly am of the view that the captain's decisions in both instances were very important and were pertinent to us winning both of those. So I'm very much in the camp that although the players play all the game, of course the captain has an influence. He doesn't have a massive influence, but he has a big influence in what happens, but ultimately, though, it's down to the players.
TOM WATSON: I think the captain, he's a person who inspires the team. They don't need any motivation. My two jobs are to make the three captain's picks, and my job right now, along with my vice captains, is to team them up in the best possible way that we think we can win, just like Paul said. Those decisions, they evolve. Throughout the matches, they evolve. You start off with decisions you think are good for winning points, and they will change. In the heat of the battle, in the heat of the contest, when you make those decisions, those are the ones Paul is talking about. Those are the key decisions that the captains and the vice captains make together.
Q. How will you ensure that no player turns up with 11 minutes before their tee time?
PAUL McGINLEY: I know who -- I'm very much aware of that (laughing). The good thing about this week is that, you know, if somebody is late, they can roll out of bed to the first tee within five minutes. But no, we are on top of that, obviously. That was a big learning curve for everybody I think in Medinah, none more so than Rory, and certainly won't happen this year. We certainly have procedures in place in order for that not to happen, and I'm sure Tom does, too.
TOM WATSON: You're going to knock on their doors at 5 o'clock in the morning.
PAUL McGINLEY: Every five minutes.
Q. Because of his current level success and prominence, is Rory McIlroy an extra scalp and opponent this week, and is beating him, as people say metaphorically, worth more than a point?
TOM WATSON: Certainly whenever you beat the stud on the opposing team, that gives your team a boost, not a question. But when it's all said and done, it's 12 guys out there trying to win a point each match. There are eight guys in the first four matches, and on the last on Sunday, 12 guys are trying to win a point. Basically all you have to do is win a point and a half for the entire matches, and you win The Ryder Cup. That's the bottom line. That's what I'm telling my players.
Q. Who do your players see as the bigger scalp, Rory or Poulter?
TOM WATSON: Well, right now, we've got a lot of players to look at. But Poulter, I think Ian with his record, he's an 80 per cent -- he is an 80 per cent victor over the series of matches he's played in. We'd like to reduce that.
Q. And for Paul, Tom has been speaking a lot about redemption and about making amends. What's the one central message you've given your team?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I understand totally where Tom was coming from and the American Team, and I would feel the same way. But remember, I think we learned a lot in Medinah as well, too. As a team collectively, we learned a lot, and I was very fortunate to be part of the backroom team there. It was a big learning curve for us in a lot of ways. Sadly for me it was the first time in a Ryder Cup or in a team situation, I've been very privileged and lucky to be involved with teams that have been very successful. But that Medinah was a learning curve for me personally. We were really getting a wallop the first two days and that was the first time I was in that situation. I learned a lot from JosĂ© Maria, the decisions he made and the structures he put in place, to give us the best chance of getting out of the hole that we were in. So it was a big learning curve for us, and looking back on it now, it was a great experience.
Q. What was the message for the team?
PAUL McGINLEY: The bottom line is, this is a very, very strong American Team. The favourite tag or not favourite tag is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. We're going to have to play really well to win this Ryder Cup. I certainly won't be underestimating this American Team or Tom. If we're going to win this Ryder Cup, we've got to be on it.
Q. A lot has been made about guys like Horschel and Kirk being left off the team. Can you talk about what Webb Simpson brings to the table? Is it more than chemistry in his previous experience?
TOM WATSON: I don't pick any one player on my team to talk about. Because Webb was one of my captain's picks, I talked about that. He brings to the table some good play, but also a good relationship with Bubba. That's part of that. As far as Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk was concerned, the process by which we make the picks is we finalise the picks three weeks before The Ryder Cup, and the reason that we do that, there's been a lot of talk about, why don't we move it up and move it closer so we can get a guy who is playing well. But logistically, it doesn't work. You've got to give the players and their families time to get ready to come over to The Ryder Cup. And to do it any closer to it, logistically, it becomes very difficult. As much as you want to have the hottest players on your team, sometimes it just doesn't happen that way. I had some fun texts with Billy, when he won both events. I texted him and said, "Horschel, damn you, you're a day late but not a dollar short." (Laughter).
