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September 27, 2018

Jim Furyk

Guyancourt, France

CLARE BODEL: Ready to see things kickoff?

JIM FURYK: You could see it on both teams, the looks on the faces, the guys want to get through three days of practise, learn the golf course through their prep. Opening Ceremonies was always exciting, but it's always, whew, collect your stuff, hop in the car and get back to the team room and then the fun starts.

We get to hang out as a team, the camaraderie, they prepare and they obviously get to compete, which is what we are all here for. Everyone is just excited and getting ready to start.

Q. Talk about pairing Tiger and Patrick, especially since Patrick and Jordan had been so successful?
JIM FURYK: I think you saw those guys together a lot with Tiger as a vice captain, and you also saw them in practise this week. Tiger and Patrick and Jordan and J.T., you know, kind of looked at our options. I felt like we came out of, in the past, having our most successful pairing in The Ryder Cup. We had one very good pairing. I think we came out of it with two very good pairings. The idea was to double up and try to get two.

Q. I'm sure it's not easy to sit anybody for this, but would you expect everybody to play tomorrow?
JIM FURYK: Well, it doesn't seem like I would want to tip my cap and tell you if everyone is going to play tomorrow. It would be really easy to probably come close to figuring out some pairings, I would guess.

I think what I have right now is 12 guys that are committed to anything that it takes in the team room. I've had a number of guys tell me that in the team room. I've heard a number of them say it here in their interviews, and you know, we -- yeah, the hard part is, you know, calling guys and telling them they are not captain's picks, and hard part is telling guys, "We're going to rest you tomorrow morning."

We have 12 players, as Europe does, and only eight can play. You'll see on both sides, guys really want to be a part of that team atmosphere and will do whatever it takes.

Q. Your choice of starting out with Tony and Brooks, perhaps maybe just because of the ability to make birdies between the two of them?
JIM FURYK: I think we love the chemistry there. Both guys, really talk about team, really talk about the energy of their partner. Both explosive, as you mentioned, without a doubt, but just they are excited with the opportunity to go No. 1 in that first group. They both really jumped on it, saw me out in practise today and made a beeline for me and said they would like that opportunity. I had mentioned it to Brooks early in the day.

Excited about it, and yes, there's a lot of firepower in that group, and we hope it's a great fourball pairing.

Q. Is there any part of you, as Thomas is announcing his side for each of yours, that's trying to process, and what did you think of it?
JIM FURYK: While we were announcing the names, I was pretty much just afraid I was going to announce the wrong pairing. If you notice, I had this card in front of me and it was supposed to have the logo, and I didn't want to name Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas when it was supposed to be Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. I had gotten through the speech and figured I didn't want to screw up the last eight names.

I didn't really have the opportunity while we were reading them out to really process what was going on. I was trying to kind of stay tight with everything speaking-wise. Once they were named and they put them back up on the scoreboard was when I got to thinking about matchups and how things look.

As it is in any Ryder Cup, I mean, there's four great groups on either side. It's a wonderful match-up and we'll have to see how it plays out tomorrow.

Q. You talk about getting together with the team tonight. What will be your final message to them?
JIM FURYK: You know, I thought a lot about it on the way out to the course this morning in the car over a cup of coffee and what I wanted to say, and I mean, I thought about trying to message the players for a year and a half now and what I wanted to say and what I liked to hear as a player.

I'm not really a cheerleader. I'm not a rah-rah type of person. When I speak to the team and when I message them, really I try to be as short as possible. I try to be precise and on point, and we've had some messaging points with the team already this week. I think what's important to me is you try to pick what's the most important and you kind of keep hammering it home.

Just trying to reiterate some of the points, and maybe throw in a little twist or two and have a little fun with the guys tonight, which will be good. Try to loosen things up.

Q. When Thomas was in here, he said it was hard for him, all his 12 guys are playing well. A, are all your 12 guys playing well, and B, was it as hard for you?
JIM FURYK: It's always difficult, absolutely, and yeah, I feel like we have a team of 12 guys playing well. All I kept hearing on the mic today was how Bubba was striping it. He's going to rest in the morning. He's got a little bit of a cold, as you all know, when he came in here yesterday. Started to feel a little bit better today. Thought it would be great to give him some rest.

It's always difficult, but again, on both sides, you've got guys that are committed to, you mentioned it; it's been 25 years. These guys have looked at me and, you know, they will follow our lead as captains and they are committed to help the team out any way they can.

So it's part of the experience. You know, just because a guy is not playing in tomorrow morning's match doesn't mean he won't play the next three. You never know how things happen through this, and you keep them focused and you keep them on point.

You love for them to be chomping at the bit, too, because you want to get out there and get their first point.

Q. Do you think that the increasing pressure is the same for the two teams at this stage of the Cup?
JIM FURYK: Absolutely. You know, I think you look at the U.S., and guys probably have a habit of putting too much pressure on ourselves here because it's been 25 years. Europe's putting pressure on themselves because we brought the Cup over from the United States, and we were successful in 2016.

Playing at home is wonderful for the fans. It adds a little pressure, as well. It's a great thing. It's a beautiful thing. But it adds some pressure. We don't know the golf course as well as they do. There's all kind of things. It's a Ryder Cup. There is pressure on both sides, but as players, they enjoy that. It's the grandest event in all of golf, and so they get to test themselves in that pressure and get out there and battle and enjoy the golf with their partner. That's what the Ryder Cup is all about, and excited to get it started.

Q. Question about, are you surprised the way the European Team is teamed up for the first session?
JIM FURYK: No. I think you look at maybe Jordan and Patrick, as you mentioned, aren't playing, but then you also -- Rose and Stenson has kind of been one of those match-ups we've seen in Ryder Cups.

I looked at opportunities for what we may see from the European squad, but I really focused on the 12 guys I had in my team room and how we really thought we could best play them and get them ready. You know, I spent the greater huge majority of my time on the U.S. side.

So am I surprised by anything? No. Because I think Thomas did the exact same thing on his side that we did. You take the pieces of the puzzle and you put them together and you try to come up with the four best pairings tomorrow morning that give you an opportunity, and so both sides did that, and you know, we'll do the same thing tomorrow kind of late morning trying to get ready for the afternoon.

I don't think there's any surprises, but you know, we both did the same thing.

Q. Do you think the friendship between Jordan and Justin played a part in your decision, and how do you think that will help them come tomorrow morning?
JIM FURYK: I think the closeness and the number of rounds that they have played together is surely going to help. I think there's some other signs between their two games, different styles of games, different ball flights. There's a lot of reasons why I think they match up, but surely the fact that they are good friends, and they have that relationship and bond and have played a lot of golf together is always key, as well.

Q. What has Phil said about his game coming in, and what did he say when you said he's resting?
JIM FURYK: Phil is 100 per cent on board. We had a great talk after a range session today, kind of right before lunch.

He was 100 per cent on board. We've played a lot of these team events together, and I don't know how many he's been over here, this is No. 12 for him, so I guess this is probably his sixth on foreign soil; five unsuccessful.

It's special for him to have the opportunity at 48 years old. He wants whatever is best for the team. We had a good talk about his game. I feel like, you know, everyone on Tuesday verbatim felt tired, and then Wednesday, things started coming around, and he had a nice practise session this afternoon and felt good about his game.

I have a lot of confidence in Phil. I don't really -- practise and practise, and Tuesday, a lot of guys came in and said, you know, man, I'm tired. Played a 5 1/2 hour practise round, and they were -- and I said, man, I never played good on jet-lag, so I've got news for you, let's play the golf course and get going.

Funny, everyone came back on Wednesday and said, that was great, I'm playing solid, let's get going. That was fun to see. I felt like both sides of the pond have guys on really good form and world-class players.

Phil and I, like I said, to get back to your question, we had a great, great conversation. It was really about our team, and he feels good about his game and I have a lot of confidence in him.

Q. Was it difficult for you to find Tiger's partner? Because we know that in the past in doubles, his results were not so good.
JIM FURYK: No. No, not at all. I think we had a lot of options for Tiger and a lot of guys that wanted to play golf with him. Trying to find the right fit and the right person for both of them was key.

None of us -- the teams that Tiger played on, the teams weren't successful, so none of us as an individual had good records. I don't think we're really concerned on the record. What's most important was those team records, so anything we can do to turn that around and move forward -- he's been in good form of late and since the PGA Championship, he's been playing amazing golf. Coming off of last week, it was more about getting him some rest and trying to regroup and get ready to go this week.

Q. What would make you happy tomorrow, and what would make you nervous?
JIM FURYK: What would make me happy? Boy, that's a good question. I was unprepared for that one, too.

