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September 25, 2005

Fred Couples

Chris DiMarco

Jim Furyk

Phil Mickelson

Jack Nicklaus

Tiger Woods


TODD BUDNICK: We'd like to get started. We welcome the 2005 Presidents Cup team champions, the United States Team. We'll open it up with just, Jack, how about just a few words on your guys here this week.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I had a group of guys that was pretty special this week, and they wanted to win, they bonded together and they worked hard with each other and they tried everything we could to get the right pairings, to get right everything, and they kept telling me what they wanted to do. I said, okay, and that's what happened. They did it.

Those putts, the last few guys coming down the stretch were something else. What else can you say? It was pretty special.

Q. Chris, you mentioned out there how big of a week it was and how big of it was just for U.S. Team golf, can you just talk about I guess coming out of this, not just how you guys won, but the golf you played all week, the chemistry that we see from the outside seemed to see that you said was always there but was so obviously apparent this week, what it means for U.S. Team golf?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, I think that we're the only ones that know that we care more about this than anything, and unfortunately everybody thinks the Americans don't care. Well, I can promise you that's not true at all. We care a lot and this is big. We wanted this bad. We wanted this for Mr. Nicklaus, and it's nice to give him that. He's been a great captain for the two that I've been on, and it was a lot of fun. We had a lot of camaraderie this week and we had a great time as a team. It was nice to get a W.

Q. Jim, earlier in the week it didn't look like you would be able to play and then it went quite well, can you just talk about how your body came along and how you were able to play your way along?

JIM FURYK: I have to thank my partners the first couple of rounds. Freddie Funk really held me in there in the foursome matches on Thursday, and I said it all along, Tiger put on a show on Friday in the four ball. So I didn't really have to do too much the first couple of rounds. Tom LaFountain, our chiropractor for Physiotherapy Associates on Tour took care of me all day on Thursday keeping me loose enough to swing, and basically by Saturday's matches, I felt very, very good.

I'm still strapped up in a rib belt and got some stuff on my ribs for some heat, but I felt good. I had no restrictions, and I just didn't want to go out and not be healthy and hurt the team. So to be able to go out and contribute and get some points was a plus and I'm real happy to do it.

Q. Chris, can you just describe the lie that you had in the rough on 18, what your expectations were from there, and what were your thoughts standing over that putt?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Actually, the line wasn't bad. It was the stance that was not real good. I watched the day before, Phil hit a shot from 180 to about six feet on No. 13, so I knew it was possible since I only hit 9 iron.

You know I tried to stay real still and hit a good, solid shot and get right of the hole and give me a putt at it, at least have a chance, and it came out perfect.

The putt, I thought I might whiff I was so nervous, but I was able to make contact and it went right in the middle. So I just thought about two people out there. I thought about Fred Couples, how big of a putt he made on 18 to win against Vijay. I watched it, actually, when I was on the 13th tee, I could see the JumboTron and I was underneath looking watching the putt. And for Captain Nicklaus, that's what our whole goal was as a team this week was to win it for him.

Q. For Chris and Phil and Freddie, you were the only three matches that got to the 18th and all three of you birdied; can you just talk about what it feels like to be able to come through in a situation like that?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Easy hole. (Laughter).

JACK NICKLAUS: That's what they are supposed to do. That's why they were playing there, right guys?


JACK NICKLAUS: (Giving thumbs up. ) Absolutely.

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm sorry. What was the question?

JACK NICKLAUS: Talking about the 12th hole.

Q. No. 18, Phil.

PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't see Chris's putt, but it was incredible, obviously. I heard the roar. Didn't see the putt.

JACK NICKLAUS: He was talking about yours, actually.

PHIL MICKELSON: We were just talking about Chris's. You changed it up oh, my birdie? It was nice. (Nodding head up and down.) I needed to make a 3 and I was fortunate enough to make a 3 and it felt great. I thought that that was it. I thought that we had won, because I'm an idiot and didn't read the rules of the game. (Laughter).

Better yet, Captain Nicklaus told me on 15 there were no ties, didn't quite get it. (Laughter) Still didn't get it.

