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September 23, 2005

Jack Nicklaus

Gary Player


JAMES CRAMER: We're joined by United States Captain Jack Nicklaus and his assistant, Jeff Sluman and International Team Captain Gary player and his assistant Ian Baker Finch. Gary, why don't we jump right into it, you had the first pick tonight which was Retief Goosen and Adam Scott and they will be paired against Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank. If you'll give us a general assessment of the day, how you thought things went and we'll do the same for Captain Nicklaus before we go into questions.

GARY PLAYER: I thought today, I was quite relieved when we had that little delay there for a while. The USA team had a great momentum going, not that they didn't continue to any degree, but I just think it gave us a breather. And prior to the delay, I would have settled for a one shot lead. So I thought we were a little bit on the fortunate side.

My first team, I picked I've done it every day, Retief and Adam, and I've got a feeling and I believe in strong teams going out first.

JAMES CRAMER: Captain Nicklaus?

JACK NICKLAUS: Obviously through the front nine, I got through basically the front nine, I was standing on the eighth green, ninth tee and I think we were at one point down five or six matches. I wasn't too excited about what was going on. Then our guys made a rally and basically the rally came on the golf course, you really can't see anything. So I decided to run in and grab a bite to eat and watch a couple of holes on television and see a couple of shots. When I turned on the television, in went a 20 footer, in went a 30 footer, in went a 10 footer, and I said, hey, I'm not going anywhere. We started winning a few holes and guys were making a comeback and then the rain delay came.

I don't think the rain delay made much difference, I'm sure Gary felt that it probably allowed his team a chance to regroup and I think that's probably correct.

Came back out, I don't think it was really a huge difference in that, it might have meant a half a point, I'm not sure. Maybe it might have meant, I'm not too sure one way or the other. There was another match I think we were down and came back and won.

So Gary, it was a great surprise when he picked Retief and Adam, and I just said, you know, I've got two guys, we'd just love to go with those guys and they have won two matches. So I put Justin and Scott Verplank right there with them. Then I came back with Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco who played very well in both matches. And Gary? (Looking at Captain Player.) I just said, I came back with Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco.

GARY PLAYER: That's right, I came back with my team that I've done every day as well, I came back with my two strong teams as every day.

Q. Jack, can you talk a little bit about Scott and Justin and what you see in them and what you liked in the 2 0 start?

JACK NICKLAUS: What do I like in a 2 0 start? 2 0. (Laughter).

Q. What you like in

JACK NICKLAUS: I have no idea what I like. They are both good players. There's 12 good players on each team, and I think that winning breeds winning. When you have guys that have been winning and they are pumped up about it, I think you give them you give them a little bit more to chew or bite off each time. I think we gave them a pretty good bite with Retief and Adam. I think that's a pretty strong team that Gary has put out there. Scott was 10th on our list and Justin was 11th and he actually turned out to be a captain's pick. They have been probably well, I guess they probably have been the strongest team. They have won twice.

Q. Jack, I wanted to ask you about the galleries today. Seemed a little strange, before the break, the appreciation for the International Team shots seemed a bit muted, and after the break, I guess the crowd got rowdier and rowdier.

JACK NICKLAUS: Do you think they had a couple of beers?

Q. That might have happened. Just was it as civil as you would like to see?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think that during before matter of fact, I said something to a couple places in the gallery today as we were there and we stopped in place. I said, "Hey, guys, you know, you can root if you want for the American team, I think that's fine, I have no issue with that. But when the International Team hits a good shot and makes a good shot, I think they deserve to have applause and appreciation."

There wasn't anybody there that said, hey, we agree with you, agree with you, so I said, applaud when they hit a good shot. Nick O'Hern rolled about a 25 footer at 8 today and he almost heard a pin drop.


JACK NICKLAUS: Ian was there with me. I didn't like that at all. Gary and I are very strong on how we feel the spirit of the matches should be played. The matches in South Africa, sure, there were more people rooting for the International Team than the U.S. Team there, but they treated us very fairly. They applauded for good shots, and they can root for the International Team if they want to. Our guys can root for the American team if they want to, if the Americans want to do that.