What would make me happy? I think if I had guys that went out, had a hell of a lot of fun tomorrow, played their game, played their style, you know, accepted the nerves on the first tee and the giant crowd and the 6,000 people, and guys that settled in after about three or four holes and they just went out there and competed and played their hearts out; that's what would make me happy.

If we could stay within ourselves and within our process and not put the cart before the horse; if the guys just go out there and, as Davis says, go out and show off for the world, would make me happy.

What would make me -- what was the word?

Q. Nervous.
JIM FURYK: I guess if guys started, you know, worrying about the outcome, worrying too much and putting pressure on themselves -- what would make me nervous, if I showed up in the morning and guys had a look on their face that made me nervous. I don't usually see that with this group. I usually see them screwing around and playing jokes on each other and having fun. I would expect to see that. What would make me nervous? If they showed up with a different frame of mind. That would make me nervous.

Q. What does that look like?
JIM FURYK: I have seen some "Oh, shit" faces in The Ryder Cup, I'll say that (laughter). I'm sure I've had a couple myself. Yeah, that would make me nervous. I don't expect that to happen.

Q. You said that there were a lot of people that want to play with Tiger, and that's no surprise, but why was Patrick the best fit?
JIM FURYK: I thought the chemistry. I think the fact that Tiger spent so much time with Jordan and Patrick the last couple years; their knowledge of each other's games, surely of Tiger knowing Patrick's game, helped a significant amount.

You know, again, a number of different reasons. I think different styles of games, as well. I think, you know, Patrick's a guy that really enjoys that moment and enjoys that big stage, and Tiger's the one that brings it. We thought it would be a good pair.

Q. You've been a vice captain and seen Patrick and Jordan play so well together. How long ago did you start thinking you might split them apart? Is it something you've been thinking about for the whole -- the past year, or is this a more recent decision?
JIM FURYK: Well, not the past year. A year ago, I couldn't -- no, no, no. A year ago, one -- his partner is Tiger Woods, I guess when Tiger made the team, we started getting the guys grouped up and give them options to play with folks. We ended up with one scenario where there was a group with what you saw in practise today: Tiger and Jordan and Justin and Patrick. There's a significant number of options, Tiger and Jordan being one of those, and Tiger and J.T., you start crossing around, there's all kinds of options within those four players.

It probably came about a little bit more when Tiger joined the team. Before that, or when these group of guys went together, and they started practising together at home and started talking about these pairings, then the idea that we had a significant number of options, which we are always kind of looking for. When we're grouping up pairings, it's not always that you're trying to get -- I'm not trying to get six twosomes out there and limit yourself with what you have. I'm looking for options. You know, putting those four players together gave us options. Say, you know, whatever it was, three, four weeks ago, we started thinking about it, and this became the option we liked the best for right now.

Q. We know that playing, being a player in The Ryder Cup, is something difficult to explain. Being you are such a good communicator and sincere communicator, can you make an effort and, in a few words, say something new about what it means --
JIM FURYK: You don't want me to do it in French, do you? I don't think my communication skills are that good.

Yeah, I think there's just so much history and so much passion in The Ryder Cup. We get to play in a team sport. We're wearing our country's flag or the European flag for the other team. We just don't get the opportunity to compete in an event like this very often.

With that, these guys, they get probably more nervous than they have ever been in their careers. They probably show more passion and emotion from disappointment and unhappiness than you see most -- from most people in their careers, and with that, I think the fans, they get to see kind of a different type of golf tournament.

You know with that, the guys, they are as nervous as they are ever going to be, and they are excited. It's the ultimate competition. They get to test their games under all of those conditions, which is all any sportsman ever really wants, is to be given that stage and that opportunity.

Q. Can you take me through the thought process of the DJ/Rickie pairing, please?
JIM FURYK: Through the thought process of it?

Q. Yeah, why was that your decision there?
JIM FURYK: Again, ideas that we came up with as a team. Mentioned that to the two of those folks weeks and weeks and weeks ago, had them talk about it, think about it.

Golf balls, mannerisms, what they like in their partner, personalities. There's significant -- again, they work together in a lot of different ways. Both have that kind of laid-back mannerism that they both like and I think they pair up real well.

So again, we'll see. New pairing for both of them. Something they have been working on a lot in the last month or so. So they are excited about it.

CLARE BODEL: Thank you, Jim.

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