September 25, 2002
SUTTON COLDFIELD, ENGLAND
GORDON SIMPSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The European team captain, Sam Torrance.
Sam, the moment of truth is getting closer, two days away. What's the word in the camp today, what's the mood?
SAM TORRANCE: It's fantastic. Everyone's game is coming along nicely, partnerships are shaping up. It's looking great.
Q. Sam, what was your thinking of taking Lee Westwood out last week?
SAM TORRANCE: I didn't take him out, he was coming to play, and I offered to join him. Just it was a finer look at the course. Paul McGinley played, as well. It was a great day. Good to see the course. I really wasn't checking on his game. He said a great thing. He said it's not -- it doesn't matter how your game is, it's your attitude.
Q. Just to clarify on the 10th tee, is there any chance at all you might consider moving it up, any of the days?
SAM TORRANCE: No.
Q. Zero chance?
SAM TORRANCE: No. Unless it's requested by my players, but I don't think it's going to be.
Q. I understand what you were saying yesterday about with the game now it's become more after a 3-iron. Given that it's match play, is there anything wrong with turning it into a very long par-3?
SAM TORRANCE: It was never designed as a par-3. I wouldn't insult the designer as making it one. I think it's a fantastic hole off the back tee. It was a difficult shot off the green, and now it's an easy shot to get to the green off the front. But from the back tee it's still possible, but there's a bigger risk, and that's how I want it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what a healthy Monty means to not just this Ryder Cup team, but overall to the European --?
SAM TORRANCE: Well, obviously he's one of the stalwarts of my team. He's probably one of our best players ever. I'm delighted to have him here fit and well, and he's playing fantastic. And he's very confident. He's as relaxed as I've ever seen him.
Q. All the questions about whether or not he's going to be able to play, just three matches or anything, they're gone?
SAM TORRANCE: Oh, he can play five. He can probably play six, if I asked him. Play on Sunday night.
Q. How much input have you gotten from previous captains on how to pair your teams the first two days, and how much of that will affect your decisions; and secondly, what is your philosophy on pairing guys together? Do you want to have guys who are playing well, chemistry; what goes into how you will decide those pairings?
SAM TORRANCE: Selecting pairings from past captains, I mean I was on a few teams, it's what you feel. The captain doesn't really disclose to his team why or how he's picking teams; he just putts them together. And a little comforting word in the past is the way it's been. My idea on it, I'm looking for the best pairings I can find. Whether it's foursomes, whether it's camaraderie or high spirits, I put it together, and I try to come up with the four best pairings in the series.
Q. In six of the last seven matches the U.S. have outscored us in the singles by decisive margins in the last two matches. In your view, is that because we've had the bad luck in the draw or is there a significant weakness in our play on Sunday?
SAM TORRANCE: No, they just played better. They played better on the Sundays. They have played better on the Sundays on those occasions. I think we beat them at Oak Hill in the singles. Out of the last three they've beaten us in the singles twice. I think it's our turn.
SAM TORRANCE: Absolutely not. It's not a concern, that's the wrong word. It's singles golf. It's the singles in the Ryder Cup. It's always fantastic, so it's always going to be difficult. It's almost a release for the players to be out on their own and getting on with their own game.
Q. When Monty comes to you and says, "I've got a bad back," how do you react?
SAM TORRANCE: I'll not know until he does it. He doesn't have a problem.
Q. But when he -- he's done it in the last few weeks, when he's said these things?
SAM TORRANCE: We've been worried a couple of months ago, he was quite bad. But he's come right out of it. You know he still has a back problem, but at the moment it's not severe. In years to come it might get worse, I don't know. But at this moment he's fine. A hundred percent fine.
Q. I was close to the third tee when Monty hit a drive that seemed to go about 500 yards or so. I think I heard somebody say "So much for a sore shoulder"; is there anything to that?
SAM TORRANCE: I don't know. Might be Pete corpsman. It's not my 12 that have a sore shoulder.
Q. When you observe your players out on the course, what do you think of them and the bond between them. Yesterday we were talking about players who were normally adversaries during the normal calendar year, but what are your normal observations?
