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September 21, 2005
JAMES CRAMER: We have our captains from the United States Team, Jack Nicklaus and from the International Team, Gary Player, joined by the Captain's Assistants Jeff Sluman and Ian Baker Finch. As you saw on the live feed the captains have just made their picks for tomorrow's foursomes matches. Why don't we begin with Captain Player, maybe just a comment about how you thought the process went and your picks.
GARY PLAYER: I think one of the most enjoyable things we have is having Jack and Jeff on the other side of the table and Ian and I on this side, and to try and outwit each other, if that's possible.
It was really very, very enjoyable. I won the toss and I put down Adam Scott and Retief Goosen. And Jack said, "I didn't think you'd do that." So I find that fascinating, this part. And I really think that this to me is a far superior, for all of you people, as well as for us and the people in the room to see this being done rather than the Ryder Cup where you take a piece of paper and you hand your envelopes in and nobody knows. I think this is really a neat idea, I've always said that.
So as it stands right now, these are fantastic matches, really. I mean, you've got Tiger and Couples playing Adam Scott and Goosen. Every one of them are just we couldn't have had a better script for, on paper, who knows what happens out there; that's another story. But on paper, this is just a terrific start to the Presidents Cup.
JAMES CRAMER: Captain Nicklaus?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, Gary sort of threw me off base when he won the toss and elected to come out first. I was kind of, well, I want to defer, let Gary come out with his team, Gary came right out with Adam Scott and Retief and said, okay, have at us, which is fine.
Actually we thought maybe that's the team you might put out, so we had Tiger and Fred, who that's who we wanted to play there. My first team that I put out, or Jeff and I put out, was Fred Funk and Jim Furyk. Had we picked first, that's who we would have probably put out first and then let Gary pick, and so we put that out second and they paired Vijay and Mark Hensby against that.
We said, we heard that was a rumor that you guys were going to play them together and we didn't believe it, and then you did it. We had more fun doing the drawing than we did worrying about, you know, what we'd pick. Because no matter what team you pick, anybody can beat anybody. You've got six teams on each side, and it was a good process and a fun process, and I think we've got some great matches. I think the first match and the fifth match are probably the key matches in there with Davis and Kenny Perry and Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera. I think those are four, or eight strong players. I think that, you know we think that all of our teams are good teams. I know that Gary thinks all of his teams are good teams and I think that we're going to have a terrific match. We're going to have a lot of fun.
GARY PLAYER: I'll say that it's very encouraging when we spread those rumors and it gets back to you.
IAN BAKER FINCH: It's working. (Laughter).
JACK NICKLAUS: But you reacted to it.
GARY PLAYER: That's right.
JACK NICKLAUS: You spread the rumor, we reacted and you gave us the team that you were spreading.
Anyway, do we have some questions?
Q. Gary, what is it about Mark Hensby that made you decide to put him with Vijay; why do you think they will be a good team?
GARY PLAYER: Because they wanted to play together. I'm sorry. Because they wanted to play together, good friends.
Q. Just to follow up from that, was there some suggestion that Vijay and Mark were going to put up against Tiger, because Mark likes to give Tiger a little bit of schtick?
GARY PLAYER: No, I've always thought that I would like to have Adam Scott and Retief Goosen. I would liked to have seen them go up against Tiger, and I wasn't sure who Tiger's partner was going to be, but that was always my plan to have them play Tiger, if possible.
Q. Jack, can you talk about pairing Tiger and Fred and how much input did they give to have that pairing and what do you expect from them?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that they both said they would like to play with each other.
Of course, I poled all of my players and every one of them wanted to play with Tiger. So I had a pool of which ones Tiger wanted to play with and Tiger said he would very much like to play with Fred in a match, and I think that we've seen later on, Tiger has said that he wants to play with Jim Furyk. So somewhere along the line, I'll probably have Tiger with Jim Furyk.
I threw one out to you guys. (Laughter) But that's because they request it and exactly why Vijay is playing with Mark Hensby; exactly the same thing. They would like to play together, and we're going to honor that the best we can. We feel like we'd rather have two guys that want to play together and requested to play together, than us putting two guys that might not want to play together.
Q. Sort of unconventional wisdom all along that Freddie and Tiger might play together; did that go into your thinking when you selected Fred that
JACK NICKLAUS: Not really. When I selected Freddie it was because well, to start with, Freddie had had a very good major championship year. Freddie had played very well here in previous Presidents Cups. I just felt like a strong player Freddie didn't play a lot of events, but when he played, he played well this year and I just thought he was a good player. And when we got here, Tiger, saying, "I think Freddie and I would make a good team." I said, "fine, if that's what you like." I think their games fit well together. I think they both drive it long, they are both good out of the rough, if they happen to hit it in the rough, which I think they probably will occasionally. And that's sort of what you like to put together. I like to put together more like type players than opposite type players, unless guys come to us and say, hey, like I'm sure that Vijay and Hensby, they came to each other and said, "we want to play." That's fine.
My experience in the past has been I remember I always going back to when I got paired with Dave Stockton in the Ryder Cup Matches at St. Louis, we got drummed 6 and 5. We weren't even in the match. I mean, Stockton was not used to playing out of the rough and I wasn't playing 2 irons to par 4s. (Laughter) So we just absolutely got drummed.
But anyway, that didn't mean I didn't want to play with Dave. I enjoy playing with Dave. But sometimes it doesn't work out. Sometimes it does work out. I'm sure you have many examples where opposites have won. I just had my own experience, which I try not to do, and I think that Tiger and Fred are likes. I think Furyk and Funk are likes. I think Verplank and Leonard are likes, Perry and Davis are likes and I think Toms and Cink are pretty much likes. I think the only ones that are a little bit off are Mickelson and DiMarco and they both requested to play with each other.
So that's sort of where we came on our pairings.
Q. A quick follow up on that, is that more important to you, the suggestions that the players gave you, and also their like games than maybe personalities?
JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, I think that, my way of thinking is Presidents Cup is once every two years, and I want the guys to want to play in the Presidents Cup; not come here and say, oh, I was there at the last Presidents Cup and I played with a guy I didn't want to play with, or I got drummed and I didn't enjoy it. I want them to come out and have fun.
It is entertainment. It's for bragging rights, it's for goodwill, it's a goodwill match for bragging rights and fun. I mean, Gary wants his players to have as much fun as they can coming here and playing and I want our players to have as much fun. The game of golf is supposed to be fun. So, let's make it fun. That's what we're trying to do to the best of our ability. I'm sure that we're going to have a pairing somewhere along the line that probably is not to the guys' likings, but we're going to try not to do that.
Q. Gary, did you look at players' form coming into the event before making pairings and in particular, regarding Mike Weir not playing that well, yet you paired him with a rookie in Trevor Immelman, did you look more at it as a veteran/rookie thing or did you give credence to how they are playing coming in?
GARY PLAYER: Well, we had already met with our team, and before I made any decisions, I said, I'd like you to tell me who you feel comfortable who you're playing with, who you'd like to play with. Basically, that was our theory. They were both very comfortable playing with each other.
Mike Weir I thought was swinging very well. I phoned him in Canada after missing the cut in the Canadian Open and he was going to see his coach. He was already feeling better, he said, "Even in spite of missing the cut, I've made a few changes and I'm feeling very good." I watched his swing carefully and playing a lot of holes, he's really swinging well. His technique was really good. I watched Trevor Immelman, who I think is going to be a real good player in the future, this guy is really going to be some player I think, and just to me, with them being happy, and I put them together and I said, do you like this? In fact, going back on the bus going through every match, and they were all very happy and that's similar styles, as well, also. I really believe similar style is an important thing.
Q. Could you discuss a little deeper about the pairing you had already decided to have together to play against whomever Tiger was with, why you would do this?
GARY PLAYER: Is this to me?
GARY PLAYER: I'm a believer, the first day, if it's possible, if you can get up on the board and you can create a bit of a shock, I mean, you're talking about going against the best player in the world, Tiger Woods, which we all concede. But if you can a guy on your team can look up and say, wow, this guy is getting beat, our guys are doing well. Subconsciously it can encourage them. On the other hand, it's a gamble and we sort of spoke to them and said, you know, it could go the other way around, as well. We put our team out first, but I said whoever plays Tiger they all know what a tough job it's going to be, but we put our team out first. We thought Jack would put obviously all are good players but we thought he would put somebody who was long with Tiger.
JACK NICKLAUS: You know, Gary was hoping for that match, but so were we. I mean, it's obvious, they picked first and picked Adam Scott and Retief Goosen, and we matched against that. So obviously that's the match we wanted, too, and probably for very similar reasons. We felt like, you know, we want to get started off with a win, we felt like Tiger is the best player in the world, we've had Freddie playing very well, and I don't know whether there's an intimidation factor in playing against Tiger Woods or not. But you know, I think that if you ask anybody, a lot of guys would say, "Gee, I've love to play Tiger," but when they walk home at night, "Geez, I have to play Tiger tomorrow." You understand what I'm saying.
