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March 7, 2017

Steve Stricker

Nick Price

Jim Furyk

Mike Weir

Palm Harbor, Florida

JOHN BUSH: Good afternoon. My name is John Bush from PGA TOUR Communications, and I’m pleased to serve as moderator for today’s Presidents Cup update. We are joined today by 2017 Presidents Cup U.S. Team Captain Steve Stricker and International Team Captain Nick Price.

Preparations have been coming along for each of these gentlemen in their respective areas as we near the September playing at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. We don’t often have the opportunity to hear from both captains at a PGA TOUR event, and we’re thrilled to have them both on site here at the Valspar Championship.

For the first time in Presidents Cup history, each captain has the opportunity to add a fourth captain’s assistant to his team. Before Captain Stricker and Captain Price make those announcements, I’d like to ask each of them for a few opening remarks, to catch us up on preparations for the 2017 Presidents Cup.

At this time, it’s my pleasure to turn things over to Captain Price for his update.

NICK PRICE: Thanks for being here. Obviously it's a great opportunity, and certainly a huge honor for me to have been asked to do this for the third time. I'm trying to figure out from the guys, if they can't find someone else or if I just did a good job or not.

It's really a special event for me and something that's very close to my heart, having played in the first one. Just to give you a little update: Ernie obviously is one of my captain's assistant captains, along with Geoff Ogilvy, and Tony Johnstone is coming back for his third time. We have a nice spread. We have got a South African, an Australian and another Zimbabwean in Tony Johnstone, who is really my eyes and ears of The European Tour, because he commentates over on The European Tour. So he understands some of the players like Thongchai Jaidee and some of the guys who play over there full-time and are not over here that I don't get to see too often. So a lot of communication going on amongst the four of us.

Had a nice barbeque at my house the Tuesday of Monday. Had the guys around, started getting them a little excited about it, a little more aware of the event coming up. And just to hear a little bit of what they had to see, their perceptions and ideas for what this year's Presidents Cup are going to be and how we can improve.

So it's good. I'm very excited about, we've got a strong team, Emiliano Grillo, we've seen a couple of the young Asian guys playing really well, Ben An and Si Woo Kim. We've got some really strong young players. I think we are going to have our work cut out for us, because the U.S. Team is coming off a high at The Ryder Cup, where I think they played phenomenally well.

So it will be interesting. We were all spying on The Ryder Cup, trying to figure out who the pairings are going to be. I their team is not going to change too dramatically from September of last year. Liberty National is a great venue and we're going to have a motivated team for sure.

JOHN BUSH: If we can get an update on the United States?

STEVE STRICKER: I echo a lot of the same things that Nick said about what a special honor this is for me to be doing this and leading Team USA, and to go up against a friend of mine in Nick.

Yeah, our team is shaping up rather nicely. We've got a lot of the same players that are playing well at last year's Ryder Cup, are again playing well to start the year thus far. Seeing Dustin Johnson win last week, Justin Thomas playing well, Rickie Fowler playing well, a lot of similar guys are up there.

It's good to see from my point of things that we can hopefully keep that momentum riding into The Presidents Cup and what we did at The Ryder Cup, and keep that rolling right into The Presidents Cup.

Very excited about what it looks like thus far, and obviously there's a long ways to go yet but the team is shaping up really nicely again.

JOHN BUSH: We'll get into the fun. This time, I'll ask Captain Price to announce his fourth assistant captain.

NICK PRICE: One of the things we're trying to do on our side for The Presidents Cup, and I spoke to Commissioner Finchem and also Commissioner Monahan about it, was to make sure that we got guys who were in the future going to be captains. And there's no better example than the guy, Mike Weir, who I've asked to be our fourth captain's assistant.

Mike has a great passion for The Presidents Cup, as well. We've played together on numerous occasions and I'm just so happy to have him and his enthusiasm on the team.

JOHN BUSH: Steve, we'll have you do the honors, as well.

STEVE STRICKER: This was something Nick and I talked about, and I went to Nick and asked if he would be willing to have another assistant captain, because what we did at The Ryder Cup Team last year, with four assistant captains, along with the captain himself, we were able to be with every group out on the golf course. You know, you get a special insight that way, instead of not having somebody around if we're short somebody.

At the time I was struggling on my assistant captains, and it was hard not to pick Jimmy. Thinking that he was going to play his way on there, is what my thinking was going to be, and he still may play his way on there and we'll deal with that when the time comes.

I'm so happy to have Jim be a part of this team. He's a friend of mine and he's been a mainstay of these teams, I don't know how many have you played on, 15, 17 teams; I don't know how many teams you've played on, but you've played on a tremendous amount of teams and couldn't be happier to announce Jim Furyk as our fourth assistant captain.

JOHN BUSH: Congratulations, gentlemen. It's obvious The Presidents Cup 2017 is in very good hands. At this time we'll open up to a few remarks. Let's begin with Mike Weir, if we can.

MIKE WEIR: Thanks, everybody, Captain Price, Nick, for this great honor. I was very excited to get the call from Nick to be part of this. I've been part of five teams as a player, and it's been a few years since I've been part of the team but I've always looked forward to being on the side of it.

You know, Nick has always been a guy I've looked up to in my career, along with these other two guys I've competed against. I've always felt like The Presidents Cup has been done the right way. My experiences in The Presidents Cup has been phenomenal, from the many individual matches I've had, the team matches, the camaraderie that is formed, the friendships that are formed with the families and the players. To be part of that, I'm really excited for.

JIM FURYK: I would say a lot of the same things Mike has. First of all, the three gentlemen on the stage, and John, as well, I consider everyone a friend here. Nick helped me out quite a bit in my career and Steve and I have been friends a long time and played on many teams together, and Mike and I have been friends for a long time, as well.

So to be here amongst everyone is an honor. I've been fortunate to be on quite a few of The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, but you never really want to miss out on that opportunity. I'd love to play my way on to those teams, but if that doesn't happen, I would have a hollow spot not to be able to be there with my friends, with some of the younger players on TOUR and be there to help the U.S. Team as much as I could.

And so it's an honor. I'm glad when I got the call from Steve, that I'll have the opportunity, and obviously I admire Steve and Nick so much. So I know for Mike and I to be a part of this, it's really an honor.

Q. I thought there was a story as it relates to your kind of connection and relationship with Nick that you were a young man starting out and hit balls on the range next to Nick and realized that maybe you had some work to do. Is that true, and if it's not, can you make it up?
MIKE WEIR: No, that's true. That's true. Nick gets embarrassed when I tell the story. But it was early days in my career of playing the Canadian Tour, as Strick played, Jimmy, I don't know if you played any of the Canadian Tour, but Strick and I did. They had a qualification, if you were in the top certain number at the top, you could get in the Canadian Open, which I did. I was walking to the driving range, got my bag of balls and I walked, looking for a spot on the range and I walked up and the only spot was beside Nick Price.

So me being left-handed, I'm facing him; and Nick, this was in the early 90s, and he's just flushing this ball. It's a different sound than what we hear on the Canadian Tour in those days (laughter). I thought, I started hitting my shots, and I thought, wow, if I want to make it to this level, I've got a lot of work to do. And kind of went about reading some of his books that he had produced with David Leadbetter, and just started studying the swing in a little more detail than what I had been, I think I was 24 years old at the time.

That kind of put me on a different path after that experience, really. Knew that, you know, hey, I'm a professional golfer, but I'm really not a professional golfer yet. There was a whole new level of professional golf that I had not really experienced yet. So that was an eye-opening experience.

Q. How do you balance things for the next six, seven months, between Liberty National, Paris, playing some professional golf in your spare times, things like that?
JIM FURYK: It is a busy time. On top of that, my wife and I are building a house right now. We have our foundation golf tournament coming up this Monday. Time is thin.

You know, I knew that someone would ask about The Ryder Cup and Paris coming up, and I am looking forward to that and I'm very excited about it. I would lie to say that being part of this team will definitely help me in this preparations; I'd also be slighting The Presidents Cup to tell you that I love this event, as well. I've played in seven. I served as an assistant captain last time. Jay was nice enough to bring me on when I was hurt and I wasn't able to compete. These guys that will be playing, these are my friends, the guys that I've fought hard for in this event.

I love it. So to have Steve give that call -- we talked a little bit about as captain picks at The Ryder Cup, and the words that I said to him there, I said, "Hey, buddy, we're always going to be friends no matter what." And I thought the three choices he made, Davis Love, probably the best captain I've ever played for; Tiger Woods, the best player ever; and Freddie Couples, who I think he captained three teams that won in this event. He couldn't have made three better choices.

I'm just happy to get the call, and I'm excited about the opportunity to have to balance my time, put it that way.

Q. Steve, I wonder if you could speak to that a little bit, too. There's an obvious continuity that's now going on between The Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup, with assistants, captains, what-have-you, in these last couple of years. Having Jim involved, obviously he's been involved in The Ryder Cup, going to be involved in the next one. You've been involved in both. Can you just speak to how much that might help both efforts?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, and you said it. It's continuity, and that's what we're striving for is to provide an environment that the players are relaxed in and can know what to expect from one team event to the next.

So that was my goal coming in, and asking at the time, Jay Monahan, to see if that was a possibility, where we can keep that uniform going into this year, and I know Nick wanted another assistant captain, too.

It's just that, if we can keep that going from one event, one team event to the next; and this is just a small part of it. But I think it helps; we all worked together, Jim and I and Tiger and Davis last year. Like you said, it's continuity. It's similar and it allows the players to ask questions because there's more guys there to answer them or to get the answer. It's just to help out, you know, and Tiger showed that he was really a part of it last year and I think that was big for our team. So we know he's going to be a part of it again this year.

So I think it's just that familiar ground with everybody, and we've got a lot of the same players on the team, which is another good thing for us. There will be some new guys on there, too, I'm sure. But you know, you have the mainstay of what those guys did last year, and provide that similar environment, I think is a good thing for us from year-to-year.

Q. You didn't pull the Cup out of Korea, but do you feel like you pulled something tangible out of there as a team to build on going forward?
NICK PRICE: The players' meeting, the dinner we had afterwards, if you listened to what the players had to say, after being pretty much down in the dumps in 2013 and 2011, I think their sort of attitude towards The Presidents Cup was wallowing a little bit, for use of a better word.

So when I became captain, and I started talking -- when I was asked to be captain the first time in 2012, I went around to some of the players and I got a general feeling of, you know, a little bit of what are we going to do different this time.

So that was the difficult thing for me, you know, as a captain, to try to motivate these guys. But certainly after Korea, I think the change in the points was a huge stride I think for us to get to almost a parity with The Ryder Cup.

You know, albeit for a couple of putts here and there, we may have pulled it off. But I think it was a great event. I think it was so well received by the Koreans and certainly a lot of the people around the world, the Australian friends of mine in Australia and South Africa and all over. You know, they really enjoyed watching it. And it was exciting. I think that's what made The Ryder Cup for so many years was the fact that it came down to the last match on Sunday, and it's a tremendous amount of pressure on both those players.

You know, Bill Haas just played the last hole perfectly. He didn't really give Sangmoon Bae much of an opportunity. But it was exciting. All of us, it was such a release in our players' room afterwards, and everybody said something about their experience, which was great. We've got a huge block to build from, and I think Liberty National is also going to be another great one.

Q. If you could indulge me, all three of you played in the 1997 Masters; can you talk about what you saw out of Tiger Woods that week, and did you all think that you were seeing the changing of something special in golf?
NICK PRICE: You know, he overpowered the golf course. We had not seen that happen at Augusta, I think probably since Nicklaus back in the 60s. He totally overpowered the golf course. You know, he was hitting clubs to those par 5s and par 4s, 11, 13, 15, we had never even seen those sort of distances before.

And then you put that on top of his phenomenal short game. He just putted so beautifully. I mean, it was a clinic for all of us. We had heard he had it in him, but he had not shown us on the TOUR because it was only his second full year.

I mean, we were amazed. We knew that there was -- this was a whole new ballgame now.

STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I was just talking to Doug a minute ago, and he asked the same question. I had played with him earlier in that year at Pebble Beach, and I was coming off of a year, '96, winning a couple times at '96. I played with him at Pebble and I said, "I don't have that game." He's playing it 310 or 315 and hitting 3-wood past my driver, kind of thing, and just had this intimidating look about him and this belief in himself. So I saw it earlier in the year.

But then to see him put it all together at Augusta was pretty cool. I mean, when you look back at it, it's pretty cool to see what has happened to him. Not so cool what's happened since. Obviously he showed the world what he was capable of at that time, and then it was just a glimpse of what was to come.

Q. Where were you?
MIKE WEIR: I was on the Canadian Tour still working on my game. I remember watching it on TV like most fans and I was just a fan. I was just blown away that the game looked so different than what I was playing and who I was playing against. It looked like a completely different game that he was playing.

JIM FURYK: You know, I really wasn't that impressed (laughter).

I think just the combination of power and short game was probably unseen in the game, maybe ever. But correct me if I'm wrong, he shot like 40 on the front nine on Thursday; is that correct? And then came back to win by 12 to 15 shots? Staggering.

I think the talent and the power is impressive, but obviously how good he was mentally and how strong he was from that side of the game was just as impressive.

JOHN BUSH: Congratulations once again to Jim and Mike, and Captains, good luck later this year at Liberty National.

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