SAM TORRANCE: They're having a ball out there. They're laughing and they're joking. They're gambling. I actually had one last night from a rookie, as well. I'm in the bat and the phone goes, it's Pierre Fulke. He says Sam, "I've got a huge problem, it's the biggest problem of the week, I have to come and see you." Okay. So I wrap a towel around myself, and I go to the door and his face is ashen. And I thought what has happened. And he says, "Sam, I can't do my tie." (Laughter.) I could have killed him. So I did his tie. But the camaraderie is fantastic. We've got great team spirit. Brilliant.
Q. Earlier you made some comments about the declining corporate underwriting of tournaments in the United States?
SAM TORRANCE: What.
Q. The fall in corporate underwriting, sponsorship of tournaments in the United States?
SAM TORRANCE: Are you saying we're short of sponsors?
Q. Yes. Can you reiterate those comments, and how that might jeopardize future talent coming through the ranks in the United States?
SAM TORRANCE: I don't think I've ever said that. I don't know anything about sponsorship in America. Honestly, sorry.
Q. Sam, talking about partnerships, in these build-up days, can your mind be changed by just something you see out there about your players. Can you have a fixed idea and have it changed by putting two people together?
SAM TORRANCE: Yes, there's a couple of things already changed this week. And that's just the way it is, it has to happen. Some things aren't right, and you have to shuffle and rearrange and make things right. That's the job of the captain. Please don't ask me what they were.
Q. But that could go all the way through tomorrow's practice?
SAM TORRANCE: Of course. That's what the practice rounds are for, the testing grounds to get the right formation ready for Friday.
Q. With your vast experience playing in Ryder Cups, what advice can you give to the debutantes who are going for make their appearance here, the McGinley's and others?
SAM TORRANCE: There's nothing you can do about nerves. If you're not nervous there's something wrong with you. Nerves create adrenalin. I told them to use that. Use it in your own advantageous way, to make you feel better, get you pumped up, and just get psyched up.
SAM TORRANCE: They certainly don't need -- they don't need to be psyched up, they're so excited. For the four newcomers, it's a wonderful experience to be a rookie because everything is new. The camaraderie in the team room, the gifts, the dinners, the practice rounds. Everything is brand new and it just opens your eyes up to the Ryder Cup, which is a fantastic experience.
Q. Speaking of the camaraderie, will you be signing menus, is that little glitch gone?
SAM TORRANCE: I don't think -- you're talking about tonight at the gala dinner?
SAM TORRANCE: I'm not sure. They did a wonderful thing last night at the welcome dinner, they collected all the menus from the tables, which will be delivered to the team rooms, and we're going to sign them and give them back to the people. But tonight is like 800 guests. It could be a bit tricky to say yes, you can get autographs because it won't happen. Tonight there won't be any autographs. I don't know between the two teams, but certainly not from the public.
Q. You grew up with the Ryder Cup being Great Britain and Ireland and obviously Europe came in. How different is for players in different countries in Europe to bond, and as such, this team room we hear about, Curtis Strange says they have Ping-Pong and video games, what do you guys have and how has that helped bonding?
SAM TORRANCE: We've got a game room as well. Nobody has been in it, we just sit and talk and watch motivational videos. For Europeans to get together in this week and be part of the camaraderie, that's every week anyway. We're a big traveling circus, and go around Europe all the time. We all know each other really well, always in the same hotel. Always a bit of wind up. It's very easy to be part of the team, to join together. That's what we do on Tour, anyway.
Q. I read today that the caddies will be wearing cashmere on Sunday; is that true and why have you taken that decision?
SAM TORRANCE: I just -- I've always thought the caddies -- I like to give them as much as I can, as well as the players. I was able to get them a cashmere sweater for Sunday. It will probably be a beautiful sunny day and they'll not wear them. Everything I can do for anyone on the team, I've tried to do as much as I can.
Q. A lot of people felt after '99 that some of the players were too tired after playing four matches in two days to really play their best in the singles, is that something that covers your thinking as well?
SAM TORRANCE: Not really. Not really. I've played five times, at least twice, maybe three times, and as I said the other day, I'm not quite the fittest person on the team, but I was never tired on Sunday. It never affected my game. On Sunday night you're exhausted. Even if you only play once, you're exhausted Sunday night. I obviously won't be pushing people to play five times unless it's necessary.
Q. In a successful Ryder Cup campaign, what percentage of it comes down to good players and what percentage of it comes down to a cunning captain?
