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September 22, 2005

Fred Couples

Scott Verplank


TODD BUDNICK: We have Fred Couples and Scott Verplank representing the U.S. Team today, we'll go straight to questions.

Q. Fred, on television you talked about being a player paired with Tiger today; that you want to do really well. Can you just talk about that feeling and did that affect you at all today in the match?

FRED COUPLES: Well, I think that he's such a great, great player, you want to get paired with him to watch how he plays and learn and enjoy it, and that's kind of what I was trying to say.

I don't really think there's any extra pressure playing with Tiger. I mean, there is, in any event, but I think the fun takes over and he's a great competitor. You know, I held us back, obviously, but I think it's still a lot of fun and he enjoys it.

That's the greatest thing about him, you know, he basically says, "just hit it, we'll go find it and I'll carry us." And there were a couple you know, when you're down two or three, no matter who you are, you're trying to hit it in there close, you're trying to do some crazy things, and we put ourselves, you know, in some bad spots.

But they were very good. They had I think three or four birdies and an eagle, and even if I had played well, I just don't think we could have beat them today.

Q. Fred, it sounds like at times you guys were trying to force things and make things go in the other direction; can you tell us a couple of times when you might have tried to do that today?

FRED COUPLES: Well, you know, we started out pretty well, obviously, and on the fourth hole, we both were in the same spot and I thought I hit a very, very good shot. The pin was tucked right and I'm just going to go three holes, which is a stretch where it just was just a little bit of a problem, and then we started forcing because we got behind.

You know, we didn't do much to force them into doing anything. They played really well. They hit some quality shots. But we hit a few irons where we got in bad places and trying to work the ball to the pin. You know, you think you can do it but then you leave your partner in a bad spot, and they played well, they had a few great up and downs, I made about a 30 footer for birdie on 10 after winning No. 9, and Retief made about a 15 footer to keep it 2 up. That was a huge putt.

From then on, they made an eagle and we ended up bogeying 16th hole, 15th hole, whatever, to lose.

Q. Scott, can you talk just a little bit about you and Justin, did y'all ask to be put together and how well did it work today?

SCOTT VERPLANK: We did ask to be put together. We've actually we've talked about it for ten years being partners on the team, whether it be in a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup. So when he got picked, that night we talked, and we kind of knew we were going to play together. We actually came up here about three weeks ago together and played a couple rounds.

We're both from Dallas, he's a little younger than I am, but we've been friends a long time. We've played a lot of practice rounds together. We're very comfortable with each other and we enjoy each other's company. So we were excited to play and after we got off to a little shaky start; really, I hit a couple of squirrely iron shots starting off, but once we got over that, we were pretty solid together.

Q. What is it that makes you guys so good together other than the friendship?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, I think it's just because we're very comfortable. We play very similar games. Where he drives it is where I'm going to drive it and where I'm going to drive it is where he's going to drive it.

So neither one of us are out our element. He hits a nice drive down the middle and it's kind of like my tee shot and I'll hit a good drive on the next hole and that's where he expected himself to be. So we're very comfortable together.

Q. Scott, how aware were you of how the matches stood and how important your points would be?

SCOTT VERPLANK: I didn't catch all that.

Q. How aware were you of the importance of your 39 points?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, we're not blind. We were watching the board and we knew we weren't we knew we were getting beat, a couple of blowout matches.

So we all know every match is important, and Justin and I got the upper hand and just as competitors like we both are, we didn't want to let it get away from us. We were trying to get it put away earlier, but we can always use an extra point in this kind of event.

Q. Did you have any sense that this is going to be it for you and Tiger, or did you guys ask to have another go around or do you have any feel on that?

FRED COUPLES: No. I know they are doing the pairings right now and we're not playing tomorrow, but that was set up yesterday. I'm not sure. We'll play best ball tomorrow and then we'll try and figure it out.

Q. Fred, you had putts on the fourth and sixth holes today, one was about a 4 footer and one was about a 7 footer and both missed and gave the International Team points; did you misread them or were they putts that just didn't drop for you or what was the situation?

FRED COUPLES: No, actually, the fourth hole was yeah, seven or eight feet, Tiger helped me with some putting yesterday and it was actually a pretty good putt but I smashed it through the break.

The one on 6, the par 5, that was just a bad putt. He hit a great chip from just on the back edge and I just didn't stroke it very well.

You know, I love alternate shot, oddly enough, and some of the shots that kill you in alternate shot are the ones that are the ones where you need to hang in there and score, because ball striking, I can hold my own on that, but as you said, there were a couple of putts that were missed. A lot of the time, I mean like the fourth hole, I had a wedge to the green, straight downwind and if it hops up there six more inches, you know, we've got a shot at it.

Instead I left him a delicate little chip, which you're standing there and you're thinking he might chip it in and he kind of fluffed it a little bit.

But there's no excuse. When you need to make a putt, you need to make it, and the guys who are winning are doing that.

Q. I think you said something on TV that you felt a little outclassed by the other three guys out there today; is that really how you felt and I can't imagine that's something you've felt very often.

FRED COUPLES: Well, no, I may have worded it like that, and they are very classy Tiger is the best player in the world, Retief Goosen is right there, and Adam Scott. I felt like when we played, we had a great, great group. And yeah, I was outclassed by the way they played versus the way I played.

You know, it was fun. And I didn't mean that in a negative way. Just some of the shots, it was a very windy day and the course dried up from (snapping fingers) from Wednesday in the morning to today, teeing off at 1:15, it was a totally different course. You know, you're trying to hold shots into the wind and, you know, Retief played extremely well and Adam putted great and they probably shot 4 or 5 under alternate shot, which is very good.

Q. Maybe you can speak a little bit about the momentum. Is it hard to keep up with the momentum? I noticed in the first round that you had today it was in the left in the rough, in the alternate shot format, is that difficult to get any kind of rhythm going once you start off with a bad shot, does that play in your mind a little bit?

FRED COUPLES: No. I think one thing for me, and I'll let Scott talk, because Justin had told me something about their pairing that I thought was weird. But, no, I drove the ball pretty well today. I got it around. I hit the ball solid. I just never really hit it very close to the hole. You know, you don't there's a long stretch, and I think Scott, Justin said he didn't hit an iron for six or seven holes; is that correct, 9 to 15?

SCOTT VERPLANK: On our last hole, he goes, "Well I haven't hit an iron shot since No. 9."

FRED COUPLES: That's par for the course. He had gone a couple par 5s with Woods. Like Tiger today, I don't think Tiger hit a driver today until the sixth hole. That's tough to do. You go from the driving range and then you don't hit a driver for almost an hour and a half, that's a weird scenario. But that's alternate shot and I I love best ball and alternate shot, but any time you can play with Tiger Woods in alternate shot, you're way ahead of the game.

We had fun. You know, one thing I always get when I'm around him is just his feel for the game and he's truly a unique person. You know, just the things he says. And people don't understand. You know, you hear he doesn't, it's not a big deal, he wants to win majors. You know, we lost and we walked around and we watched, we didn't see Scott because they won earlier, but the guy wants everyone to win and he wants to win these things. You know, again, he's in a spot where when he wins a match with a partner, he's supposed to, and when he loses, you know, everyone wants to know why. You know, it's tough. You're playing Adam Scott and Retief Goosen, in the Top 10 in the world, it certainly was not going to be easy for Tiger Woods. But I thought we would give them a better match.

Q. A couple different things, since you guys are representing the team, can you tell us, if you know thinking about how Jim Furyk is doing? And also could you tell us how David Toms is doing, because their match was somewhat lopsided, just wondering how he's feeling, if you know?

FRED COUPLES: You know, Jim Furyk I watched play, very gritty. He was worked on, I guess you guys probably know more, all day long. I saw four holes, and he looked he looked strong. I don't know much about ribs. It's a rib problem, if it's going to tighten up or be sore tomorrow, but from what I heard, he's ready to go.

And then David Toms I think is doing very well. He was on the range hitting balls.

Q. Fred and Scott, the Presidents Cup has sort of been here in the U.S., you guys have always got off to a good start and then it's really been hard for them to get any momentum. What's the difference now with them being a little bit ahead on the first day and maybe having a little bit of momentum and how has that affected your mood?

FRED COUPLES: I don't think it's affected anyone's mood. I think a couple of years past, we were up 5 1, and that's you can get in a bad mood very quickly going home tonight.

We're a point down. Like the last question, we've got guys, I don't think David Toms can play 36 tomorrow, I don't think Jim Furyk can play 36. Those are two of our strongest, strongest players, so we've got our work cut out for us.

But we're down a point, and the greatest thing about this is there's so many matches. You are correct, when you get momentum, you can get it going the other way very quickly, and that's a nice thing.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Everything Fred said is great. Way to go, Fred. (Laughter).

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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