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September 22, 2005

Jack Nicklaus

Gary Player


JAMES CRAMER: We're joined by United States Captain, Jack Nicklaus, and his assistant, Jeff Sluman; and International Captain, Gary Player, and his assistant, Ian Baker Finch.

Since Captain Nicklaus chose first today, why don't you get us started talking about the pairings that just happened, sir.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, after today we had a couple of winning combinations and we did not want to break those up. And Phil and Chris asked if they could get out first, so, I had to pick first so I put them first.

JAMES CRAMER: All right. Captain Player, your thoughts on the pairings?

GARY PLAYER: On the first group or the entire pairings? Entire pairings? Well, when Jack picked such a strong team to start with, I always believe that personally, I believe, whether it's right or wrong, I believe in the first match up, if you can get ahead, it is a definite advantage psychologically. And so we went with a strong team, Campbell, who hits the ball a long way, and Angel hits it further. Angel Cabrera a marvelous competitor and so is Michael Campbell. So it's calling for a real good match.

I think the matches turned out just ideally for a great days golf, as today was a great day's golf. Very little in it, and that's what we want to see. We want to see it come down the line very close.

Q. Jack, can you just tell us a little bit about Jim Furyk's rib injury and also, would Jeff Sluman have been the guy to take that spot going down the line if that had happened, if he'd had pulled out?

JACK NICKLAUS: No, that's not what it is. Jim Furyk hurt his ribs a week ago. He took a couple of days' rest, he practiced for a couple of days and said he was fine.

And he went out today and on the second shot on the first hole, he spasmed. He had physiotherapists with him the whole day, and he got him to where he actually didn't hurt too bad when he hit a ball, but he had a horrible time trying to walk.

You know, his status of whether he will play tomorrow or not is uncertain. I think that and there is no substitute at this point. At this point if Jim Furyk cannot play tomorrow, then Tiger Woods would play a singles match against Gary's choice of either Stuart Appleby or Mark Hensby.

You know, it may sound like I put those two together with the choice, knowing the issue of Jim Furyk. You heard me in here yesterday, I didn't know of any issue with Jim Furyk, all I know is that Tiger has asked to play with Jim Furyk and I wanted to grant their wish. And I think Jim Furyk would like to play tomorrow. They both asked if they could go off last, because they both are going to have well, you know, I shouldn't say both; Jim Furyk, he wants to have as long as he has to be able to have treatment to find out before he has to make a decision whether he can play or not.

Q. Jack and Gary, both if you would, just kind of summarize today. Jack, are you concerned at all about momentum being down a point and Gary, does it mean that much to be up a point after just one day?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think it's always nice to be ahead. Gary's guys played well, and they beat a couple teams of ours that we were very high on. I think that probably the toughest match for us to lose was Davis and Kenny Perry. They were very strong in South Africa. I think that when Kenny they were 2 down and when Kenny holed that putt clear across the green, I looked over at our guys and I said, well, Michael Campbell has been holing a putt like this all year long or he wouldn't have the record that he has this year and he just drilled it right in the middle. It was a beautiful putt, a beautiful pressure putt.

But that's what it's all about. So we were disappointed with that match, but outside of that, you're going to win some, you're going to lose some, and I think that Tiger and Freddie were obviously disappointed in their match and the way they played. I think that was the one match that was I guess it was Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman, they won 6 and 5. Our guys, they said, we were under par, they just made a lot of birdies and just drilled us.

Alternate shot, you never know. I think it's a difficult game. Sometimes I think as a team it's a difficult game to shoot very much under par, but sometimes you get it going, and what's what they do. Our guys played a pretty decent round of golf, just not even in the ballpark. We played some good matches but probably played more bad matches than they had or the other team played more good matches than we anticipated, however you want to look at it.

Q. Gary, your summary, please, if you would?

GARY PLAYER: I was very proud of Angel Cabrera. This is the first time he's played, the second from South America to play sorry, his first occasion to come out, and won his match. Same with Trevor Immelman, first time to come out and win his match was very, very impressive.

We've had three matches that we've put in the same as today and three matches that we've changed. So there is a bit of a change in the overall pairings today, and it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. I just think they are all very good games. I hope Jim Furyk can play because it's just a pity if it comes down to just two singles matches at the end. If he isn't able to play I think it's a pity.

And being up one point is irrelevant. It's like a mile race and you're out in 50 yards ahead, there's such a long way to go. I mean, one point is absolutely nothing. I mean, this is as close as we can be, other than a tie or half a point, and it's very, very close and very exciting, which is what both Jack and I want to see happen.

Q. Jack, if you can follow up on the Jim Furyk issue, how much is involved in what you have if Jim plays or doesn't play tomorrow, because I assume if Jim starts tomorrow and can't continue, it will be two against one?

JACK NICKLAUS: That's right. With him having been injured now he'll either tell me he can start and play or he'll tell me he can't. I don't have an input in that. I think the spirit of the matches are that we want everybody to play. I think both Gary and I feel that way.

I think that Jim would like to play. I don't think there's any question about that. And Tiger said to me, he says, "Hey, he'll be all right, he'll play." So we'll see. I just don't know.

Q. Jack, the match with Phil and Chris ended up being a very important point down the end, Phil getting his first win after going 0 for 5 last time, I know he wanted that. How important was that point for you guys today?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think it was very important for Phil. We were having dinner last night, or the night before last night. We were talking about it last night and Phil says, "All I had to do was get a half a point." You know, the last time, he was 0 for 5.

And I said, "Well, maybe you'll get something this time." So anyway, we got on the 18th green and when he won his match, I said, "Well, you've doubled your allotment for the week." (Laughter) So we gave him a hard time.

If you'll notice here that four of the winning matches are paired against each other for tomorrow with Phil and Chris playing Angel and Michael; and Justin and Scott are playing Trevor and Mike Weir. So that's winners against winners.

The other winning match is Adam Scott and Retief, and that's a different team there with Freddie and David Toms.

Q. Finchie, I don't know how much you saw of the match with Stuey and Pete, but have you had a chance to talk to them and can you put your finger on what happened and why they didn't quite perform as they might have liked?

IAN BAKER FINCH: There's really no answer to it. They practiced well, they practiced three practice rounds together, I played with them one day, they were in great form. I thought they were going to be a formidable team. I have since spoken to them after the round and told them what their pairings would be for tomorrow and they were happy with that. A couple of maybe potentially straighter drivers paired with them rather than going together.

I just think that they didn't quite gel at the right times and as Jack and Gary were saying, the foursomes a funny thing. On paper they are a formidable duo and you just never know what can happen. They are not down about it. They didn't play poorly. They are both out hitting balls, ripping it down the middle on the range when we finished today. I think they are pretty happy with their pairings tomorrow. I don't know about how they are matched up against, but I know they are happy with who they are playing with.

Q. For Jack and for Gary, how important was that first match today with Tiger going out and you had Adam and Retief; and then secondly for Jack, when Gary put out for today Adam and Retief, for tomorrow, you countered with Freddie and David Toms who probably didn't have a great day today, either of them. Was there a strategy behind that?

JACK NICKLAUS: Who do you want to answer first? Or are they both for me?

Q. No. There's two thirds for you and one third for him.

JACK NICKLAUS: Do you want to answer your one third first, Gary?

GARY PLAYER: The first match going out today, as I reiterate, we wanted to have a very strong team going out, and they had a very strong team going out. I think that also, it was a great thing for the tournament. You know, there was a tremendous amount of you could feel the excitement on the first tee with everybody concerned, and I was standing next to President Clinton and he said to me, "Wow, what a match." At the same time, "I'm thinking isn't this fantastic?" Here the No. 1 player in the world is teeing off first, at this wonderful event, here are two ex presidents of the United States, and my mind wanders for a minute. Golf is so unbelievable, the first guy on the moon throws a golf ball, not a football, he throws a golf ball.

Golf has got so much going for it, and Retief just ripped a driver off the first tee and carried the bunker and went right through the fairway, I don't know how many yards it was. But we are accustomed to seeing this happen. (Laughter). And it ain't started yet, it ain't started. You're going to see things you won't believe.

JACK NICKLAUS: Tell me what you really think about the golf ball, Gary. (Laughter).

Well, I happen to agree with you. I think the match of Scott and Goosen beating Tiger and Freddie was a big thing for the International Team. It set the stage for them being ahead. There is obviously a difference in them being ahead. I thought it was very, very big for you guys.

And we were hoping for exactly the same situation. I mean, because Gary put them up first and I matched against him with Tiger and Freddie, I thought we could match up against them and do well. I was wrong today.

Second part of your question?

Q. Well, when he put them up again, you countered with Freddie and David Toms.

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, he dodged him quickly, sure. I actually had made up my mind that, or Jeff and I had made up our minds of putting Phil and Chris first and Tiger and Jim last. We had made that decision to start with. We wanted to try to find a match that we had the choice of Kenny Perry and Davis Love, and that really left three other matches to putt in there. I thought that was a good, strong team, and I thought that, you know, Freddie makes a ton of birdies and so does David. So do those guys. So it should be a heck of a match.

Q. Just wanted to ask you, yesterday you said the one pairing that you got overruled on and felt was maybe a mismatched team was also one of your winning teams today, and just the irony of that.

JACK NICKLAUS: Which one was that?

Q. Mickelson and DiMarco, which is not necessarily the one you would have chosen and you got overruled on.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I didn't really get overruled.

Q. You said they went to you

JACK NICKLAUS: I did have a choice.

Q. That's the word you used yesterday. They overruled you.

JACK NICKLAUS: That may be a way of putting it, but I obviously had the final decision. You know, the other guys all convinced me that they felt like that was a good pairing, and I said, fine. Because they wanted to play together. Jeff felt that was good and they wanted to do it and I said, "Okay, that's what you guys want to do, then okay, we'll do it." I listen far more to them than I do to myself, but sometimes there will be a pairing that I'll say, let's analyze this, is this what we think should be the right pairing?

One of them today, it turned out right, and what was the other one I had? Cink and Funk?

Q. Cink and Toms.

JACK NICKLAUS: It was the other way, I switched it. Well, I must have been right there because they got drummed pretty good. You know, but as I said, they just said, hey, we didn't make any birdies.

Q. The actual question was, is that the reason you think personal preference is probably the final say?

JACK NICKLAUS: Is that the reason what?

Q. That you think personal preference among the players and their input is maybe the most important thing?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think they know themselves better than I know them. I'm 30 years older on average than they are, and I think they know themselves, they are far more contemporary to themselves than I am. That's why we have an assistant captain. I'm a little bit more contemporary with the regular tour than probably Gary is.

IAN BAKER FINCH: A couple young guys.

JACK NICKLAUS: Yeah, how old are you guys?

JEFF SLUMAN: You don't want to know.

JACK NICKLAUS: Anyway, that's why we do that, to get guys who are a little bit more contemporary than we are to help us with playing. I'm still playing a little bit and Gary is playing basically all of his golf on the Senior Tour the last couple of years, it's a good match and it's a good thing to be able to have Ian. It's a good thing to have Jeff. It's a good thing to have input from the players.

Q. Jeff, just wanted to know how David Toms is doing, obviously they didn't do well today as you just documented, wanted to know if he's still feeling good?

JACK NICKLAUS: David said he's feeling fine. He hit the ball well, just didn't make any putts. He's quite ready to go, quite ready to play. It wouldn't be a very difficult guess on your part who I might sit out one round on Saturday, because I don't want to push David. But I think it's at this point, David feels fine and is ready to play.

I'm sure he's far more disappointed in his golf than he is his health.

Q. Gary, would you just comment on the play of Immelman and Weir who both had question marks over their heads coming in?

GARY PLAYER: I'm sorry. I'm not with you. Repeat that.

Q. The play of Trevor and Mike Weir today, who both had questions marks coming in.

GARY PLAYER: I heard you ask a question about Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir. Well, I certainly didn't think there was any question mark around Trevor Immelman. He played at the NEC and shot 66 the last round and did extremely well. He just played very well in the Canadian Open and he's swinging the club, his technique has improved beyond all recognition.

Mike I spoke to when he was in Canada about ten days ago and he said he had made a few changes and was feeling very good.

You know, golf is a strange game. I mean, today you shoot 66, tomorrow you shoot 73; it changes within hours. As I said to my guys, it doesn't matter what happened in the past or what happens in the present, when we tee up tomorrow, it's a new day, it's a brand new game. I mean, how often did Jack play in a tournament or I've played in a tournament I remember winning the British Open at Carnoustie, I was on the practice tee at 10 o'clock at night just playing awful. I suddenly said, well, I'm just going to try this particular thing, and from playing awful all week, just before I left at 10 o'clock at night, I found something that enabled me to win the Open in a matter of seconds. So it's a strange game, as the Scottish people say.

JAMES CRAMER: Gentlemen, thank you very much, and best of luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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