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WGC NEC INVITATIONAL


August 18, 2004


Chris Riley


AKRON, OHIO

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris Riley, congratulations on your Top 10 finish at the PGA and a birth on the Ryder Cup team. If we could start with some opening comments. Congratulations.

CHRIS RILEY: Thanks a lot. It's the biggest thrill in golf yet. I played on the '95 Walker Cup team, and that was the highlight of my golf career, and now playing on the Ryder Cup team, it's hard to find words to describe it. To hear Hal Sutton call me on Sunday night was just, like, unbelievable. Just to be a part of the team. I played a practice round with Mickelson today, and just to be accepted¬† ‑‑ on paper, I might be the least experienced, but I feel like I can help this team win the Cup, and I'm going to do whatever I can to do that. Whatever Captain Hal asks me to do, I'm more than happy to do.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about the NEC Invitational. You played this morning with Chad, Davis and Phil. Talk about the camaraderie but also the golf course.

CHRIS RILEY: The golf course is playing a lot different. Last year I played pretty well here and this year it's playing a lot more soft and the greens are softer. Last year it played dried out. Just to have a practice round and get to know them a little better¬† ‑‑ out here it's kind of like a business thing, and guys are friendly and everything, but to be able to spend time with them, two great guys, Phil and Davis, and of course I lived with Chad Campbell at UNLV for over a year, so we're pretty tight.

They're real supportive, and I was picking Phil's brain a little bit about what goes on at the Ryder Cup. This is his fifth one. It's just going to be hard to wipe the smile off my face. It's pretty awesome.

Q. Two questions. First of all, Hal said listening to your excitement made his entire captaincy worthwhile. I wonder if you could give us a blow‑by‑blow that conversation went.

CHRIS RILEY: He called and left a message and I called him back and told him how thrilled I was to make the team. He said representing your country is the biggest honor you can have in golf, and I said you're exactly right. Everything that we do, we try to do in a professional way, and now to represent your country is¬† ‑‑ I can't even explain it. I had chills and just the whole thing, what an experience it's going to be. I mean, I'm just happy to be on the team and help them win the cup.

Q. Secondly, there's obviously a lot of questions about your wife. Can you explain how that's going to¬† ‑‑

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, she's due on September 17th, the first day of the matches. We have an appointment tomorrow and we're going to find out what we can do to make this work. Fortunately she was an LPGA TOUR player so she knows how important this is and what an honor it is to play in the Ryder Cup. We're going to do whatever we can to make this happen. Whatever is the best for the baby. If they tell us, no, then we're not going to do it. But there's absolutely zero chance I'm going to miss the Ryder Cup. She wouldn't let me. She would rather have me¬† ‑‑ I mean, it's just a tough situation. It's all speculation now and tomorrow we'll know a lot more.

Q. Are you not playing golf tomorrow?

CHRIS RILEY: I'm playing golf tomorrow but she's going to the doctor.

Q. It sounded like you were going, too.

CHRIS RILEY: No.

Q. What kind of things were you picking Phil's brain about as far as Ryder Cup?

CHRIS RILEY: I was just asking him about the experience, like the alternate shots and best ball. It's really¬† ‑‑ there's not one guy on the roster, if you got paired with one guy, you wouldn't want to play with. I mean, they're all great players. He just says, you know, what an experience. I asked him when his first one was and he told me it was '95 I think he said, and he told me it was real exciting, and you want to get out there and play but you've just got to just enjoy it and take your time and just bring it all in, just some things like that. It's going to be cool.

Q. This issue with the baby thing, was she always 100 percent prepared that maybe you're not even going to be there?

CHRIS RILEY: You know what, that's what's so weird about what happened this summer. She actually had some problems, and they were going to at one point do surgery on her. That's why I didn't play a whole lot; I missed a couple tournaments this summer so I wasn't thinking about the Ryder Cup really, and I had friends calling me, "Man, you're not playing enough golf, let's get on this Rider Cup team." It's an important thing, but obviously any baby was, too. I told everybody I can take care of it at the last tournament of the year, at the PGA, and I don't know what happened, I finished fourth, so I took care of it.