You know, most of these guys live here anyway, they are still our guests. And I mean, as I always say, I go to an Ohio State football games and I love Ohio State football, I love going in Ohio Stadium, and I cannot stand it when they boo the opposing team when they run on the field. That drives me insane. And to me, not basically appreciating what the other team is doing is not in the spirit of what Gary and I want to see in the matches.

I don't think it was terrible today. But I think that we could be better. And I just ask the people in a few spots where I stopped, they said, hey, let's show them the same appreciation, show them our hospitality. Is that what you were asking?

Q. Yes, exactly. It's almost like you're a football coach giving us an injury report every day, but can you give us the status on Tiger and Jim?

JACK NICKLAUS: They are playing at 7:40 tomorrow morning. (Laughter). I don't need to say anything more than that, do I? They are ready to go.

I think that Jim got much better as the day went on. We congratulate him for carrying Tiger through the match. (Laughter) and of course, Furyk said, he says, "I played terrible. Tiger played wonderful."

I said, "Well, I don't know who played wonderful."

Did you see where Tiger's tee shot ended up on No. 1? (Looking at Gary.) Right in the middle of the fairway about 80 yards from the hole. It hit somebody. I wouldn't have told you that. Tiger hit his tee shot on No. 1, went out here like this (indicating out of the fairway). I knew it was a long way, I thought he was going to be all right but I knew he would not be in the fairway. I walked down there, 80 yards from the hole middle of the fairway and chipped up and made birdie oh, they made bogey, I didn't realize that. I thought he made birdie.

But anyway, it was kind of funny, Gary and I were laughing at that, where Tiger hit it.

You know, they will be fine.

Q. How important was it that Tiger played well, how important was it that Tiger played well and won his match in terms of momentum for today and for the matches overall?

JACK NICKLAUS: He took a lot of ribbing from the guys when he got in. I just asked him, I said, "Hey, would you like to play with Furyk so he could carry you again tomorrow?"

He said, "Yeah, that would be kind of neat. I'd like to have Jim Furyk again tomorrow." That would be fine. That's why we put them together. I think that, you know, Tiger's record may not be the best in the Presidents Cup, but I tell you one thing, he gets pumped up to play. He enjoys it, he plays hard, he's a good team member, and you know, I promise you, he's a lot better team member than I was when I played in Ryder Cup. We were there and we played, I don't know how much enthusiasm we had, but he has a lot more enthusiasm than we had when we were playing. The guy has been absolutely terrific.

Q. Jack, you mentioned that you were a little concerned early on about the way the matches were going. The way it started out were you somewhat relieved to have a 3 3 draw today?

JACK NICKLAUS: If I stood on the ninth tee when that last group went through, if you gave me a 3 3, I would have given you about 10 to 1 to that at that point. I would have been very, very pleased with 3 3.

As the afternoon went on, I was kind of disappointed it ended up 3 3. We had an opportunity to be better than that. So did the International Team, though. They had their chances. Vijay had a putt at the last hole to win that match. I think that the oh, who did Chris and Phil play this morning? Cabrera had a putt to win, too. Cabrera had about a 20 footer at the last hole, and Michael's putt went in and came out.

(Sound of plane flying overhead). I hope Tiger comes back for morning play. (Laughter).

Q. Gary, it was said that you nominated Ian to be able to give the players advice rather than yourself.


Q. If you could tell us why you did that. And Finchie, if you could tell us what sort of advice you've been imparting to them?

GARY PLAYER: I've never ever given advice in the Presidents Cup in my two occasions and I don't intend to give any advice. It's just a feeling that I have.

And so Ian got through to me and said, may I, you know, take over and give the advice, at which I said, absolutely. We got through to Stewart, who is head of the rules on the walkie talkie, and he said you can do that. So everything was fine. And then Jack and I met afterwards and we said, as long as one guy does it, it's fine and no big deal.

JACK NICKLAUS: What happened, yesterday they passed it back and forth two or three times but Gary was not giving advice. Ian was giving advice and then turning it back to Gary, even though Gary wasn't doing that. So finally Ian said, can I just keep it. So we just clarified what we were doing because a couple of our guys said, Ian is doing this and Gary is over here but they didn't know Gary wasn't doing anything.

