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September 15, 1996

Fred Couples

David Duval

Scott Hoch

Davis Love III

Mark O'Meara

Arnold Palmer

Corey Pavin

Steve Stricker


WES SEELEY: Mr. Palmer, would you like to begin with a general comment?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, yes. A general comment? Of course I'm very happy, but this is the longest week that I have had in a long time and this is the first time I've ever had a victory and drank water. (Laughter). I can only say that I really don't have to say anything. These guys said it all. They were perfect all week. We had some good social times. They did pretty much as I wished, except for maybe a couple of bogeys I saw out there. But there was no question about the fact that if golf continues, it's going to take people like this to keep it going. They did a fantastic job.

Q. For Fred, just talk about that putt and just what it was like having all the pressure on your shoulders?

FRED COUPLES: Well, the second shot was basically trying to not miss it to the left and do anything crazy and I blocked it out there; then he hit a good shot. When I got up there, the putt really wasn't that hard from the standpoint of rolling up there and trying to 2-putt. But it's fun to have everyone there and staring at you on the team and their wives. It's very intense. It's nerve-wracking - that's obvious. If anyone would say nothing about that, so I don't need to get into that. And the putt I felt like was pretty straight, maybe a little bit to the left and then to the right and when I hit it, I knew it was great speed. And at best, if it got there, it was going in three or four feet from the hole and I turned around and the first guy I laid eyes on was Mark O'Meara, so I ran at him and had a good time, and it was a great feeling, great for me. We won six matches today which was not easy. It was fun to see a few guys one and lay the line down. It got very close at the end when Tom Lehman's match turned around and then Greg and Corey battled it out. It was a fun day for me and to win and have the putt made it even more special. But we came to win and we did and we beat a great 12 guys. We were fortunate.

Q. Freddie, was that the highest you've ever jumped on a golf course?

FRED COUPLES: I don't know if I jumped. I just kind of jogged, glided. There are a lot of heel marks out there. I just felt -- it's been a great week. And I really never thought - even though I was in the last match - that it would come down to Vijay and I, for some reason. I don't know why. I either felt like it would be over or it wouldn't be such a good day for us. That's a bad thing to think about. But I just kind of cruised along and again, coming up 16, when he was a foot and a half or whatever to get the match only one up, I knew it was basically, if I could make a couple pars I would not lose, and having that putt go in did not really want it to go down to 18 with him making that winning two holes and being even.

Q. Mark, do you have anymore thoughts, 24 hours later on the shot that you hit yesterday and maybe the significance of that, how much of a difference that made?

MARK O'MEARA: When you look at these 12 guys; plus what our Captain has experienced in the game of golf, I think that all of us realized that to win any tournament you have to have a little good fortune on our side. And there's no question that that shot yesterday on 18 -- I was fortunate. I got fortunate, you know, my partner put me in -- I put him in an awful place, he put me in the place to give me the opportunity to redeem myself and fortunately I pulled it off. I can't say enough about the guys on this team, our Captain. I think that my thought out there, while I was playing after three Ryder Cup experiences that weren't necessarily that great, my record wasn't that great, I was determined to try to turn that around and I just kept thinking out there how would AP handle this. Would he hitch up his pants and go forward? You bet he would. So I just kept using that as a motivating factor. And I think the rest of the guys on this team, they all played great. Some played better than others, but we came as a team, we were all playing welcoming in, it was tough to sit anybody down. We would have loved to play our 12 guys against their 12 guys, but our hats are off to the International Team. They're friends of ours. There was great sportsmanship out there, and to me golf benefits, like Arnold said, in the long run. So it was a great week for us.

Q. Could a few of you, other than Fred, share your emotions and thoughts watching the putt and when it finally went in?

MARK O'MEARA: I've been with Freddie in a lot of Ryder Cup events and I know Davis and he paired together tremendously in a lot of events, the World Cup. I've seen Freddie on the 18th hole, too, been on the other way. So I couldn't think of a better person and a more solid player to pull it off and that's why I was so jacked for him when he made the putt because he and I spent some time together after it wasn't such a great day one time at the Belfry. So golf has a funny way of redeeming itself and you get out there and try to do the best you can. And I think all of us tried as hard as we could, not only for ourselves, but for one another and our Captain.

