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October 22, 2000

Steve Elkington

Ernie Els

Nick Price

Peter Thomson

Mike Weir


JAMES CRAMER: We made the announcement that the 2002 Presidents Cup is going to be in South Africa.

ERNIE ELS: It's great news, not only for golf but all of South Africa. I mentioned to you guys early in the week we made a bid for the World Cup soccer for 2006, I believe it was, and we didn't get that, we lost out by one vote. So we needed something big to come to our country and this Presidents Cup obviously with the caliber of players that are going to be on both teams again, I think it's going to be wonderful for golf in South Africa. It's going to be great for the country to try and stage an event like this. The place we are going to, Fancourt, I live right there. I've been down there about 7 years now, and it's the most beautiful place, very close to the ocean. You will not have any problem having people come there. As I say, when they hear that The Presidents Cup is coming down and the players are going to be watching, you're going to get 25, 30,000 people down there every day. So the golf course is a Gary Player designed course. It's really a Links golf course. You guys should take a trip down the next couple of years and see for yourself. It's a wonderful golf course. It's got all the facilities we need for this event. We've got a 6-star hotel there. Really it's a wonderful place. And it's very capable of staging this event and enough room for all of the media to stay in a nice place. It's kind of out in the country, so you don't have the big city atmosphere, either, so it should be great.

JAMES CRAMER: Captain Thomson, if you could perhaps comment as to the week and then we'll open it up for questions and answers.

PETER THOMSON: I brought some reinforcements this time. But as I said at the prize giving, we acknowledged our betters. And I thought personally the U.S. team played magnificently. And I think our guys did the best they could. And, as I say, we are humble in defeat. And we look forward -- only can we look forward to playing again. The next matchup which will be in Ernie's home country, and we hope then and we'll plan and make all sorts of sacrifices so that we can perhaps win there.

Q. This is a question for any of you guys, really. This American team, they won the Ryder Cup and came back and now they have pretty much blitzed you guys. Are they this good? And secondly, if each of you could do it, what were the keys, why did they win so convincingly this week?

NICK PRICE: Well, first of all, I think a lot of the matches were pretty close. I think if you look at the results they weren't all fives and fours and fours and threes, a lot of them went down to the last few holes, which is always indicative of a guy making a couple more putts than another. And I think the U.S. team certainly finished off better than we did. And we did that in Melbourne in 1998, and they did it this year. There's no doubt they played some wonderful golf this week, and we felt every time we threw something at them they had something to counter with. I think that was common amongst all the matches. Every night we sat down in the cabin afterwards and spoke amongst ourselves about having a few postmortems on our matches. I did this and this guy did that. But that's what it's all about. And as Peter said, they were the better team this week. They out played us. But I don't think the score was indicative of the win. I think it was a lot closer than that. And I know we all feel that way.

ERNIE ELS: Well, I definitely didn't play the way I can play. I'm very disappointed in my golf this week. I must say that I was really looking forward to this event, helping out the team and so on. But you know I've got to look back at the week and look at it in a way that -- my game just didn't arrive. The harder I tried to play better, it just went the other way for me this week. I started off not playing very well and ended up kind of losing a little bit of confidence. So it's unfortunate that I played that way. Peter really was relying on me to play well this week, that's why he played me five times. And I didn't come up with the goods this week, and it's just unfortunate. I guess the golf course doesn't suit my game. I didn't play that well. But the rest of the guys I thought -- I'm very proud of them, especially the rookies that played on this team this year played exceptionally well. And we still had the best team spirit, I think. Even until this morning the guys were still trying their best and it didn't work out.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, I think the foursomes matches we lost 9-1, that was pretty much it right there. Peter, you don't like foursomes anyway, you've told us that. Maybe we can get foursomes out of this event. We lost 5-0 the first morning, and then we came back in the four-ball with 4-1 and then we lost our momentum again that afternoon. It seems like we sort of did better, I think, when we had the 36, 36, 18. And now it's a four-day event. And that's not an excuse, but it's harder to play when -- it was harder mentally for us to not be able to get right back out after the 5-0 the first day and straight away and then a two-day the next day. We still had some good things happening to our team. Mike Weir, who is a rookie, probably played as good of golf as anybody this week, and Carlos Franco played outstanding. I felt like our team, as the boys said, we didn't really ever peak. We just moseyed along, and never got our momentum going, only that one morning. But as Ernie said we've got a good team spirit. From our perspective on this, the International Players really love this event. We put it up there when we know it's The Presidents Cup year, we put it on our schedule really high because I think we look forward to being together with the competition, because it's a good chance being from all parts of the world to sit down and talk about things. We had a nice week in that regard. The American boys played better than we did, however.

MIKE WEIR: I agree totally with what's been said, with the three guys here, that I just think we were out played this week. And we just didn't get any momentum early and I think that was the whole thing. They seemed to putt better than us this week and we could never get any momentum going, and I think that was the difference. But I think the matches were closer than the final score, as Nick said. Most of the matches were very close, and key putts here and include could have swung the momentum the other way. But for myself it was a great experience to get to know the guys and their families. To play a team event it was the highlight of my year this year.

Q. There seemed to be a lot more bogeys and double bogeys. Was it difficult to get motivated knowing the gap was so big going out today, especially after it was over. Was it difficult to keep your momentum going and feel at all like you were into it?

PETER THOMSON: I'll answer that. No difficulty whatsoever. In fact it really -- it inspired us in a way. It was like a big eagle hovering over our backside. And I could tell that everybody was really determined today to pull out the best that they possibly could. And we didn't quite. But I didn't notice too many double bogeys.

Q. Five today?

PETER THOMSON: Five today? But that was made up -- we made up with that with a 2. This course has got a few hurdles and stumbling blocks and ponds, so you're bound to have a few double bogeys. I had five in the last round I played.

Q. There's been talk for more than a year now about whether the Americans will want to add South Africa to their schedule in '02. Tiger, in particular, and some of the other top players. It becomes a little more personal for you now. And I wonder if you'll be doing any lobbying over the next few years to remind them of any obligation you feel they have?

ERNIE ELS: Well, we'll see when we get down there how much they really love this cup they've just won. Steve and myself, we spoke, and when we won in Australia, we were really excited. We were really excited. Myself and Nick didn't go to bed that Sunday night, that's how excited we were. We stayed in the casino until 6:00 in the morning. So it's like Steve said, this cup really means a lot to our team. This is the biggest team event we can play in and it's the biggest cup we can play for as a team. So we're going to try and field our best team again, and I know every player that's going to be chosen or gets on the team will go down to South Africa and play. And as much as you guys like to write about us living in America, The Presidents Cup being in South Africa in two years time, we've all got to travel a long way like we did to get to Australia. 70, 80 percent of our guys have to travel as far as theirs have to. You draw your own conclusions from there. I think it will be great for the event. It will be great for golf, especially if Tiger can come down. He's been down to the million dollar ones before, and draw the crowds he does wherever he goes. And it will be great for the game. When Nick Price and Greg Norman were on top of the world, they were foreign players, and it seemed like then there was no problem for the top players to travel. Now that the top players are from America, it seems like there's now a problem for everybody to travel and get -- kind of promote the game around the world. We'll see how high they regard this event in two years' time.

Q. Is it too simple to say that this is strictly a home-field event at this point?

PETER THOMSON: You need to explain that a bit more, I think.

Q. I mean they've won three times here and you won on your "home turf"?

PETER THOMSON: There is a slight edge, I think, playing at home. I conceded that yesterday, I do believe. But it's only very slight. And I said in Melbourne after we won, if you recall, those of you who were there, that we couldn't call ourselves the top dogs until we'd beaten the United States on its own territory. We haven't done that yet, but one day we will.

Q. Nick, my last recollection of you in Melbourne was standing in a doorway with some type of beer in your hand, Victoria Bitters?


Q. What are you drinking now? I don't know how you could have gotten --

NICK PRICE: The same, it doesn't matter.

PETER THOMSON: It's the same beer, he's got the same beer in his hand, he never finished it (laughter.)

NICK PRICE: You know what, to enjoy victory you have to have suffered defeat. And I think the first two years we played here we got defeated badly. And so that victory for us in Melbourne was very sweet, especially for those of us who had played in the first two, because we'd set at the side and watched the U.S. team raise their Presidents Cup on two occasions. So that was very important to us. And there was a lot of celebrating. And Ernie and I, we were very tired going into that week, but we managed to stay up most of the night on Sunday night (laughter.) Because we were on a high. And I think when you play so much individual golf and you win tournaments around the world and sometimes your family is not with you, sometimes your friends aren't with you, but when you win something like The Presidents Cup and you have 11 of your really good mates around you, plus their wives, plus the captains, plus a lot of other family members it all makes for a great party. And the Australians really went out of their way to give us a party, which I'm sure a lot of the American players who played on that team remember, as well. We had a great time. And that's what it's all about. This has to be a special week. And win or lose, we've all going to get together and have a beer together and pat each other on the back and say well played. And I think that's the spirit of the game. Not to run away and hide in a dark room and say, well, how am I going to do it next time, but look the other guys square in the eye and say you guys played better than we did. And I hope that this sets a precedent, because it's important -- I can't tell you how many American people were out there watching this week that were pulling for Ernie and myself and a lot of my other team members. And sure, there were a few odd louts out there throwing comments at us, but I was really humbled, I suppose more than anything else, by the amount of people that pulled for us. And that really means a lot to me. And it means a lot to my teammates, too.

Q. For the players, Coach Thomson had mentioned he didn't like the foursomes. I wonder if you guys -- Steve, you mentioned that you thought changing the format threw your guys off kilter. I wonder if you like the idea of doubles singles session or any tweak in the format that would give the event more of an identity from say the Ryder Cup?

PETER THOMSON: You're not asking me, I've already given you my opinion.

Q. I'm asking the players.

MIKE WEIR: Well, this being my first time playing this event in this type of format, you know, I did find that type of format a little difficult to get into any kind of rhythm. But at the same time I enjoyed -- I played with Steve in the alternate shot and we got along great and we hit -- it was just a good match up. I didn't mind the format at all. But I could see the point of trying to make -- differentiate between the Ryder Cup, maybe the type of matches. But I didn't mind it at all, really.

STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, we've all thrown around different scenarios this week why we haven't done well. It's easy for me to say we shouldn't have foursomes, because we lost 9-1. I like the 36, 36, 18, particularly, because endurance is a part of the game and we really saw in Melbourne and that's particularly why you have to rest two players each day. In this format you might as well have all 12 play. Because there's no endurance factor at all, when you're playing four days of competition. But I may be different from some of the guys on my team, but I felt like the 36, 36, 18 is a better rhythm -- better for the rhythm, straight back into it and I think endurance plays a bit more role. We saw that in the Ryder Cup where the European team sort of ran out of gas the last day. And I think this is part of this event.

ERNIE ELS: I kind of like the 36, 36, 18 deal. And I can also go with not playing foursomes. We got beat 6-5, and I don't know what the other one was. And I think four-ball you play your own ball and I think the fans see a little bit more golf that way. I think foursomes -- 18 holes in one day is kind of half a game. You see four players out there, but you just see half their games. You see the one guy hit the drive the next guy hits the second shot and I don't think the fans really enjoy it, either. I think the four-ball format is more exciting format for the players and for spectators, I think. I think you'll see more action, you see more birdies, you see more golf. And I also like the three day idea, also, the way it was.

NICK PRICE: I think we've got to poll the fans, the TV people, because they're the ones that -- we're playing for the good of the game and for our countries, but we've got to make it exciting. I think it's very tough -- I was actually amazed at how many people came out today. That just shows you how many true golf fans there are that came out to watch great golf. I think it's important that if we ever -- whichever way we change it we make it more exciting. As the Ryder Cup was changed from great Britain and Ireland to include Europe, it became a very exciting event. I think I speak for everyone here at the table that we wanted this to be an exciting game, too. We wanted it to come down to one putt, one game, two players on the last day. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way. But it wasn't through our lack of trying.

End of FastScripts....

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