I think Gary had his philosophy of what he wanted to do and was glad we picked against him and was glad we picked against him with the guys that we wanted to play against that team. We'll come out with a good match tomorrow and that's fine. I think it makes both of us happy, so that's good.
Q. Jack, do you have any thoughts or theories on if you get a good team keeping them together through all four team matches?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, not really. I don't necessarily think that if you get a team that wins and plays well together if you look at the last Presidents Cup, I put Tiger with Charles Howell both matches, or all four matches. They asked to play together. They won both of their alternate shots, or foursomes, and got drummed in both four balls. How do you know, you know? I mean, we've been kidding Tiger all week. Tiger is like, what's he, 0 6 or 0 6 1 in four ball, we keep kidding him all week, "Who is going to carry you in four ball, Tiger"?
But it's a fun week of kidding the guys and having a little bit of fun. And so we're not sure, I don't know whether I'm going to play Freddie with Tiger or I'm going to play him, I told you Jim Furyk and he wanted to play together one time. I don't know who he'll be paired with but we'll figure it out.
Q. Jack already mentioned this, as well, one of your stronger pairings, that Cambo pairing farther down with Cabrera, looks like it could be a strong pairing for you guys, can you talk about what went into putting those two together and what you think they bring?
GARY PLAYER: They are both playing very well and Michael Campbell is having a remarkable year. I always feel, you know, you're hoping to go out with a strong team and possibly get that win on the board early, that you want to be able to the guys also to come up with your artillery behind, so it's just a theory. As Jack so aptly says, it doesn't necessarily work as you put it on paper. You think, well, these guys will gain confidence and it's just reinforcing, putting a team a little bit it's been done in Ryder Cups a lot, it's been done throughout the matches that I've captained, whether it's Southern Africa versus Australasian; or the Warburg Cup, there was a theory I used, so just going with that, that instinct.
Q. Jack, first of all, they switched up the format a little bit so that there will be more matches on Saturday, and just one set on Friday, but on Friday, four players will have to sit out. Do you like it that way, or would you prefer that maybe on Saturday they halve the two, 5 5 rather than 5 6; and has David Toms talked to you about whether he wants to be one of the guys that sits out any of the matches?
JACK NICKLAUS: Your first question was? Which one just briefly, the first one, do you like the 5 5?
Q. Would you have preferred to have the 5 5 on Saturday like it used to be on Friday, now it's going to be
JACK NICKLAUS: I could care less. I don't care what that is.
I think it's nice to have the ability when you get somebody who is maybe tired or decides he doesn't want to play both rounds I think Davis came to us last time and said he'd like to sit out Saturday afternoon, Friday afternoon, whatever it was. Davis and who? Oh, Jay Haas. So we sat out Davis and Jay Haas because they asked to. Now, when we get to Friday after they play, I'll sit with the team and say, what do you guys want to do? They will tell me. I mean, if David wants to play 36 holes and somebody else wants to sit out, David will play 36 holes.
But, you know, I don't have any idea what we're going to do. We haven't gotten there yet. Let's get through the first round. Is that all of your question?
Q. Specifically about Toms, has he talked about whether or not he intended to play every day?
JACK NICKLAUS: No. David I don't think wants to be treated as a special cat. I don't think he thinks there is anything that is wrong with him at this point in time. He's had this for years. I think he's on medication that I think probably sort of alleviates that situation, I think temporarily, and if that's the case, then he'll tell me what he wants to do. I'll wait until then.
GARY PLAYER: May I say to the gentleman that asked the question about Angel and Michael Campbell, they did play The European Tour together, a lot, and Angel's English is not as good as he would probably like it to be. So they do understand each other very well having played together in the World Cup, as Ian says, New Zealand and the Argentine and The European Tour. So that is a factor.
Q. Jack, just sort of interested in something you said earlier about how you're feeling relaxed about the guys coming to you and saying, I'd like to play with so and so, and you say, that's fine. My first question is, would you do that if this were the Ryder Cup, and the second part of that is, did you learn anything from that Woods/Mickelson pairing in that vein, I suppose?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I have no idea whatsoever whether Mickelson and Woods asked to play together, did not ask to play together, whether Hal Sutton just put them together. I don't have I've never asked. So I don't know. That's number one. I probably should find out. It's probably not a bad idea. (Laughter).
Secondly what was the first part of your question? Playing together?
I had, the pairings that we have together just as an example, I had them down and Jeff had them down and I said, Jeff, I'm not sure I'd like to play that guy with that guy and that guy and that guy. I went to the guys and said, hey, I'm thinking about switching that thing to this and this, what do you guys think? Oh, well, we really, I think I'd like to play the way you have it here, and this is what I think I'd like. So they overruled me as far as the teams they wanted to play with, a couple of teams did. I said, fine. And they said, yeah, we've never played together, we'd like to play together, so I said okay. That's really it. I leave that as the most important factor.
