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September 27, 2017
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome our captains here to The Presidents Cup 2017, Liberty National Golf Club.
Captain Stricker, Captain Price, thank you for joining us. We'll get started with opening comments from Captain Stricker as the host here in the United States.
STEVE STRICKER: It's great to be here. I feel like a lot of anticipation leading up to it. You know, it goes through the whole points system and obviously the two picks, so there's a lot going on and then just getting everything ready and all the finer details. It seemed like it was taking a long time to get here, so it's actually great to be here and we're excited to be here.
The guys are fired up and playing great. It's finally here. A couple more days and the first tee ball will be here. It's finally here and we're very excited to be here and to be playing here in the great setting that we have.
CHRIS REIMER: Captain Price, you're a veteran now. How does the team like this week as they prepare?
NICK PRICE: You know, these guys have all been excited for a while now. The texts and the e-mails and the messages that have been going backwards and forwards for the last six, eight months, have been very rewarding to say the least as a captain, because it's piqued everybody's interests.
Everyone's been on track, and especially when it came time to make the picks, there was a lot of electronic media going around between the guys and myself and the captains. So the guys are ready. I think what happened in Korea; we have eight guys on the team that are from Korea. They sort of explained and told the guys, the rookies, how big a week this is for us and what to look forward to and how much fun it is.
It's good and as Steve says, it's arrived. There's been a lot are work, a lot of prepare work that he and I have done coming into this week, and this is a week for us, that although it's very stressful, this is the fun stuff for us. Being with the players and getting involved at what we know best, which is golf and strategy.
Enough of all the mundane things. We've got all of those behind us and now it's time for golf.
Q. I'm sure you've had a chance to look at the golf course, how it's set up and arranged. What are your thoughts about it? Changed your mind about anything leading into it?
NICK PRICE: Well, ten-out-of-ten for the golf course. It's in immaculate condition. The greens, they obviously had a little bit of rain a while back. The golf course is just very lush. It's in great shape, and of course, you know, hard to beat this venue with that backdrop of the skyline of Manhattan.
But the golf course is everything -- I haven't played it. Steve's played it in years been by but it's one of those golf courses right out in front of you and I think it's a great match play course. There's a lot of risk/reward golf out there, and I think we're going to see a lot of holes changing hands rapidly I think.
I think everything -- all the arrows are pointing toward a great week this week.
STEVE STRICKER: It is, it's in great shape. I haven't been out there much this week but I did go out on to the -- it would be the 15th hole, the old No. 1. Looked like it was -- the greens are pure. The rough is down, so it's going to give guys an opportunity to be aggressive when they miss the fairway.
I think the course is a great match play course. There's reachable par 5s, some good par 3s, great setting with the Statue of Liberty in the background, and yeah, I think there's going to be a lot of birdies made. The condition is so pure that the guys are going to make some putts and have fun with it.
Q. Are you okay with finishing on a par 3, 18?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I'm okay with it. Not all the matches will get there, you know, but I think it's a unique way to end the match when there is no drive involved. You're going to peg it into the tee and it's who is going to handle the pressure and hit a great iron shot in there.
I think it brings a different element to that finish. I think a little bit more nerve-wracking for the players I think, when it's going to come down to either tied or 1-down or 1-up kind of thing.
So who can handle that, and hit a great shot in there.
Q. We talked a few weeks ago at the Media Day about how sick and tired you -- of losing this and obviously the U.S. has dominated this quite a bit. Looking back to The Ryder Cup, Steve, you've been involved a lot where the Europeans were dominating for a long time. Do you both think that it's -- it's -- well, start with Nick -- important for you guys to win this thing to juice the interest up; this needs to be a little bit more competitive just to keep the interest going up in this competition?
NICK PRICE: Absolutely. I think what happened in South Korea two years ago, really was a shot in the arm for guys like Adam Scott and Louis and Jason who have never been on a winning team. I think this is Adam's eighth Presidents Cup. So you know, if anybody wants to win it, as much as Adam, I'd be surprised. He really is determined.
He is why, I agree. This is a very important Presidents Cup for the International Team, and I think, you know, after the result in South Korea, the guys' interest is a lot more piqued than it was before South Korea. I think it's going to be very closely competed for this week.
Q. Is it more jacked up because it's more competitive --
STEVE STRICKER: It's more jacked up because we finally won one. It was still good when we were losing. It's still a great event and a spectacle to watch, even though we weren't happy with the results. You know, and I can't speak for Nick but I don't -- you know, my message to my players is that I don't really care what's happened the last 11 Cups or how many we've played.
We're here for what's going on this week and take care of business this week and not worry about that. You know, they have got a job to do and they know that, and I'm sure that's what they are going to be worried about when it comes time to play.
So yeah, and we know they feel good about, you know, what happened in South Korea. It was a great event. It came down to the last match, last hole, and it's still -- it's always been closer in my opinion than what the results have shown. It's always come down to a few matches.
And I keep saying this: And it just so happens that they flipped our way. It's always closer than the what the numbers appear.
