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December 15, 2019
MARK WILLIAMS: Ladies and gentlemen, like to welcome the International Team. We'll just start with a statement from Ernie, Captain Els, and we'll jump straight into questions.
Ernie, if you could give us a little overview of the last week. It's been an amazing team. It was a close competition. Came down to the wire. I'm sure you're very disappointed but very proud of this team.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, to talk about the whole week, might take a while. It's been a good week. It's been an incredible week, really with, these guys, guys I've met, newcomers and guys I've known for a long time, and the captains, the wives, the caddies, the volunteers, the PGA guys, the staff; it's just been a humongous group of great people that I've had the pleasure to work with, and especially the players.
The players was just incredible. They were open for a new formula, so to speak, and embraced what I said to them, and you know, here we are. You know, we lost 16-14, and you know, we've got to swallow that.
But great strides was made, especially in our team play. You know, I really felt that our team play was really the core of our team, and that never was. We never felt like we could play foursomes or fourball together as a team. We did that well.
Before the week started, we had a plan to get to 10 points by Saturday evening. So that's why we were so excited yesterday, losing 3-1, because we knew we got to 10 points. I could have made different choices in the singles today. I can take it on my shoulders. It is what it is.
You know, the questions will come from you guys and the public that I made mistakes in the selection of where I put my players, but I followed a plan from 100 percent, and it didn't quite work out, but we came damn close.
I think the U.S. Team, and I think you guys, and I think the people around the world will look at these guys in a different way. I think you guys have seen what can happen. You know, if you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building. But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.
If you look at their record and where these guys are at the moment, they are going places; I can tell you that. We do have Major Champion winners up here. We do have No. 1s, former No. 1s, but we also have had guys playing for the first time, and I can only see their future going in a very -- in a great manner.
So, saying that, it was wonderful serving with them, and yeah, it's going to be tough. We've got to fly a long ways to get home. It's going to be tough to swallow but we do have a great sense of humor in our team. It won't be long before you see the music or hear the music playing in our team room. Nobody died out there, and it was a sport, and we gave it our all. So, so be it.
Q. Unfortunately this is a familiar scenario being on the losing side, how do you reflect on the week and how things went down today?
ADAM SCOTT: There were a lot of positives. Ernie kind of told you all the positive, and I agree 100 percent with what he's done the last couple years, with his team and what we did this week has been fantastic.
It's hard to digest. At the moment. It's incredibly disappointing but generally the positivity and being optimistic are what's happening and I like where this team is going, and I'll be working really hard now to be on the team in two more years, if I can keep my game at a good enough level.
Q. You've had to take this question a bunch over the years, but Tiger was the only guy who didn't lose a point and didn't lose this week. Could you have seen that coming at this point, and could you just assess what you saw in his game this week?
ERNIE ELS: You can ask him that. I'm not going to answer that.
Q. Just wondering how much confidence you can take out of this, a huge win for you personally today, and also taking this into your defense of the (Australian) PGA Championship.
CAMERON SMITH: Yeah, it was a good win for myself today, so much emotion in the match, and after the match, as well. I don't think I've ever been so excited and then kind of really gutted in the space of a few minutes.
Yeah, for myself, lots of confidence to take from the week. I felt as though I played good, but you know, we're here for one goal and it kind of stings not to get it.
Q. A few times during the week, you said on Sunday night, "All will be revealed," and here we are. I'm especially curious about the Thursday through Saturday, the rhyme and reason that went into the pairings that seemed to work so well; any insight you could give on those I think would be interesting?
ERNIE ELS: (Chuckling) I would have revealed it if we won (laughter).
It will take a while. One day I will do that. The next captain can do that; I'm sorry, I lied.
Q. In that case, can I have a follow-up? Looking back at Friday and morning, you won both sessions but it did seem like a point at which it might go from a lead to a crushing blowout. Is there a lesson learned there that when you have someone pinned, you have to crush them?
ERNIE ELS: Absolutely. We talked about that, and that was probably the difference. You know, we had so much momentum. We had so much going for us, and you know, at the end there, they won that 18th hole twice and halved it. That's almost 2 1/2 points, and where we are, we are at 2 1/2 points -- well, 1 1/2 points.
Absolutely, that was something. I wouldn't say we totally lost momentum, but it was, to me, I felt it was a bit of a blow. The team didn't react in that way which I was really proud of, but me as captain, and I didn't reveal it to them, but I felt we had them right in the headlock, and we didn't quite -- we didn't quite finish it off on that particular time.
There's not many times when you get a team like that under the gun like that, under the pump like that. So we were -- it was great, but it could have been unbelievable. It could have been a knockout blow.
Q. Question in Spanish; (can you talk about your experience in The Presidents Cup?)
JOAQUIN NIEMANN: It's been an incredible week, playing with all the guys, and sad we didn't win. It's been an incredible week in general, and we played very strong.
Q. I believe you had said at Mayakoba that you wanted to face Tiger Woods on Sunday. I'm wondering, did you ask Ernie to try to pair you against him, and what did you learn about who Tiger Woods is as a competitor today?
ABRAHAM ANCER: When they asked me that at Mayakoa first of all, that question was in Spanish, so the tone when I said it, it was never like cocky or challenging or anything like that. At the moment I thought it would be a great experience, which it was. No matter what, with the outcome of the match, I would have gained a lot. I would have become a better player just from being in that situation.
But no, we talked about that, that's how it happened. We didn't really plan it at all.
ERNIE ELS: We didn't plan it like that. As you remember, we had first pick and he was playing so well. We put Abraham's name out and Tiger actually picked Abraham.
Q. This feeling, being this close to turning it around, how does it feel compared to when you left Korea four years ago?
ADAM SCOTT: I guess quite similar because we were close. However, like I said before, I'm very optimistic about things going forward here, so I don't -- I don't feel, I'm disappointed. That's all I can say. But I like what's happening in the future, like I said. I can't wait for another crack at it.
Q. You fought to make adjustments to how this whole process worked, and you've said that you have a plan. That it seems like you're comfortable with. Would you see yourself trying, if you were the next captain, would you see yourself trying to make any other adjustments going forward?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, yeah, I think so. I'd like to have a little bit more -- what's the word, I mean, we need to, I know it's a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, okay, but to really be able to do what you need to do, you need to be almost a separate -- you need to be away from the PGA TOUR. I mean, I love these guys, they work for the Tour and all that, but to make our own rules, to get our own choices, to do our own thing, I mean, it's hard to explain. But we need to be separate. That's a long, long process. I don't think it will happen very soon. But you know, The Ryder Cup works because of the Europeans do their own thing and the U.S. do their own thing, you know, and it's two groups that clash.
We're trying to do it under one umbrella, so under the TOUR's office, under their roof, you know, and there's a lot of things that clash.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much International Team.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports