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September 13, 1996

Arnold Palmer

Peter Thomson


WES SEELEY: We have Peter Thomson and Arnold Palmer with us. And why don't we start with beyond the score, what your impressions of the morning were. Start with you, Peter.

PETER THOMSON: Is that your question?

WES SEELEY: That is my question to you. I stayed up late night.

PETER THOMSON: I'm naturally disappointed, but I'm consoled by the fact that we are better than we were last time by two points. And we think that there's a long way to go.

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I suppose my comments are I'm very happy that my team played as well as they did. I think the golf was excellent. Everyone played quite well. And that was very evident looking at the scores. I am optimistic but cautious right now.

Q. Did this morning's play help your determination to keep your teams intact or had that decision been made previously?

ARNOLD PALMER: I won't deny that this morning's play had an influence on me for my future pairings, if that's your question. But I'm going to watch this afternoon and see how they do hitting all their shots. And of course I thought the guys played very well together and I'm pleased with that.

Q. Peter, what was the mood of the team after the morning? Did you have to say anything to try to encourage them?

PETER THOMSON: Well, they all agree that they got beaten on the putting green. And they all know they've got to lift the level of their putting and putt better. So that's what I heard from them. They're going to prod each other and try to get some more putts in.

Q. This is a little off the beaten track, but golf has been getting a lot of good attention recently, the movie "Tin Cup" is a big smash hit now; is very pro golf. I wondered if you had seen it or had any thoughts on it or enjoyed it?

PETER THOMSON: I only watch on airplanes, and I haven't seen it on the airplane yet.

ARNOLD PALMER: I have not seen the movie. I'm aware that it's getting some pretty good reviews from the general public.

PETER THOMSON: Is it Mel Gibson or Sean Connery? (laughter)

Q. What kind of feedback are you getting from your players as far as how the course is playing?

PETER THOMSON: Well, our fellows are finding these greens are very difficult because of the slope. It's not because of the speed or anything else, but the slope is a big worry for our team, I'll tell you that very, frankly.

Q. What was the order of picking this afternoon? Did you pick first?


Q. Could we expect to see the Couples/Love-Norman/Allenby deal to continue on, then? It seems like you both countered each other with that pairing?

PETER THOMSON: Well, we had a consideration about the time that was between rounds. That was, I suppose, the prime reason that I placed people where they were. We try to give everybody a good space between the time they finish and the time they have to tee off. And it just worked out like that, like it did.

ARNOLD PALMER: I agree. It was -- actually I had not heard Peter say that, but I was thinking about Fred and Davis playing and needing a little rest, enough time to get stretched and have something to eat and that's the primary reason they ended up where they did and it just so happened as Peter said, by chance, they ended up playing the same two again.

Q. Arnold, was Fred's back a concern going into today and were you set that he was going to play two matches today or was it kind of how it fell?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I suppose I had a little concern about his back and I checked on him on the 10th hole and he sounded fine. He gave me a vote that he was ready to go if I wanted him to play again this afternoon and that was our major concern. I think he's fine.

Q. Arnold, when you were making your teams, were there any considerations which worked out right today as you watched the matches unfold, putting two guys together, did it work out exactly as you thought it would?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, my teams worked pretty well together. Of course, when you lose a match, you're concerned about it. And I wasn't -- I, frankly, didn't think I would lose that match, but it happened that way. These guys - four guys out there - they're all great players, and as has been already mentioned a putt here or a putt there is going to make the difference. And it appears that we really did a lot of big things this morning, but a couple of putts really at any time in the round could have reversed the whole situation. I watched it and saw what happened and certainly I'm happy, but as I say, the putting could have made all the difference in the world.

Q. You're in a similar position this team was in two years ago. They lost the first five matches. What did you tell your guys after this morning's matches?

PETER THOMSON: I didn't tell them anything. I listened to their stories and we plotted something better for the future. We spent our whole time figuring out how to get a better score. We didn't go over spilt milk. We talked about the round this afternoon and thereafter.

Q. Arnold, can you talk about the importance, in your mind, psychologically, of that first match between Fred and Davis and Greg?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I think the answer to that is that that was a tough match and it could have swung either way. I'm certainly happy that it swung our way and I think that that was important because it did give us a little more momentum. It gave every guy on my team a little more momentum to see and feel the confidence that Freddie and Davis gave the team. I think that's like a hit at the right time in the baseball game. You have a real tight game and all of a sudden somebody makes the right hit and then the game breaks open and that's what happened there. It was the right break at the right time.

Q. Arnold, was there any particular match where the putting played a particularly large role?

ARNOLD PALMER: Where the putting -- oh, I don't know, I think there were some matches where someone like Tom Lehman played very well and I don't think the putting was quite as major a factor in that match. But in the other matches most of them, even early on, the putting was a major factor and I think as good as these people play golf, we can look for that right through the week, but occasionally you're going to get a guy playing really well, like Lehman this morning. And then the putting is not quite as significant.

Q. What was your thinking on pairing Perry and Leonard?

ARNOLD PALMER: Again, the same thing Peter said earlier, my thoughts on that was to give the other guys a little rest and Perry and Justin had a good morning so -- and I think they're a good team. I think they will be -- I think they will be very compatible and a strong team this afternoon.

Q. Peter, I wonder if you'd respond to another side of the question about the Norman match. Was that a tough one particularly for your side to take?

PETER THOMSON: Yes, but I think no more than the other games. I don't put special significance on the opening game. These other guys got their head down and are looking after their own business. I don't think it really affects them so much what happens up front; in fact, I'm sure it doesn't.

Q. Peter, when you were looking at this event more from afar two years ago, did you expect that the International side would increase its strength that all the good players would want to come and if so, why did you think so?

PETER THOMSON: Well, I had a lot of good players last time and logically it would be a lure to the good players to get into it. Nobody likes to be left out. And I felt that it would get better and better. Just the reason, as I say, everybody who plays golf would like to be part of this team, from outside the U.S., I mean -- the answer to that is, yes, it's bound to get stronger. But where I was two years ago, I guessed the U.S. would win; especially on home territory.

Q. Arnold, did you talk to Fred about his match this morning and how he felt about how he actually played?

ARNOLD PALMER: I didn't spend a lot of time talking to him about his match, no. I congratulated him; asked him how he felt; he said, "good." I said, "are you ready to go this afternoon?" And he said, "I'm ready."

Q. This is for either of you. What are some of the challenges of foursome-play as opposed to four ball, and have many of your players played this format together?

ARNOLD PALMER: I don't think so. I look for my strong teams to compliment each other. I had my concerns about a couple of the teams, but these guys are playing good. They know what's going on. They know the golf course now. I think it comes back to the same thing, although there are more chancy shots where if a guy hits a drive he doesn't have a partner sitting out in the middle of the fairway, which they do in the four ball. The foursomes, they have to go hit it out wherever it's hit. That makes a difference and that will make a difference this afternoon.

End of FastScripts....

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