October 19, 2000
LAKE MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
Q. Tiger, you guys got to 3-up and then sort of let things slip back a little bit before closing it out. It looked like it was a little loose out there at times. Could you walk through what was going on during the match and the way the momentum was switching?
TIGER WOODS: Well, it's just one of those things where I didn't feel as comfortable as I would like to, since I haven't played in a while. And coming back out and having to hit shots that actually meant something was different. I was still a little tight, a little nervous. It was hard for me to get into the rhythm of it initially. And we kind of ham-and-egged it pretty good for a while. And I missed that putt over on 11 that I thought was big. If I made that putt, it would have kept our 3-up lead, it would have sent a message, but I jerked it left and hit a bad tee shot on the next hole which compounded the problem, and they birdied 13 from there. I hit a good drive on 14, and Notah hit a great 3-wood in there. And we made a birdie. We had to hang on for dear life coming in and we did it.
Q. What was the distance on that 3-wood?
NOTAH BEGAY III: 215.
Q. It barely cleared the water, turned out to be a good shot.
NOTAH BEGAY III: It was there all the time. (Laughter.)
Q. Was there any thought about laying up?
NOTAH BEGAY III: No, not at all. We're out there playing to win, and we were trying to get things back on track and we needed to make birdie there. And that was the only thing that I was focused on. And the water wasn't even a consideration for me.
Q. As a follow-up, Tiger, the putt on 16, if you could talk about that and also the putt on 15 after Notah slid it by the hole a little bit.
TIGER WOODS: On the putt on 15 I thought was a big putt just because it looked like we had a chance to win the hole and then I needed to bury a putt from about 6 feet to halve the hole. And I had a good putt in there and it went right in the hole. The next hole was an interesting hole. I just hit a terrible shot left, long and left. And then Notah hit a great shot out of there, just put it on the green, and I told him the job was done, I'm going to make it. Just because I felt -- that's one of the interesting things about playing alternate shot, you feel bad if you hit a bad shot. Normally you feel bad for yourself and now you feel bad for leaving a bad shot for your partner. And I felt so good when I putted. After I made the putt on 15, if I stayed over the putt, I had such a good feeling I could bury it. And I rolled it well, and it went in there somehow.
Q. Can you just tell us a little bit what it meant to see what the two guys next to you did, what it meant to the rest of the team?
NOTAH BEGAY III: I'll speak from my perspective. As a first timer it gave me a lot of encouragement and a lot of confidence. Phil and Tom are pillars of this team. And they gave us a lot of confidence. For them to go out there, and I knew they had a mindset to go out there and set the tone for the day, and that's exactly what they did. And it just sort of allowed me to, I guess, be a little more settled because I was very nervous for the first few holes and for most of the day. And I was glad that we had at least one point. So it was nice to see.
Q. Well, Phil and Tom, as pillars of this team, what was it like to go out early and not just win, but really kind of send a message with the way you won?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, that was pretty much the idea. And it was a similar feeling that we had Sunday at last year's Ryder Cup where the idea was, listen, let's win those first four matches, square this thing off and give us the momentum to win the cup. If we could go out today and start off this Presidents Cup the right way, not only by winning a point, but by winning decisively, we felt we give our team a little bit of momentum and confidence. Having a point on the board gives the other players the freedom to take chances with some shots. I've been in the situation where guys in front of me lose, and I feel like I really need my point, I can't afford to lose, as opposed to trying to win. That was the purpose was to get the entire team in the mind set of winning.
Q. Tom and Phil, and even Tiger, your commitment to this tournament has been questioned under the last few days. Do you feel that that helped you go out there and just show everybody that you really -- you do care, you committed to it, you want to play it?
TOM LEHMAN: I find it very surprising, because I've never said to anybody that I'm not happy to be here, ever. And it's the same for Tiger and the same for Phil. There's never been any doubt in my mind about my commitment or Phil's or Tiger's or Notah's or anybody in the rest of the team. The media has made more of a deal out of that than there is. There's nothing there. I can speak for all four of us, and the other eight guys and the captain, we're happy to be here and motivated to win, and there's no place we'd rather be than right here this week.
Q. This is for Tom and Phil. After today's start, a perfect start, what will you be trying to do tomorrow and Sunday? You can't remain perfect, that's obvious --
PHIL MICKELSON: Why not?