So we just got the officials together and said, hey, Ian is going to basically take that position and Gary, if you pass it back to Gary sometime, that's fine. That's what you're allowed to do. I haven't passed it to Jeff once this week. I probably should have. I forgot to today when I went in. (Laughter).

But it was just the darnedest thing about matches is that you're playing under a set of rules that it's not the normal rules that you play. And so when you have an issue and something happens, and somebody says something, the best thing to do is for Gary and I to get together, get the rules official and say, hey, this is what's happening, what are we supposed to do. That's all that says.

I mean, there was no controversy one way or the other. It was, what do you want us to do and how do you want us to do it. And Gary says, I want to pass it to Ian and let him do it. I said, that's fine. Ian was doing exactly the same thing I was doing, he was on the ninth tee, I was on the ninth tee, we've both got our little sheet here of the clubs the guys play and I've got the same thing he's got and that's basically what we're doing. Gary was going around like Jeff was and walking with the guys and talking with them and so forth and so on but not giving advice, which is what they are allowed to do.

IAN BAKER FINCH: There's a couple of difficult par 3s on the front nine, 7 and 9, especially 9 when the wind is blowing like yesterday. So quite often the players would like to know what the other guys are hitting, what club is being hit. Today I was there I don't run up and tell them. It's not really advice. It's more

JACK NICKLAUS: Information.

IAN BAKER FINCH: Information. So I'll ask players what they hit, and just like Jack was doing at 8 and 9, just write down their clubs and anyone wants to know, I am the one that's able to pass it on.

So it's not like Gary is at one hole doing it and I'm at another hole doing it. Just basically having information there readily available. Gary's wanted to stay in certain positions to be there, to be seen for the groups as they came through; he'd stay behind 5 green, then he'd go up to 10 green, and then he would go to 12 green and then he would go to 15 or 16 green and he would always be there for each group as they came through. I'm a little more mobile getting around, shuttling players, whatever, being there, talking to caddies, bring them sandwiches out, whatever it may be. It's not really giving advice. I'm certainly not going to go read a putt or anything like that.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I did. Every time I read one, it was wrong.

Q. Gary, I wanted to follow up with the question about the gallery. Jack had spoken before about he doesn't like the fact that American fans are not necessarily cheering when your team makes a good shot. I want to take it a little further, on the ninth hole, and Jack, I think you were there, Vijay missed an important putt that would have given your team a 1 up lead and the crowd actually broke into quite a big cheer at that point, enough where Vijay basically stared them down for a second. I'm curious, we had spoken on Monday, did you expect things of this nature, and does this take it a little further than even you expected?

GARY PLAYER: You know, one thing you learn as you play professional golf, is one particular player from overseas that used to get very frustrated at this kind of thing and it hurt him winning major championships.

What I learned in golf is, which no golfer has ever experienced and will ever experience in their life, and that's wanting to be killed every day for two years and having telephone books thrown in your back, and ice in your eyes, charging you on the green and screaming when you have a one foot putt. So what I hear out there, for me, is irrelevant. It doesn't it's Mickey Mouse compared to what I went through. And Jack was with me when I went through that, and I went through that for two years, worldwide.

So when I hear some screaming, to me, I don't even worry about it at all. As long as they don't take the club out of my hand, I'm fine.

The thing today that's quite interesting, on No. 16, when America won the match there, or won the hole, Tim Clark was on the green, Vijay was in the trap, they both have 4 footers, Americans won the hole, I clapped when they won the hole, as I was walking up, one American guy said to me, "I noticed you clapping, did you mean that?"

I said, "Of course I meant it." I said, "Why wouldn't I clap?" I said, "Don't you applaud good shots?"

It doesn't matter who has the good shot. You applaud the good shot. Jack comes on the tee and he wishes my team to play well, I wish their team to play well and at the end of the match if they win, I say, well played.

It depends how you start your career, I suppose. The way I started, it was a very different way than anybody else.

JACK NICKLAUS: The one you heard on 8 for Nick O'Hern? That was me.

IAN BAKER FINCH: Exactly right.