Q. For both captains, I'm assuming at this point you have a pretty good idea of who your pairings would be at least for the morning foursomes on Friday; if that's true or not, what would it take -- or whatever it is, fourball. Whatever it would take for your pairings to change over the next four days, what would you have to see?
TOM WATSON: Well, my case, there were some pretty solid pairings we've already thought about. Again, they evolve. They evolve throughout the match, depending on how well you do or how poorly you do, and you make changes based on the best information that you have, and that's play, that's -- basically it's play and the body language of the players, making sure that they stay way up. One of the things that I want to tell my team is that no matter how far you're down, and I'm sure Paul does the same thing, and they have a good record of it in 2012 at Medinah; no matter how far down, you can win and don't ever give up on a single shot. That's the message I'm going to give to my team. And it evolves. Again, the pairings will evolve throughout the matches the first two days, and they have evolved somewhat how we position them in the singles matches. Right now, we can't say what they are going to be on Saturday or Sunday. We have a pretty good idea what they are going to be on Friday.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I concur with that. Again, I've got a pretty good idea as to where we're going to go on Friday, and at this stage now, we are into the final tailoring of preparation for the matches in terms of practise rounds and a little bit more communication with the players, getting feedback, where they are actually at now. Situations like -- to give you a horsey example, horses, when they travel to Cheltenham, hoping they have arrived, how did they travel, are they okay, are they back on it, are they back in there, have they got the pace of the ground again. And that's kind of what you're looking at with the players the next few days in practise, just making sure everybody is ticking over. That's probably just what we are checking out over the next few days.
Q. Rory said he felt in need of a rest after THE TOUR Championship, but he seemed to be still pretty busy last week with various events. Are you concerned at all about fatigue for Rory in particular, and any of your other players, as well?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I don't have any concern. He hit balls yesterday and got a real good break away from golf. Resting doesn't always necessarily mean lying in bed for the week or lying by the pool for the week. I think getting out and doing different things he's been doing, having fun, like going to the boxing matches the other day, and doing that Golden Sunday yesterday for SKY, as well, too, those are things he enjoys doing. He arrived yesterday afternoon, had a nice session with his coach and again this morning, so he's fresh, he's ready.
Q. Just thinking back to Medinah a couple of years ago, there was a moment where Bubba and Poulter both decided to play through a wall of noise on the first tee, and it was criticised by some of the establishment figures, but you look at the amphitheatre of that first tee and maybe look at Fowler's haircut, do you feel that you each have to warn your guys of the dangers of over-exuberance?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's one of the things that we're great, great traditionalists in the game, myself and Tom, and certainly we'll be leading our teams with a great understanding and reverence towards the rules and traditions of the game. But as Tom said there with the haircut of Rickie, that's great. I think that's great. I think the guy who is so passionate about his country that he will go and do that for The Ryder Cup, I think that's brilliant. And even that -- not that I would endorse it or want our players to do it; what Bubba did spontaneously on the first tee at Medinah, again, as a one-off, I thought that was fantastic. I wouldn't want it every round, but at that moment in time, I thought it was great. That's what makes The Ryder Cup so special. Having said that, we all know, just like the crowd behaviour, there's a line, and we all want to stay on the right side of that line.
