October 21, 2000
LAKE MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
Q. This is for both of you guys. Your thoughts and comments about the way you played, both of you today, and how well you feel right now about the way the team is positioned score wise?
STEWART CINK: I'll start off. Today, I didn't play as well as I would have liked to play. I just never really felt like I had a really good physical feeling about my swing or my putts, really nothing was just right there. So it was gut check time today from the start. I didn't play 18 holes well, but I played about 10 holes well. And a couple of those were where it really counted. I would love to play much better than that, but today is over with. We finished four ahead and that's really all that matters.
KIRK TRIPLETT: I think we had four guys out there struggling a little bit. Stewart and I were struggling with our ball-striking, but we got it right on the back 9, made four birdies between us and kind of came back. Those guys had a chance to put us away a couple of times, get us down, they missed some good birdie opportunities, and then when we made our birdies they didn't keep up with us, and we ended up hanging on and beating them 1-up.
Q. Stewart, could you describe the putt on 14, please?
STEWART CINK: The putt on 14. The first one? The second one was real simple, about six inches. Well, 14 is one of the those greens with two levels, and the one on the right is really high and the one on the left is low, so what you is have a big swale in there. In the practice round we were checking out the balls to roll offer the slope to see where they go. The pin was cut right where the balls were rolling, that was today. I noticed all I had to do was get the ball over the hill and with any kind of speed. I knew it would take that ride down the hill, there, and it would collect right where the pin was today. So I just trusted my gut instinct there and went with it and it turned out to be right. And the ball just went in the hole.
Q. How long was it?
STEWART CINK: I don't know, I didn't really measure it. But probably on the way the ball traveled out to the right and then left it was probably 120 feet, maybe.
Q. The break would have been what, 20 feet of break?
STEWART CINK: Probably 20, 25 feet of break. Really my goal there was to just, number one, give myself a gimmee birdie there so he could run with the eagle putt. And No. 2, give those guys a scare. If the ball came close to go in. Your heart jumps harder when the ball gets close to the hole, and that's match play.
Q. How nice is it to have a little less stressful day awaiting you tomorrow?
STEWART CINK: Are you saying tomorrow is going to be less stress? I must not have gotten the memo there.
KIRK TRIPLETT: From the team standpoint Stewart and I aren't that familiar with. The only time we've been on the team competition we've been on top the whole time. I know looking at the guys' faces and talking to them and seeing them out there that they're pretty excited not to be in that, we need to win 8 out of 12 or we need to win 10 out of 12 or that kind of feeling.
Q. You guys have been a part of a lot of close matches, but can you explain at all a lot of the blowouts both ways, both American and European, a lot of 5 and 4, 6 and 5, one-sided victories?
STEWART CINK: I think it's just the nature of match play. One team gets on a roll, gets on a momentum, and the hole looks like a bucket. And you can fill it up. The way these guys hit their golf balls, you're going to have birdie putts on a lot of these holes. And to see a team like Jim Furyk and Hal Sutton today, what they did, that's just momentum you build up during the round. I think they birdied 10 holes.
KIRK TRIPLETT: They birdied the first three, and the first four on the back nine.
STEWART CINK: That's sheer momentum there.
KIRK TRIPLETT: They would have beat us today, easy.
STEWART CINK: Yes, we would have had a short walk into the clubhouse from No. 10.
Q. Where is your guys' confidence right now compared to where it was say Wednesday night? And how much carryover effect might it have in your individual careers?
KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, I didn't know what to expect coming to these matches. One, how I would perform and react to the match play. I know that the couple of times that I have played match play and especially with a partner I've really enjoyed it, I played with Steve Stricker a couple of years ago at the Diners Club matches, actually played with him twice. And we didn't do that well. I think we played really competitive matches, and played competitive golf, we didn't win them. But I really had a lot of fun. So I was really looking forward to coming and playing some of the team competition, even though I knew it would be very stressful. From my standpoint, I've watched these guys play for a number of years, Phil and Tom and Davis and these guys played a lot of years in a row on these teams, and for them to win these team competitions, they need help from the rookies and the guys who don't get on the team very often. So you start thinking about that, I know these guys, they want to win that cup. I want to win the cup, too, but I know that they're going to do their part or they're going to play well or they're not going to go out there and just fall on their face because it's a cup match. I don't know if that's going to happen to me or not. So I approached this leading the tournament and that's really what it felt like, like being in the lead of the tournament, every hole was like that. As the team score has gotten progressively wider, I think that pressure has lessened a little bit. I didn't feel near the pressure out there today at any point during that match as I did the first nine holes that we were playing. But to answer your question, what is it going to mean for your career? I've watched the Ryder Cup, especially, over the years really help guys who had a good couple of years, maybe, and were in that upper echelon of players, and then had a good Ryder Cup -- Paul Azinger comes to mind -- made an important putt or a crucial thing and that really gave them the confidence to really go out and do well. So I'm definitely going to look back and try to draw on this experience, especially the first two days and making some key putts at crucial times in the matches.
STEWART CINK: Well, you know, coming into these matches, here, like Kirk said, we had no idea what to expect, except that we knew to expect to be surprised. Because we hear a lot about what it's like to play in these, but you never really know until you're actually out there. We were confident that we were going to play well. But I'm not sure that we were confident that we would go out and win three matches in a row. I think that there's a lot of teams that have played very well, that have ended up on the losing ends of a lot of matches because the level of play is just phenomenal. So I think that we're more confident now in that we know that a good solid round of golf for us at least gives us a chance to win, and that's really all you can ask for, just go out and play well enough to win, and if you get beat, well, then that was just meant to be. As far as furthering our careers, I think it will do good things for both of us and we're at different stages of our career, but we've got a lot of golf ahead of us. I'm 27 -- I don't even know how old Kirk is.
KIRK TRIPLETT: I'm older than that.
STEWART CINK: We've both got a lot of years to play golf, now that the tournaments and purses are so great. This will mean a lot to us, because we've been here now, we've faced this kind of pressure and we've performed very well. And it's really meant a lot to both of us, I'm sure.
Q. This is for either or both. Tomorrow might be like the first day for you, because you'll be split up, you'll be on your own. Have would you discuss what you think that might be like?
STEWART CINK: I don't think it will be that much different. We've enjoyed playing together. I think we've played now every day together, including practice rounds. We've played both practice rounds together. We've played every day we've been here in the same group. It's been great to communicate with each other out there. Tomorrow I think we'll be going more back into what we usually feel like when we play in a typical golf tournament. We're playing our own golf ball, we don't have anyone there to back us up. And it's going to get the ball in the hole as fast as you can, no matter what.
Q. What was your -- guys, I just wanted to ask, I know neither one of you have been in this position before, with singles coming up, but do you think tomorrow -- you probably haven't thought about it -- do you think tomorrow with the huge lead, do you open up and blast away or play more conservatively and say these guys are going to have to go out and light it up?
STEWART CINK: I think if we play conservatively they're going to light it up and beat us in their matches. The thing we don't want to do is get down in the first three matches, definitely not. I think it's critical for the early players to go out there and just play 100 percent full throttle.
Q. Could either of you talk about the 10th hole and with the tees up it became pretty good match play and how you attacked it or played it?
KIRK TRIPLETT: That was our best hole of the day and we lost by two. Both Carlos and Robert could drive it there. I guess we could, too, but we had to go in the throat there. They both flew it on the green. Carlos had been a 10-footer for eagle. I hit the bunker and it went down in the left bunker, I had nothing, hit it out of the bunker, chipped it on, made my par. Stewart had about a 15-footer for birdie, missed it. So Carlos has a 10-footer for eagle and he's getting ready to putt it and we go, that's good, pick it up. They struggled with their putting. We didn't want to give them a chance to make it and make a 2 and get some momentum and feel like, hey we just made an eagle, we're on a roll, this and that, we just gave it to them. I think it kind of took a little bit -- kept them from really feeling like they really put a whooping on us on that hole, even though they didn't have to putt.
STEWART CINK: That hole was big strategically in the match today, considering No. 9 Kirk made a great birdie there.
KIRK TRIPLETT: I made a birdie from outside of Robert. Robert hit it close, and I made the birdie putt and Robert missed to send us even.
STEWART CINK: We felt like we were very much in control of the match there, and then right after that is where we went four straight birdies.
