September 10, 1996
LAKE MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
WES SEELEY: Nearest me is Robert Allenby, then Mark McNulty and then Peter Senior, Steve Elkington and the two captains of the International Team. We'll just turn it right over to questions from out there.
Q. I wonder if all you guys can talk about where you see the significance of where you see this particular event being, how important is it for the International Team to win this competition?
MARK McNULTY: Well, I think the biggest significance from our point of view this year is you've got the 12 best players available from top to bottom; whereas, in 1994 you had a situation where three or four guys who should have and would have been playing didn't want to come play, for various reasons. This year we're all here, and that means that we would very much like to come and win this trophy and make sure it comes back the where it should belong.
Q. Where will that be?
MARK McNULTY: The southern hemisphere.
Q. For any player: Do you think it's going to take an International victory to put this event on the map, sort of like the America's Cup or the Ryder Cup?
PETE SENIOR: I think the amount of years the Ryder Cup has been going, it's the last 20 years or 15 years, it's really come into prominence, since the Europeans have become competitive. Two years ago it was a test for us because we never played in an event like this. A lot of the guys are more prepared for this event this year, and I do believe if the International Team would come up, it would give a bit of credence to the tournament. That's what we want. We want this event to have the same atmosphere the Ryder Cup has produced over the last few years. I know all the boys are pretty geared up about it, and I know we're looking forward to putting in good performances.
Q. Robert, you came in here last year a relative unknown and played well here -- not last year, two years ago -- and now you're very successful out overseas. What did you learn from that experience, maybe in the matchplay and the tough competitive matches you've played in to carry over for your success?
ROBERT ALLENBY: I think playing in a team event and also playing against the best players in the world and the format they're playing in is definitely going to toughen you up. And I definitely did that. The experience that I gained from the last one was, I guess, invaluable and I think this time I'm more prepared and I'm definitely ready for what's to come.
Q. What did you learn from that experience that you know what to expect now and carry over for next year?
ROBERT ALLENBY: Well, as I said before, I've been playing well the best players in the world in the type of format as matchplay. It makes you a lot mentally tougher and I believe that I'm more mentally tougher than what I was two years ago now.
Q. This is for Steve. Is it tough getting a feeling of camaraderie, due to the fact that half the players play the PGA TOUR and half are International players?
STEVE ELKINGTON: All of us on the team are comfortable with one another. We've known one another for more than ten years. One of the things that's unusual for us is even though -- it's easy for us to get together and play this event, however, in our normal lives, we play against one another and all the other sports are important for us in our country. We play rugby against South Africa and Zimbabwe and New Zealand and cricket. So we're used to a different atmosphere. We really don't have the common thread exactly wound through our team, but we're very friendly over our careers. We don't have any problem getting together.
Q. Do you feel like an International Player, considering you've lived here for a long time and played the PGA TOUR a long time?
STEVE ELKINGTON: No, I feel International. But my wife is American, and Greg Norman's wife is American, so it's not as clear-cut for us. But we certainly want to win and we want to do it together. This is why we're here. This is why we're playing together.
Q. The first two of these have been obviously at this place. Do you see a future for this in Australia, in South Africa, in wherever and is that what you guys want?
STEVE ELKINGTON: We understand this tournament is in its infancy; has to succeed to go elsewhere. Our participation is important in these early years because we would -- we, to be honest, I speak for the team, we really wouldn't want to go -- we wouldn't want to play this event every year here. It wouldn't be right. We'd love to have it in Sidney for the 2000 Olympics, or we'd love to have it in South Africa. It would be better for the
U.S. Players, too, if it went overseas, play in hostile territory.
MARK McNULTY: I think the earlier question as to whether it's important for the International Team to win, I think one can go back to your question, there, yes. If we do win, it gives us a better approach to the PGA TOUR and to the Presidents Cup, itself, to be able to take it to another country, whether it be the southern hemisphere or whether it be to Japan. And it would be a situation where it's going to be something which for us players to look forward to in years to come as we retire and get old where we can captain a team of this stature, and get young bucks like him when they're 30 and I'm 55 or 60. That's the sort of thing we can look forward to, as well.
Q. When the Ryder Cup is on in Europe, there's great interest in watching it on television. Do you sense from your particular countries that there is a lot of interest in what you guys are doing here?
MARK McNULTY: Once again, the tournament is in its infancy. But certainly I know I was in Zimbabwe and South Africa the last couple of weeks and a lot of people on the local pay channel out there, they were talking a lot about the Presidents Cup and there's certainly a lot more interest this year than there was two years ago. And I think that if we win this year, there would even be greater interest in two years' time from the International community apart from the Americans.
Q. The Ryder Cup buildup, there's a lot of trash-talk or boasting. Anybody care to make any predictions or projections or statements of --
PETE SENIOR: No. I think that most of us are pretty level-headed. We believe that we're all good golfers and it can go either way, just like the Ryder Cup does. And there's going to be some good matches out there. But you can play well and still get defeated in this type of affair, and you can also play ordinary and still win. It's going to come down to the luck of the draw and hopefully -- it's very hard to predict what's going to happen in golf. So we're just all going to sit back and try our hardest and hopefully come out on top.
Q. Steve, you play the U.S. TOUR. Are you getting a lot of kidding back and forth with the guys on the U.S. Team? Have there been any --
STEVE ELKINGTON: I think everybody is preparing themselves for this event. We don't get a lot of ribbing back and forth about it, no, not really. I think the last time I think even though the U.S. won, I think it was almost a foregone conclusion after day one, almost, it was going to be hard for us without some of our star players, so I think -- I think it was a great, super feeling for them. At least in the preliminary stage it looks like it's going to be a fight to the end. So I think we have our work cut out to win this and they do, too. That's the ultimate matchup.
Q. Has Jumbo been accepted on the team?
STEVE ELKINGTON: Jumbo, our team with Peter and Ian, we had a meeting at the PGA and we all told Jumbo how much we wanted him to be on the team. At that particular stage, Jumbo wasn't sure whether we wanted him to be on the team. So it was very important for us to get that message straight to Jumbo that we wanted him on the team and he made a commitment and everybody is more than happy that he's made a commitment, because his playing speaks for itself, but he's older than everybody else on the team which gives us a nice balance from that perspective and I'm looking forward to being with him. I've never played with Jumbo in an event such as this, so I'm particularly excited about him being on the team.
Q. I just wondered if any of you guys look on this as a chance to make up for not being Ryder Cup players, eligibility-wise?
MARK McNULTY: Of course, that's why I think this tournament was conceived to give the International Players outside of Europe the opportunity to play based on the Ryder Cup format. And I certainly felt two years ago being on the side -- and Robert and Peter might agree - we were all on that side. It sort of gave us the opportunity to play a Ryder Cup-type tournament against the United States. Obviously, it won't even come close to the Ryder Cup the first time around, and it's Ryder Cup's Europe versus America. This is the International side versus the American side. So to put it in the same level and the same understanding, we don't really want that. We want it to be a different flavor. If it turns out to have the same flavor as the Ryder Cup, so be it. But I certainly think from an International point of view, as I was trying to say to some guy this afternoon, if we do win it this year, as International Players, it's going to give the young guys in our countries of 10, 11, 12, whatever it might be, that Ryder Cup mystique and, obviously the more that we can win, to leave those kids the opportunity to play in a Presidents Cup in the future. So I think you can get what I mean by that.
Q. More or less the tradition can develop from that.
MARK McNULTY: We need tradition and that takes time.
Q. When you were younger, did you ever give much thought to the fact that because of your past you could not be on a Ryder Cup team?
MARK McNULTY: Well, I, for instance, had sort of British ancestry and at one stage or another I was tinkering on going to live in England for a time and of course that Ryder Cup mystique, as I said early on, was there. But I turned that down a number of years ago.
Q. Earlier today Arnold Palmer said if you look back in history with the British empire, that all you guys could have been eligible to play on a Ryder Cup team if they allowed it.
IAN BAKER-FINCH: Except Jumbo. (Laughter)
PETE SENIOR: Yeah, actually the Americans came from the same ancestry too.
Q. They could have one team.
PETE SENIOR: We could play ourselves.
IAN BAKER-FINCH: If I could say something on that. Just quickly, I think for a long time, the public in the U.S. have considered the Ryder Cup as the U.S. versus the rest. And I know, myself, have been considered a European by a lot of people for a long time because I'm not American. I think a good thing that will come from this week is that there's an American team and the European team that plays the Ryder Cup, and there's an International Team that plays the Presidents Cup. It isn't the southern hemisphere. It includes Japan. We don't have a flag; same as the Ryder Cup team from Europe don't have a flag, but we are a team that play all around the world, the Japan Tour, the Asian Tour, European tour, U.S. TOUR, obviously, but we're not an European team. So I think that will be a good thing for all of us. I think the guys know what I mean. It's almost like the U.S. versus the rest all the time and now they'll see that there's a difference between the European Ryder Cup Team and the International Presidents Cup Team. I don't know if I've tried to explain it too well, and I've got myself a bit mixed up, but I think you know what I mean. I think it will be good, really good.
Q. You're saying you have a camaraderie of feeling, of togetherness, is that accurate?
PETER THOMSON: You can see, obviously, they're all wearing the same shirt. (Laughter)
Q. That goes beyond what shirt they wear. Tomorrow they'll have another type shirt.
PETER THOMSON: No, I think I can say from my observation that they are really of one mind, one kind and they look upon themselves as the same family, including Jumbo.
Q. Do you want to say something about what you do when it rains in Malaysia?
PETER THOMSON: I was pointing out when this sort of rain trouble comes along in Malaysia and we have a golf tournament, the administration hires a Bumoo. A Bumoo is a man who keeps the rain away. I've seen it in action many times. And he's incredibly successful. And they're quite cheap, really. He sits in the middle of a golf course under the tree with some little bones and he builds a fire and he cooks some garlic and things like that and he just blows the smoke around and the rain stays away. It's quite extraordinary. But he's hired for football games, any type of sporting events. We should have him here.
Q. Isn't that Ian's responsibility?
PETER THOMSON: He's useless at that.
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