JACK NICKLAUS: I thought you understood that.

PHIL MICKELSON: You would think I would.

So I was a little surprised that we had to go to No. 1, fortunately, it was all for naught, as Chris knocked in a birdie putt on 18 to close it out.

JACK NICKLAUS: What I told Phil walking off, what was it, 15th green?


JACK NICKLAUS: I told you there was not going to be any ties; that you had to play to a conclusion. And he misunderstood me, obviously.

PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I thought you meant, don't go for the tie; go for the win. (Laughter). I got it. I got it.

JACK NICKLAUS: The rules of the game were such that we couldn't go for a tie. If we go for a tie, your match is over when Phil makes birdie. However, Phil, that was not the rules.

Q. Jack, would you talk about where this ranks in your career when you listen to these young men saying we want to win this for Captain Jack?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think that's awfully nice, and I just, you know, these guys, we're all they have said that all week. I think that's I don't know why in the world they want to care about winning one for an old man. They need to win one for themselves. I mean, American golf has not won in international competition for a few years, and they proved that, you know, they are pretty good.

That is what was special to me to see them come together as 12 guys, 12 individuals as a team, they bond together, they work together and they cheered for each other and they encouraged each other, and that was what was special. I'm just a guy on the sidelines trying to say, you know, I should have put on a skirt and done some cheerleading things for them. Matter of fact, I would have if they asked, (laughter), because I don't know whether I could have done any better than that. But these guys were terrific. They won it for themselves.

And, you know, I appreciate that they won it for me and that makes it very special for me. But for American golf and to win the Presidents Cup I guess they did win the Presidents Cup two times now was it 2000? Won here in 2000. I guess you've got one in international competition since 2000; is that right?

JIM FURYK: 2000 was the last win.

JACK NICKLAUS: 2000 was the last win. So five years is a pretty good drought for a bunch of pretty darned good players. It's very special. I'm very happy for them and I know that what happened in South Africa had a lot to do to propel Phil Mickelson to the great year he had next year.

I know that Chris DiMarco, he found out in South Africa that he could get to the next level. He keeps chipping away at that next level, and, you know, I would be very, very surprised if he doesn't go right next to that next level the next time he's out. I think that every one of them seems to raise the level of what they do, because they had to. And otherwise, we would not have won, they wouldn't have won for themselves and for the team.

So I think it was just it was a team effort. And here you've got a guy who is hurt in Jim Furyk. I mean, it was like, hey, you know, you can sit me down and you and get Tiger to go play a singles match. But he wasn't about to sit down and leave it alone to Tiger. He said Tiger needed some help.

JIM FURYK: Actually, Tiger had some choice words for me on that comment. (Laughter).

JACK NICKLAUS: And I was delighted that he could play, because, you know, Gary Player was sort of feeling like, maybe that pairing would have ended up with a singles with Tiger in the match and I didn't want that, and Jim didn't want that and I'm sure Tiger would have taken it but I don't think he wanted it. I think he wanted to play it in the right way and he did.

And Gary Player just said to me a few minutes ago, he said, "Jack, this could not have been any better." He said, "You guys played hard, we played hard, it came right down to the last hole right where we wanted it to come down to, and you guys did what you're supposed to do, three guys birdied the 18th hole to win it."

I go back to captaining the Ryder Cup Team in 1987 at Muirfield Village, and I had a team, good guys, good players, but they lost the 18th hole never won the 18th hole all week and lost it every time. And that 18th hole cost them the matches. The 18th hole this week won us the matches. You've got to be able to play the last hole and finish the event and believe in yourself and believe that when you get to the next level as an individual, that you can do it again, and so that's why I'm so happy about it, because it really elevated every one of these guys so that the next time out they will believe in what they can do.

Q. For anyone brave enough, Phil came clean in his admission that he was not totally aware of the rules, and frankly we were not totally positive either, given what happened in 2003, I wonder if anybody else who was involved in the latter stages of the matches would admit to being a little uncertain and whether it affected the way they were thinking out there.

CHRIS DiMARCO: I was uncertain. It didn't affect my thinking, I was still trying to win. I was under the assumption that once we got to 17 or we parred 18 or halved 18 like Phil did, we would get half a point and win. I thought up until 17 points, it had to go the distance and have a winner but once somebody got to 17, I thought a tie was good enough.

JACK NICKLAUS: That's the captain's fault then.

CHRIS DiMARCO: But I knew it when I played on 18 tee, I knew that we were going on. As soon as I found out it wasn't like I went four holes wondering what was going on. I knew, I was under the assumption that once I asked that question, I was immediately told what it was.

JACK NICKLAUS: I told Freddie walking off there didn't I tell you? Did you understand it?


JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think he was listening anyway, doesn't make a difference. (Laughter) When Freddie walked off the 17th green, walking up the fairway, I said, "You know, you tie this hole, you go on." Never said a word, just went ahead and knocked in the putt. He didn't know what was going on. He never thought he was going to go past 12. (Laughter).

Q. Jack, you said last night or implied last night in a lot of ways this event has exceeded the Ryder Cup in certain capacities for the players. Put aside that you've obviously enjoyed more success in this event recently, do you prefer this event, whether it be because of the format or just the overall atmosphere to the Ryder Cup, do you feel that it has exceeded the Ryder Cup in certain ways?

JACK NICKLAUS: You should have the players answer that question. In my opinion, yes, but have the players answer that question.

CHRIS DiMARCO: I like the fact that there's 34 matches and you can't hide anybody. And you know what, most guys are playing four matches. I think that's great.

I like that there's a genuine respect for both teams and it's more about the game of golf and not necessarily somebody being ugly and somebody not being ugly. I think the players pretty much on both teams, whether it's Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup have a mutual respect for everybody. I think the media makes it, unfortunately, for Ryder Cup, hateful, and that's the difference between the two.

Q. Anyone else?

JACK NICKLAUS: We have 11 other diplomats.

Q. Why did you like Chris playing the last twosome and did you consider anybody else?

JACK NICKLAUS: I told you in here last night that Chris could have fallen anywhere in probably three positions. I had Chris and Davis and Phil, and really it depended on how Gary was picking and what he was doing was how I ended up judging it. I had certain guys that I wanted them to play against, and I wanted Phil I talked to him about playing Cabrera before I went down there, and so I made sure that Phil got Cabrera.

I looked at the way things were going, I put Davis out last the last time, and I didn't want to do that to him twice in a row. I think that, not that I couldn't handle it, I just didn't think it was fair to him to do that. And even though I saved him down to the end, when I had the opportunity and I saw what was going to happen, I put Davis in against O'Hern, and I had the opportunity to put Phil with Cabrera, and I ended up having the ability to put Chris with Appleby, and you know, I think actually going down, he said he'd like to have Appleby. They all got the guys they wanted to play.

And so it really didn't make any difference to me what order it was, it just turned out that Chris ended up playing last, thankfully.

Q. Talk about if you really thought the match would go more than 12 holes, and what the momentum was if you felt the momentum was changing at that point and what that putt meant for your career?

FRED COUPLES: On the 18th, well, career wise it doesn't mean anything. Team wise it was awesome.

You know, something in my mind last night, we sat around and I think Jack asked if anyone wanted to play anyone, and I feel like I was the only one who said I'd like to play Vijay. And I just felt like in my mind that if I was going to beat anyone and it was going to be probably their best player, and I had enough of Goose in the first two matches, so I selected Vijay and that's pretty much how that worked.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks. (Laughter.)

FRED COUPLES: So I gave Goosen to Tiger. And to be honest, I thought, you know, if I could play with him and handle him, you know, that I would be doing the same, several guys would be excited about that, and it happened that way and then the putt on the 18th, was thrilling. It was energetic, and if I could throw one word out there, it was karma. That's coming out of my own mind, but that's a pretty good comment.

So I thoroughly enjoyed the whole week, but that was really topping it. At that time I thought we needed one more point and it was going to be Davis's, by what everyone was telling me, and then of course that was not true, so it became really exciting and then watching Phil play 17 and 18 and catching Chris win 17 and 18 was really a lot of fun.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, guys. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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