KIRK TRIPLETT: We didn't have control of that hole, because it doesn't set up good for us.
Q. Did the two of you make that decision?
KIRK TRIPLETT: Giving them the putt? I think we thought about that good reasoning after we gave it to them. We gave it to them because we didn't think they could 3-putt from 15.
Q. Are you going to be wearing that hat tomorrow?
KIRK TRIPLETT: Not this one, but probably one just like it.
Q. Question for Kirk. Can you characterize your relationship before this week? Had you ever played practice rounds together, did you know each other very well?
KIRK TRIPLETT: We played a little bit. I wouldn't say a lot. Stewart got right out his first year, and he was in that winner's category. When you're in a different category on the pairings you don't play that much together. We don't play that many of the same tournaments. We came here with kind of a common thread and I think we've communicated well on the golf course because we probably each kind of know how the other one's been feeling, and we -- I wanted some help and some confirmation on in lines of in putts and we kind of thought out a few different strategies, but I think we did just about the right amount. We didn't do a lot of over analysis and we went with our gut feeling a few different times and it's been right. Today on 16 -- 15, I had about a 5-footer for par, and they were six feet and four feet and Stewart had about 20 feet and I said you're away, he was getting ready to putt and I said wait, I think I want to putt, I want to get our par-putt in the hole before they get a par-putt in the hole. It's great strategy if it works, and it did work that time.
STEWART CINK: You have to think about it a little bit.
Q. Could you run through very quickly the length of the putts on the four in a row, whoever made them?
STEWART CINK: Let's start with 9. Kirk made about a 15-footer on 9 for the win there. 11, Kirk made about a 20-footer for the win. 12, we 2-putted for birdie, but that was for if a half. And 13, he made about a 15- or 20-footer there for birdie for a win, and they missed a very short birdie putt thereafter that. And then we both 2-putted 14 for birdie and that was for a half.
Q. Jim, having been on the other end of this two years ago, can you get an idea of what must be going through the International guys minds right now?
JIM FURYK: Well, I know it was a bummer for us to fly all the way to Australia, although we enjoyed ourselves off the course, it's not much fun being right there in the thick of things going into the singles matches. Obviously it's not a great feeling and I'm sure that they're disappointed with the outcome so far.
Q. Stewart and Kirk, what's your explanation for five-and-a-half-hour round of Four-Ball, why is it taking so long?
STEWART CINK: I have an explanation for that. I'd like you to go see this golf course and these greens, see if you can break our pace of play. I bet you a hundred dollars you can't play them faster than five and a half and putt them all out. The green speed is faster than we've seen all year, including The Masters. It's easy to get your ball running four and five feet past the hole and you have to mark. There's a lot of shots that take a lot of thinking. You've got four guys that are pressing like crazy to do the best they can on a tough golf course, it does take a long time.
Q. I wanted to ask any of the four guys, the U.S. now plays this format every year. The more we play do we get better at this format, whether it's Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and in what ways do you guys -- do you get pairings that you like better, do you learn foursomes better, what kind of things?
JIM FURYK: I think it definitely helps in the foursome matches. It's something that -- we all play Four-Ball on Tuesday, we play a better ball match. That's not new to anyone. I think the foursome matches definitely take a little getting used to. And it also takes two guys that get along real well and have some confidence in each other and really don't get down on themselves if they hit a poor shot. I think it helps for the foursomes to be in that position before and to play well. But I was a guy, I went out, and I'm really comfortable in that format, I like that format, and some guys don't like that and are uncomfortable. It depends on what style of game you like to play.
Q. This is for Hal and Jim, since you just got here. Both of you, as you were going to the first tee, I could tell by your game face you knew what you wanted to do and what you felt like you had to do to get things going good. And Hal starting with you, what was the feeling there and how is the feeling after you put them away early and the guys are looking up at the leaderboard and saw what you guys are doing?
HAL SUTTON: I think when you're only playing five matches, whether you play five or ten it doesn't really matter, you want to get that first match off to a good start, a commanding lead and send the message to the rest of the core that we're up here, battling our guts out, so let's all get in this and battle. And that was -- Jim said this was a very southern remark, he thought, but I made the statement, We're going to start the fire and everybody else is going to throw some gasoline in it as you come by.
JIM FURYK: Everything Hal says is a southern remark, just by the way he says it.
HAL SUTTON: I can't help it, what can I say?
Q. Hal, as far as the way you guys team together, you kept things going, and suddenly Jim just jumped in on the action, that's what you look for when you team up with a partner.
HAL SUTTON: Well, I tell you what we did, really, we were both at the hole all the time. We were both hitting really good quality shots and they didn't know whether it was going to be me or Jim that was going to hit them, because we were both right there. And that's key, because there's always less pressure on the other guy. One guy's got par, the other has free wheel at a birdie.
Q. How nice is it to be in a situation where you're not forced to go out and win 7 or 8 or 9 matches tomorrow?
HAL SUTTON: Well, it's really nice. I for one, I think these other three guys that are teammates of mine up here would say this also, all we listen to is how independent and we're all individuals and we can't come together and play as a team. That's all we've heard for several years. And we just wonder how much we've got to do in order to convince everybody that we are certainly a team. We certainly believe in one another. We lean on one another. We ask advice of one another. We actually care for one another. How many different ways can I describe this? Is anybody satisfied yet?
Q. Is that a southern remark?
HAL SUTTON: We are teammates. I hugged Jim when we won. He wanted to shake hands, and I said, let's hug, man.
JIM FURYK: I almost hugged him after the three birdies on the first three holes, but I held back then.
Q. Hal, maybe you just answered this, but I was wondering if you could put into words the character or the personality of the team and is it any different from the character or personality of last year's Ryder Cup team?
HAL SUTTON: Maybe the difference between last year's Ryder Cup team is we gelled during the course of the Ryder Cup. I thought from day one that we got here we were a team and we were going to play like a team. And if I can take a second to add to this, I want to commend the fans. I think they've been unbelievable. They've been very supportive of all the Internationals' play. They've been courteous and supportive of our play. It's been a very friendly match thus far among friends. And I think this is the way it should be.
Q. Jim and Hal, being on both ends of blowouts, could you talk about why you think there are so many matches that are ending so soon, instead of a lot of one-ups and two and ones?
HAL SUTTON: I want to go back to what Stewart said earlier. This is an extremely challenging golf course, and if shots aren't hit right on the money -- I'll give you an example -- on 11 today Jim hit a 6-iron in there, a little 6-iron and it landed five feet short of the hole and stopped two and a half feet from the left. I hit a hard 7-iron from 180 yards; it landed four feet behind the hole and bounced as high as the pin and over the green. We landed it 6 feet apart there basically, and we've got two completely different kinds of shots there. When you've got that kind of thing going on, if it starts happening two or three times to you, you get down on this, you think I played the best shot I know how to play and I'm in trouble. And it's that kind of golf course.
JIM FURYK: I think this golf course, too, if I could add, is one where with how difficult the greens are, with how much slope there is, you can hit a shot 5 or 10 feet left, it can catch the slope and roll right next to the hole. Two or three feet left of that it catches the other side of the slope, rolls to the other side, and all of a sudden you have a very difficult 2-putt from 40 feet. So it's kind of feast or famine. You can go out and make a bunch of birdies, but you can also hit shots that are three feet right or left of where those good ones were, and all of a sudden have a not very difficult 2-putt for par. If someone gets on a roll, they can roll over a group and vice-versa. Where David and I yesterday went out and we really -- we didn't score very well, and we both said we played well, but we didn't hit terrible golf shots, but we just ended up on the wrong side of the slopes, we had tough 2-putts and didn't make the birdies we had to. It's not a huge difference, but I think you can get those lopsided type things on this golf course.
Q. Is that good or bad, is that the trademark of a good golf course or do you not like that dichotomy within a few feet?
JIM FURYK: I really don't care, let's just tee up on 1 and go out and play. Those are just opinions, and everyone is going to have a different opinion of what they think is a good or bad golf course, and Hal's and mine's and Stewart's might be different --
HAL SUTTON: Oh, no, we're all together on it, we're a team (laughter.)
JIM FURYK: As far as an opinion of what we like to see, it might differ because we have different games and different personalities.
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