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November 23, 2003

Robert Allenby

Chris DiMarco

Ernie Els

Davis Love III

Jack Nicklaus

Gary Player

Nick Price

Tiger Woods


JAMES CRAMER: Why don't we begin, we'll start with Captain Nicklaus, perhaps you could start us off by your comments about what we saw out there today.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I thought you saw some unbelievable golf by both teams. Where have you had a team match where one team leads the first day, the next team leads the second day, the other team leads a third day, going to the last hole, the other team is leading. And then we had a tie.

And when the tie occurred, both Gary and I, as we were walking to the extra hole, we both felt like both teams have played too well to lose this match. We really had two winners out here.

But, the captains' agreement said that we played, and so Gary and I said, well, that's what we do. But we felt like it was a team event, not an individual event. But that's what the rules of the event were, so Tiger and Ernie were selected.

Then once they played one hole and they played another hole, and a fantastic save by both of them, then the third hole, the second hole, the putt that Tiger holed and then Ernie to hole a putt like he holed on top of it. We just felt like there just should not in any way, shape or form not have everybody a winner.

So Gary and I stepped in and at that point, we felt it was too dark to play anyway because they really could line up the putts at No. 2 when they hit it.

We may maybe supposedly violated the captains' agreement which was written up for us to sign. Something that Gary and I didn't start to start with.

I thought the matches were fantastic, I thought that the hospitality was unbelievable, I thought the galleries were unbelievable, the display of sportsmanship amongst the team, the camaraderie that was there and the closeness of the things we had behind closed doors, which you guys don't know anything about, the team meetings we had, the dinners we had. It was just an unbelievable week.

I'm just proud to have been associated with our group of guys. Gary is proud to be associated with his group of guys. I'm actually quite proud to be associated with both teams.

JAMES CRAMER: Captain Player, perhaps your comments on this day that we saw.

GARY PLAYER: I would like to obviously endorse everything that Jack said there. We are both getting older in our lives, and this was just a fantastic thing in our lives at our age, to be with such wonderful young men and see them playing such wonderful golf and to see golf the great benefactor in this country. This country really needed something like this very, very badly and to have all of our ministers and presidents and dignitaries of government and former presidents and your President Bush of America, not to mention golf unions and PGA officials, all be in attendance here. And to witness something that I think, I don't think it's possible to have a greater event any time in your life.

The great benefactor was definitely charity, the game of golf, when I think that 50 million rand will go to charity in our country through this game of golf this week makes me feel very happy. And I'd just like to say to Jack and his team, because I was meeting with my team on what we should be doing. Jack made such a magnanimous, gracious -- magnanimous is good , suggestion that if we did tie, that we would hold the Cup jointly.

Now that's something that was really something very special for Jack and his team to do because if that didn't happen, we wanted to go in the dark. (Laughter.) And I thought that was absolutely, that was fantastic, and we really ended in the way it should do. You'd think -- we played for four days in wind and heat, and to end up with the exact same score is a miracle.

Q. Tiger, as competitive you are, where do you stand with the tie?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's the perfect decision. The way the week has gone, it's the right decision for the game of golf. There is no decision because of the way the matches were played this week, the sportsmanship and the quality of play.

As you all saw, the ebbs and flow of the matches, the entire week. And also to have two guys decide the fate of the whole team in extra holes like that, I don't think any of the sides felt comfortable with that to begin with. It's just part of the captains' agreement and part of the rules of the competition.

But we didn't like it. It's a team event, not an individual event. We're here as a team together and we'd like to decide as a team together and not on an individual basis.

Q. When did the prospect of a tie first come up, when was it first mentioned to you and did you want to come back and play tomorrow?

TIGER WOODS: I didn't want to come back to play tomorrow.

Q. Why?

TIGER WOODS: It's not right. It's just not the right thing to do. After I had made the putt, I was on the front left part of the green on 2 and Jack came up to me, as well as Gary, and mentioned to me, if Ernie makes a putt, why don't we just call it a tie and move on.

Then Commissioner Finchem was on the phone with Jack and he mentioned that if there's a tie, then the Americans would retain the Cup and that's not something that obviously the International Team would want to have happen.

So, Jack decided to propose the idea of having a shared cup to Gary at the time, and both of the captains agreed. Gary went back to his team, his team agreed, and it was the right thing to do for the game of golf.

Q. Wonder if you and Ernie can both speak to the pressure you felt from the 18th tee onward, if you can compare to anything else you've been through. Start with you, big fella.

ERNIE ELS: I'd like to hear what Tiger says first. (Laughter.)

CHRIS DiMARCO: I'd like to say one thing. I watched those two guys and that was unbelievable. The putts that the guys made when it mattered was unbelievable, it really was. It showed why they are where they are and who they are. It was really ridiculous, some of the putts they made. Tiger's putt he made on No. 2 as at least a foot and a half out and Ernie's putt on No. 1, it was unreal. It was so good for golf. That's all I've got to say. (Laughter.)

GARY PLAYER: Well said.

JACK NICKLAUS: We couldn't even see the hole, let alone try to putt. The putt that Tiger had at 2 -- well Ernie holed a great putt at 1. And then the putt that Tiger had at 2, I'm sitting there saying, (covering eyes with hand) "oh, man, I don't want this match to end on this putt."

You must have played, what, 10, 12 inches?


JACK NICKLAUS: It was up and over, down, sliding away. Couldn't have a tougher putt, because not only do you have to play the right break, you have to have dead the right speed and just the right strength otherwise it's not going to stay in the cup. He just played it perfectly.

Then, you know, when that went in, all of a sudden it shifted it to Ernie. And, you know, the last thing I wanted to see happen was Ernie miss that putt. You know, yes, the Americans would have won if Ernie missed the putt. That's the last thing I wanted to see happen. When Ernie made that putt, I thought it was absolutely perfect, and I don't think there was a player on either side that wanted to see either person miss their put.

And that is really the way the spirit of these matches has been played all week, and I think we'll carry that spirit away from here and I think it will enrich the lives of all of our guys forever.

Q. You didn't want to see it come down to this in the first place --

JACK NICKLAUS: Was that melodramatic or not? What did you think? (Laughter.)

Q. You should consider television, Jack. You and Gary both talked on Tuesday, I think it was when you first came in here and you clearly both said you didn't like the idea. Did you have any thought as all to the captains' agreement?

JACK NICKLAUS: It wasn't our decision. The chances of ending in a tie are fairly remote. You know, we both -- obviously we both wanted to win. We felt like that was the way it was. As soon as the match ended in a tie, we both started talking that we did not want to have this -- we walk to the first tee together. Or actually we walked back on 18. Because we knew there was going to be a first hole. There was nothing happening there.

We came up the first hole, the 18th hole, and we start talking about it. We walk over to the first tee, and that's when we both said we would both like to stop it right there, but it wasn't our place at that point in time. They till had daylight. It was still within the agreement. It was still, you know, was what the game was defined on paper as being done.

When they got to the second hole, the lights started to drop, and once the light dropped, to play another shot, the last two shots shouldn't have been played. But to play another shot beyond that would have been criminal for the game and for these two teams.

GARY PLAYER: We still haven't heard from Ernie.

Q. I'm waiting.

NICK PRICE: You had asked another question in between.

ERNIE ELS: What was the question in between?

Q. You know what the question was. Do you remember it?

ERNIE ELS: I'm still waiting for Tiger's response.


Q. If you can compare the pressure of playing --

ERNIE ELS: You were calm. (To Tiger). You were very calm, weren't you?

TIGER WOODS: Man -- that was actually one of the most nerve-wracking moments I've ever had in golf.

ROBERT ALLENBY: Thank God for that. (Laughter.) I'm glad he was feeling like that.

TIGER WOODS: It was tough, not only the fact that if he missed his putt, you let the teammates down, your captain the assistant captain, all of the wives, girlfriends and everybody that's part of the team. You let everyone down with one putt. That's a lot of pressure.

But then I was getting over the putt, I kept reminding myself: Just a little slow, I had to start focusing on the putt. When I was reading the putt I was kind of just trying to block out the front part of the green over there. I saw all this red and I was just tying to just block that out. Okay, just focus on your putt here. You've got to make this putt. I just got into my little world and made the putt.

ERNIE ELS: I'll say there's a lot of similarities there. I mean, actually Ricci also said it to me: "You know, you stay on the green, you look over and you see your team." You're like -- I can't look at them. I've got to look away.

No, it's unbelievable pressure. Probably the first I've ever felt my legs shaking a little bit. (Laughs). It was tough. You just try and go back to the simple things in life. And, you know, it's only a game, isn't it, at the end. It's a game you don't want to lose, but it's a game. (Laughter.)

You know, Tiger kicked my behind this afternoon fair and square. I said to him before we went for the playoff, "I'm going to try and get revenge." I didn't quite hit the golf shots that I wanted to, but at the end, I think what happened was fair. I think fair to both teams. These guys have to fly back home.

You know, I think in the spirit of the Presidents Cup, the way we've been playing these matches over the years, I think this is a fitting finish to this one. We really beat each other up, and at the end of the day, I think we were so evenly matched, it would have been unfair to myself and Tiger to win or lose the Cup. It's a team event, and to play in the darkness, you bring luck into it, also.

I think it was a fair decision and I think both teams played great.

Q. Is there any feelings of unfinished business at all?

ERNIE ELS: You know, when the guys said no, we've got to stop play and it's going to be a tie, my team, the guys came to me and said, no, we can't do that because if it's a tie, they keep the Cup. And that's why we went to our respective corners.

FRED FUNK: Neutral corners.

ERNIE ELS: Neutral corners. We went to our neutral corners and discussed the matter further. That's when the American team came up with a pretty good suggestion, to share the Cup. Not like the Ryder Cup where when you have a tie, the previous winners keep the Cup; we are sharing this Cup.

So I think it's fair.

JACK NICKLAUS: In all fairness, when we stopped and the phone went to Gary and then came to me, Tim Finchem was the one on the phone who said to me, he said, "Jack, if the captains agree, then it is a tied match and America retains the Cup." And that's when I repeated that to you, Gary and your team said --

ERNIE ELS: No way.

JACK NICKLAUS: And I frankly agree. We frankly agreed and the American team agreed; that's why we came up with the suggestion that it should be a shared cup.

GARY PLAYER: Personally I don't think there should be a sudden death playoff. When you have your tee off in a major championship or a golf tournament, you're representing yourself. Yes, there should be a sudden death playoff -- maybe, it's debatable.

But an event like this, 12 players on each team, why should one man represent the playoff instead of the entire team? So I think if there's a tie, in my personal opinion, in the future, it should be shared.

In the horse racing business, just a tiny little example, which I know might not be applicable to this, but the Kentucky Derby in the horse industry is far bigger than the golf industry. If they run the Kentucky Derby and it's a tie, they don't take a horse back 100 yards and have a sudden death race.

DAVIS LOVE III: They shoot them. (Laughter).

Q. What you did in 1969 at the Ryder Cup obviously went down as one of greatest gestures of sportsmanship in the history of the game, how do you and Gary view this decision on how it will be viewed down the line, equally as, so or maybe even more?

JACK NICKLAUS: I think some people will be upset with that decision. I think some people will probably pan Gary and me for that decision. I think that some people will be unhappy, as they were in 1969. But both Gary and I feel in our hearts, and I think both teams feel that was the right thing to do, and we stand by it.

GARY PLAYER: And the public.

JACK NICKLAUS: I think if you heard the public and the people out there at the presentation, they were not unhappy that the International Team didn't win and they were not unhappy that the American team, or I should say -- well, they were very happy that both teams won, is what I'm saying. They were happy with what the decision was. The people enjoyed it. It was a very popular decision amongst the people here.

DAVIS LOVE III: Nick and I could add to that. From the -- I didn't go down to 18 tee, but from when Mr. Player came backup to 18 green, he started asking every one of our players: "Do you think this is right? Don't you think this should be a tie. Don't you think it's too hard on Ernie and Tiger to have to do this?" And he went to David Toms and to myself and to Phil Mickelson and he went around and he didn't come once; he came two or three times. Every time somebody would have a pressure putt, he said, "This just isn't right."

And Jack was in total agreement with him. They were walking arm-and-arm. In a Ryder Cup, that would never happen. I was sitting on the hill on the first hole with Vijay watching these two guys putt, and the whole rest of both teams were down by the green. That would have never happened in a Ryder Cup. And it shouldn't end with Tiger missing a putt or Ernie missing a putt in the dark.

And I have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Player for coming to our team and asking. He started it. And he and Jack finished it the way it should be finished and they should go down just like they have done their whole careers, as gentlemen that represent the game of golf and it couldn't have had a better ending, I don't think.

NICK PRICE: I'll tell you one thing. From my point of view, you have two of the greatest competitors, certainly, of my time in Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, two guys who wanted to beat the pants off each other for three decades, just played unbelievable golf. Every one of us up here look up to these two men with respect.

They both wanted to win very badly, I know that. And for them to reach the decision and to come and ask us as teams what they thought of that decision was something that I think is very special. I certainly will never forget that moment on the second green this evening when Jack and his team offered us to share the Cup, because that doesn't happen too often in sport. My sentiments on that, as Gary said, if it's 17-17 tie, each team get the Cup for a year. It's too much pressure for -- I don't care if it's Tiger or Ernie or anyone else to have that burden of missing a putt or missing a shot when there's been 34 matches played and three extra holes. It's too much pressure.

Q. What was the logistical problem with not coming back tomorrow? And it sounds as if you're going to advocate rewriting the rules to cover this kind of situation.

JACK NICKLAUS: We've changed them every year, anyway.

Q. If you rewrite the rules to include a tie as a legitimate result, would you then suggest that the previous holder of the Cup continue to hold the Cup or do what you did today?

JACK NICKLAUS: I don't think that's Gary's or my decision, frankly. I think that we can make a recommendation but we are not the powers to be on that. We were just captains of each team.

Yes, I'm sure we'll probably be asked and we will give our opinion. But I don't think that we are the ones that should make that decision. The decision is a lot bigger than the two of us.

Q. And your recommendations, what would that be along those lines?

GARY PLAYER: Change is the price of survival. (Laughter).

NICK PRICE: I'll drink to that. (Toasting).

JACK NICKLAUS: Whatever you say, I agree with that. (Laughter.)

Q. What about coming back tomorrow?

JACK NICKLAUS: Coming back tomorrow, we felt wanted an option at this point. It made no sense what ever so to bring two players back for tomorrow.

TIGER WOODS: Especially since we have -- we didn't have anymore uniforms. We're out. (Laughter.)

JACK NICKLAUS: We were out of clothes. Out of golf balls.

GARY PLAYER: As Nick said, it's a charter ear flight back is at two o'clock this morning, the charter flight back to the States.

DAVIS LOVE III: I know our whole team riding back was: "We've got to do something about a playoff, not because we don't want to come back tomorrow." If it meant, and we said this on the green, if it meant that we kept the Cup, we were coming back tomorrow to finish. But when it came out -- and it was even suggested on that green, I don't know where that story started that all 12 of us come back and play; we would have done that as well.

But this is the best solution, this time, because of the two men we had sitting here, because of the way the matches were played, and because we're halfway around the world from most -- where almost both teams live.

Now we need to go back and rethink. What if it ties the next time? This is a great question. But I think the reason the rule is put in in the first place, and I was there when this whole thing came up while I was on the board, is to differentiate it from the Ryder Cup so that there would be an ending. Well, we need to make it different; it is different of because of the players that play in it. We have two years to stew about it until the next captain's agreement. As Gary said, it could not be a better ending for this tournament in South Africa, I don't think.

JACK NICKLAUS: If the rule would change to the defending champion retained the Cup, and we tied, we wouldn't be talking about it because we'd have been gone an hour and a half two, hours ago.

I don't think anybody would have argued with the -- in other words, if it had been a tie and there was not a playoff, and the U.S. retained the Cup because there wasn't a playoff, then everybody would still have walked away from here saying a tie was the right thing because it really didn't make a whole lot of difference who retains the Cup. It's who won the matches and how they were played. But because there was a playoff and because there was a decision of who is going to hold the Cup; if we didn't play it, then I can understand why, why the decision we made to split the Cup was far more sensible. Does that make sense to you?

Q. It made sense to Tim Finchem.

JACK NICKLAUS: Tim Finchem thought it was perfect. He said: "I think it's perfect if both captains agree. So be it."

Q. So who made the decision or who muted the idea that the U.S. should retain the Cup in the event it was a draw?

JACK NICKLAUS: That was what the rule was.

ERNIE ELS: No, no --

Q. On live television it seemed to enact a different type of seen, whereby an agreement had been made that you shared the Cup and then Gary Player was speaking on the cell phone?

DAVIS LOVE: We made that agreement on the green that we would share it. And then Tim said, if you tie, the rules say that the defending champion keeps the Cup, and that's when we said no that won't work.

JACK NICKLAUS: U.S. team violated that rule. Yeah, we should probably be disqualified for violating the rule. (Laughter.) Sorry, guys.

Q. When you look back at it, the quality of the teams, the playoff, the way that ended, do you think this is what the Presidents Cup needed to get whatever credibility it might have been lacking? And do you think this could be looked back years from now as a turning point, much the same way as Kiawah was, without the animosity?

DAVIS LOVE III: I think it did that because of where we had the event, because of, again, Jack and Gary and because of the spirit that they were played in. I think it showed that it is different than the Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup has gotten a little over the top. We've seen that in the last few years. And this tournament, we've stressed, from presidents to captains on the stage and dignitaries on the stage, they all got up and said: We want these matches to be played fairly. That's the way it ended and that shows the world that we are going to play these matches for fun for the love of the game and we are not going to beat each other's brains out over it.

GARY PLAYER: Why would you say that what the Presidents Cup was lacking? For a start, we've got a team here, there's a hell of a lot better than the Ryder Cup. If you just look at the world record, look at it on paper, not what I'm saying, black and white on paper, and our guys have a hell of a lot better records. I don't see how you could say it was lacking. Melbourne was a great championship. I think the Presidents Cup has been fantastic. (Applause).

JAMES CRAMER: Congratulations on a great week and we look forward to seeing everybody in 2005 at Robert Trent Jones.

End of FastScripts.

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