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December 12, 2019

Tiger Woods

Ernie Els

Melbourne, Australia

CHRIS REIMER: We'll begin our second round pairings here at the 2019 Presidents Cup. Again I'll turn it over to John Mutch from the match committee to get these pairings process underway.


JOHN MUTCH: Welcome to round two pairings of the Presidents Cup. Round two will be foursomes format and have five matches. Ten out of 12 players will be selected for play. Team totals are International 4, United States 1. The International Team selected first in round one, so the American Team will select first in round two. Captains will have two minute to make their selections.

TIGER WOODS: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar.

JOHN MUTCH: The United States Team has selected Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Captain Els, your selection, please.

ERNIE ELS: We'll go with Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott.

JOHN MUTCH: The International Team has selected Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott.

Captain Els, your selection, close.

ERNIE ELS: Adam Hadwin and Joaquin Niemann.

JOHN MUTCH: The International Team has selected Adam Hadwin and Joaquin Niemann.

TIGER WOODS: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

JOHN MUTCH: The United States Team has selected Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

Captain Woods, your collection, please.

TIGER WOODS: Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed.

JOHN MUTCH: The United States Team has selected Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed.

Captain Els, your selection, please.

ERNIE ELS: We go Marc Leishman and Abe Ancer.

JOHN MUTCH: The International Team has selected Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer.

Captain Els, your selection, please.

ERNIE ELS: We go Byeonghun An and Hideki Matsuyama.

JOHN MUTCH: The International Team has selected Byeonghun An and Hideki Matsuyama.

Captain Woods, your selection, please.

TIGER WOODS: Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods.

JOHN MUTCH: The United States Team has selected Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods.

And Captain Woods, your selection, please.

TIGER WOODS: Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler.

JOHN MUTCH: The United States Team has selected Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler.

Captain Els, your selection, please.

ERNIE ELS: Sungjae Im and Cam Smith.

JOHN MUTCH: The International Team has selected Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith.

The first time will be 11:02 a.m. tomorrow. The United States Team has the honor on the first tee. The weather forecast will be mostly cloudy, high of 19 Celsius, 66 Fahrenheit, and southwest winds 16 to 18 miles per hour. Play well, gentlemen.

CHRIS REIMER: Great first day out on the golf course. We'll immediately start with questions.

Q. Tiger, you were probably your team's best player today. Did that impact your decision to play tomorrow? Would you not have played if things had been better for the team?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we have a couple different options rolling into this entire Cup. The guys have known the game plan, different possible options, and this is one of the scenarios.

Q. You obviously have a very thought-out process for your pairings selections. Was there a temptation to keep some of the groups together today, given how well the session went?
ERNIE ELS: No, you know, we've gone this route, and we keep going. I mean, the guys played well today in their respective pairings, and tomorrow we've got whatever pairings we have.

We'll feel comfortable with them. The guys have practiced this way, so going with that process.

Q. We spoke to Matt Kuchar earlier and he said there was a real positive vibe in your team, considering the result. What was your message to the boys after today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, this is a long four days. I mean, we have to go earn this Cup. Just because we lost the session doesn't mean the Cup's over. There's a long way to go. A lot of points available. The guys will regroup and we'll come out tomorrow ready to go.

Q. Any time during the match today, I'm sure I know the answer to this, but did you peak at the board and put your captain hat on, and how quickly did you transition?
TIGER WOODS: As far as putting the captain hat on no. I passed it on to Stricks at the range. My obligation today was to go out there and earn a point with J.T. I was focused on that.

Obviously we're looking at boards and seeing how guys are doing. There are TV boards everywhere, and so yeah, we're taking a look to see how our guys are doing, and you know, there were some tight matches out there that flipped.

Q. Haotong Li not in the lineup. What's his form? I'm assuming we'll see him at some point Saturday. You sat him the first two days. Just curious.
ERNIE ELS: He's going to be ready to play on Saturday. He'll be raring to go. (Laughter).

Q. Curious on two things. Were you at all nervous watching today, and secondly, outside of the outcome, what was the most pleasing thing for you today?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, thanks, it's very different for me. I dabbled it a little bit last time with Nick Price and now as the captain of the team, it's a very different position to be in. I can only imagine what Tiger is doing, captaining and playing. As a captain not playing, yeah, it's nerve-wracking. I can see what my wife's gone through for many years (laughter) and people that care for you.

Yeah, there were a lot of tight matches and a lot of crucial putts, and great golf shots. I thought the play was unbelievable. Obviously Tiger played great with Justin, and other great matches. Under these conditions to score the way they did was unbelievable golf. So just played at a very high level.

Q. Were you surprised by the score?
ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, I didn't envision 4-1, no. So it's a nice start. You know, we haven't had a start like this for many, many years. So it's really nice to have some points on the board, and you know, the committee have made some changes to the rules of the Cup. Obviously Tiger was involved with some of those negotiations, and that's obviously helping us a little bit now.

Q. I know it's early days, but how satisfied are you specifically that the analytics and game plan has started this well?
ERNIE ELS: You know, it's just getting the guys to play together like we did in practice, and just getting prepared with the golf course. You know, the team spirit was really good this time. We had many meetings through the year and so forth and so forth, but I mean, hey, we've played one session. We've got four more to go. We've got foursomes tomorrow. We'll be focusing on that tomorrow, and we'll take it from there.

Q. You where are pretty adamant that you wanted to get out first and get things rolling today. What's your thinking about being later on in the matches tomorrow, and also, who will be the captain while you're playing?
TIGER WOODS: Stricks will be the captain again.

As far as the timing of when I went out there, it was based on, you know, what we thought would be best for the guys leading off playing in foursomes. We've had a thought process of this kind of going into it, and then basically who Ernie throws out there, and that's one of the reasons why this Presidents Cup is so exciting is that we're able to do things like this.

Q. We've heard a lot about analytics with the International Team. We heard a lot about it with the European Team in Paris. What role, if any, do those kind of advanced statistics play with Team USA?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, we have delved into that. I think that's part of any sport now is you're able to have so much more information available to you, but also at the end of the day, it's about the athletes going out there and performing and getting it done.

But as far as coaching and managing, when you're able to get that much amount of information out there, which is great, you can see tendencies and you can see things that you probably didn't see prior to that, but at the end of the day, you've got to turn it over to the athletes.

CHRIS REIMER: Final thoughts from each captain. Ernie, final thoughts heading into tomorrow?

ERNIE ELS: It's a good start. We've got a couple more sessions to go. We've got a long event to go still, and you know, we're loving the golf course. We'd like to get the crowd a little bit louder on our side. It was a little quiet out there today, but hopefully they get going tomorrow.

But we're playing an excellent side, and they will be coming back strong tomorrow. So we'll have to counter that.


TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we're excited about getting out there tomorrow and winning some matches, and turning this thing around. We've got an amazing lay-up going out there tomorrow, and the guys are all fired up and ready to go.

CHRIS REIMER: Thank you. Good luck tomorrow.

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