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August 12, 2005

Billy Hurley III

Bob Lewis, Jr.

Lee Williams


Q. Our second conference for this afternoon is the USA team and Captain Bob Lewis, center. Far side, Billy Hurley, and nearest to me Lee Williams.

Start off, Bob, by maybe you can go through in your mind how long it's been, it's probably seems like it's been more than two years, but when you lose, you want to get back on the horse right away.

BOB LEWIS: That's true. I will have to say after Ganton, I did take a little time off. After the experience of seeing how quickly guys turn pro, I decided that my first year, I wouldn't spend quite as much time at it, but I probably spent twice as much time my second year.

It's a great life really to be the Captain. I have to say I really enjoy it, and I'm really spending a lot of time out on the road and watching the young kids play and the mid ams play. It was a lot of fun for me. It's going to come to an end here after this, but I'm going to look back on it and know it's been a great experience. I'm really happy that so many of the seniors, you know, decided to stick around. That meant a lot to me. I think it meant a lot to amateur golf to be perfectly honest with you.

A lot of times in the past they say, well, I've got to get on with the business, and I couldn't blame them for that, but I was just really glad that the guys stuck around and decided to give it a shot. I think when it's all over in the end, they'll be really glad they did.

Q. Bob, you mentioned the mid ams briefly. Maybe you can talk about the way the team has been set up this time around and why the decision was made I know it's not your sole decision, but you had some input and why there are no mid ams on the team?

BOB LEWIS: There is a basic principle that was used. They thought the ten best players in this country at this point in time would be chosen for the team. That's what I think they did. There were several mid ams that were playing well and a couple, I think if they had a little more time, they might have done it. I think it was the feeling of the committee that they had not played their way onto the team.

And so, you know, you have to go with what you're given. You know, there is a lot has been written about how young this team is and how inexperienced of a team it is. I think we'll find out. I think these kids are pretty mature for young kids. They've played a lot of golf and competitions. They're far advanced from my day, back when I was playing on Walker Cup teams. They're a lot tougher, the games are better.

I firmly believe that mid amateurs will probably be on the next team because I think a couple of guys will probably play their way onto the team. They'll understand they're not favoring anybody one way or the other. They're trying to pick the players that are playing the best. I fully expect that to happen next time.

Q. You mentioned this too at Ganton; that you have to play the team that you were given. This is the team you were given, with your input to some extent. Would you like to see the process a little differently, where maybe the Captain has a little more into the process of the team selection?

BOB LEWIS: It's a good question, but it you know, you can got the Ryder Cup style that says the Captain picks the player. I don't think that's the way to go. The United States Golf Association, there is another little factor that falls into this, as I've told some people will say, why don't you have just a straight point system and everybody knows what's going on, and that's the way it falls.

Well, there is one little category at the end which says something to the effect that you have to be the type of person that's going to represent your country well, and they want to make sure in the end that that's the case.

So, you can at some point in time, you could have some player that's a pretty great player and the guy could be an absolute flake. We don't have many of those in golf, but you never know. I like the way it's done. I had input. I spent a lot of time at this. I think that's the reason I had input. A lot of the men on the committee knew that I knew the players, and I was asked a lot of questions, and I gave my answers.

And in the end, I don't think it would have gone much differently if I had had a pick or not, to be perfectly honest with you.

Q. Does this course favor your team?

BOB LEWIS: I don't think so. You know, the players are so good on both sides. I thought maybe if we could have got the greens up to really, really fast speeds, it might have favored us a touch, but I don't know. You've got players from their side that go to college over here. They've got a great tour over there. Their players are advanced now too.

I know it's a course that we like. I think it suits us well. We have at lot of power. It's a second shot golf course and the closer you get the ball to the hole on the second shot, the better you are. They are difficult greens. If you can give yourself shorter putts, that's what you want to do. They're probably thinking the same way. I know it's a good course for us.