Q. Hideki has not been firing on all cylinders since the PGA. Where is his head and his game at the moment?
NICK PRICE: Obviously he's pretty tired. He had a long year. He started playing great at the end of last year, so it's been an 11-month, 10-month stretch, where I think he's played -- he's won five events in total from November of last year.
But he finished with a flourish on Sunday. He made five birdies on the back nine. So I think he was looking forward to this week. I think this was a lot of pressure on him to perform in the FedExCup, and his game wasn't maybe quite on where he wanted it.
You know, maybe he just felt a little bit of extra pressure and he didn't play as well as he would have liked to last week. But I have no reservation; he's one of those guys that's going to rise to the occasion.
Q. And Steve, not that it's likely to happen, but what would your thoughts be if one of your players wanted to stage a silent protest during the National Anthem?
STEVE STRICKER: Say that again?
Q. What would your thoughts be if one of your players wanted to follow the NFL players and stage a silent protest during the National Anthem?
STEVE STRICKER: We've had a discussion already and none of my players want to do that.
Q. Going back to when you played in this, there's always been a lot of talent on the International side, and a lot of really good players. Are you surprised it's been so lopsided, given that the number of highly-ranked players that you've either played with or now captained?
NICK PRICE: It's no secret that over the years, down at the bottom, my nine, ten, 11 guys, we were very exposed down there with a 34-point system.
One of my ideas to reduce the points was the fact that, you know, we'd have, let's say, less exposure down at the bottom. Those guys, we have a little bit different format than The Presidents Cup. We have to play each guy at least three times the whole week, so each guy has to play two matches. That's pretty good, because a guy can play, who may not be playing too well, may just want it play the better ball matches. There's a lot of strategy involved in that.
It's difficult. For us, a team of eight nations this year, to get the camraderie and get the team spirit. But I tell you, the eight guys who are on this team; if you guys could have been in the team room in South Korea on that Sunday night, I tell you what, it was a very humbling experience for me because the guys emotionally spilled their guts out to everyone that night how important it was to them and how much they enjoyed it and how much they enjoyed the competition.
You have to remember one thing. Even though we are a hodgepodge of a team from all around the world, we are all competitors and we like to compete and we don't like to get beaten. I think that's the bottom line. Whether you're a European Team or whether you're -- wherever your team's from, we just don't -- we're competitive. And this team is made up of a lot of young guys who are going to play for the next -- probably have another four or five Presidents Cups in them.
When I do talk to them, I keep saying to them; look to the future. Don't just look to this year and this Presidents Cup. You guys have got to look to the future because you're going to carry the banner. This event is growing in stature and it's growing in popularity and it's also growing in esteem for the players, especially the international players. I think they have realized how important this event is now, and they want to take it to the next level.
Q. You have six guys in their 20s, which would seem to be a core of a team going forward. Do you see it that way, or is it possible there's so many good players out there right now it could be a different six guys in their 20s next time around, or that core could broaden or keep changing?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I see that core six guys, four, five or six guys, continuing to play each and every year. I mean, they are playing so well:first of all, they are friends with one another and seems they are spurring each other on. When one guy does something well, wins a tournament, it's almost a shot in the arm to another guy and he goes out and plays really well.
It actually seems to me they are driving one another to play some great golf. It's really cool, and a great outlook for USA team golf. You know, it's fun to see. We've had a lot of fun with them already. They get along so well with one another, give each other a hard time. They truly like being with each other.
So I see this group staying pretty strong and being the mainstay of future teams for sure.
Q. You said four, five or six. So which number?
STEVE STRICKER: A guy could have an off-year. We all know in this game that it's a tough game and there's ups and downs, and I don't know if all -- my point was, I don't know if all six are going to be on every team together for the rest of their careers. It probably won't happen.
I'm saying the majority of them are going to be there. It's fun to watch and they have a lot of game and they come with a lot of confidence. It's impressive to see what they are doing and what they are capable of doing.
Q. Tiger was involved as an assistant captain at The Ryder Cup last year. How involved has he been in the reason-up to this week and how do you see his role during the week?
STEVE STRICKER: No different this year than it was last year. He's very involved. We're communicating through texts; I've talked to him on the phone quite a bit the last couple weeks. He's very into it. It will be the same this week. He's got control of four guys that he's watching over and is very involved with them and communicates with them. They love having him there. We all love having him. He's brought a lot of experience to the table as a player, and he's very into it. He's fun to be around and the guys appreciate him being here.
Q. What do you expect from the crowds this week? Do you think there will be more international support given the melting pot or will it be partisan like last year in minute anyone?
NICK PRICE: Of all the cities you want to play in for the Internationals, this is the best one because it's the most cosmopolitan city in America and made of of so many ethnicities. We are hoping we're going to get a lot of support out here. As you know, the New York fans are as vocal as can be, so there's going to be a lot of noise out there, which is great.
That all adds to the atmosphere. Our guys are ready for it. They all played in America for many years. A lot of them live here. It's not -- the perfect sure of the event is going to be a little different for some of them but to be out there, and like I said to them, you have 11 teammates and 12 caddies and five captains and all the wives pulling for you. So you're not out there on your own. But this is going to be a great experience for all of them.
STEVE STRICKER: I agree. It is going to be a very vocal crowd. We have one of the most beloved guys on our team from the New York fan base and that's Phil. This guy is a legend out here, right, and he gets so much support. To Nick's point, there will be a mixture for his team.
Ultimately we are playing in the U.S. We are going to get a lot of support and they are very vocal, and you have to be prepared for that. And these guys are. We've played out here enough and understand the crowds. It's great. You have to go with it and enjoy it and just know that there's going to be things said to you that you may not want to hear but you've just got to have fun with it.
Q. What role does Hideki have on the team? Does he take any more leadership responsibilities?
NICK PRICE: Well, he's certainly come out of his shell over the last couple. I think having the same guys, Jason, Adam, Charl, Louis, Branden, all of those guys, as well as Leisch -- who else was on that team -- but you know what, he's a great team member. He takes a ribbing from all of us. He really can take a joke and he can dish it out, too.
He's a wonderful guy to have, and especially Si; he's going to take Si under his wing this week. Still waters run deep. He doesn't say a whole lot but when he does, it's very funny. He's a good man and we're very, very happy and fortunate to have him on our team.
Q. You said your team has discussed what to do with the National Anthem this week, and in other sports over the weekend, we've seen it become very contentious. Golfers, by the nature of what you're doing, don't have a National Anthem played at every event but this will be different. Can you elaborate on what the discussion was you had with your players?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I just wanted to know what they wanted to do and how we wanted to proceed as a team. So we were going to do what we always do and that's take off our hat and put our hands across our chest and over our heart and respect the flag. So that's what we're planning on doing.
Q. The U.S. Team is well known for their pod system. Have you gone to that same kind of method and do you have your captain in charge of certain players here in week?
NICK PRICE: Yeah, we did that. I think that was a great idea. I think Paul Azinger was the one who started that off back I think in Valhalla or wherever it was when he was captain. I really liked that idea.
However nothing is ever really cast in stone. That's why we do it today, Tuesday, because tomorrow it may change again, who is going to play with who. But it does give us an indication of who wants to play with who, who we feeling are compatible. Any one of those guys in that group of four could play with either one. You have that ability to change.
So it's good. As I said, this is a lot easier this year because two-thirds of our team were on the team in Korea. So a lot of our team's pairs are easier to do than perhaps they were in Muirfield in 2013.
Yeah, we do use that pod system.
Q. Si-Woo Kim, a rookie on the team; what's your expectation for him as a rookie? He's the youngest guy on the team. Some type of generation gap there, but what do you expect, and have you talked to him, the tactics, plans?
NICK PRICE: Sure. I expect him to win every match (laughter).
He's a terrific young man. Speaks English very well, so very easy to communicate with. I know he has not played very well in the last month and a half or so but I think he is starting to understand how big this event is with listening to the older guys and the more experienced guys talk.
And then last night, we did a video of the past few Presidents Cups, and I think he got a little bit more of the feel and the buzz. So yeah, I think he's going to have a great week. He's one of the young guys that I think has the ability to play ina earth no six or seven Presidents Cups. If he really want them, if he really want to play in that many, he will.
But he's a very, very good player to have on our team this year and we're happy he's there.
Q. Having been heavily involved in both The Ryder Cup and this, do you have a preference for the way they do the pairings, where in The Ryder Cup it's blind and here it's not? Do you see any one that's better, or anything that's harder for you to navigate?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I don't know if there's one that's better or not. I think this one adds a bit more excitement because you can put some pairings together that you want. There's a little bit more element to, a little more strategic planning on our parts, I think, as captains and assistant captains is trying to figure out our two players going against, you know, if we can beat their two players, kind of thing.
It adds a different element for sure. Like I said, I don't know if there's one that's better, but this one, there's a little bit more pressure on the captains I feel like, because we're the ones pairing these guys up against one another.
Whereas The Ryder Cup, it's throw them out there in a specific order and you're kind of thinking and guessing what the other team is going to do. I don't know if I like either one over the other. They are totally different ones, but this week, it's a challenge.
You know, I've been on a couple as assistant captains, and it's one thing that we concentrate and it's a challenge to try to figure out if, you know, the two guys we're pairing up against Nick or the one guy in singles is going to be good enough to beat their team. So it adds definitely adds another element.
Q. Have you given any thought to the speech in the Opening Ceremony, and would you rather have someone write it for you or read it for you?
STEVE STRICKER: First of all, there is no Opening Ceremony.
No, I'm good. I can speak. (Laughter) I don't cry or anything like that. You know, I'm good.
Hey, it's been a blast, it really has. This team has really come together. It's an exciting week for me. Never thought I would be in this position and have this opportunity. It's really fun to be here and get the week started.
Like I said, it's a treat for us to do this, Nick and I, it really is. This is his third go-around with it and my first time. We're just excited to be a part of it. You know, this is the week that it finally gets here, and the players have a ton of excitement, and it's just a pleasure for us to work with them.
CHRIS REIMER: Captain Price, Captain Stricker, thank you for being with us and kicking off tournament week. Best of luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports