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July 4, 2006

Ian Woosnam


GORDON SIMPSON: Just say a very warm welcome here to Ian, back at The K Club, a venue this week for the Smurfit Kappa European Open, but of course a venue for another famous event in September, the Ryder Cup. We've got the trophy with us today. Woosie, you've been at the Palmer Course today, does that set the pulse racing knowing the next time you're here it's for the big event?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, it was great. We're doing a bit for SKY television, going through the last few holes. It's going to be extremely exciting over them last three holes. I think a lot of the matches are going to go, hopefully, to them holes, so it will be very, very exciting for the crowds, and for everybody involved, really.

GORDON SIMPSON: How would you fancy standing on that 17th tee with the Ryder Cup on the line?

IAN WOOSNAM: I'll be in my buggy. I'll just have a look at it. Although today there's hardly any wind at all. It's not so bad. But most of the time it blows off the left outside there, and we've seen some disasters there a lot of times. We don't want to mention who, but we've seen a few balls in that River Liffey.

GORDON SIMPSON: The course is shaping up as you would like it?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I was just asking the question, I'm going to speak to the greenkeeper later on to find out when they are going to start growing up the rough. Obviously they are keeping it in play for both of the amateurs at the moment. I should imagine in the next few weeks they will start growing up the rough and see what it's going to be like for the tournament.

Q. How long will the rough be?

IAN WOOSNAM: The rough, I can't remember what it's going to actually be at the moment, but it will be very similar to what it was the The Belfry last time it was played there.

Q. Four or five inches?

IAN WOOSNAM: Four or five inches, yeah.

Q. Do you have the privilege as home captain of making these calls?

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, I can set it up how I want to. When I was here last year, just six weeks before this tournament, went around and put a few trees in, put some extra bunkers in, narrowed a few fairways here and there, and cut around the greens. So there have been more sort of chip runs and the balls run off the green. Hopefully that will play to our advantage.

Q. What about choosing the pins?

IAN WOOSNAM: I don't think we have that. We have to put the pins -- everybody gets to know where the pins are going to be. But I can make the greens slower or faster, whatever I want to.

Q. Are you happy with the way your team is shaping up at the moment?

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, as to the first part of the question -- geez, my memory has gone. Now what was it?

Q. Are you happy with how your team is coming together?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, over the last four weeks, the team has really changed. We have some players I wanted to be in there which is great. A couple guys are struggling, Garcia and McGinley a little bit. I'd like to see them actually playing better.

But I think our team is shaping up really well. It's going to be a lot of experience in there, maybe a couple of new guys in there, as well.

Going to the Americans, as I say, you could have five or six players that actually I think played just once in the British Open or something like that, and you could actually have four or five guys who has never played in Europe before. As we know, the weather can be extremely bad in Ireland sometimes, and you know, usually pretty windy. So are they going to be used to them conditions --

Q. Will that be an advantage for you?

IAN WOOSNAM: As things stand at the moment, I think we've got a big advantage, yes. But, you know, these guys are great players and they can adapt so anything really so we'll have to wait and see.

Q. Are you concerned about Paul McGinley (not playing well at the moment and coming back from his knee)?

IAN WOOSNAM: I'm sure Paul's fit. I think he's probably just going through a bad spell. There are some big tournaments to come yet. I don't think there's nothing wrong with Paul's fitness. If he wasn't fit, he wouldn't be playing. I'm not worried about that at all.

Q. Going back to the rough, do you want it like the US Open, where the International players did well?

IAN WOOSNAM: Oh, no, I don't think so. I think at the end of the day, we just want to make it playable for everybody. We don't want to be seeing shots just chipped out of the rough. I think we want to see a bit of excitement, so I think five inches is going to be about right. It still gives you the opportunity to take a shot on, really.

Q. How about all the trees and bunkering etc you wanted. How are they looking?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yes, great. I think, you know, I'd like to obviously take another trip here just before the Ryder Cup to see how it's going to be played for the tournament, because at the moment it's nowhere near what they are going to have it like.

Q. Are you surprised that more US players aren't coming here to practice beforehand?

IAN WOOSNAM: I guess, they have got busy schedules. They don't know if they are going to be in the team or not. Whether they are going to be playing in The Open Championship, I would have thought some guys would come over here and try to have at least one round, anyway, and just spend a little time just to get to know the course really.

Q. Would you expect to see more players do that?

IAN WOOSNAM: What do you want me to say? (Laughing) what do you want me to say?

Yeah, obviously, if that's up to them if they want to try to get an advantage really.

Q. Inaudible

IAN WOOSNAM: I don't know. As we know, a lot of Americans don't travel out of America a lot. So it's going to be difficult to get them to come over here and have a practice round.

Q. You are playing with Paul McGinley on Thursday. Will you chat to him?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I think put my arm around his shoulder and have a little talk to him and just tell him, keep doing what you're doing. As the game of golf is, it can change in one week. You know, if he wins this week, we won't be talking about it again, won't we. So just try and give him a little bit of encouragement, really. He just needs to hit a few good shots. You know, four weeks ago, we were wondering about Padraig Harrington and all of a sudden he's in the team and virtually qualified already.

Q. Have you thought about a team dinner here this week?

IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I think, you know, we started out to have a dinner. With the guys in different places, it is difficult. As you said, the team is getting more shaped in and we could do with being a lot of lads here this week and I'm staying here. So I guess we'll get together and have a couple of beers and have a chat about it.

Q. So no plans for a dinner?

IAN WOOSNAM: Not at the moment, no.

Q. Will some of your team wander over to the Palmer Course to play some holes?

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, I think most of our players have played the Palmer Course a lot of times and they are familiar with it. They have the opportunity to go and play if they want. But as I say, the course hasn't, you know, I don't think they are going to learn a lot the way it's playing at the moment.

Q. What do you think about John Bickerton should he make the team as it stands now?

IAN WOOSNAM: John, he's played in Seve Trophy a couple of times. He's a very, very steady player, I know that. He hits the ball very straight. If John gets in, he's the sort of guy you could sort of have on your team, which is going to be extremely important for foursomes and for four-balls really. Also, if the rough is going to be up, that's the sort of player you want to keep it on the fairway.

Q. Were you impressed with Padraig's reaction to his position - entering the French Open and almost winning?

IAN WOOSNAM: Very much so. I think Padraig is aware that he wouldn't want to leave me in the situation of having to pick him. He responded very quickly and entered the French Open straightaway and he had a good chance of winning it. It's taken him right up there on the Order of Merit and into the World Ranking points. So Padraig is virtually there already.

Q. Were you worried about him?

IAN WOOSNAM: Well, Padraig, I was never that worried. He was always there on the mark, not far away. It was like, I would say he was basically in second gear. He just needed a few good shots like Paul McGinley needs a few good shots, a good tournament under his belt and away he goes. Over the last four weeks, he's proved that.

Q. Would you play the likes of Bickerton early in the week or wait to the singles?

IAN WOOSNAM: I would like to play all my players if I possibly can, definitely. They all deserve to be on the team. Only reason I wouldn't play them, I would speak to them if they felt they were not playing well and they weren't up to it. I would ask them first and leave it to them, really.

But as far as I'm concerned, I'd like to get everybody out there.

Q. Are there any real concerns?

IAN WOOSNAM: There's a bit of a concern over a couple of players. That's why you get a couple of picks. Sergio Garcia has played well for a while and Paul McGinley. And again you've got like Luke Donald, as well, basically they have got the U.S. Open and the Open where they can make points, but they are going to have to go on the World Ranking points if they are going to stay in America for them guys. It would be nice to see if they could possibly get a few tournaments in over here, really. It's coming nicely, anyway.

Q. Have we more strength in depth now?

IAN WOOSNAM: You know, over the last five or six years, we've got an extremely great players coming up now. As I say, we can basically go down to almost 30th spot and still have a very strong team.

I think in America, we don't really know a lot about these young guys. They are up-and-coming. They are obviously very good players or they would not be where they are at the moment in America. Obviously the only thing they haven't had done is they haven't had the experience of playing around the world really, and I think that's again, it's a big benefit to us. Our players play all the way around the world.

Q. Would you like the Match tomorrow?

IAN WOOSNAM: I think so, definitely. But I think our team is going to get stronger.

GORDON SIMPSON: Any more question?

IAN WOOSNAM: You don't want to know how long the rough is going to be or length of the greens?

Q. The greens in America are generally faster than over here. Any thoughts about having slower greens here?

IAN WOOSNAM: It's going to be very difficult to get them fast anyway at that time of the year, I would say anyway.

End of FastScripts.

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