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August 4, 2015

Jay Haas

Nick Price


LAURA NEAL: Welcome and thank you for joining us. We're pleased to have our 2015 Presidents Cup team captains with us this afternoon: Nick Price, of course, for the international team, and Jay Haas with the U.S. team. We are a mere 61 days away from our first Presidents Cup in Asia, played at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club at Songdo IBD, Incheon City Korea. I know the captains are here to talk to their team members, and preparations are well under way. This is our opportunity to hear from both of them. We don't get them both together at a PGA Tour event too often, so we're excited to have an update on preparations. I'll start out by teeing up Captain Haas for an announcement on his leadership team for the U.S.

JAY HAAS: Thank you. First of all, thanks for being here, and we're -- what is it, 61 days now? It's creeping up on us a little bit, Nick. But I do want to announce that I'm naming a third captain. We have had Fred Couples and Davis Love online for a while now, but now Steve Stricker is going to join us as a third assistant. Can't say enough about Steve and his respect and honor that he brings to our team, the PGA Tour, great representative, and also in the team room his experience is going to be invaluable for us going forward. Anyway, Steve's excited about that. Hopefully, he'll get hot here and make the team outright, but if he does not do that, he will definitely be -- one way or the other, he's going to be in Korea for us. So looking forward to that.

LAURA NEAL: Nick, you already have your assistants and vice captains rounded out. We'd love to hear just a couple of opening comments from you.

NICK PRICE: I made my decisions a little earlier than that. It's getting really exciting, obviously, as Laura said, only 61 days to go. Now I'm starting to pay more attention and closer attention to the World Rankings, and every Monday I'll go on my computer and have a look at who's moving. Obviously, I've started to watch for guys who may not be in the top 12 right now, and if they're making some moves up the rankings. Starting to look at picks or who I may pick. Obviously, the top eight guys right now are probably going to make it. Guys nine and ten, there's always a chance that someone from behind may be able to play well in the last major, the PGA, and also this week and jump ahead of those guys. It's a tough time, and I'm starting to speak to the team a lot about who they feel are the guys we should be looking at. It's not always that easy. We've got quite a few potentially. We've got quite a few rookies on the team. So for some of the picks, I might have to go to some experience. All in all, it's starting to happen now. This is when things sort of get off at a very fast pace now. So we've got a month, I think, isn't it? September 8th?

JAY HAAS: I think that's right.

NICK PRICE: September 8th, I think we make our picks. We're both going to be paying very close attention to the guys' form in the next two weeks -- next month. Sorry.

Q. Nick, you have two Korean born players kind of on the cusp, just outside that bubble. You said you wanted experience, but how much might the desire to have a Korean born player on the team in Korea influence one of your picks?
NICK PRICE: First of all, Sangmoon Bae, he's obviously had some really tough issues to deal with this year with regard to his service, and I think that's been on his mind the past few months, and that's probably affected his form quite drastically. One thing about Moon is he has won on that golf course the last two years on the Korean Tour, and last year I think he ended up winning by nine shots. So he loves the golf course. But his form the last six weeks, eight weeks has not been very good. I'm hoping that he plays well the next couple of weeks, the next four or five weeks. I'm not sure -- I still haven't spoken to him as to when he has to go and start his service. As I understand it, they're going to let him play through the playoffs, and I'm sure that, if he had an opportunity to make the team, they'd probably extend that through the Presidents Cup. I'd hope they would, seeing as it's in his home country. But I'd like to see him play a little better the next four or five weeks. Byeong-Hun An obviously came on the scene very rapidly by winning the PGA in England. The guy is a hell of a player. He's a very, very strong player. I've watched his form over since that win, and it hasn't been too consistent. So he's also someone who has to play well the next three or four weeks. There's a lot of guys on that bubble, as far as I'm concerned. It would be sad if we don't get a Korean on the team. It really would. But that's a decision we're going to have to make September 8th.

Q. What do you see in Danny Lee recently? He's another Korean born.
NICK PRICE: Sorry, I forgot to mention him. Obviously he's played exceptionally well, what, the last month and a half, six weeks, and he's someone that I'm looking at as well. He can go really low, which is what you need in match play. You need someone who can make a lot of birdies. One of the reasons why I chose Brendon de Jonge, a lot of people say it's because I'm from Zimbabwe, I chose a fellow countryman. Well, that did help, but the fact that he was leading the Tour in birdies for that year, in 2013, certainly was something that we looked at hard. Danny's got -- he's another one of those guys, the next three or four weeks is going to determine whether he becomes a real candidate.

Q. Jay, are there any concerns about motivating your team considering the U.S.'s record in this event?
JAY HAAS: I would hope not. I think all the guys that have made the team in the past, once you make one of these teams, it seems like all you want to do is get back on that team again. I know it seems like a long year, a week after the playoffs end, but there's nothing like representing your country. You look at a guy like Phil, who's been on ten straight teams, on Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup, and he's as motivated as anybody to get there, to get on that team. If a guy like him has those feelings, then I don't think that would be a factor. I think the guys would -- certainly, winning never gets old. I don't care if you're a team, an individual, whatever it is. So I don't think there would be any challenge to get them up because they -- each year is a different group too. There might be a core of five or six guys, but there's always a different influx of four, five, six guys that come in. So maybe they haven't played on a team before. They haven't won. So I don't think there will be any problem there. And we have two foreign born Koreans too that are trying to make the team, by the way.

Q. Jay, I think nine of your top ten have played a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup or both. Does that allow you, with captain's picks, to go with a hot hand more than trying to fill it out with experience?
JAY HAAS: I think, until we get to that point, I don't know if I can answer that question. I think experience is great, but I love the young players too. I've been out here a few times, and I'm watching them on the range and watching them play. They don't have any scar tissue of losing the Ryder Cup, say. So I don't have any issues with a young team at all. Right now Jim is the old guard, I guess, on that team, but Jimmy Walker is up there, and I think Jimmy is 36 or 37. I think, if you're experienced enough to be in that top 10 or 12, whatever it might be, just to be that good to be in that position, then I don't think a team event in international competition should scare you a whole lot.

Q. Nick, where do things stand between you and the commissioner in terms of format change? And is that something that you feel is necessary at this point?
NICK PRICE: It's something I've said is necessary right from 2012, when I had my first meeting with him. But nothing's really happened. We've got a meeting tomorrow. So we'll see how that goes. I think the U.S. team is meeting with him today at 4:00, and then we're meeting tomorrow. Hopefully, something will come out of it. Jay says winning never gets old. Losing certainly does. So I think just looking at the record of the Presidents Cup, we're 1-9-1. I think all of us on the team feel that a points change would really make it more exciting and more competitive. That's the only reason that people say, well, it's because you want to win. I think win, lose, or draw, we all want to see it come down to the final match on Sunday instead of being done with eight matches left on the golf course on Sunday. That's a big deal. But we'll find out tomorrow. We expressed all our concerns. So we'll see what happens.

Q. Kind of on that same mode, Nick, do you think the international team has been on the short end on talent in those losses, or have they simply underperformed a little bit, for whatever reason?
NICK PRICE: The problem is that we've always been -- from 9, 10, 11, 12, the last four or five players on our team, we've always been weaker. We just don't have the depth that the U.S. does, and neither does Europe for that matter. So when you have all the players playing, basically, you have 34 points, those extra 6 points just expose the weaker team down the bottom. And I think, if you look, that's probably where the deciding factor has been over the years. So there's no doubt, if you look on paper and you look on form, the American team, both the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, always have the strongest team. But to me, the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup shouldn't be about who has the strongest team. It should be about a competition. Like I say, win, lose, or draw, you want it to be exciting on Sunday. You don't want the thing to be over. We were 14-8 down. We were six points down going into the singles last year, and I can honestly tell you, of all the teams I've been on and also fortunate enough to be captain of, that last year's, or 2013's team, was the most motivated team I think I've ever been a part of. So it was pretty depressing when we were six points down going into the singles on Sunday. But having said that, there's never a perfect answer to any format. We just feel that the less points that there are in the team matches, the more chance it is of being exciting on Sunday. So that's been our argument all along. And Jay and I have spoken about this. We're always going to be friends. It has nothing to do with it, and we have differences of opinion on it. But if I was in his situation, I'd also be very apprehensive to change. Part of the rules in the Presidents Cup which differ from the Ryder Cup is that the captains have to make changes, and I said to Tim Finchem, I said, that's never going to work because we're standing on two opposite sides. It needs to be addressed -- for the long term future of it anyway, it needs to be addressed by people who aren't as -- are a little more independent of it and say, okay, this is maybe the way we should go. So hopefully, we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. Jay, have you talked to Bill since Sunday? How much did the Presidents Cup possibly come up after what happened at Quicken Loans?
JAY HAAS: We texted a little bit, and then I talked to him fairly soon after he finished. He was on his way to the airport. Obviously, he was very disappointed in the way he finished. He went from 17-under through 65 holes to the worst golfer on the planet, in his eyes. I've certainly been there, maybe not 17-under before, but finished poorly in countless tournaments and very dejected and everything. So I tried to stress the positives with him. It's going to happen. You play this game, it's going to happen more times than you want it to happen. But I honestly don't think that the Presidents Cup is that much on his mind, and he said that he wants to make it as bad as anybody wants to make it, no more, no less. So people remind him, I'm sure, what would it mean to you to make your dad's team and all that? I think he has a good perspective on that part of it. I don't know if I would, but I try to stress to him all the time the only shot you can control is the next one. You can't control what's going to happen tomorrow, what your opponent's going to do. You work on the first tee shot tomorrow. That's about all you can think about right now. He was disappointed, but at the same time, since the PLAYERS, he really hadn't been in that position. He was maybe working on a few things and maybe patched it together for 3 1/2 rounds, and it finally caught up to him a little bit. Hopefully, he'll bounce back and get in that position again and do a little bit better job of finishing it off. He was very discouraged, and I felt sick for him. But we've seen it happen in a lot of different players. He's not the only one and won't be for the future.

LAURA NEAL: Captains, thank you for your time.
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