Q. Just for Scott Hoch, talk about that putt you had at 18 and just what your thoughts were there and how important you felt that was at that point?

SCOTT HOCH: I really didn't know how important it was. I was just trying to -- well, I had one on 16 that was very difficult and I thought I hit a good one there and it rolled by and there was hardly any way of stopping it going down there. And the one place I didn't want to leave it on 18 was long and I pulled out a club; my caddy was going, "I don't think it's enough club" and I hit it and it went past the pin. I missed it to the right side, coming over that hump and I thought I made my first one, and I was lucky, guessed the speed right. And then the second one was easy, because when it went past the hole, I saw exactly what it did and it was pretty much a no-brainer, but then again, I think I remember back, if I remember real hard, I probably missed one similar to that. (Laughter).

Q. How long was this one, about three?

SCOTT HOCH: About three feet, I guess, looking five, because I missed one earlier that wasn't too pretty. And I felt good about it, but I really didn't know how everything stood because I went by the board on 16 and it said we already had 15 and a half points. So somebody was messing -- I think -- did anybody else see that board?

Q. They posted your score wrong. They posted the score after 16 wrong. They had you 3 up, Scott.

SCOTT HOCH: I didn't know. And then I looked up the board coming up 18, but then I really didn't -- I tried not to think about that too much, I was just trying to concentrate on what I had in hand and it was a really tough match because neither one of us played too good. We had some good shots and bad shots, too, at different times. It was a struggle.

Q. I wanted to ask Corey to think back after the Ryder Cup last year, not working out the way you guys would have wanted it to, how important was it not to have this one go bad also?

COREY PAVIN: I don't know - I think the Ryder Cup last year was fine. I wasn't feeling like we had to win this to redeem ourselves or anything like that at all. I thought at the Ryder Cup we all played very hard and you win as a team and you lose as a team. And we just went out and did the best we could and the same thing this week. We were just fortunate enough to be on the winning side this time. That's what we came here to do is to win, but if we didn't win, then it wasn't the end of the world. I think we all feel pretty much the same way on that. Obviously it's nicer to win. I think everybody feels a little bit happier about it. But as we said before, the International Team played great. They came back yesterday, made the matches very close. And it came down to the putt Freddie made on the 17th hole - seemed to sum up the whole thing. So obviously, very exciting, a great week for the Presidents Cup. It will certainly put this tournament on the map, I think.

Q. Davis, you had a great match today with Jumbo. Did you feel like you had to set the tone out there for the rest of your teammates, being kind of in the middle of the back?

DAVID LOVE III: As I told Kenny, I saw that things weren't going good for him so I got off to a good start and was trying to get one going the other way so they could see one going. Justin and I were talking on the putting green, I said anything I need to do out there, when he's 2 down, get him 3 down, and when he's 3 down, get him 4 down. I was trying to a take my own advice. Jumbo, everybody knows how great a player he is and I knew if I let him off the hook, it would look bad. I was trying to do my best and get a good one up there. I knew after about 9 holes it was going to be pretty close. So it was good to get a point.

Q. On your final hole, which turned out to be 14, after Ozaki splashed, would you talk about your -- did you have the option of dropping when you rolled back down into the reads?

DAVID LOVE III: I used the drop area.

Q. Did you have an option then?

DAVID LOVE III: Yeah, I had the option to use the drop area.

Q. This is for Davis, could you compare -- you had a discussion with David Frost.

DAVID LOVE III: David didn't know there was a drop area. He saw Jumbo drop out there, he figured Jumbo was on the line and he could drop out there. He was wondering why. When we came out and I showed him where the drop was --

Q. You had no play?

DAVID LOVE III: I had a shot. I was in the hazard, but I wasn't in the water. I was in some weeds and I figured being 4 up, there's no reason to try to hack it out of there. Go back and get your good lie, and if I make par and he makes par, I'm dormie or if we both made bogeys, I'm dormie. I didn't want to do anything silly. I dropped it, and he made his 6-footer and I made mine.