You know, one other thing, when Gary selected Campbell and Cabrera we picked, you know, we picked and then matched Love and Perry to them. Love and Perry were very strong in South Africa. I could have taken I think that's a very strong team of Campbell and Cabrera. We could have ducked that and maybe you might call it ducking it if you put Toms and Cink in there, I think Toms and Cink is a very good team, but we always thought Love and Perry were one of our stronger teams. Those guys have said, hey, give us the strongest game we can have.
So, you know, we tried also to go to their requests. If they say, hey, first round, you know, give me somebody that looks easy on paper. There's nobody easy on paper, they are all good, but, you know, some guys say, hey, bring on what you want. Tiger will come to us and he'll come Sunday and I don't know whether Tiger wants to play Vijay yet or Vijay wants to play Tiger yet, we don't know where we are on that, Gary.
GARY PLAYER: I don't know yet.
JACK NICKLAUS: I don't know either.
But if they request if Gary tells me that Vijay would like to play Tiger and I say Tiger wants to play Vijay, I'm sure Gary and I will try to accommodate. That's what we did last time with Ernie and Tiger. They wanted to play each other. So we made that we feel that this is entertainment. We both want to win but we feel like, hey, the guys have got requests and we try to accommodate the requests as best we can.
Q. The second part of that, though, is if this were the Ryder Cup, would you do it the same way?
JACK NICKLAUS: Sure. Why would there be any difference with the Ryder Cup? You're supposed to have fun with the Ryder Cup, too. I don't know how they are, but our guys, you know, they made a comment Tuesday night. They said after dinner, or Monday night, wasn't it after dinner Monday they said they laughed more Monday night than they did the whole week of the Ryder Cup. So, you know, I want them to have fun. I wasn't at the Ryder Cup, so I don't know what it was I can't imagine they had a lot of fun at the Ryder Cup. They didn't play very well I guess, did they? They got drummed.
Q. Just a quick follow up and another question. Do you recall taking requests from players when you were at Muirfield in '87? Is that the way you form your teams?
JACK NICKLAUS: Sure, I might have swung around and asked them. You mean as far as the Ryder Cup?
JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yeah, I always do that. Every time I've captained on I've done exactly the same way.
Q. What do you think that the Presidents Cup can take or learn from the Ryder Cup and mostly, what do you think the Ryder Cup can learn or take from this event?
JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you know, I have no desire to criticize the Ryder Cup in any way, shape or form. I was captain of the Ryder Cup twice and I enjoyed the Ryder Cup and playing in it numerous occasions. I enjoyed it very much.
I think that the Ryder Cup, as Gary said, I think Gary is correct, the Ryder Cup has made a turn back the other direction. I think it became a war for a while. And this is a game, that's all it is, it's a game. It's not a war. Wars are fought in very serious situations; not this, and it's certainly not that.
I feel like the game should be played I forgot what your question was. I'm starting to dance around. I am 65 now. (Laughter).
Q. What lessons the Presidents Cup can take from the Ryder Cup and what the Ryder Cup can take from yeah.
JACK NICKLAUS: I think that the Ryder Cup has already taken something from the Presidents Cup in the nature of the spirit we play with in the matches. I think if anybody watched what happened, and you were there, in 2003, and the spirit that those matches were played in and the spirit in which they ended, that should be a model for any international sporting event. I think we all agree to that. I mean, it was absolutely fabulous, and you know, you were there.
I think that everybody learns from everybody. If they don't, then they have got their head in the sand. So I'm sure the Presidents Cup learned from the Ryder Cup because the Ryder Cup had history behind it and different kind of matches and learned that maybe there's some changes they might want to make and certainly maybe sitting out four guys a day was too much. Maybe the guys come, they ought to play. They took the Ryder Cup in three days and they play 36 holes, 36 holes, 18 holes, and here they spread it out to four days. There's a lot of different things that people can take from other things. I'm sure the Presidents Cup took an awful lot from the Ryder Cup to start with and I think the Ryder Cup can take a lot from the Presidents Cup and things that have happened, too.
I think they will both feed off each other and help each other as time goes on. They are both very, very good events and there's no reason why they shouldn't learn from each other. That's as diplomatic as I can be.
Q. That's pretty good for you.
JACK NICKLAUS: That wasn't bad for me, was it? (Winking).
JAMES CRAMER: Thank you very much gentlemen and good luck tomorrow.
End of FastScripts.