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October 20, 2000

Ken Venturi


Q. Kenny, obviously you coach better in the afternoon than you do in the morning?

KEN VENTURI: I said the answer to that was I just put the horses in the gate, they have to run. I have nothing to do after I put them in the gate. I think that Greg Norman said it best, well, you do it to us, you do we do it to you, now you do it to us.

Q. Ken, how much -- you had a game plan coming in here this week. Have you altered any of the pairings at all since the tournament started?

KEN VENTURI: Yes, we've altered.

Q. How much have you changed what you were going to do?

KEN VENTURI: Not much. Paul and I have been here since last Friday and we took every scenario you could find. We went over and over, redid it, redid it. In fact I've been doing it since after the PGA when the team was selected, I started in just checking around and seeing how many times I could compare the same groups together all the time. And after a while I was pretty much set right what I wanted to do.

Q. What was the mood after the morning matches, and was there any sense of urgency or not wanting to give up the nice cushion you had from day 1?

KEN VENTURI: Yes, because I said what happened to the International Team is that it was -- they were desperate and you do different things, and you come out loaded for it. If you take the cushion -- I said when we started this morning, I said don't -- we are not 5-0, we're 0-0. Don't say, well, we have five points to play with. And the play of my team this morning compared to this afternoon was like night and day.

Q. I haven't seen the pairings, who is out for the U.S. team tomorrow and why?

KEN VENTURI: The pairings will be here any minute. But the two players that will not play tomorrow will be Loren Roberts and Paul Azinger.

Q. Can you explain the 9-1 record in alternate shot, the success that you've had in the foursomes?

KEN VENTURI: Can you? (Laughter.)

Q. Well, I probably will, but I need your help.

KEN VENTURI: I can't, because we never play that. 9-1 is absolutely phenomenal. It's just -- because they'll play best ball when they play Nassau's. But I never see anybody going out and playing alternate shots. No, it was just amazing to me. It was just -- I thought we'd have a better chance at the four-balls than we did the alternate shots and it just turned upside down.

Q. What does it say about the depth of your team that everybody has a victory after two days of competition?

KEN VENTURI: I think that is -- the depth of the team, and the planning and the pairing and looking them over and getting to know them. As I said before, I have a great, great advantage over -- I'm not saying Peter Thomson -- but of someone else of a U.S. captain, I see these guys all the time, 19 weeks a year. I go on the practice tee. I have dinner with a lot of them. And I get to know -- there's just certain things you do. What looks good on paper, but then you look at it and you don't feel the instinct to it. Even when I played golf, why would you play that kind of shot? I don't know, I just felt that's the way I wanted to go, and that's the way it was.

Q. Ken, you partially answered the question that I have, because so many of the players have come in here and they've said that we've never had a captain, Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, that has seen us hit more shots over the years under all kinds of conditions, and I just wanted your thoughts about has this helped you in forming your strategy as to who to pair together and in what situations?

KEN VENTURI: There's no doubt about it, that having hands-on and being able to watch them under certain pressures, certain conditions. Of course today I was with Paul, and we -- I guess I walked as many holes as a road. I get going with it and I get into it. I'm on a high with it because if you can't give it a hundred percent, then don't do it. But I think the presence of being there shows that you're really that interested in it.

Q. If question is for Paul. What has your role been? You've been awfully quiet, are you a gentle giant or what is it that you do?

PAUL MARCHAND: I have to make sure that the captain has water. And we have a great rapport, and I think my main role is a sounding board, being able to be fortunate enough to gain from the captain's wisdom over the years, and in this setting to be able to answer some questions and throw some things back to him and it's sort of like a chess match when you go through these pairings. And I think it helps to -- he knows what he wants to do, but I think it helps to have somebody that you can bounce some things around off of, along with the team. And then also I can interact with some of the players and follow up with some of the questions that maybe are better informally discussed without the captain. Not that that's come up very often, but I can go back to him as intermediary. But those two things, dealing with small conversations with the players, and being a sounding board for the coach. And I'm glad to be here, thanks for the question.

KEN VENTURI: I will say one thing about Paul, I couldn't have done this job without him, because we have been in contact since when I asked him at the Masters to be my captain's assistant. And he has just been unbelievable. And I will say this, and he takes compliments about as well as I do, you don't want them, but you can give me -- you could give me a second choice, a second person I would pick for captain, I don't have one. He's my first, and I can go over it a hundred times and I would still pick him. He is truly a professional.

Q. Ken, you talked earlier this week about the Woods/Begay tandem most likely being broken up at least once this week. Can you talk about their performance today and how that might influence keeping them together?

KEN VENTURI: It did. Because they both expressed they were playing well, and of course the chemistry of the two of them, and today was -- you could see them, they were reaching their peak, they were getting up there. And I just felt that it's a tough team to break up when they feel so comfortable. And I did that on another gut feeling, again, I guess.

Q. Ken, how comfortable is the five-point lead at this stage of the competition?

KEN VENTURI: Not comfortable at all. My dad always told me, 2-up is better than 1-up, and 3-up is better than 2-up, and the cushion -- I don't call it a cushion. We're going out tomorrow and I'll be talking to the team. We've got to go out there, we've got to get as many as we can, and do what we can and play the very best we can. I don't mind -- it's not whether win or lose. You can't condemn anybody if they give you a hundred percent and they lose. I can't say you did wrong. It's when you don't try, that's when I don't put up with that.

Q. After this morning, did the thought ever cross your mind ever so briefly that you might end the day not being in the lead and could you talk about the importance of the comfort to your health of saying, Tiger and Notah got off to such a great start and Tom and Hal, and kind of restore that momentum very quickly?

KEN VENTURI: It definitely passed my mind, because I was thinking we were leading after the morning round, but not by -- what, 6 to 4 is what it was. And oh, yes, I mean I don't take -- just don't relax, you can't. You can relax Sunday after the victory, but we've got to give it a hundred percent. I just don't think that you should ever -- I mean those are gone. You can't say, well, I got -- this is what happens with players, they'll get a lead and they'll get to the back 9 and they'll think, boy, if I just -- if I could just shoot 36 I could win. So that's the number. For the first 63 holes they're not thinking -- they're thinking hole by hole. And now they've got the whole 9 ahead of them instead of going shot by shot. So we're going match by match and day by day, and that's the only way to approach it. And that's how I play competition.

Q. Were you comforted when you looked up at the board and see so many American flags with such a big lead early on, did that help a little bit?

KEN VENTURI: It will really help on Sunday, when I see that big American flag. That's what I'm really looking forward to. And I can't tell you how much I want it. You'll probably find out my emotions on Sunday, if it comes to pass, and which I hope it does. But it's just really been an honor to be the captain of the American Team and at a facility like this and everything they've done, it's just magnificent. I can't tell you when I've spent a better week, and I am looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday and all being well, we'll walk out of here with the cup.

End of FastScripts....

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