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September 25, 2002

Stewart Cink


GORDON SIMPSON: Stewart, you're the last of the seven rookies on the two teams this year to come in for an interview, and we've heard the comments of the other six. Just give us a brief assessment the last few days being involved in the team room.

STEWART CINK: It's been very exciting, we've had good camaraderie, a lot of competitiveness, especially Phil. He's brutal. He's always wanting to get in on a game. He's just very competitive. There's a lot of guys that are on the team that are that way. We've had a good time, getting to know each other a little bit better, for some of us, some of the younger players. And some of the players who were not quite as experienced in this international-type of match that the others are. We've had a good time getting to know each other and a lot of laughs. And the wives are having a good time. If they're happy, we're happy.

GORDON SIMPSON: It's living up to expectations, so far.

STEWART CINK: Yes, it is, it's a lot of fun to be a part of this.

Q. How would you compare Monday through Wednesday thus far with Monday through Wednesday at the Presidents Cup?

STEWART CINK: I have to remember, it's been a while. I'd say the comparison this week is probably -- it's similar, although the golf course is very different, for one thing.

Q. The atmosphere is what I was referring to.

STEWART CINK: The atmosphere is similar. The team is confident. We're doing the same kind of things at night. There's some board games going on, some pool being shot, there's all kinds of things. There's a lot of joking around, a lot of ribbing each other. But I know that once Friday comes around it's going to be business, and it will be very serious business. Friday night there will be a lot less of that, a lot less of that kidding around, unless we get up 4-0, the first half day. But right now it's very loose. And that's how it was The Presidents Cup, it was very loose there. And I think that's the way it is on both sides. I have a feeling their team is the same way. Everybody is friendly and close and supportive.

Q. Phil Mickelson was talking about the wild celebrations, the dancing on the greens and people jumping in the lake in '97, sort of went with the territory of the Ryder Cup. The police have been saying that during some of the briefs with the players and the captains, they were asking the players not to overegg the crowd, to tone it down; is that the case and is that a good idea or do you think it's fair game to wind the crowd up?

STEWART CINK: I don't think you see too much of the winding up of the crowd by the players, except by their shots. Good shots wind the players up, the crowds up, and bad shots also do. So you don't see a lot of this, like you see in football, back in America, getting the crowd involved in golf. It's probably a good idea not to start that, with tensions being very high, both inside and outside the ropes. You definitely don't want anything to start outside the ropes with all those people. There's a lot of people. And if something gets started it could be really bad. If they're trying to prevent anything like that, by keeping the crowd from being too involved, then I guess they're right.

Q. Can you just talk about the importance of the captains and their roles in this and can one captain outcoach another as in other sporting events?

STEWART CINK: Well you might have to give me a few more Ryder Cups until I can answer the second part of your question. I think the players will decide it. And the captain will have a huge say, in fact the say in who plays with who every match. So in that way I guess the captain can influence it. But when the chips fall, it's the players. The players decide.

Q. Would you talk about how Curtis has been this week?

STEWART CINK: Well, Curtis has been great this week. He's kept us informed along the way and he's been supportive, and Sara, too, they've both been really outstanding. And since we've been here I felt like they care just as much about all of us, from top to bottom, as well as the assistants and the caddies, they're being taken care of very well. Curtis knows that it's a union. It's not just 12 players, it's 12 players, assistant captain, captain, caddies, wives, it's a lot of people. And it's all one big unit. And in order for this team to be successful and to achieve good results, then that unit needs to be nurtured.

Q. This may be a really dumb question: Have you guys practiced any funny shots this week, with people jiggling their pocket change or walking during your swing, things like that?

STEWART CINK: We do that every tournament on Tour. We've got a few guys that -- no. The answer is no, we haven't practiced anything like that. We're not expecting anything like that. That would be unsportsmanlike.

Q. How old were you when you saw your first Ryder Cup on TV? What kind of impression did it make on you, and did you imagine you'd ever be here playing in it?

STEWART CINK: I don't remember how old I was when I saw the first Ryder Cup. '85 was here, '87 was in Muirfield. I don't remember that one. '89, back here. Kiawah was my first one. I was a teenager. I was 16. And I think that was the one a paid attention to first, because it was -- I was starting to become serious at golf. And it was really not too far from where I live, or grew up, the same part of the country. And of course it received huge media attention. So at that point I remember thinking how great it would be to represent the U.S. in anything. I didn't dream I'd ever been playing on a Ryder Cup team. And I remember also feeling sorry for Steve Pate that week, because he was injured in a car accident at the matches, and wasn't able to play.

Q. Wanted to talk to about Scott Hoch, your thoughts, and what he brings to the U.S. team?

STEWART CINK: I think Scott Hoch is a great asset to the team. He's a great alternate-shot player, he's very consistent. He's an underrated putter. And I like him. I like being around him. He's one of the guys on Tour -- whenever press or friends ask me who I like to play with, I like to play with Scott Hoch. He's always in my handful of players I enjoy playing with. Because he's always talking. I get a kick out of what he says. Sometimes he let's his mouth run wild (laughter.) And he knows it. If he was sitting right here, he'd say the same thing. I enjoy listening to him. I don't always agree with him. But it's funny to hear somebody go like he does. And I like watching him play.

Q. Will you go back and look or think back to the Ryder Cups you've watched on TV, which I presume was most of them since '91?

STEWART CINK: I think so.

Q. Have you ever tried to empathize with some of the emotions they were going through? And which stuck with you more? Something like Calc or Bernhard or Curtis missing that putt at Oak Hill or some of the more fonder emotions, Davis holing the winning putt? Which ones do you empathize with more?

STEWART CINK: They both stick in your mind, just watching on TV, everybody remembers Davis making the putt and raising his hands. And Bernhard missing his putt and bending over 90 degrees. And Calc obviously was struggling on that finish. And I remember Sam Torrance, I remember seeing highlights of Sam when he made his birdie putt here, and I've seen it posted all over The De Vere Belfry this week. There's so many emotions -- number one, you have to be ready to face them. You have to prepare yourself for it. And really as a player when you're on the course and you start to go through either way, there's really no way to be prepared for it.

Q. Do you look forward -- have you ever longed for or felt like Davis did that day; do you ever fear having to face a situation like a Calc or a Bernhard?

STEWART CINK: Well, fear is part of golf, for sure. But you can't be afraid of fear. You can't let yourself be consumed by being worried about "what if I get afraid?" You just can't play that way. You just have to remember it's a game and you're just doing your best and if you go through a tough stretch, then you have to remember that you're still -- you're one of the greatest players in the game or you wouldn't be on the team in the first place. And on the flip side of that I think everybody was very envious of Davis when he was in that position or Sam or any of those guys when they're heroic and they do outstanding things at clutch times. It's what we all play for. And you can't have the good without some of the bad.

Q. Can you talk about fear; what's the most nervous you've ever been at golf and how did you get through that?

STEWART CINK: The most nervous I've ever been? Well, I was pretty nervous last year in the PGA, last year, when I was finishing about 50th in the tournament and watching to see if I was going to make the team or not. I was in 10th place. But I was in front of a TV there, I wasn't even playing and I was nervous.

But on the course, nerves feel the same whether you're trying to make the cut or you're trying to win a tournament or you're trying to hit the fairway on the last hole of a match. Your nerves feel similar each time and you have to experience, really, in a short definition, knowing what nerves are going to do to your golf game. It's hard for me to pick out a moment when I felt most nervous on the golf course, but there's been plenty of them when I felt nervous.

GORDON SIMPSON: Have a good week, and enjoy it.

End of FastScripts....

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