Q. You walked back and forth like two or three times. What does that do to your psyche at that point?

DAVID LOVE III: I walked back there ready to hit it because I seen Jumbo hit it and I knew -- and I knew the yardage. I got a little shaken up when David came out there. And that was my fault because all he was doing was just saying -- he didn't see the drop area. But I did get a little shaken up, so I took my time hitting the shot and I took a long time to putt after Jumbo putted. I didn't want to let that turn the tied of my match, just a misunderstanding. And maybe he shouldn't have been involved in my match, but I would have protected my players, too.

Q. For Davis, just compare the final round atmosphere here to a Ryder Cup. Was it anywhere close or did you guys get as tense?

DAVID LOVE III: Well, I was going to say I'll let Corey answer that, because he watched me putt that putt at the Ryder Cup. I don't want to lose anytime. None of these guys want to lose. I don't know if it's fair to compare one tournament to another. I've got a headache, and I got it watching this, after I finished. My head was about -- I told David on 17 before Freddie putted I said my head is about to blow up. I was nervous because I didn't want these guys out there under that kind of pressure the way I watched them finish. And I don't know, at the moment, this was the biggest thing that was going on and it was -- it was an exciting thing and I was just thrilled to be a part of it. I don't know if there's as much fear maybe, as much fear of losing as the Ryder Cup in this. When you're sitting there and Greg Norman and Ernie Els are sitting up on the hill, you don't want to lose to those guys, that's a lot of pressure.

Q. Arnold, can you talk about how some of your younger guys, your 20 some guys did, with David and Steve and Justin and just how they performed all week.

ARNOLD PALMER: I think they performed very well. There wasn't anyone on the team that did not do their part. And the biggest problem I had, and the thing I worried most about, was dropping guys out; not playing them. It would have been a lot simpler if I would have done what we did today and that was play all 12 guys every day. I worried about it. I worried about it at night when someone wasn't playing because I had the feeling they all wanted to play. A couple of times they said -- they came to me and said they'd play as much as I wanted them to and that kind of thing. So that was a worry to me, dropping them out, not having them play. When you have guys playing like Duval was playing and take him off or Freddie Couples, you dropped him out for a match, if we lose, you know, someone is going to say, well, you didn't play the guys that were winning. But you have to alternate them. You've got to give everybody a shot. And that's what I tried to do. And I thought they all did just a super job.

Q. I wanted to ask Steve Stricker something about pressure, first time, never been through this kind of thing before, so much has happened this year, just your career from the beginning of this year up to now and you come down to the last hole for your team.

STEVE STRICKER: Why don't you ask me that one more time.

Q. From the beginning of this year up to now, you win your first couple of tournaments, so much has happened, you're in this International competition, the team comes down to the last hole, all this pressure, can you describe, this must be an unbelievable situation?

STEVE STRICKER: This meant a lot to me. And just to be a part of the team, to be a part of the 12 other members of the team. I got paired with some great players - Tom Lehman, I played with and Corey. They're both so intense and so focused. I learned a lot from just playing with those guys. And it's just been an unbelievable week. This is something that you dream about to be a part of. And it finally happened. To be under the helm of Captain Palmer is -- it's unbelievable.

Q. Mark, what was the key for you this week going 5 and 0?

MARK O'MEARA: I'll tell you what the key was. The key was that during our practice rounds we played with different groups a little bit and I played with David on, I think, maybe one and a half rounds and I went to the Captain before he made the pairings the first day and I told him, I said, look, David is playing well, I feel like I'm playing okay. I want to play with David, put me out there with David. And I think a lot of the guys never really told Arnold what they wanted to do. We felt like Arnold would make the right decision for us. Sure enough when I came in and asked what the pairings were he said, "you got what your wanted." I said, "what's that?" I said, "who am I playing with?" And he said, "David." David and I went and put a little shellacing on them the first time, I think we were 10 under at 16. And David played some phenomenal shots. They put us back out on the alternate shot and we were a couple under par, one or two under, and fortunately Arnold put us back out there and we were 9 under at 15. And David and I, we're almost like -- "why did you split us up in the afternoon on Friday?" But everything worked out for the best. David went 4 and 0. This is the first time at this type of competition. I'm proud of him the way he conducted himself. And very happy for all my fellow teammates.