JACK NICKLAUS: That's what we were laughing about no, actually there was one other person I think.

To add to what you were saying to Gary, sometimes you'll have when a team misses a putt, somebody gets they get more excited than they should. But I think that's fairly typical of any sporting event. I think that for the most part, though and it happened in Africa the same, but I never thought it was offensive in Africa, you know. I saw what happened to Vijay today, at a distance, but I saw what happened. It wasn't that loud but more than I would have liked.

I mean, I probably live in a fishbowl and I really don't want to be out of that fishbowl. I sort of like things, I think what they should be, not what they really are. I guess I'm so wrapped up in trying to do the right thing for these matches and Gary is trying to do the right thing for these matches that we both want to see it played 100% in the right vein. I can't imagine that everybody out there is going to feel exactly the way we do and we understand that. I just think that we both just say, hey, be fair to everybody and that's basically it.

GARY PLAYER: I think that sometimes you have to be fair, there are some people that really don't play a lot of golf and don't really truly understand it. So you must not let it be too serious.

Q. On 17 when Fred Funk was in the middle of the fairway and Stewart was out of the hole, you went over to talk to him, did you tell them anything specifically?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, yes, I did.

Q. Can you tell us?

JACK NICKLAUS: Oh, you want to know what I told him? (Laughter). Good gracious. I'd be passing information to the other team.

No, we stood at 17, saw quite a few shots into 17 and everybody hit the ball short, the ball spun back. The green was relatively soft. Everybody hit it up past the hole and the ball came back a little bit. Some of the greens were firm and some of the greens were soft today and the 17th green up around that cup was relatively soft. I just let Fred know that and he still didn't get it up to the cup. At least he knew it. That was what I told him.

Q. We're essentially at the midpoint here, if you guys have any observations


Q. We are at essentially the midpoint of the matches.

JACK NICKLAUS: 40 percent.

Q. Close. Do you have any observation about what we've seen and what we might see this weekend, the other 60 percent of the matches?

GARY PLAYER: I see it going right down the line all the way. The matches are so evenly matched and the players are, you know, all so good. It's like tonight, I had to drop out two guys, and, you know, it's really tough to know which two to drop out, really. I mean, it's a very difficult thing.

JACK NICKLAUS: Who did you drop out? Hensby?

GARY PLAYER: I dropped out Mark Hensby and Peter Lonard. So you know it's a really difficult thing to know who to drop out.

JACK NICKLAUS: Try the Ryder Cup. You have to drop out four.

IAN BAKER FINCH: Ryder Cup would be better this way.

GARY PLAYER: I see it going right down the line again, I really do. I see it coming out to the singles determining who wins. But, you know, how do you look into the following day and say what's going to happen but it's sure looking like that. The guys are all just playing so well. It really looks like it's going to come right down the line to me, which is what I hope happens.

JACK NICKLAUS: I agree with Gary. I don't see much in it, certainly one point apart at this point in the matches doesn't mean a whole lot. I would rather be one point ahead than one point behind, but, you know, then again, I've had the opportunity to be quite a few points behind, which is harder to make up. I think the chances of the matches going right down to the wire, there's a pretty good chance of that.

I sat out tomorrow morning, I sat out Fred Couples and Kenny Perry, two guys that are pretty darned good players. Kenny Perry, I don't know what Kenny is ranked in the world but he's pretty hot. Kenny, he just said, "I'm not playing very well today and I need to regroup a little bit." Fred says, "I'm playing fine," but Freddie is also 45.

Q. 46 next month.

JACK NICKLAUS: Is he? He says he's got a lot of miles on him, but anyway, actually, he said, he didn't care. He could play all day long, but I would not do that to him. I'd rather have him fresh. I think that I don't know who we are going to sit out in the afternoon but we are obviously going to sit out two other guys. Who that might be at this point, I look at this list and I don't see anybody. I mean, including Jim Furyk. Jim Furyk now feels pretty darned good and he felt good today. He was so delighted to be playing. He was so happy that he could play. We'll just have to wait and see.

I'm like Gary, I think the matches could just go anyway at any time.

JAMES CRAMER: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Have a good evening and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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