TOM WATSON: I concur with what Paul said exactly. There's a moment for certain things to happen, but there's a line that you shouldn't cross. We are both traditionalists in that way. The game is a traditional game. I think that's why a lot of people like to play the game. The solitude and quietness that you play in the game when you're just going out on day by yourself; if you can put your cell phone away, that gives you -- it fills you up. The certainty fills you up. That's what the game brings to people when they play it. Of course, in The Ryder Cup matches, there's not a lot of serenity. There's a lot of tension, a lot of pressure. The crowds are magnificent. I've told all my friends who I got passes for over here, they had not been to The Ryder Cup before: You will hear two different cheers. You'll hear -- and I hope to hear the first cheer, the roar, more than the yays. That's the beauty of The Ryder Cup. I go back to one thing that I remember very, very clearly, my first Ryder Cup in 1977. I was playing with Hubert Green the fourball match, and we had our opponents, Tommy Horton, and I can't remember who else, we had them six down after ten. We played the 11th hole at Lytham St. Annes, the par 5, and I knocked it on the green in two. Looks like we are going to go dormie. I had a 15-foot putt for birdie and I had 2-putt from about 40 feet. I left my first putt about five feet short, and Horton makes the putt, and I miss my 5-footer and there was a cheer that went up when I missed my putt, and that was the first time that there was ever a big cheer when I missed a putt. Usually it was when you make a putt, not miss a putt. And then I truly understood that this is the nature of The Ryder Cup, and it's fine. It's fair. This is what you expect. I think it's great for the game that we have this event. This event, The Ryder Cup, if you look at that press room in there, 243 spots (SIC - 498). For you people in the media, there's never been anything larger than that. This event is special in the world of sport, and I love it. This is where I want to be.
Q. Do you have a social media policy for this week with regards to the players, or are you quite happy for the guys just to Tweet away as they would normally?
TOM WATSON: I don't have a policy. I think they are smart enough to know when they should be taking pictures and when they shouldn't, and that's basically my policy. They are all very media savvy, social media savvy. There's not a big issue with me.
PAUL McGINLEY: Ours is exactly the same. The last few Ryder Cups that I've been involved in, the policy was, be aware of what you're doing and be aware of obviously confidences to be breached and stuff like that and respect for the other players and stuff like that and privacy, and you have to trust the players at the end of the day.
Q. Are you a stronger unit with a better chance of winning without Tiger Woods in your team this week?
TOM WATSON: I said right from the beginning, I would love to have Tiger on the team. He brings an element of intimidation. He brings an element of great play and competitive spirit. Even though he's not on the team, he's here in spirit.
Q. Could you just fill us in on what your plans are with your teams, respective teams, for this evening? Anything bonding-wise?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, we're gathering at 6 o'clock. We've got a team meeting with the players and just kind of a bit of housekeeping for the week and stuff like that, getting the feet under the table and making sure the rookies, particularly, a lot of the guys know the routine, and I'm not changing the routine that we've had the last number of Ryder Cups that I've been involved in. So the experienced guys will know that, but it's important for the rookies to hear all that. Then we are having a general meeting with the backroom staff, the staff on The European Tour who are helping us behind the scenes this week, as well as the players and the caddies. We are just getting together and having a bit of food and a bit of a champagne reception, that's about it. It will be an early night, though. It won't be a big late night, that's for sure.
TOM WATSON: Our team, we are getting together with the caddies, and then we are going to have a nice dinner with the PGA officers and have some special things going on there. Just basically a nice, easy dinner to get to know each other, not really get to know each other too much, but I think everybody has been there. On the plane ride over, right before we got on the plane, the officers of the PGA and the players got to know each other a little bit and that will continue. As far as what's going to happen there, we've got some housekeeping things that we've got to do. It seems like I'm continually doing housekeeping stuff as a captain. But just make sure, as I said, get all the superfluous stuff out of the way so you can get your mind on your business, and that's essentially what we'll be doing.
Q. Now that you -- the saying that you got from Bob Torrance in your team room, I understand that it's one of many of Bob's sayings, can you tell us what it is?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's just a simple message. It's the last message they see before they leave the locker room, and it's a quote from Bob Torrance, who unfortunately passed away a couple of months ago as we all know. He used to say to every player on the range as we talked to the first tee, he would shake your hand and say, "Happiest days of your lives." And that's the quote, that's the last thing they will see as they leave the locker room.
Q. Could you bring us back to the first time you hit a tee shot in The Ryder Cup and what your feelings were then, and if that is anything you talk about in the team room with the players, rookies, for example?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, my first shot in The Ryder Cup was in the afternoon in the foursomes, 2002. I played with PĂˇdraig Harrington, and the first hole in The Belfry, I think 250 or 255 to reach the bunker on the right-hand side. So being clever, I thought I would hit 5-wood, lay it up short of it, and I hit 5-wood with a bit of adrenaline and it went 30 yards past the bunker (laughter). So that's when I understood that adrenaline is a good thing and not always a bad thing. We hear about the bad side of nerves, but it can make you do wonderful things, too. Even though we went won to lose that match, the American pair, Payne Stewart and I think it was Jim, and they played very well to beat us. It was a great moment. I had that morning, Sam told me as a rookie to go down and experience the first tee and support the other guys just to see what the first tee was going to be like, and that experience certainly helped me when I went to play the first tee shot in the afternoon.
Q. Forgive me, I think this might have come up in Wales, but apparently McDowell approached you about the personal dealings with Rory, he didn't want that to become an issue. Could you talk about that or explain how that went down?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's not an issue and it's not been an issue for me in terms of Ryder Cup captaincy since -- over the last year, certainly, since these court proceedings started. Both of them have assured me all along that there's no issues, and that's the way I've always seen it. Whether they come together or not is another story. Three or four months ago, I had a very strong view that they would have been, but the more I look at their statistics and the more I look at the different value I have with them, I'm thinking there may be a value in not doing it. But if I don't do it, it certainly won't be because of any issues. As both of them have said, there are no issues between them and both of them will be happy to play together but it will be my decision ultimately.
Q. One of the features of recent Ryder Cups and other team competitions has been the singing, the organised singing on the first tee, and not support and applause from the spectators but the actual organised singing. Are there any deep-laid plans by The PGA of America to import your own choir and try to match?
TOM WATSON: Yes, there is, when we hear the Ole! Ole! Ole! We have the U.S. soccer cheer.
Q. Which is?
TOM WATSON: "We believe that we can win." And it's really exciting when you hear it done. It's pretty cool. There will be some noise out there. There will be some cheering out there.
PAUL McGINLEY: I think the first tee this year is particularly strong, Tom, isn't it. Have you had a chance to get out there yet?
TOM WATSON: I haven't, no.
PAUL McGINLEY: First tee is a special place this year. Just the whole amphitheatre and the way they put the stands up and the tunnel walking through first. I think it's going to be great.
Q. Was Stephen Gallacher missing the cut in Wales something you expected, given the intensity and the way he's qualified?
PAUL McGINLEY: Stevie has had a tough three weeks to be honest. Making your first team, I know what it's like, particularly when it's in your home country. I had that experience in 2006 and I could understand that all that was going on. And everywhere he looked in Scotland, he saw billboards for The Ryder Cup. He came up and he played a few practise rounds in his weeks off, but I mean, his mind is all over the place. Being a rookie he didn't really understand the real procedures of a Ryder Cup and tickets and how many tickets he got and who had access and who didn't. So all of those things are going around in his head. He had two weeks, the two weeks he had off were kind of getting his head around, and in the middle of it all, his grandmother died, who he was pretty close to. He's had a pretty tough time in that regard in terms of getting his head straight but he was certainly very buoyant. I had dinner with him last week, I know he had a bad first round but a good second round. He just arrived a couple hours ago and he's okay and getting his feet under the table nicely. He'll be a good addition to our team.
Q. Did you contact him over the weekend?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I did. I called him on Friday night and told him to keep quiet, stay out of everybody's way and stay around his family and don't go into public places or things like that, big soccer matches where you'll be walked out in the middle of the pitch. He won't be doing that, but just quieting him down which is what he needed.
Q. You had indicated that you had looked at the numbers with Rory and Graeme, can you tell us what you were looking at, and what made you maybe decide that you would go the other way with them?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, well, I don't know. As I say I've got lots of options with them. But if I don't decide to play them, it would be for tactical reasons. It won't be for any other reasons. They have played six Ryder Cup matches and they have only won two together. It's not like these guys are written in stone. They are not a formidable foursome -- not a formidable fourball pairing that's unbeatable. Having said that, there's no reason why they wouldn't play together. They were paired, and when I was captain of the Seve Trophy I had them paired together and they played very well in that. So I've got lots of options with them but it doesn't have to be that they have to be together.