Q. Can we talk to David, what he feels like going 4 and 0 and playing on your first pro team matchplay competition, what was it like out there for you?

DAVID DUVAL: Well, it's just a situation where you're put under a lot of pressure, a lot is expected of you as a player. And I think having Mr. Palmer, leading our team, that is that much more pressure that you probably put on yourself and I think you go out and try to handle things that come your way, as best you can, perform as well as you can, and just the key for me is to remember that it's still the same game I play week in, week out. Granted it's a different form, it's matchplay rather than medal. But you still have to drive the ball on the fairway and hit it on the green, you still have to make putts. And that was as important to me as anything else this week. And it's just -- it's also a situation where I think Mr. Palmer motivates everybody on this team, just what he's done for all of us and what he's done for the future generations of players. You just go out there and you're just not going to -- I just told myself I wasn't going to get beat, I just wasn't. I was going to do everything I could not to get beat. I was going to try to win every match and I was going to try to win them very quick. Being out with Mark, we never got to the 18th hole, we only played 48 holes I think in three matches. And today I only played 16 holes. And I think I was very fortunate. The timing was something where I played well last week, I came in here playing well. And it just all kind of fell together.

Q. David, what was your reaction watching Freddie's ball roll in and hit?

DAVID DUVAL: I don't know. I guess you almost come to expect that with Fred.

FRED COUPLES: Better from 40 feet than 4.

DAVID DUVAL: It's just exciting. And knowing Vijay as well as I do, he's a neighbor of mine down if Ponte Vedra. I felt Vijay would probably make that putt. He's such a competitor, he's such a good player, I just felt like he'd probably dig down and find it and I think everybody saw it hit a spike mark five feet from the hole and bounced up a couple of inches in the air, we could all see it, and it was unfortunate it had to end that way.

Q. David, what was it like being done early and watching the events unfold the way they did?

DAVID DUVAL: I think it was a lot of fun, because you can be out there and see the guys and cheer them on. And it kind of felt pretty good about things when they posted Scott at winning 3 and 2. (Laughter). And then I went up to watch Corey tee off on 15. I'd been hanging out on the 14th green. And I walked by and congratulated David Frost on his match and that's when their assistant had said the scoreboard is wrong and Scott is only one up going down 18. So we're like, this is all of a sudden a little closer than it seems. So it got pretty tense and pretty tight but obviously it all worked out the way we wanted.

Q. Did the scoreboard affect anyone's play or approach or concentration?

SCOTT HOCH: I noticed it. I thought we were in good shape. I saw it on the scoreboard when I was playing 17, we already had 15 and a half points. I didn't know that mine was the one that was incorrect on it.

Q. Arnold, where does it rank on your list of thrills, given this stage in your career?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, this is kind of the icing on the cake, really. I knew it was going to be a tough week for the guys but somewhere along the way I thought that they would walk through it pretty well. To have it come down to what it really came down to today, I didn't anticipate. I thought maybe it would be a little easier than it was. But for all the things involved, whether it be the way it finished today, Freddie making that putt or -- I said yesterday when Mark hit that chip and someone said, what about that chip? And I said, well, let me just tell you that tomorrow that chip could have a marked influence on this golf tournament. Well, as it turned out it had a very heavy -- that was it, if you think about it. That was a point right there that would have made a difference as it turned out today. I said now we can have -- we can win six matches and lose six matches and win, and that's exactly what happened. Now, I'm not that smart, but I'll tell you what, that was a big shot, that shot at 18 that he made yesterday. But there were other shots the same way through the week. And to have it end up the way it did, I couldn't be happier. I feel very satisfied and I'm so pleased with these 12 guys. They just did a great job.

WES SEELEY: We're going to have to leave it at that.

End of FastScripts....

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