September 15, 1996
LAKE MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
PETER THOMSON: We don't have the whole team here, but we've got enough.
WES SEELEY: Peter, would you like to open with a comment on today's game?
PETER THOMSON: As I said at that prize giving, I'm emotionally drained after such a day as today. The last hour has been almost heart-stopping for us. So excuse me. But I'm very proud of my team. I'm very proud of those who won and I'm equally proud of those who lost. It's been a great team that we've had together. We made, I'm sure, long lasting friendships. I come from an older generation than most of them, and it's really something for me to be admitted to their circle. I really feel that it would have been wonderful if we won that Cup, because I think we played well enough to do it, but it just came down to that last putt of Freddie Couples, almost, that made the difference between the two teams. But what a contest. I can't remember in my lifetime career anything as exciting and as emotional as that. That's what I've got to say.
WES SEELEY: We'll open it to questions.
Q. Do you think the closeness of this competition this time around has maybe sparked even more interest in this event?
PETER THOMSON: We hoped so. That was our deep wish that we could make such a contest of it; that it would insure that it perpetuates and grows. And I think we must have done that, surely. Do you want to ask the hero, here, Vijay, how he felt when that dam putt went in? (Audience laughter).
Q. If Vijay would comment on the putt and the events after the putt was made, what your thinking was?
VIJAY SINGH: I wasn't expecting Freddie to make his putt. I was feeling very good after I got on the green. And after he made the putt, I thought I had a chance. There was a big spike mark on my line of putt. It was a 50/50 chance if it was going to go straight over it. And what happened, it hit the spike mark and it was never going to go in. But I felt really bad for my team that I lost that match. I thought if it had gone down to 18, I would have had a good chance. But somebody had to win; somebody had to lose. But I just feel really bad for my team that it had to come down to that last match.
Q. How long was your putt?
VIJAY SINGH: About 15, 20 feet. He had about a 30, 35-footer, I'd say.
Q. Vijay, the American team has ready-made team spirit. Does your team -- is it getting it or have it?
VIJAY SINGH: I think we have a very good team spirit. Throughout the match, throughout the whole competition I think our team spirit was not shown outside, but I think if you travel on the buses with us and have dinner with us you would find out how strong we really are. And I think we're going to get even stronger from here on.
Q. David, do you think that the Americans going out in celebration stepped on Vijay's nut a little bit?
DAVID FROST: No, it's part of play. It's just part of play, unfortunately he had a spike mark on his line and his ball hit it.
Q. Was it because of the celebration?
DAVID FROST: No.
Q. Vijay, as you began with Freddie in your match, would you describe what your feelings were? It was really coming down to you're in a hole with your team.
VIJAY SINGH: We only have one hole in the back 9 and that was the 15th hole. And it was always an up-and-down match. We both played good places and bad. But talking to Freddie when we teed off, I said I hope the match doesn't come down to our last match and he said, yeah, I hope not, too. When I walked off the 15th green and they told me that "your match is the only one, the rest is over." I said, "well....". But one up and two holes to go and I had a good chance of winning the 17th until Freddie made his. I thought I had a good putt again, like I said. But somebody had to play last and I was the one to do that.
Q. The electronic score board was flashing incorrect totals with the International Team, actually posted at 15 and a half, right about the time Mr. Ozaki and Davis Love III were closing out their match. I was wondering if the team was aware of that; did it affect anyone's play or concentration?
PETER SENIOR: The team was aware of every point. We took no notice of the boards whatsoever.
Q. Vijay, the shot you hit on 16 was quite remarkable. What was your thinking as you stepped up to the tee? Did you obviously think, all right, I have to miss the flag?
VIJAY SINGH: Freddie hit a decent shot, two up and playing that he didn't want to miss the green, he hit a safe shot there. All I saw was the flag and I knew I couldn't halve the hole. I had to make a birdie to win. And fortunately, I hit a good shot there, and it was closer when I walked up there.
Q. What did you hit there?
VIJAY SINGH: An 8-iron.
Q. I want to ask Ernie, being a young player, if you feel like you're seeing the birth of some part of golf history that you're going to be involved with for quite a while?
ERNIE ELS: Well, I hope so. Hopefully I'll make the team again. (Audience laughter) It's a good week this week and my team, our team was just great guys. I had a great time. The American side just got off to a better start than us on the first day and unfortunately we just couldn't catch them up. We almost did it. Probably two shots that really saved them was yesterday's chip shot on 18 and Freddie's putt on 17 today. But hopefully this tournament will really be on the map now after today's proceedings. As I say, I'll make the team and hopefully we can play this tournament elsewhere, too.
DAVID FROST: If I can put in my two cents here. I think we had the best guy going down to the wire there with Vijay. No disrespect to the American guys, I think they didn't have as many guys as they could put down to the wire as what we had.
Q. For Peter, do you think this would help this competition grow if you rotated the site? Are you happy with playing here?
PETER THOMSON: Yes, I think -- we all think, including I know Commissioner Finchem, that this event must move around the world to the territories we come from and that's part of the plan. When that happens is to be decided yet. But it will certainly be played on our territory at some time in the near future.
Q. Peter, would you like to come back as Captain?
PETER THOMSON: Yes, I would now. I said re-- I was reluctant to even stick my hand in the air, but it's such an emotional rewarding experience that if I was asked again, I think I would have to say yes. But I haven't been asked.
Q. Vijay, Ernie mentioned two key shots that might have made a difference, and you were on the other side of both of them. Peter mentioned earlier you guys were playing awfully well. Were the golf gods conspiring against you?
VIJAY SINGH: Behind -- like Ernie said, the two shots was the shot that O'Meara made on 18 yesterday. I spoke to Mark about it and said it was totally luck that he hit a good shot like that. We had a good chance to halve the hole. If we tried it again, probably ten times, we probably wouldn't get anywhere near where it did. And obviously Freddie's putt on 17 - I have no answer for that one.
Q. Could there be something to this, the fact that you played here in America, could that explain some of these -- their ability to make such incredible shots when they have to do it?
VIJAY SINGH: On the putt, Freddie goes out there, and I thought the putt he hit was a good putt, but going in is another thing. You don't stand over 35, 40-foot under any pressure and say you're going to make it. If you ask Freddie, I thought he was trying to 2-putt it. And I think it went in -- it was great for them. I think it was a little bit of luck that it went in, too. He hit a good putt and it went in, that's it. If he stood over there and hit ten more times, I don't think he would have made it twice, it just so happened it went in.
Q. Well, Peter, now that this course has had a couple of years maturity, is this course an appropriate venue for a prestigious event? How has the course presented itself?
PETER THOMSON: The answer to that is yes, it is a suitable event. More than once I made a comment that we would like the greens a little flatter. I think they're exceptionally steeped and sloped, but that is its character; that's its design. But that's the only comment we can make about it.
Q. Anyone who would like to comment on what it's like to make a comeback like this after you got down the first day.
PETER THOMSON: Well, I spoke about that yesterday, if you recall. But you want it from the team, do you?
Q. Now that it's over I just wondered --
DAVID FROST: It's very easy to find one point out there.
FRANK NOBILO: If you look at the team that we had, I think no one would have written them off from being seven and a half, two and a half behind. We're the best players we could field. And we still thought we could win from being 7 and a half to two and a half behind on Day 1. And I think everyone of you knows the players on the team and I don't think you would have bet against it, either. So it came down to the point in the end.
Q. Frank, comment on your play after 12 on in, which was remarkable.
FRANK NOBILO: I played great. No, we saw that the state we were in at the start of the day and we knew that we needed a lot of our players to win a lot of matches. We needed 7-5 to win. And with 9 to go I said to my caddy it was going to hinge obviously on probably the last three or four matches the way it was going. And I played pretty good the last two days without getting that much reward for it. And then I birdied the last five holes. When you look at the holes there, the two par 5s, the long par 4, 15, 16, then I think that's going to finish off any match.
Q. What was the longest of those birdies?
FRANK NOBILO: 15 feet. But there was great momentum on the team. All our team players kept coming back to support the match behind. The Captains and co-captains, they kept coming back. The team morale was fantastic. We got one hand on the trophy, put it that way.
DAVID FROST: What happened on the ceremonies, we got handed the gold medals, they got the silver medals. We had to swap around.
Q. Peter, just curious, are you ever going to reveal who you had would have been your tie-breaker?
PETER THOMSON: No, never.
Q. It essentially came down to a playoff situation.
PETER THOMSON: No, I'll never do that. In the end I didn't have to do that.
Q. In the end it turned out to be essentially a playoff, 15 and a half, 15 and a half, two guys left.
PETER THOMSON: Anyway, it's an interesting point, but I didn't have to make a choice and if I had made it, I wouldn't tell you because I don't want the team to know. (Laughter).
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