Q. Have you got any, other than just general dinners, do you have any specific team bonding exercises or techniques that you're planning to employ?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, nothing majorly that -- no, nothing that we haven't done in the past. To be honest, as I said, so many times, I see my role as following the template and what we've been doing in the last -- certainly I've been involved in so many Ryder Cups now, I kind of see what goes on behind the scenes, and I certainly don't want to change that template that's been successful. I see my job as enhancing that template and trying to make it a bit better and rolling it out again.
TOM WATSON: I feel the same way. The team itself is going to create their team plate, as he calls it. Right now, it's just logistically getting all the housekeeping out of the way, for our team in particular, the jet-lag. I basically told them, I said, don't worry about your golf swings for the next couple days. Get your body on time, just get a chance to see the golf course, and by Thursday or Friday, that's when that focus and that golf swing should start to occur. That was good advice I gave a long time ago to Tom Kite in '81. I said, Tom -- it was his first Ryder Cup overseas. I told Tom, I said, "You're going to go over there and you're going to be jet-lagged. And you're like me, if you're not swinging well, you want to change something." I said, "Don't change a thing. Just wait for your body to wake up." And after the Sunday's individual round, singles match, he won 8 & 7 and made ten birdies at Walton Heath. He came over and said, "Tom, I think you were right."
Q. You referenced the nature of Ryder Cup in regards to the cheering, but because of your affinity for Scotland, the Scots are aware of that. Do you think they might take it easy on you guys this week?
TOM WATSON: Not in the least. This is what makes The Ryder Cup so great is the partisan nature of it, and the crowds here are wonderful. The singing, cheering, it is something special. I told the newbies that have come over here as fans and I'll tell the rookies that haven't played in a Ryder Cup before: You will feel the electricity. You will feel the electricity of The Ryder Cup as you are out on the golf course. When you're not on the golf course you can hear it. The only thing that compares to it I think is Augusta National, going down that hill and you're up at the clubhouse and you hear the roars down at 15 and 13 and they reverberate through the pine trees up to the clubhouse. Same thing in The Ryder Cup, you hear those roars and it's just electric. That's what I tell people: You're going to feel something that you've never felt before.
Q. From your own personal experience, can you compare the pressure of The Ryder Cup to contending in a major? Is it the same? Is one more than the other?
TOM WATSON: Well, in my own personal experience, I felt more pressure playing in The Ryder Cup, I did. But I tell you this; I felt more pressure as a captain in 1993 than I did as a player. When you don't have any -- when you don't have any real effect on the outcome, you're just caught in No Man's Land and the pressure builds on you. That's what I experienced as a captain in 1993. I can tell you the pressure in The Ryder Cup, as Paul was referencing, going to the first tee, when you reach the first tee there, it is something very electric, very intense, and there are a few things that -- I love Bob Torrance's comment there; this is going to be the happiest day of your life. That's a wonderful last thought, because once you get in that pressure cooker, it's for real.
Q. How do you feel like you might do things differently as a captain from '93? Is there anything that you feel like you learned from that time that may be different as a leader of the team?
TOM WATSON: Actually it's been pretty -- my responsibilities to the players have been pretty much the same. It's all the extra stuff that we've been doing. We had a Year To Go event. The media is so much bigger now. Just as I referenced before, the 240-some-odd places (SIC - 498) for all you in the main media room there, it's enormous. That's the biggest change. But with the players themselves, it's the same. Being around these guys is just a joy. Now I'm like their father in a certain way, but I'm an equal in a lot of other ways, and it's been a joy. This whole process has been a joy to me. I've enjoyed it, every minute of it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Okay, gentlemen, thank you very much. Good luck with the housekeeping tonight.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports