October 21, 2000
LAKE MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
PETER THOMSON: I should start it off and say to you that as part of the situation, we haven't surrendered, but we're suing for peace. (Laughter.)
Q. Have you had any offers?
PETER THOMSON: We haven't heard from the other side as yet.
PETER THOMSON: I told my team I thought they played very honorably today, and they tried hard and they played well, I thought, much better than yesterday, but in spite of this of course the U.S. team played almost perfectly, I think. There was no let up from the onslaught of the birdie making. That first pair were I think 7-under when the game finished. That's pretty hard to match. But the other matches were close. However, that's today.
Q. What's been the biggest difference between this U.S. team and the one you saw two years ago?
PETER THOMSON: Well, the performance is much better, much better. This seems to me to be as powerful a team as you've ever had.
Q. Peter, do you think it's been remarkable the way the Internationals seem to be all the holing of chips and putts two years ago, and the shoe has been on the other foot this time, hasn't it?
PETER THOMSON: Yes. The chipping and putting stuff is -- I don't know where it comes from, but that's what wins matches, win tournaments, wins golf everything. If one knew how to drum it up, well, I guess you'd be the champion champion. But I don't know, it has something to do with everything around you, the golf course, the gallery attitude, the coffee in the morning, all that sort of stuff. It's very mysterious.
Q. Peter, if you could look at, as you sort of sit back and analyze it, where have they fallen so badly? How did it get to this particular point, this low point?
PETER THOMSON: Well, this is a match. In comparison with one team to the other, I have to say the U.S. team has played absolutely superbly in any view. There have been no kinks in the armor, they've made the most of their opportunities as I can say. To my astonishment Tiger missed a putt on the 16th green, and I wonder if he was really thinking about it.
Q. Peter, do you think you can still win?
PETER THOMSON: Yes, I think it is possible. At least we've got to believe that. Stranger things have happened. As unlikely as it might be, in reality, it's possible.
Q. On that line, Retief Goosen seems to have been one of your better players, and yet you put him last. Was there a thought of trying to put him up high and get an early win on the ball?
PETER THOMSON: It doesn't work like that.
Q. How does it work, then?
PETER THOMSON: I'm not in command of who he plays. It's interesting, some of you ought to apply to watch that captains matchings, it's too late now. It's an interesting part of the whole contest. Tonight, now, there were certain of my team that I wanted to match against certain of Ken's team, but the way it is that he putts up one name and I put one against it and I have to put a name up for the next pair and he goes against it, it's almost impossible to get your own way, which is very good, I think. You can't manipulate it, you can't protect your players, you can't say, well, I want my best player to play their best player. Even that you can't do. So it's out of our hands, really, who plays who. And it doesn't matter whether they're first or last, it doesn't matter.
Q. Well, at the Ryder Cup last year the Americans put all their guns up high because they wanted to send a message to Europeans. You don't agree with that theory?
PETER THOMSON: I don't think they speak the same language. I don't think that was a factor at all. It's the end of the day point count that's important. And there's no advantage of having the score on the board in this thing. The people playing last don't even look at the board. They're out there to win their game.
Q. Peter, from your viewpoint, have you noticed any difference in the unity or spirit of the American team this year than the one you saw two years ago in Melbourne?
PETER THOMSON: That would be casting some aspersion on the Melbourne team which I'm reluctant to do. I'd not likely to say that at all. I think they tried their hardest in Melbourne and our team played better, that's some of it.
Q. Peter, what will you tell your team tomorrow before they go out and play and do you have any rah rah stuff left or a haka, perhaps?
PETER THOMSON: Well, I don't do that and our team doesn't expect it. I'm not really the coach and the motivator. I'm the first amongst equals. And they do it themselves. They get together and say come on guys, let's go, let's do better than we did yesterday. They do. Not me. And it will be the same tomorrow in our bus.
Q. Is there a home field advantage factor at work here, at all?
PETER THOMSON: I think there must be. It must be very comforting for the U.S. team to be playing on this magnificent golf course, because it's a very, in my judgment, a very typical modern U.S. course, which is in perfect condition. And everything is helpful and receptive and the bunkers are not real bunkers (laughter.) And it's just very American. So it must be a comforting factor. But whether that's an advantage or not, I don't know. It's very, very slight if it is.
Q. As good as all the players really are, is it even possible to make a mistake in the pairings?
PETER THOMSON: Hardly a mistake, hardly a mistake, I would think, but a captain has a chance, for instance, to bring about a match with, say, an up-and-coming player against the big champ if he can pull it off, where that up-and-coming player has nothing to lose and only glory to gain, if he can get his young man to win. That's about all one can do as a captain.
Q. Did he put Tiger up or did you put Vijay up?
PETER THOMSON: I put Vijay up.
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