|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
September 27, 2017
Jersey City, New Jersey
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this afternoon's press conference with our assistant captains. We'd like to go right into questions.
Q. Tiger, what do you get out of weeks like this and at The Ryder Cup, without hitting a shot, what gets your juices flowing?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's the pure enjoyment about, one, the competition, but also being with the guys that's a different role, not a player. I'm trying to help the other assistants, the other players, and obviously our captain. And it's been a lot of fun. I had a great time last year and having a blast this year. This is a great group of guys, and again, this is -- all of our captains have been together before, and it's a really fun time.
Q. Tiger, it's good to see you again. These are really interesting time for sporting politics in this country and over the weekend, we saw football players protesting. What do you make of what's going on right now?
TIGER WOODS: Obviously there's a lot of unrest right now, whether it's political or racial, in this country right now.
And that's something that obviously has happened before in the past, and it's happening right now in America right now. So hopefully things can be healed. We can progress as a nation and come together, not just only the near future, but for perpetuity.
Q. Davis, yesterday you kind of talked on this same vein in regards to when protests seem to be appropriate or not, and you indicated that not during the National Anthem. Is there a time where it's appropriate for a golfer during a TOUR event to make some kind of position or take some kind of position in regards to some of the issues that are out there today?
DAVIS LOVE III: During a golf tournament? Well, fortunately, we get to represent our country Ryder Cup and this week at The Presidents Cup, so that's the only time we really play the National Anthem, you know. But yeah, the country was founded on the Constitution and the Bible, and you should respect -- as I said, I think in one interview in, NASCAR, they have a prayer and then they have the National Anthem. Respect those things, and then respect the people that have fought for the right that we can protest the rest of the time.
I don't know about during a golf tournament, but -- we're here to play golf. We're not here to protest. I put my hat that Payne Stewart's name on it in the World Golf Hall of Fame. We honor people but we're not here to make a statement. We're here to play golf.
Q. To the International side, I just want to ask, what is the mind-set for this particular week? Is this a must-win situation? How do you define it when you talk to the individual players, because you've all been in this situation before. What's the mind-set going into this particular week and how important is it to the stature of The Presidents Cup going forward?
ERNIE ELS: I mean, The Presidents Cup has been going since 1994. Obviously the U.S. Team has by far won more Cups than we have.
We'd like to think that, you know, although we lost a lot of Cups, there was some really close encounters. So we had to bond as a team and we have to play good golf. Whatever the legacy of the Cup will be, might be, you know, we'll have to wait and see.
But we are here to give it a very good go and as I say, we're bonding as a team and looking forward to the matches.
TONY JOHNSTONE: And as much as we love the Americans, we would love to kick butts, thank you (laughter).
JIM FURYK: We can't hear you. I can't hear what they are saying because I think the sound is going out towards you.
TONY JOHNSTONE: What I said is as much as we love you, we want to kick your butts (laughter).
JIM FURYK: I understand (laughing).
TONY JOHNSTONE: And vice versa.
Q. This is for Tiger. You're unable to play competitively at the moment, I just wonder, if you can describe what being here this week and like The Ryder Cup weeks is like in terms of keeping you almost like a lifeline to the game -- and while you're out there helping coach these guys -- and lastly an update on where you are at in terms of your comeback.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I enjoy being out here with the guys. I always have, whether it was a player for many years, or it's been two vice captains, vice captainships in a row. It's been a lot of fun being around these guys. Most of these guys have come over to the house or practiced at my place and we've had a great time.
It's really nothing new with these guys. But as far as my health, I'm feeling great. It's nice to be out here with some great assistant captains and our captain. I've played Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches with all of them, and to be out with these young guys, we're going to have a lot of fun this week.
Q. Do you have a timetable for yourself moving forward?
TIGER WOODS: My timetable is based on what my surgeon said. As I alluded to last week, I'm hitting 60-yard shots. I'm hitting it really straight (smiling) it's a joke, smile, okay. (Laughter).
Q. As you know, it's been a tough last week in M√É¬©xico, and you expressed yourself on social media. I would like you to take this opportunity to maybe send a message to all of the Mexicans who are going through a very difficult time.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, unfortunately, devastations like that do happen. We try and help as best we possibly can, either through financial donations or other types of support, whatever the vehicles may be.
It's been tough and we've had a lot of unfortunately big national disasters, and not just in our country but in other countries, as well. And it's a time that, you know, we would help each other. We try and help each other as much as we possibly can.
I know I've given some financial support to all the different places that have been hit, and hopefully people can move forward, heal; it's not going to be easy.
Q. Geoff and Mike, you're new to this role, this part of the team. Can you specifically say what you, individually, bring to this environment and this group of guys that can maybe turn around the results of the past?
GEOFF OGILVY: I guess we'll have to wait and see. Mike is here to speak Canadian with Adam (laughter). And I'm here for the Australian translation.
Time will tell. I think we've all -- there's a bit of experience on this side. There's a ton of experience on the other side. Probably the assistant captains desks are getting longer and longer after this tournament. It's good fun.
Anything we can do to help the guys who haven't done this before, it's pretty intimidating, though, those first couple of days when you haven't done one of these big team competitions. I think however we can get them ready for Thursday, once Thursday starts, most guys know how to play golf out here. They will get that under control. If we can just get them ready for what they are going to see tomorrow morning, and just let them play.
Q. Do you have any sort of --
GEOFF OGILVY: We've all put in our two cents of what we think and whether they take that on board or not -- whether it's useful. Probably most of it's useless, right. They all know what they are doing. We just answer questions when they ask, mostly.
MIKE WEIR: I'd go along with Geoff. Just like the guys over there, the U.S., I think lots of experience over there. Hopefully Geoff and I can experience some experience and confidence to the team, and kind of let them know, you know, what to expect. I think those little tidbits of information hopefully clears their path and clears their mind more than anything to be focused and kind of try to let them know what to expect, even though it is -- once they step on that first tee, even if you haven't done it before, most of our guys have. We have four new guys, but just let them know that it's a little different feeling. There's a lot different kind of a buzz, and as Geoff said, time will tell. But that's what we are hoping to bring to the table.
Q. For Jim and for Fred, can you just describe, for you personally, and for your team in general, what does it mean to you to have Tiger here?
JIM FURYK: I think it's great. I've always said that a lot of the guys we have on our team, the younger players on both sides, I mean, they grew up, he was our dominant player, the face of the PGA TOUR and they group idolizing him. They wanted to be -- they wanted to play; they are probably playing the PGA fewer a lot of them, having grown up watching them. Having him here in the team room and here with those guys is invaluable.
It's a two-way street. It's great for Tiger. As much as he's been injured, it's probably wonderful for him to be out here and the camaraderie and provides just so much experience and knowledge.
FRED COUPLES: Yes, the same thing. When I was captain the three times, Jimmy, Tiger, Stricker, and.
JIM FURYK: Phil.
FRED COUPLES: Phil Mickelson were always in the room. Back then, we didn't have a ton of assistants. Having Tiger on the team now is pretty much the same as if he was playing.
Then Davis didn't make any of those teams, and then I should have picked him one year, but then he helped a couple times afterwards as an assistant. So the idea of his knowledge, he handles players very well, and some of the times, you know, they look at him for support and then he gives it without their asking.
So for me, as a captain, all those times, I just relied on other people. And this time, we all have our own little thing to do, and I think we do very well doing it. Without Tiger here, we probably wouldn't do it as well.
Q. Tiger, it's a long rode back. You have nothing to prove. What's fueling you? Tying teeing?
TIGER WOODS: Long road back to what?
Q. Competitive golf.
TIGER WOODS: I've been out of the game for a while. First thing's first: Get my health organized. Make sure the pain goes away. Then, basically, just as I said, just keep waiting for what my surgeon says. I've given you guys the updates on what I can do as I progress, and that's all I'm doing.
I'm still training. I'm getting stronger. But I certainly don't have my golf muscles trained because obviously I'm not doing anything golf related.
Q. But why do you need competitive golf still?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's fun. You know, I've been competing in golf tournaments since I was, what, four years old. From pitch, putt and drive to playing major championships, it's always been fun to me.