It was unfortunate because I was scheduled to play in the Buick Open after¬† ‑‑ I got back from the British Open, my wife was in Louisiana, and she came down with¬† ‑‑ I don't really want to talk about it, but they made us fly immediately home to Vegas and we saw some doctors. The one doctor we saw, they told us that they were just going to let it go and see what happens, and fortunately it's gone away. So I missed the Buick Open there. Then I played The International; I was rusty, didn't play very good, and then it just happened at the PGA, so it was cool.

Q. Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, a little girl, Taylor Lynn.

Q. Forgive me if this was asked before, but when you came off 18 on Sunday, you were pretty adamant about the fact that if you didn't make it on points there was no way Hal was going to pick you. Why did you feel that way and why do you think that you weren't worthy of being picked?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, obviously I said I didn't play much this summer. I just felt there was more players with more experience in front of me, and I believe those captain picks, you have to have some reasons why you pick these guys, and obviously the two guys he did pick, they've played on Ryder Cup teams before. Has anybody ever picked a guy who's never played on the Ryder Cup? I didn't know about that, but Steve Flesch would have been picked before me, Todd Hamilton would have been picked before me. I was probably 20th on the list, probably 15th on the list if you went down. I mean, really, but just to make the team just shows how hard I worked over two or three years and where I am, and I just feel like¬† ‑‑ I don't know, I just feel real good about making the team, and it's my spot. The 10th spot is Chris Riley's spot. That's how I feel.

Like I said, on paper, I looked at all the guys who are ahead of me and I have the least experience out of everybody, but I'm ready for new challenges and whatever Captain Sutton does is great with me.

Q. One of the questions asked of Hal the other day was that this team doesn't have a standout cheerleader like in the past, Payne Stewart and Paul Azinger and guys who were sort of the fire‑up guys. Is that a role that you can play? Stewart Cink said Jay Haas is like everybody's uncle and you're like everybody's nephew.

CHRIS RILEY: You know, I like to have fun. That's what life is all about in my book. I'm definitely going to be serious and ready to go when the Ryder Cup comes around, but I'm just kind of a guy that just likes to have fun. What we do for a living is fun. It's serious at times and you've got to be serious, but life is too short not to have fun and make the most of it. I mean, I'm not going to designate myself as a cheerleader but I'm definitely going to have some fun with the guys for sure. I'm not real shy, so, you know, I think it's a great combination of all the different guys.

I mean, this is really going to be the highlight of my golf career, there's no doubt. I know all the guys, Tiger, David Toms, Chad Campbell. We have a great core of guys that can really play, too, so I'm looking at a celebration afterwards, too.

Q. What's a scarier thought, playing your first Ryder Cup or thinking about becoming a father for the first time?

CHRIS RILEY: Oh, man. I'm not really scared about either thing. I'm really excited about it. Sure, I'm going to be nervous at both things. I've got a plate full of food ahead of me the next couple weeks. I mean, I handled it with Phil Mickelson on the second‑to‑last group on Sunday last week, and, I mean, I was nervous but I was ready to go. Those are the positions you want to be in. I wanted to play with Phil Mickelson in the second‑to‑last group at Whistling Straits, and if I play good or make the Ryder Cup team¬† ‑‑ the only unfortunate thing was the putt on the 18th hole was the only time I thought about the Ryder Cup team (laughter). Man, here I am. I don't know how I got here. I've always worked hard and I'm the 10th man on the Ryder Cup team, and that's fine with me.

Q. So you're ready for fatherhood, prepared as you can be?

CHRIS RILEY: Absolutely, yeah. I'm 30 years old and I've got a great wife. Yeah, I'm ready. I can't wait. This is going to be the first of at least three, four. I love kids, so if everything goes well¬† ‑‑

Q. First of the Ryder Cup teams. Can some of this enthusiasm about being picked carry over to this tournament or do you think you're going to be too sky high? Can you use this enthusiasm about the Ryder Cup to fire yourself up for this tournament?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I'm fired up for this tournament. I mean, yeah, I'm ready to go this week, too. Any time you can play with a World Golf Championship it's fun with me, too.

Q. Are you aware that that finish got you in the Masters, too?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I knew that, yeah. That's nice, too (laughter).

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Chris Riley, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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