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September 28, 2002

Thomas Bjorn

Phillip Price


GORDON SIMPSON: Phil, you're a rookie, you've waited a long time for this. Did the day live up to the expectations?

PHILLIP PRICE: I think it was exciting, while we were going reasonably well, and horribly disappointing when we lost. You feel more when you're part of a team when you lose.

GORDON SIMPSON: You were 1-up and had a chance to get 2-up, and after that a couple of bogeys, quite costly.

PHILLIP PRICE: I had three shots to the right, kind of made a big difference. They made a couple of up-and-downs and eagled 15. So they just made it very difficult for us. We were pushing in the end which made it tougher.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thomas, you and Darren set off like a house on fire yesterday morning, but today wasn't to be the day.

THOMAS BJORN: No, I started not playing my best today, and that was pretty much the truth. And you go out there and you try your hardest, and some days it's just not working and he was playing quite well, and I put him in some awkward spots off the tee. And we didn't get away with it and it was just a hard day. And when you're up against class opposition like Davis and Tiger, they just kind of put everything on cruise control and started playing very, very safe, safe golf, and that's what you do in foursomes; you try to make pars and make pars and make pars, and they did that all day long. We couldn't make it happen. And it was a hard day, especially for me. Darren was fine. And he'll be out there this afternoon and doing well. And -- but it goes like that.

You try your hardest, and form goes up-and-down a bit throughout the week. And some people get tired, some just keep on going. And it got to me today, and unfortunately, because I was kind of looking forward to the fourball this afternoon, me and Darren had a great fourball yesterday, and really gelled well. And all of a sudden that got thrown out the window a bit. But we have to protect a few players for the singles tomorrow, because we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us.

Q. Thomas, do you ask Sam to be benched this afternoon?

THOMAS BJORN: No, as I said before, I was really looking forward to getting out in the fourball. But the last six holes yesterday and today, I pretty much deserve to be on the bench after that, and that's the way it's got to be sometimes for some players. You go with what the captain thinks. And it's probably the best thing is to rest me and maybe also Bernhard this afternoon, to get us ready for the singles, because we know what's going to happen tomorrow. We know they're going to come out hard and we know we've got to play our best to beat them tomorrow. We can't beat them this afternoon. We need to be pressure and we need to be ready for tomorrow, no matter what happens this afternoon now, we'll have a chance to win tomorrow. And we need our best players and everybody to play well tomorrow.

Q. Thomas, what sort of cushion do you think we need going into the singles tomorrow?

THOMAS BJORN: We don't need any cushion, we need 2-2 this afternoon and 6-6 tomorrow. We've got good enough players on our side to win this. Sergio and Lee have been fantastic. Bernhard and Monty have been fantastic. Darren and I have been yesterday morning. There's a lot of players in here playing well, and we had everybody out there. When this day is over, we had everybody out there and everybody knows what it's going to be like to be out there. And there's a big difference here with the crowd so much behind you, and it's a very, very good feeling for all the players to have been out there and listening to these guys, there's no doubt who they're rooting for.

Q. The history on singles doesn't worry you?

THOMAS BJORN: What is history? Oak Hill? We won the singles 7-5 at Oak Hill. It can be done. If we can win 7-5 in America that were a team that was the underdogs there. We can win the singles here. If we get 2-2 this afternoon, we're leading, they're on the back foot, they need to come on strong. We need some points this afternoon, and if we can get 6-6 tomorrow, we're fine.

GORDON SIMPSON: Phil, how do you assess the situation at this stage?

PHILLIP PRICE: I think it's looking good. I think as Thomas said if we can get 2-2 this afternoon, that would be great. I think our singles line-up is a lot stronger than people seem to realize. I think even the players who appear to not have been in form are playing a lot better than they were, the likes of Lee. I'm playing better, Pierre Fulke is playing well. All the rookies, Niclas Fasth is magnificent. We have the world-class players at the top end there, a strong line-up on the singles.

Q. Phillip, can you tell us when you knew you were going to play today, how important you feel it was for rookies like yourself to play before the Sundays, because obviously in the past there's been a lot of cushion whether it's wise to leave somebody out or play them?

PHILLIP PRICE: I knew before the week started when I was likely to play and who I was likely to play with. And I think it's vital, when we played 17 holes, I've got 17 holes under my belt. I know what it's like with the crowd, essentially. I think it would be difficult if I had to go out tomorrow without having played. Everybody's played now. Everybody knows what it feels like. And as I said, I think there's more guys in form than anybody realizes, especially the players who don't have such a big reputation. I think they're in deceptively good form. And we've got the big guns, as well, I think the singles line-up is looking very good.

Q. Thomas, after that wonderful putting display from you yesterday morning, why did it start to go wrong in the afternoon here?

THOMAS BJORN: You go out there and you miss a couple. I -- the key to our round was really missed putts on 4, 5 and 6 where we had a chance to keep the match going, and all of a sudden we were 2-down. And I missed three there, make abdominal putts there, but still at the distance where you can miss them. And it just gives the momentum their way. And sometimes you just wake up in the morning and everything goes in and sometimes they don't. And that's why golf is such a special game. You just have to deal with those things, and throughout the week it evens out for everybody. You have the spells where you're holing putts and the spells where you don't. It was tough today because we didn't hit enough fairways today. I certainly, for my part, didn't do the things that I normally do. And then I missed some putts on top of it and it was just very hard to keep it going. And it gave them the opportunity just to go out and play safe golf. And when you've got guys out there like Davis and Tiger that hits two and three irons so far off the tee as they do, they're just going to make pars on you. Because they can hit irons on every single tee. I think they hit two or three woods today in those holes we played. They just hit iron everywhere. But we don't have that possibility, because if we hit irons off the same tees, we're going to be so far back, that we are, even then struggling to make par. That gives them the advantage. And -- playing with Tiger, and you can see it in Davis's eyes, he stands on one tee, and Davis says "What do you think, Tiger?" And he says, "I don't care, as long as you get it in the fairway." Tiger doesn't care if he hits a 7-iron or driver off the tee. If he gets it in the fairway, he's going to get it on the green and they're going to make par or birdie. They are a very, very strong foursomes pairing. We knew it yesterday when we saw the draw. We had it tough, like Pierre, and Phillip had it tough. We knew that was going to be tough. But fortunately it worked out our way in the middle, and that's what we were hoping would happen. And we both knew that both our pairings, if we got out on a good day we had a chance to win. But we needed those two in the middle to win.

Q. How much further do they hit their 2-irons than you do?

THOMAS BJORN: Tiger hits his 2-iron as long as I hit a 3-wood. He hits his 2-iron 50 yards further than I hit a 2-iron; I mean you can't compare. Davis hit a 2-iron down 11 236 yards. I need a lot of downwind to do that (laughter.)

Q. As you probably know Darren was struggling a bit with his game last week, and was doing work on it. He comes out of the gate with three birdies yesterday. What do you think of the way he's playing and has it surprised you even?

THOMAS BJORN: I'll have to say, he just never surprises me. I think everybody in this room knows how good he is. And Darren is the man for the big occasion. He loves being out there in this. He went there last week with high expectations for himself and he knew after the first couple of rounds, well, it was not going to happen last week. And he put his focus on this week and he put in the hard work and it's paid off and he's playing nicely. I said this last week when people start asking me if I was worried about him, you can't worry about top-class players, because they only need one or two days to turn their games around. It disappears quickly, but it comes back quickly when you're at the top of your game. And he's a fantastic player, and he's right there in the backbone of our team. And he needs to be out there and he can pull it off when he needs to.

End of FastScripts....

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