Q. I think the other guys are pretty good, too. I think they will win before long.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, they certainly will, and we have said all along that we think the International Team is an extremely strong team and we have respect for them not only as players, but as individuals. And we know that they're disappointed with the way they went today and they know they're going to come out tomorrow very dedicated and ready to play. And we need to respond to that the same way. We need to come out tomorrow with the same intensity that we did today because tomorrow we have twice as many matches, twice as many points available and they could easily get right back in the match, and have the momentum in their favor, if we don't come out ready to play.
Q. This question is for Tom. The International Squad, the foursome match has usually been their forte. Are you surprised about the outcome of today's matches?
TOM LEHMAN: Yes and no. Did I feel we were capable of doing that? Yes, I felt we were able to make a sweep in any kind of format. But the other team is awfully good. And I am surprised that we got all five matches today, just because of the depth of their team, the quality of their players, how tough they are competitively. They're mentally tough and everything. So it was really a big deal for us today to make a sweep of this. But I think our players, for foursomes, I mean for whatever you call, alternate shot, we have a bunch of guys that can really hit the ball and really putt. I look at Kirk Triplett and Stewart Cink today, they made 7 birdies and 1 bogey, 6-under on alternate shot. We have a lot of guys that can hit and a lot of guys that can make the putts, so that's a hard combination to beat.
Q. I have the feeling that -- I have a feeling that you've been thinking about this day for two years, and I want your general thoughts and comments, please.
PHIL MICKELSON: You're the only one, it seems, that believes that we've been coming out for the past two years ready for this tournament and wanting to win. (Laughter.) And I certainly agree with you. I think that we've been looking forward to this day and we've been -- prepared ourselves to be ready for this tournament. We're ready. It showed today. We need to continue it on the rest of the tournament. We don't have enough points, obviously. But we certainly are wanting to win and respond to the shellacking we took two years ago.
TOM LEHMAN: I couldn't say it any better than Phil did.
TIGER WOODS: Ditto.
Q. Notah, how about you? You have really been looking forward to this, getting a chance to play with Tiger. Your general thoughts about coming out that first match in this International competition with a win. Your general thoughts, please?
NOTAH BEGAY III: Well, the last few days I've been trying to get as much information from some of the guys, and everyone has been really helpful in trying to ease my concerns over the nervousness and a little bit of tension. And I just got out there and just tried to maintain a positive mentality, positive attitude and support Tiger. When he missed a shot or I missed a shot, he came back and gave me some support. It was just -- it was a great experience for me. To take on Ernie Els and Vijay, two of the top players in the world, and to battle them all the way to the 18th hole and have to hit a couple of shots the way I did, I couldn't have dreamt of a better way to start off this sort of competition for me.
Q. Question for Tom and Phil, and maybe a question for Ed when we're done. What did you guys think of Michael Campbell's dance on the driving range this morning?
TOM LEHMAN: I thought it was pretty cool. It took a lot of courage to do that. But I didn't realize that in a true tradition about what they do in New Zealand and Australia, we should have marched up and stood face to face with them. When the All Blacks do that the Aussies stand up and get an inch away when they do it. The challenge is laid down and you accept it. They laid down the challenge and we accepted.
Q. This is the first time we had one set of matches on one day. Is that odd at all and could you talk about what you might expect? The momentum shift, about two sets tomorrow and kind of a half day on Saturday?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought that having today and Saturday be 18 holes is a great way for this format to go because as players we were then able, after our match, we were able to go out and support the team, and there was a much greater sense of team unity felt from my perspective, because I was able to watch some golf, watch the other guys play, and just be there. And when we play 36 holes that's not the case, we have to go and prepare for our other match. We're only able to catch the last couple of holes in the afternoon. Today and Saturday I like the fact that the earlier groups are able to go out and support the team. I think that's a huge plus side of the event. Because it brings about a greater sense of team unity. As far as the second part --
TOM LEHMAN: What was the second part again?
Q. For Phil and Tom, I just wonder, how does the way you approach the game differ when you're playing two guys who are hitting it all over the lot like they are today, as opposed to when you're in (inaudible.)
PHIL MICKELSON: It didn't really change for us, because Tom and I both like to play aggressive. The reason we both enjoy playing with each other is that we have the same type of play, we like to attack, we like to be aggressive off the tee, and when I make a mistake off the tee, I don't feel as guilty because I know Tom would have taken the same club and tried the same shot. We seem to do well together, and given the fact that Greg Norman and Steve Elkington made some bogeys early on, it didn't alter our style of play. We were trying to win as many holes as we could, and we were able to do that.
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