SAM TORRANCE: It's all on the players. They're the guys out there. I can only -- I'm the shepherd, herding them out. It's all on them. It's in their hands from Friday morning. I can obviously do the preparation and put the pairings together, but in the end they're the boys that do it. They can take the credit, I'll take the blame.
Q. A lot has been made about the importance of psychology of pairings, and the decisions you have to weigh up.
SAM TORRANCE: I guess that's something you have to ask the players. I don't think -- I think it's their job. I'm doing the best job I can, and hopefully that will be a percentage of a winning team, but in the end it's down to the players.
Q. You mentioned motivational videos; could you tell us a bit about them.
SAM TORRANCE: There's just one video, we always have one. It runs about under 15 minutes. It's all great shots of each of the 12 guys with some great background music, really thumping music, we play it and it really lifts them. That's it.
Q. Sam, in all your years of Ryder Cup experience, can you just tell us a bit about the tensions and rivalries between the players, and to what extent, if any, does gamesmanship exist?
SAM TORRANCE: I don't believe in gamesmanship, at all. I think it's part of the sport that is certainly not necessary, and I don't see any of it. I mean gamesmanship to me is cheating. It's like a football player when the two of them kick out for a throw-in, and they both put their hand up, one of them is lying but they get away with it. In golf, it's such a fair, honest sport. The gamesmanship cannot come into it at all.
Q. Sam, the follow-up on one of the other questions talking about the team and winning, you were on a lot of winning Ryder Cup teams; what percentage of those winning Ryder Cup teams did the captain really was involved in that win?
SAM TORRANCE: All the Ryder Cups I've played in, the captain was very much involved, very much. Even winning and the losing.
Q. In your particular case --?
SAM TORRANCE: I'm not going to tell you how good I am, that's up to the players to say that. I'm telling you what my experience is with captains. It's not all down to me. It is down to the players ultimately. But I had great help from the captains. And hopefully by the end of the week, somebody might say they've had great help from me. But right now I can't say that.
Q. Sam, we've all written and read about the players' form coming into this. Have any of the players spoken to you about their doubts about their form?
SAM TORRANCE: No, not at all.
Q. Is that encouraging to you at all?
SAM TORRANCE: Fantastic, yeah.
Q. Was that a worry coming into this?
SAM TORRANCE: Say that again, sorry.
Q. The whole thing about form, was that a concern for you coming into this week?
SAM TORRANCE: Obviously. It's a unique experience this week, the Ryder Cup, it's totally different than anything that's ever been played, because we have a year since the team was picked. Obviously ups and downs in form are going to be there. But there's also guys playing better than they were last year, as well, which nobody has brought up. The guys that are out of form, I can obviously say they're pretty much playing well out there. Fulke and Price yesterday hammered the guys that were played they were playing. And we had the competition, I can't remember when it was, the Benson & Hedges, and we had a fourball, better ball, Fulke and Price won it, shot 11-under. The guys that have been struggling have really come through.
Q. Have you had any messages of good luck from certain various people?
SAM TORRANCE: They're all being deciphered now and stuck up on the notice board. There's hundreds of them.
Q. Any surprise packages?
SAM TORRANCE: I haven't had a minute. My wife and a couple of the other girls are going to do that today, they're going to have them all up on the board and we'll sit and look at them. A lot of players have phoned me up personally and wished me luck, and tell the team good luck. A lot have sent telegrams. There's no dignitaries that have sent any yet.
Q. Sam, you've obviously got a fair idea of what your pairings are, and a fair idea of what Curtis's pairings will be. Will you spend a lot of time trying to outguess him?
SAM TORRANCE: I can tell you one fourball yesterday, but I couldn't tell you who's playing with who on the American team. And that has nothing to do with me. I'm not putting my pairings together thinking about what his are going to be. Especially in the singles, you don't do it.
Q. Sam, you have been known to have a bet yourself. The Americans are 4-to-7 and we're 7-to-4. Would you advise us to put a lot of money on the Europeans?
SAM TORRANCE: Well, I would have done that three years ago when we were 11-to-4. So somebody has been backing it somewhere and it wasn't me. It might have been a wee bit me, but not all me. I would certainly not suggest backing the Americans, anyway, I will tell you that.
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