Q. How much have you used or do you anticipate using the US losing the last three matches as perhaps a rally cry?

BOB LEWIS: Well, I'm sure the players might have something to say about that. They're pretty aware what's been going on. They have been in college for a while now. I think you might have noticed what happened at the Palmer Cup this year might indicate the way some of our players feel about what's going on in the international competitions.

They won because they wanted to be on that team and they wanted to compete and they wanted to win the Palmer Cup and some of those same players are on this team. Some of them didn't turn professional. It's not just be on the Walker Cup team and have that, you know, star after your name. I think it's because a lot of these guys want to win the Walker Cup and bring it back to American soil. So that being said, you know, that's probably the way we're thinking.

Q. You obviously had a choice to go on to something bigger and better or trying to avenge the loss, being the only one coming back having been on that team?

LEE WILLIAMS: Well, when I met the 2003 team in Ganton, it was very, very fun, and that was my best golfing experience to that point of my life, and it wasn't much fun when we lost. I would have much rather been on the winning side. When I made that team, I wanted to set a goal to stay amateur through 2005, so I could have a chance in making a team in the US to play on home soil and see what that was like. It was such a great experience over there, I thought it would only be better over here.

And like Captain said, it would be really special to be a part of the history of the names that are on the Walker Cup trophy, you know, Tiger and all the guys that are winning major championships, all of those guys that have been on the Walker Cup team, whether on US or GB&I side.

So, it was just a really big goal of mine to make the team and then to win it on home soil, because if there is any side you would rather win it on, you know, for us it would be here in America. I would just like to go out as a winner on the Walker Cup team pretty much.

Q. For both Billy and Lee, you guys are the older guys of the team, but, Lee, you have had one Walker Cup experience. Billy, you know, you certainly know all about discipline being through the Naval Academy and everything.

What kind of role are you playing right now this week and during the practice sessions as far as a leadership role with the other guys.

BILLY HURLEY: I don't really know how much of a role we really had to play. We've got a lot of really mature guys on the team and a lot of guys who can flat out play. It's not like we have much more experience, maybe Lee a little more than any other guys on the team. I think some of the guys look up to the two of us being the older guys and a little more experience maybe in life and whatnot, but everyone is just everybody is really a good guy and whatnot, so I think we didn't have to play any big leadership roles.

LEE WILLIAMS: I agree with Billy. Pretty much everybody, we're all great friends, and a lot of us are the same age. I mean, I have been on one other team before, but some of these guys have played on the Palmer Cup teams too and represented their country in the Palmer Cup, so we have a lot of good leaders. I think if you took a poll of the guys of the team, I would say 75 percent of them were team captains at their college. I know a lot of the guys that were seniors this last year were team captains, myself included, and Billy at the Naval Academy.

We have a lot of leaders on this team, and I think that's why us two maybe we're a little older than some than the five other guys that are still in college, but they're all leaders.

Q. Billy, if I might, some may not know your story, but your next several years have been spoken for in terms of your career, but what about Walker Cup and golf, and where does this fit in the meaning, what you have coming ahead?

BILLY HURLEY: This is really special for me to be here. I think when the flag goes up later this evening, it will mean just a little more to me than some of the other guys, being an officer in the Navy, and I basically go to work for the country every day, and this was a goal that I set, you know, sometime last year, when I graduated, and I was able to, you know, play enough tournaments and get the Navy's support to make a run at the team.

Q. Was that hard, Billy, between you shared with me just briefly the commitment you made to play some other events and miles you put on your car and everything else you tried to get done.

BILLY HURLEY: I was stationed on a ship, the USS Gettysburg. During that time, there wasn't a whole lot of golf for me to play. We were doing a bunch of training.

BOB LEWIS: It falls off the back of the battleship.

BILLY HURLEY: Unfortunately, environmentalists don't like that. You should see all the useless golf balls. I couldn't hit them off the ship. That was a hard time to stay in competitive golf. I fell out a little bit, but I had great support from the guys on the ship, and my commanding officer, Captain Phil Davidson, there was a phenomenal supporter of my goal to make the Walker Cup team.

