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October 21, 2000

Paul Marchand

Ken Venturi


Q. The lefties have been paired together all week. Is there any special reason for that?

KEN VENTURI: The only reason was I had to pick -- I picked Mickelson. It was Peter Thomson who picked Weir, I didn't do that. There were other people I wanted Mickelson to play. But I had to come up with Mickelson, Peter Thomson picked Weir, I had nothing to do with that.

Q. I think the only guys that's played the same person all week is Duval, he played Nick Price.

KEN VENTURI: No that wasn't by design. I didn't know that that was there until someone pointed it out to me. When you get a one pick and another pick, and you do it sometimes you think about this and then the captain on the other side picks it. It was a coincidence, it was never planned, no, no way.

Q. Why are your guys doing so good?

KEN VENTURI: Because Johnny Miller picked us to lose (laughter.)

Q. Could you expand on that?

KEN VENTURI: Well, he picked the Ryder Cup to lose and I figure, well, he picks us to lose, we've got to win, too, so that's the way I look at it. It's going to be a long day if this is over in the first three groups, which I wouldn't mind anyway. All my guys are thinking the same way. But let me say when Captain Thomson picked Allenby, why I picked Azinger, was because he was left out today. He asked me, could I lead off, and I said you got anything you want, and I came back with Azinger. No matter who he picked as his first pick, Paul Azinger was going to go first, because I owed that to him. He's a great team man. You couldn't have a better guy than that. There will be a time when he should be a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup captain. Everybody just loves the guy.

Q. How comfortable are you now? Is it nice knowing that you don't have to go out and get seven or eight points like sometimes?

KEN VENTURI: Well, that's -- all we have to get is two and a half points. And with 12 matches I'm very comfortable. But let me say this, it was -- is that we've been very fortunate. We've had some good breaks. And when you look at the players on the International Team that came to my tournament that I had on Marco Island in Naples a year ago March for my wife, I mean I had guys that came in there. I had Els and Norman and Price and Appleby and all those, and not one of them has yet -- I mean have failed to come over and say congratulations. I've got some very, very close friends on the International Team as well as I have on the -- because I've become very, very close, we have become very close of our 12 members of my team. And it's been very special. But what has happened here, except for a few out there, but I think we have accomplished our goal of tradition and respect and the honor of the game of golf. And I think that's what Peter and I both had in mind when we started and we always said may the best team win. And that was the utmost of the whole thing. And that's what I looked forward to. And then out of respect to our team when I had decided to use the black ribbons, because I was just taken aback when those young Americans were killed, I felt that we owed something to our country, and the International Team said, out of respect for the Americans and Ken Venturi, we will wear the ribbons also. Because my guys that I named, my friends said, that's what we should do. And I was really honored and taken aback by it. I really was. It was a nice gesture.

Q. How do you think this has gotten more or less out of hand and -- in the score -- and the differential between the two teams? In the beginning I don't think anyone would have thought there was that much difference between these two groups of players.

KEN VENTURI: I didn't, either. In fact when they asked me, if you look on paper of what it is, I mean we were so close, but how do you go to ballgames and two equal teams, one out scores them in running, we just happened to get the breaks. These guys played us hard. They wanted to win as much. But we happened to be in the right place at the right time. And I just -- they didn't, in defeat or something -- I say that I'm very fortunate to win. But again it's a competition that, I don't know, I just -- I waited a long time for this and it's -- to be asked to be captain for the 12 of the most -- I have 12 of the best players in the United States and a team I respect and I could never have done it without Paul Marchand, I'll tell you that. He won't take compliments, but he made my job so easy with all the research, and there's a young man in the back, Tommy Spencer, who works with CBS with us on the 18th tower. We have stacks of records of every one of these players have ever done, what they've done, their records. How high is it? And they've done it, Tommy and Paul. Everything they've done against any player ever in any match they've ever done and that's how we went down to it.

Q. Ken, you mentioned that Paul Azinger had requested to go off in the lead spot. Were there any requests from any other players to be in a particular chronological spot in the line up or were there any requests from any of your players, if possible, to play a certain player on the other team?

KEN VENTURI: There was some that wanted to play, but the odds had you start going back and forth, the odds were so much. The only one who requested -- and I went to him, I said what would you like to do, because he sat out today, and also as you see the third pairing it Loren Roberts, who sat out today, they wanted to go early, for two reasons. They wanted to play early because they sat out today. And second they wanted to be cheerleaders, they wanted to get through their match and do whatever they can. I think that if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change my picks. They're two of the finest gentlemen you'll ever want to meet in your life.

Q. Ken, a lot of people have talked about how gracious and complimentary the crowds have been for the International side, but there's been a lot of U.S. flags on the board. It's easy to be gracious when you have such a commanding lead. Do you think that had something to do with it and would it be as nice if it were a lot closer?

KEN VENTURI: I don't see them being any different. I think even what they're doing is they're giving applause to all the shots. Of course, I can tell, we can tell on the golf course, you can tell a hometown applause and you can tell the International applause. You can tell all those things. You could tell that when I was playing, certain people had certain applause and things like that. I don't think it would be any different. I don't see any hostility. I think it all started with the dinner, Lee, on Saturday night at RTJ Club, all the members, and we just kind of set the standard. And of course there's a few, but that isn't everything. But we have 22, 23 thousand -- 22 thousand, I mean the applause is -- that's the way it was, it used to be. If you're out there since, what, 9 o'clock in the morning until almost 7 and you had a few beers, it's a little difficult if you do that. But, no -- but all in all I think they were marvelous, and I think we've set a standard here. I think we really have set a standard that they can copy.

Q. Ken, it seems pretty obvious that Stewart Cink and Kirk Triplett don't look on paper like they would be a Four-Ball team, but you put them in there on the way they played the last few days, just talk about that?

KEN VENTURI: Paul can back me up, we sat here, we sat here a week ago last Friday, we've been here since a week ago Friday, and there was some gut feeling, I said I like that team. And they went all through their matches. They were just the most relaxed we have ever seen, complimented each other. They're coming down the 18th hole. I want to tell you, you want to talk about an awesome finishing hole and the shots coming in in the dusk and the pin in the back left, they were walking down, and they weren't any different than they were probably in the practice round on Wednesday. It was a gut feeling, am I right, Paul? I said I like that team. You've got it. I said I'm sticking with them. And they won all three matches. They were brilliant in the foursome matches.

Q. Would you have played them today had they not played so well in the alternate shot as a team?

KEN VENTURI: Well, that's how it revolves, is that I watched it and then put them out to play the foursome matches and then they won again and then there's no need to split them up. So I just kept going with the flow. They're a great pair, and the two nicest kids you ever want to meet.

Q. Just a follow-up on Triplett/Cink. Why did you have a gut feeling? Was there something about they play similar ways, they're both par type guys, is that --

KEN VENTURI: Personalities of the whole thing is that Triplett told me a great story today. We were at the 4th hole and he's in the bunker getting ready to hit the shot. And this person in the gallery said, that's not his ball, I don't think that's his ball. So I went up to him and I said somebody in the gallery said they didn't think that's your ball. He went over and said, yes, it is. So I walked by and I said to Stewart Cink, that was his wife. So when we got on to the 5th tee he hits and I told him, it was your wife. He said -- I said that's the only reason I did that. He said I'm playing up at Hazeltine in the Open and the ball went left and it's in the water, and she's in the gallery yelling it's not in the water. They said it's in the water, it went in right here. He drops the ball, he said, plays up on the green, walks up about four steps and there's his golf ball outside the hazard. So I didn't want him to think I was interfering with him. But I said that was your wife. He said she had good cause to do it and there's no problem.

Q. Just a follow-up, please, Ken on the pace of play being so long, the Triplett/Cink match took about 5:45. With an open golf course and five groups, can you address that, that seems like a long time?

KEN VENTURI: It is a long time. But what you're looking at is you've got a different way of playing. You're playing for yourself, but you're also playing for your partner, and you're trying to do more than you normally would do. You look at it more and you look at each other's putts and there were a lot of -- there were a lot of difficult putts. And plus there were no throw aways. There were four guys putting, and when you look at these greens, they really take some knowing. So five hours and 45 minutes is a long time, but considering what they're playing for, I can accept that a little bit.

Q. Were you surprised today that the only match we lost involved Tiger and did you get a chance to talk to him and Notah about any frustrations they have today?

KEN VENTURI: No, I haven't, because I was waiting for them to get -- I would have gone back up to 18 because they were 2-down. They have the 14th in eagles, Vijay Singh and Tiger, and then they won 15. Tiger missed a fairly short birdie putt at 16 and then he lost a birdie at 17. But my main thing I had to protect the first thing. And I walked the whole 18th hole and most of 17 with Cink and Triplett, just to be there. In fact I got into a -- I can give advice. And when Triplett hit it over at 17 I had been there -- we had been there Friday and Saturday playing that shot looking at it and so instead of trying to get it close, we said hit it up here, hit it up there and it will come back. And Stewart Cink stood right there with the ball, he lined up the putt and hit it right up the sink and it came right down. I had hit it five, six, seven times on Saturday. So we were looking at it because I knew what that would do, because I can give advice.

End of FastScripts....

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