November 14, 2002
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA
GORDON SIMPSON: Sam, Curtis, welcome to the UBS Warburg Cup. I think we've done this before somewhere, haven't we, not so long ago. It's nice to see you back. Maybe if you could start, Sam. Tell us what it's like back to be swinging the club rather than working out the tactics of captaincy.
SAM TORRANCE: Yeah, the captain's job is definitely easier. The clubs don't seem to perform quite as well as they use to, but we have time on our hands now. It's great to be playing again, actually. It's great to be here. This is a great event. I think the best of it is playing all of our old adversaries which we played so many times in the Ryder Cups, and now we have a chance to play them again and it's great fun.
GORDON SIMPSON: Do you concur with that; nice to be swinging the club again?
CURTIS STRANGE: I never really gave up during the process of the three years that we had. I played some, and certainly working for TV. My life really hasn't been much different, to be honest with you. It's just the anticipation of the Matches are not there, which is a void. You live with it for three years and it's been a void for a while. But it's been nice.
Like Sam said, it's nice to come to something like this, and play with guys who you think you might beat if you're playing well.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is it good to compete with guys in their 40s and 50s; prove they can cut their muster?
CURTIS STRANGE: They can all still play. Just because they are over 50 doesn't mean they have lost anything, or have lost something. Hale Irwin is playing phenomenal golf and on and on and on down the line.
SAM TORRANCE: I played with a guy over 70 today and he can still play, Arnie. He was awesome. Drove the ball beautifully. He played great. Lovely to watch. He's still got it, still got the fire. He just loved it. It was great, it really was.
Q. Curtis, what has the time since you've got back after The Belfry been like, how have you spent it?
CURTIS STRANGE: Well, life goes on. It would have been the same if I was a player or a captain. Came back playing. Had some TV work to do. It's been wonderful. The people have been wonderful.
We didn't win, but I don't think the message was lost; that it was a wonderful match, great competition, wonderful fans. It's just been great, it really has. The response from the people has been fantastic.
The underlying theme of the entire time since returning has been just one of sportsmanship and the etiquette that really, I think, carried through the television back home, back here. Honestly, that has been in every comment that I've received, and it's nice to hear because, you know, Sam and I from the very beginning talked a lot about that. Yes, we wanted to win, but we also had a mission, as well.
You never know if you get that message out until the actual event. The event was phenomenal. I've said all along; it's the greatest week of my life. The people saw that and they sensed that, and I think they felt that, watching back here in the States.
Q. What do you recall from your match here last year? Curtis, you came back from a couple down.
SAM TORRANCE: Couple down? They have got nothing on this guy, trust me. (Laughter.)
CURTIS STRANGE: We always have -- we have a match in our life that we always remember that we stole from somebody, and mine is last year in the UBS Warburg Cup on Sunday against Sam. He played beautifully and we both shot about 65 or 66. It was --
SAM TORRANCE: Horrible.
CURTIS STRANGE: -- horrible for him. You don't hold a grudge, do you?
SAM TORRANCE: No, no. It was great. (Laughing).
CURTIS STRANGE: I was only four after four --
SAM TORRANCE: And I played the rest in like 5-under.
CURTIS STRANGE: I chipped in, made long putts. He missed putts on every hole.
SAM TORRANCE: It was ugly.
Q. What was your secret, how did you get the right message across? You undoubtedly did it, but Sam said he didn't need to speak to his players, and I don't know whether it was the same for you.
CURTIS STRANGE: Well, I think it was just that they know of our friendship. We spoke from day one, we were with each other a lot during those three years doing different things.
I don't know, I just think constantly talking about it. The theme of every interview that I did and every talk was that we wanted to do this. It was more than just a win or lose game, a game of win or lose. I think that it just happened. I'm not talking about so much from the players. I'm talking about just the overall atmosphere. It starts with us, the captains. It filters down through the players, hopefully, then hopefully through the press and then through the public.
And TV did a wonderful job, and it seemed to get out. It was really -- it made the week special for me.
SAM TORRANCE: There was a lot of work behind the scenes, too. I think the best thing that happened was no alcohol on the golf course. I think that was one of the best things that they did. There was nothing coming from the crowds untoward. Everything was good. They applauded all shots from both teams.
We always said at The Belfry that you could tell a U.S. roar from a European roar. There were times we didn't know who holed the putt because the roar was so loud for both teams, which was great, and that's the way it should be.
Q. How would you arrive at the selection of players for these two squads? Apparently a lot of these are just made with no particular rules or regulations. Would you have any recommendations to make to this group?
CURTIS STRANGE: You mean the selection of the teams themselves?
SAM TORRANCE: How do the players get in the teams?
CURTIS STRANGE: Tell me if I'm wrong. I think there's three selections and there's three off the Money List on each tour, but I'm not sure, and then there's three selections.
Q. Should the selections be limited to 40 to 49?
CURTIS STRANGE: Do I think -- well since I'm 47, you're damned right, I do. (Laughter.)
I just think it's kind of fun. We had a ball last year. The competition was actually pretty good.
SAM TORRANCE: It was a great help for the Ryder Cup, the way the match was played last year. It was a great insight to what we could actually do.
CURTIS STRANGE: Okay. Selection criteria. Arnold Palmer's U.S. team will be comprised of six players. (Reading). 50 or older will be the leading money winner from the Senior Tour, leading money winner on the Senior Tour, all-time Money List, and I guess the current, Bob Gilder. And then three selections, 40-49, three selections. And career Money List on our tour, the three career Money List on our tour.
Three selections and off the Money List, to condense it.
Q. Can I just go back to the Ryder Cup? Do you think that the success that you two had and the success of that competition will make it easier for your successors, or do you think it's going to make it harder or them because yours was so bloody good?
SAM TORRANCE: It's got to make it easier. We'll show them the way, I guess. It's always been like that. A couple of times it got over the top, but generally it's played in great spirit. And it was in great spirit last time, as I'm sure it will be the next time.
CURTIS STRANGE: I think the next two captains certainly have to continue on talking about it, and I think especially since it's coming back to the States in Detroit. I think there's heat on Detroit to do well and have a good match. Certainly, the competition will be good and the event will be run first class, but, you know, I guess from the fans' standpoint, it's, let's carry on and behave properly and root for your own team.
Q. How would each of you compare what this week will be like, as opposed to what it was like at The Belfry?
SAM TORRANCE: Well, it will be totally different, as we've got to play this week. That's a lot more pressure.
But it's along the same lines as the Ryder Cup. Obviously, the Ryder Cup has been there for 70-odd years; it's a we bit more established. But it's on it's way, the Warburg Cup. I think 10, 15 years down, this is going to be a huge event. It's big now.
CURTIS STRANGE: It takes time to build, but it's certainly off to a good start. And certainly television has a lot to do with it and the success that the players want to play has a lot to do with it. I don't think there's any problem at all getting players to play now.
After everybody heard , not only the fun that we had last year, but the good competition, it was close and deciding, and on a good golf course, I think this spot is wonderful here.
Any time you go to the first tee, you go play hard. I don't care if it's a Ryder Cup or a Warburg Cup or a regular golf tournament. You go play hard and you play to win. There's a lot at stake here. There's not only a few bucks, but there's a team competition, and also, individual pride, which means a great deal, which might be the most important.
GORDON SIMPSON: Enjoy the week and play well.
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