Once the practice sessions back in January came along and I got called to come do that, we sort of laid out a goal of making the Walker Cup team, and he asked for, you know, all right, what tournaments do you need to play in to make this team, and I gave him a memo, and he bought into it, and we were able to make it happen.

Q. What is your job?

BILLY HURLEY: Right now I am an economics instructor at the United States Naval Academy.

LEE WILLIAMS: So he says.

Q. What were you doing on ship?

BILLY HURLEY: On the ship, I was a combat electronics division officer. Basically I have 10 guys that work for me and I manage them and they worked on radars, phone lines, alarm systems, stuff like that on the ship.

Q. Where is the Gettysburg now?

BILLY HURLEY: It's in Florida. They're gearing up for a deployment in the fall here.

Q. You say deployment. I'm assuming Iraq?

BILLY HURLEY: No, they're not going that way, but ships go everywhere to do a bunch of different things for the country.

Q. Are you surprised a little bit that you made it considering everything you had to go through?

BILLY HURLEY: A little bit. It took me a little while in the summer to get back on. I didn't play so good in the first couple of games I played. After that I played pretty well the final four weeks or so before the selection.

Q. Lee, how is the atmosphere different going in this time in your mind in terms of preparation and everything?

LEE WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, we we got to come here a week ago and we did a lot of our hard work I guess it was a week ago, we did a lot of our hard work then. We played 36 holes pretty much every day. We were here for a few days. We did that so when we got here this week, this could be a little easier of a week for us. At Ganton, we had never seen the golf course before. We played a lot of 36 holes days, and when we were at Ganton, and this time, it's pretty much Captain's just let us kind of prepare how we would prepare for a normal golf tournament, just so that if people needed to hit balls instead of going out and playing another 9, that's what they get to do. If you feel you're tired, you go back to the hotel.

It's been really a loose week for us, and I think that was definitely the right way to go about it, having to practice, you know, a couple weeks ago and coming here this week. He's tried to make it as relaxing as possible on us.

Q. Captain Lewis, just what Lee was talking about, obviously the GB&I team was over here and had an opportunity to play Chicago. Would you recommend in the future that some players from the US go over a year before to kind of get an idea what the course is going to be like?

BOB LEWIS: You know, yes, I mean, it's all about preparation. I mean, that's what GB&I had decided to do after they got tired of losing. They changed their whole process in an effort to prepare better. That's really what it is, and so, of course, when I saw them come over here last year, 14 or 15 of them, of course, I was here, but, you know, it just says something to you. I mean, are you going to prepare to win or are you going to just play the game. Either way is fine with me. I love the game, to play a game, but I would rather play to win. As Captain, I certainly want to play to win. I want my players to be in the best situation that they can be in to give them their best chance to win.

I want them to experience what it's like to win a Walker Cup. We all love the Walker Cup, and they will love the experience starting tonight at the opening ceremonies. It's a very powerful thing, but in the end you want to have that feeling of after all the effort and time you put in, all the camaraderie and everything we have had, you want the guys to feel what it's like to win a Walker Cup and get their name on that beautiful trophy, one of the nicest ones you'll ever see.

I told them several times, I'm on that trophy four times. I want their name on that trophy. I don't care if I do or not. It would be nice though.

Q. From a preparation standpoint, is there something specifically you did this time?

BOB LEWIS: Absolutely. Really the ability to come here two things that made it a little bit easier over here; the session that we had 24 guys that we had down at Old Memorial down in Tampa, all 10 guys on this team came out to that practice session. Last time, 6 came out. Then we had the ability to take all 10 guys, bring them here a week early, and I got a little heat and so did the USGA, I think, from the Western Golf Association.

I mean, we didn't do that on purpose. It was logistics. It was the only way we could really do it to prepare for this thing. So that's what we did. That was a huge factor. It allowed us now this week to relax, and we have had a tremendous time this week. I don't even know if I should tell you this story about our racing the go carts. That guy might still be having a heart attack where we were the other night. We had a great time, and we've done that the whole time we have been here. There's been very little pressure.

All of our players seem to be playing pretty well. They've come off of good summers. Billy didn't make the team because he's a great story from the Naval Academy. He played well this summer. That's what I'm trying to say. I think it's completely different. It's a little more difficult when you go over there. Because of the timing sequence, it's a lot more difficult, but it's very important to prepare. If it wasn't, they wouldn't be over here playing early. They went to Valderama a couple weeks ago, because they thought the greens would be fast here. That might have back fired on them a little bit because of the weather.

Q. There was some suggestion by bringing the team over, I recall last year, that GB&I getting away from some of the preparing too seriously. Would the USGA take you and the team over to Britain?

BOB LEWIS: To me, there is so many tournaments everybody plays in. I think, you know, that you just have to do what you think is best for your team, and if that's the way they want to do it, that's fine, and I'm just saying that it's a big event, it's important. I think it's important to amateur golf, because it's the greatest event in amateur golf in my opinion. Therefore, you're trying to get your best players together and get them to perform at the highest level they can. The better you prepare, you have a better tournament because of it.

At Ganton, we had a great team. We probably couldn't prepare quite as well as we would have liked just because of the fact we had to go all the way over there and didn't know the golf course. That wasn't the excuse for losing. It still came down to making some putts in the end, which will happen here at the end. It will come down to who makes the putts at the end. There is no doubt about that.

There is something about that being together with the guys more often. You have a traveling team over there, I think. I don't know exactly what the set up is. We try to have a practice session, but, you know, with our college golf over here we always have to be monitoring what the NCAA is doing. We don't have some freedoms here that you might have over there. There are some restraints so we have to try to do the best we can to get a group together. This time we were able to do that, but these guys are very close, very close, and I think they're going to play fairly loose this week.

Q. Would the USGA approve you taking the team over a year early?

BOB LEWIS: Well, you know, I tell you they have been very open in this process as far as I'm concerned. When I leave this job, which will be my fourth year now, there's been a lot of changes. I'm impressed with some of the things the USGA has done. I've asked for some things and they've done it. That's important in my book. I'm putting a lot of time in this, and so will the next captain. If we happen to lose this week, they would probably grant that request, but I don't want that to happen, so maybe I shouldn't answer the question.

Q. The Walker Cup program lists you as Captain and some of the press releases refer to you as coach. You're the guy that fills out the lineup cards, so the general public views you as manager. What percentage of your job is managerial and what percentage is coaching?

BOB LEWIS: Managerial is 3 percent. Jeff Hall has the other 97 percent of the managing of it. My job all along has been to try to get to know all the players in the country, all the potential players who could make the Walker Cup team, so when the time came to pick the team, I would know. I really basically know probably what side of the bed these guys get up on. I probably know that of 24 other guys in this country.

I mean there were a lot of good players. I try to be what I'm trying to do is trying to motivate them, trying to get the collegiate guys to understand what the Walker Cup really is, try to rekindle the glory of the Walker Cup. I think it's always been here, but it kind of for a while there kind of got sidetracked. I think part of that is because that's why I think maybe what happened this year can work well both ways.

The college player now knows that if he plays well, he will get on this team, okay. There is not an automatic spot for three or four mid am players. The mid am player now knows he has to step his game up, which I think they will do, and to make the team. You need to play in the right be events. You need to compete, you need to beat the college players to get on the team.

Now, if the USGA wants to change the rules and say, why don't we have six college players and four mid am players for both sides on the team, that would be their decision to make. You would pick the team accordingly. I doubt very much they're not trying to pick their ten best players. I would put a wager on that.

Q. Is that a function of finally deciding to want to win?

BOB LEWIS: Well, I mean, after you lose four or five, they're looking at the system and saying we're either doing something right or wrong. It's exactly what GB&I did after all their losses. They sat down and looked at the system and what did they do. They took McEvoy and made him the selector. He went around and tried to pick the best players they could find. They're doing a lot of the things you need to do to be successful. We were successful because we had this great run, and we're a lot bigger than we are and we have more players to choose from and it worked for a lot of years. We seemed to be able to win.

That's fine as long as it's going on that way. Once that changed, now you've got to either step it up or continue to lose, and I don't think the latter part of that is what you want to do.

Q. In your travels, did you see a mid amateur out there you would have picked if you would have picked the team?

BOB LEWIS: This year there were three or four. You had Tripp, of course, that's a great player, and I think if he had found out some way to do something there at the end would have been really serious. He just, you know, I think he had a new business going this year, and he didn't play his best golf in the summertime. Then you had Nathan Smith who won the mid amateur two years ago, blew his shoulder out, didn't play all that year and started to play well again this summer, and you had Tim Jackson, who's been on several teams that took the year before that off you see it's a two year point system. If you lose one whole year, you're hurting yourself tremendously, and he started to play well again this summer and Danny Green plays well, you know.

There is four of those guys who are in contention. If any one of them won a tournament, it could have changed the way it turned out.

Q. Some football coaches use the loaded revolver theory of trying to inspire their team and Ryder Cup past captains have done things like producing videos or calling in the special guest. Do you have anything special for tonight's dinner?

BOB LEWIS: Well, yes, but I'm not at privilege right now to tell you what it is, but you might find out about it tomorrow though if it happens. I've done some of that in the past. I think it's good to do some things. You want to motivate the guys. You get here, they're anxious to play. You're sitting around, and they're ready to play. Really, I hope at some point in time, which I think they will, they'll go to three days and they'll make some changes. It's a long time to prepare for this for two days. I assume at some point in time they will change that. They should absolutely change the afternoon Sunday singles. I fought that at Ganton, and I thought all ten guys should play Sunday afternoon in my opinion. That needs to happen at some point in time. I don't care what USGA says or what they believe. I know it's got history and tradition and they don't want to fool around with the points. I'm in the third spot of the point leaders. I could care less about the points.

Q. In terms of motivating, do you have to draw the line between trying to motivate and putting extra pressure on?

BOB LEWIS: Absolutely.

Q. How do you do that?

BOB LEWIS: By being loose, by going out and bowling, by playing cards, by gambling on the golf course, trying to take some of these guys' money, by going out and racing Indy cars. If you could have seen the first six guys, we better not mention the place.

LEE WILLIAMS: He was in the first one.

BOB LEWIS: Every sign up there says no bumping and this and that, and you find out how aggressive golfers can be. They all fought for that first turn. I had to tip the guy a couple of times to let us go out again.

Q. Billy, just to get a feel for who's doing what out there, what are some of the personalities of our team? Who hits the long ball and who has the great short game?

BILLY HURLEY: Everybody has a great short game. That's one of the reasons we've got the ten best players. John Holmes obviously hits it 80 miles, and I probably hit it a quarter of a mile, and there is everyone in between. Anthony hits it really solid. He hits it really good all the time; and Harman, he's like 5'6" and he still pounds it out there passed me. I'm probably the short guy, but I hit a lot of fairways, so we'll see how that goes.

Q. This is the last for each of you. Will there be some emotion tonight at the flag raising? Did you have it last time and will you get it maybe tonight, Billy, as well?

LEE WILLIAMS: I mean, you get chills going up your spine, but you know, it definitely means a lot to me, and I think Billy, like he said earlier, probably it would mean a little more to him when the flag goes up since he's in the military.

BILLY HURLEY: Yeah, I definitely think it will be special tonight for everybody. I get chills up my spine every time I here the National Anthem, so I think everybody will sort of soak it in tonight, and I think it will do two things. One, it will be special for everybody on our side, obviously, but then I think everyone will get real pumped up tonight and be ready to go tomorrow morning.

Q. Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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