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December 6, 2006

Stewart Cink

J.J. Henry


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you, Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry from the United States for joining us for a few minutes in the media centre at the World Golf Championships Barbados World Cup. Well, we were just talking, you guys have a little bit of experience together. You played a little bit together on the Ryder Cup this year, and I know you guys are very good friends. Just talk about coming to Barbados and supporting the United States.
J.J. HENRY: Well, I think again, it's one we're all honoured. It's a great opportunity to be here and to represent your country. I think Stewart would agree, to get a chance to play for your country is like any other. And at the same time, the experience we both had at the Ryder Cup, I think we team well together and we enjoy our company and for the most part we played great golf. The two matches we played together in the best-ball format were possibly, arguably the best two matches in that format, so we played great golf.
We're excited to be here at a beautiful place, warm weather, and just looking forward to playing. We both have our wives down, so we're enjoying, really, from on and off the golf course. It's exciting to get away especially this time of year.

Q. Do you both feel sort of very lucky that other people turned down their invitations and that you had this chance?
STEWART CINK: That's the way I see it. Any time you get a chance to represent your country, you know, individuals are different, there's no question about that.
But I just have found over the years that the longer I go on playing on the PGA TOUR, the more I get a kick out of playing for the United States. It's just something that just never gets old, and whether it's the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup, the World Cup, whatever. It's just a lot of fun, and I've been lucky to play with different guys. Last year I played with Zach (Johnson), and this year with J.J. and being on the Ryder Cup Team, it's a lot of fun.
I wish I had played a little bit better to get myself to where they don't have to pass anybody to get to me. (Smiling).

Q. Well, let me ask you, we've had conversation in here with other teams and America's lack of support for this event, and I've said it breaks my heart; the boys across the pond, that's where the game started, their camaraderie, their demeanor together, it's different. There's just no question about it. What do you see could be done to encourage or garner more support from the American players? I know that the foreign players play in America; that's not the issue here. What could be done to this event to get more support in America?
STEWART CINK: Well, I don't think really that there needs to be much more done, because they already do so much. I mean, look what we're doing here. We're playing in a wonderful tournament on a beautiful course at this beautiful Sandy Lane for a huge purse. I just think the time of year it is, it's a great opportunity to you know, play a little bit and keep yourself somewhat in form before we go into the holidays.
You know, J.J. is going to Kapalua this year and he'll be having a few weeks off between now and then, and I'll be starting at the Sony, but it's nice to have a golf tournament to play in where you're under some really, really stiff competition, and real tournament environment, you know, other than some of these little more fun events.
This is a serious golf tournament, and you know, I don't think the tournament needs to do a lot more. It's an individual decision to play or not to play in every golf tournament, whether it's the Masters all the way down to your local invitational at the country club. You know, individuals are going to always make decisions that some people question, and you know, as far as me and J.J. are concerned, we're supporting the United States in the World Cup and we're happy about it.
J.J. HENRY: Yeah, I mean, kind of to reiterate what Stewart said, we're honoured to be here. Are we 1 and 2 in the world for the United States? No, we are not right now. But at the same time we are honoured to be here and we're looking forward to competing.
Like I mentioned, as well, I think we did make a great team. When we played together at the Ryder Cup, we played awfully good, and I think we're comfortable with each other. We have similar games and styles we play. We both hit the ball about the same distance. Heck, we both putt with belly putters.
Again I can't speak for other players, and this time of year I know there are a lot of other things and different tournaments and stuff. But again, we're honoured to be here and we're going to make the best of it.

Q. Can I put these words in your mouth: Perhaps the timing of the event if it were different, do you see that more people would support it?
STEWART CINK: Well, it's not like there's countries that can't field a team. I mean, United States has yet to not play in the tournament as far as I know. So if you're asking the question why Tiger Woods isn't playing, you'll have to ask him, I don't know that. (Laughing)
Q. I wouldn't be afraid to say that, that's for sure. It's more than Tiger Woods to American golf.
J.J. HENRY: Well, I think, you know, speaking again from like with the Ryder Cup, a lot has been talked about how, you know, you mentioned about the camaraderie and the togetherness. And you know, we'll be the first to tell you, we came over as a team and we played as a team.
Unfortunately we've got to take our hat off to the European side; they just outplayed us. To say that we are not really together or a team, maybe in years past, but personally what I've experienced and the team I've been a part of, it was a great experience where we all enjoyed our company and all did things together as a team, as a unit, as one. We went over and tried to win and we didn't.
Again, we got outplayed and that's the bottom line. So I don't think it's really a camaraderie issue that we don't do things or we don't -- I don't know. I think Stewart would agree, as far as American golf goes, you know, I think we want to win just like anybody else. It's just unfortunate that, you know, we got beat.

Q. Was the decision to go with J.J. based solely on your experience together at the Ryder Cup, or what else went into that if it wasn't just solely predicated on Ryder Cup?
STEWART CINK: Well, it wasn't just that. J.J. and I have known each other for a while. I've always admired his golf game quite a bit. This year I know he had a really good season, broke out with a win, and got his first Ryder Cup experience.
I think when we went over for that practise rounds in Ireland with the team and Tom, he didn't really say we were playing together, but we got a feeling, at least I did, that we were probably going to be playing together at the Ryder Cup when it started. We bonded pretty good over there. And.
Then once we got into The Matches, I don't remember at which point actually the question came to me, who you like to play in the World Cup. I think it was during the Ryder Cup and it may have been after The Matches started. My first thought was J.J. immediately. And you know, my wife and his wife are friends and he and I are good friends and we got a lot in common. We even have a kid named Connor, both of us. So we have a lot in common.
It just seemed like a natural fit and it still does. We're going to have a good time this week win or lose, and I think that's what it's all about at the end.

Q. To follow-up, clearly there isn't a Ryder Cup buildup to an event like this, but are there lessons you can take from that experience and apply here?
J.J. HENRY: Absolutely. Again we talked about just the chance, we're proud to represent our country, the United States. Getting back to your question, to play under that kind of pressure, which arguably is the most, you know, we'll ever see or we'll ever do; we walk to that first tee and it's like comparing it to -- I compared it to, you know, like walking into a title fight or walking into the Rose Bowl for a U.S. football game.
For 51 weeks a year, you just don't get to experience the atmosphere and intensity. To play pretty good golf under that pressure, there's no question that the next time whether it's to win a tournament or whether it's to win this tournament, I think I'll feel a little bit more comfortable in that situation.

Q. How frustrating has this year been for you? I'm thinking of two standout moments for you playing: Ryder Cup last day singles you came out on fire; Bridgestone, very nearly won that tournament and lose out to Tiger, playing great golf on both occasions but bittersweet memories, I guess.
STEWART CINK: Bittersweet for sure is right, but any time I play well you have more sweet than bitter. If you lose you just got beat. In both of those instances, I did play very well. In the Ryder Cup, I did what I could do, and it's hard to say that one individual could have changed the outcome because the point difference was pretty enormous.
On the other side of the coin, the Bridgestone tournament where I lost in the playoff to Tiger, I feel like I could have maybe shaved a shot or two here or there. But the guy was in rare form, I mean, for that stretch of time, for six tournaments I think it was, he didn't lose. I guess I could say I came the closest to beating him in that stretch of anybody. You play well and you go home proud and you hold your head high, win or lose. Golf is a game where you're not going to always win just because you play well. After ten years out here, going into my 11th season, if I haven't learned that by now, I'll probably need to examine my learning abilities.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thank you. Play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts…

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