Q. To that end, does being in this environment give you the itch to get back out? And obviously you're still limited, as you noted, but what would be your level of optimism?
TIGER WOODS: I'm very optimistic, and as I alluded to the guys here today, actually yesterday, just how -- I've been out of the game for so long that I haven't even ryegrass or bentgrass. I've been out in Florida where it's bermuda and sandy and grainy. You can't miss a putt on these greens; they are so pure. They are perfect. That was kind of a funny part but overall I'm very optimistic how I'm progressing. Like I said, the pain's gone, but I don't know what my golfing body is going to be like, because I haven't hit a golf shot yet.
So that's going to take time to figure that out and figure out what my capabilities are going forward, and there's no rush.
Q. As much fun as you have being at these events, especially with some of the younger guys, was there ever a point during a tough summer where you wondered if you would maybe not be here this week, and was it a motivating factor to get organized to get here?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, well, there were times when, as you all know, what Stricks said before, I didn't know if I was going to be able to be here because I couldn't ride in a cart. The bouncing just hurt too much. Driving a car still hurt.
So that's all gone now, which is fantastic, and yeah, there were some intrepid times; not just for this golf tournament but for life going forward.
Q. International Team, obviously the answer to the question is probably that the U.S. plays better, but why has the U.S. been able to sustain their success in this event? What are one or two key things that they do better?
ERNIE ELS: Well, they are a quality group of guys, each and every year. I mean, you know, I think the points system might make a difference. Already made a big difference last time; it was a little closer. They are a very deep team.
Playing a lot of matches, you know, you play against -- it's basically like match play. You play 36 holes; you know, the deeper guy, the better guy, is going to get you.
18 holes of match play, we've seen it in the Match Play we play in the US, there's a lot of upsets. I believe with less points, we might have a better go, and we've got a great team this year. We've got great spirit.
But they are just a quality side, you know, and they have gelled well together in all formats, foursomes and fourball, and obviously singles. You know, we've just got to play a little better. But I think with the points system change, it's a bit more in our favor.
TONY JOHNSTONE: This is not an excuse, but when the Americans are playing as a team, they are playing for one country. They are playing for their country. Obviously they have a sense of patriotism which is absolutely fantastic. We never really have the home advantage. When we play in Australia, we have three Australians, and they are raised all over the place, and South Africa, the same. Our job is to try and bond a wide variety of players from all spheres of golf around the world, and you know, we are trying our best to do that.
You know, historically, the Americans have always been stronger than us on the World Rankings. But we are going to do our best. We had a great contest last time. We love playing against the guys. I think they enjoy playing against us, and you know, sooner or later, we are going to beat them. So Jim, I hope you can hear me this time, we're looking for some blood (laughing).
We're going to have a great contest, whatever happens. We're looking forward to it, as are the Americans. This I haven't doesn't have the same sense of hostility as The Ryder Cup and I think some people think outside of Europe and America, that because of that, it's less important. I don't think it is. You can't fast-track tradition and heritage and I think The Presidents Cup is getting there, and it's just going to grow and grow and grow, and it's going to be so much fun watching it happen over the years.
Q. If you can get your body 100 percent fit, if you can get 100 percent healthy again, do you have the belief within yourself that you can become the best golfer in the world again?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know what 100 percent means after eight surgeries, but I'll try and get as close as I can to that number, yes. But as I said, we just take it one step at a time. It's a process, and I'm in no hurry.
Q. If you got your body 100 percent to what it was in your 20s, do you have that belief that you can get there again in?
TIGER WOODS: Well, is anybody in here who is in their 40s ever going to feel like they did in their 20s? Huh? Seriously? Exactly. (Laughter).
As I said, I'll try to get better physically; how about that.
Q. As positive as you sound, not knowing what your game could be like because you really haven't hit anything but 60-yard shots, could you see a scenario where you didn't come back to competitive golf?
TIGER WOODS: At the end, what's that?
Q. Could you see a scenario where you could not come back to competitive golf?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, definitely. I don't know what my future holds for me. As I've told you guys, I'm hitting 60-yard shots.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you, gentlemen.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports