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September 7, 2007

Jamie Lovemark

George Marucci

Webb Simpson


STEWART McDOUGAL: I will start with the two players, Jamie, you in particular, nothing in particular, but first of all, how is the Walker Cup going according to your expectations, your time playing the Walker Cup how is it going from that point of view?
JAMIE LOVEMARK: This is my first time, and it's by far surpassed my expectations. I wasn't sure what to expect by the hospitality of the Irish people, going to a different country. I wasn't really sure what to expect, and I've been overwhelmed by the kindness and just can't wait to get started tomorrow.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'll totally agree with Jamie. Another thing I've learned is the way that golf is appreciated over here. It's really nice to see how many people are coming out compared to the States.
So I mean, I've been blown away with that aspect of the Walker Cup. But yeah, it feels great to be here and I'm looking forward to the week and getting going tomorrow.

Q. Jamie, when you came over here and you played Royal County Down for the first time, what was your expectation or what was your feeling at the point you played the first round, and how have your feelings changed from that time to this time?
JAMIE LOVEMARK: When I first finished, I thought it was a really tough course. The weather was pretty fair and I was thinking that throughout the week it might get worse and I should expect a totally different course from the one we played the last couple practise rounds.
But sitting here now on Friday, the course hasn't changed much. It's gotten a little firmer, a little faster, but it's still a very tough course, and if there's any wind that picks up, it will be very demanding.

Q. Where will it be demanding on the holes?
JAMIE LOVEMARK: Off the tee and tons of creativity around the greens. Try to avoid the bunkers as much as possible. You don't really want to short-side yourself here with all of these run-offs on greens. It's very penalising.

Q. Webb and Jamie both, just contrast the need for distance and the need for chipping and putting skills around the green, plus the number of blind shots. And how many times around does it take to figure out your sight of line?
WEBB SIMPSON: Well, what we've kind of come up with is a lot of the shots off the tee are not necessarily that you've got to hit 250 yards. I mean, it's not a matter of distance. It's a matter of where you can fly it to get that roll.
So we are hitting drivers on a lot of holes, but I would say half the team is playing it one way and half the team is playing it another.
So, yeah, around the greens, me personally, I've had a lot of success with putting the ball. It's just the ground is so firm that it's hard to get a club on it. I know a couple other guys are using like 5-irons to chip with. It varies from player to player.
JAMIE LOVEMARK: Same thing, it doesn't really matter how far you fly the ball out here, as long as you get it, you know, like Webb said, 250 yards or something like that, and it will run out 300 yards if you get the right kind of roll on it.
I find most success putting around the greens as well, the ground is to tight and compact, it's hard to hit and loft a club out there. You can hit putter, you can hit 2-iron, 3-woods up and around the greens. So there's really no limit of what kind of shots you can hit. That's why it's so cool.

Q. Buddy, we were talking to Colin, and while you can't give specifics of your lineup, can you say in generalities that everyone will play one time tomorrow or something of that sort?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: I'm not so sure after what I read last night I should make any comment about what we're going to do.
No, we will play -- will all ten players play tomorrow, is that your question? Yes, all ten players will play tomorrow.

Q. Just curious for Jamie and Webb, are there any players in particular you want to test your skills against? Is there somebody you want to play?
WEBB SIMPSON: You know, the guys that made the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team are all great players, so for me personally whoever I play against I'm sure is going to play great. There's no personal preference. Obviously the favourite is Rory. So, I mean, it would be nice to play him, but any guy that we face is going to be a tough competitor. So not me personally.
JAMIE LOVEMARK: Yeah, same. You know, every player on our team and any player on their team can beat one another on any given day. So I'm sure that individuals on our team don't really want to -- or don't really care about facing off against Rory or who else on the team. We're just all excited to get a chance to play against each other.

Q. It can be a long week buildup to the two days this week. What did you all try to do to not get too overexcited or too spent before the actual competition? I am curious, Buddy, what have you tried to do with the team to not get them overexcited, as well?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, let me start and then they can finish.
I think our feeling in the beginning is we would run pretty hard at the beginning of the week if we knew the weather was going to hold, and obviously it's held all week. The feeling was we would try to play as much as we could on Monday and Tuesday and kind of sit down with everybody and see where they felt they needed to go. If they needed to play alternate-shot, they would; if they needed to go out and play singles, they would; or if they needed to go out and chip and putt around the greens or hit tee shots, or hit a few shots where holes didn't particularly fit their eye and they knew they would have to hit some tee shots and just do that. The idea at the beginning of the week was to run pretty hard and then kind of be flexible, and I think we have kind of stuck to that most of the time. So pretty much let the players dictate.

Q. The 16th hole is a new hole here, and it could be one of pivotal ones this week. What are your guys' tactics on that hole, the way you're going to play it, and obviously conditions will dictate a little.
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, we've hit anywhere from 3-iron to driver, and the wind has been pretty similar every day, I think down and right-to-left, a couple days in and right-to-left, that hole really fits my eye for a wedge shot. So I know for me when I'm playing singles that I probably will more than likely lay-up but a lot of other guys have hit it on the green. So a lot of it will depend on the conditions I think.
JAMIE LOVEMARK: For me personally, my kind of idea about golf is the more chances you can get with birdie, the better you're going to play. So my strategy will depend on day-to-day and where I'm standing in The Matches. But having four wedge shots into that green and having four birdie putts is not a bad thing to have.

Q. Yesterday Trip said in his first Walker Cup experience he feet like a deer in the headlights, curious because you all are very close, what advice has he given you for this Walker Cup, knowing there are going to be 10,000 people here and they are not exactly rooting for the Americans?
WEBB SIMPSON: Buddy and Trip have done a really good job for preparing us for how the crowds -- the max of the crowds and how that works. But I've really tried to pay attention to what Trip said and how to handle, you know, the situations where the pressure is more than others.
JAMIE LOVEMARK: One thing he said was just to have fun. You know, this is a match of camaraderie and we shouldn't really get too concerned about The Match itself and just be very sportsmanlike, just enjoy the day and enjoy the challenge each day and take away as much as you can from each match.

Q. Jamie, I assume you haven't played a whole lot of foursomes in your life at this point. What have you learned about the format and what do you like about the format?
JAMIE LOVEMARK: I've learned that it's very tough. There's nothing easy about it. There's nothing easy about hitting half the amount of golf shots you're used to each round. You know, it's just great to have a partner in there. You guys have got to blend well.
It is a lot of fun. We don't get to play it that much, I played in the Palmer Cup earlier this year and I played in the Canon Cup a few years, so I'm not a total rookie to it, but I haven't played on this big of a stage before, that's for sure.

Q. Can you just summarize what you have told them about the difficulties of playing away from home? And also just curious what you meant by "after what you read last night."
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I don't need to comment on that.
I think the difficulties of playing on foreign soil, somewhat have been mitigated by the weather conditions. We were expecting a much more severe challenge regarding the weather, the wind, possible rain.
So hopefully we'll keep our fingers crossed and the weather won't be -- we'd like the weather not to be the issue, as opposed to the golf. We'd like the golf to be the story and not the weather. When I played in '95 at Porthcawl, it was more about the weather than the golf and that was unfortunate.
Having said that, I think it's just getting acclimated to the numbers of people. There are going to be walking crowds this year, and we've had some of that in our country, but not to the extent that they will see it over here. And getting used to people being right on top of them, maybe not quite the same reaction to the golf shots that they have seen before. Although I think in Northern Ireland, even in Scotland, the fans are very respectful. So I don't think it will be a negative response, but I think they may be a little more quiet than they are accustomed to and to be used to that.
There will be a lot of movement out there. If we have 10,000 people, and depending on where possibly Rory is on the golf course, there could be 2,000 or 3,000 people watching each match because there are only four matches in the morning. So that's going to cause some commotion.
Some of the other things that we thought we might be dealing with have really not been an issue. The travel worked out remarkably well. We were fortunate there. The food has been wonderful and that sometimes can be a bit of a problem when you travel, just dietary concerns, people not feeling well. We haven't had any of that, knock-on-wood. No injuries, no situations like that, all of the things that you could possibly think of. I think the worst thing we had today was a bee sting on Trip's son. So we've been very fortunate.
So I think it's more of a general sense than anything really specific. We haven't really had to deal with a whole lot of some of those things. But by and large, it's playing in front of the crowd; it's moving, and a crowd that may react a little differently to the shots that they hit.

Q. Just to continue, has this been everything you thought it would be?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I think the captaincy has been everything more than I dreamed it would be. And that started in February a year ago; it's been 20 months. I can't tell you how overwhelming it's been for me to be able to be in this position. Being over here, every day, you're concerned about something that might go wrong, and before you come here, everything is on a very positive note. You're always thinking positively, but when you get here, you just don't want anything to go wrong. So it's a little bit of a different feeling.
Having gotten through most of the logistical issues during the week, I think the team -- and I know I have personally, we've loosened up a bit and looking forward to why we're actually here: Have the camaraderie, play The Matches, play the best golf possible in just an incredible venue. So in that regard, I think County Down, the R&A, the USGA, the team, has gone way beyond my expectations, so it's been everything I've expected it to be and more.

Q. Buddy, you mentioned yesterday that, you know, you wanted to play all your guys at least three times.

Q. Is there a point in that scenario where you're close enough that you could actually win this and you would have to make some adjustments?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I think what I said yesterday, I think what I said yesterday, was that when I played, everybody played three times and I thought that was the way when I came over here I wanted to approach The Match, and that's the way I would approach The Match.
I think I also said that I've gotten a lot of input from the team as I did this afternoon before we presented our lineup. And I think I also said, and I'll reiterate, that tomorrow night we will again convene about just that issue. In a perfect world, that's what will happen. We will try to play everybody three times and we play two gentlemen four times.
But the team and I will get tomorrow night after the results of tomorrow's matches and we will make that determination together. And it may not happen that way. I hope it will, because I hate to see someone work for two years, and not have that opportunity to play as many matches as possible.
So hopefully that sets the record straight. But we will, if we have to adjust, we will. But it will be up -- it's a team event, and in my mind, it's a team decision. Obviously I have to make the call, but I want the players behind it because we have a great group of guys that are very close to each other, and it's important to me that we have input from everybody.

Q. Buddy, you spoke yesterday about waiting for two years to get to this team, and then maybe only playing two or three matches sort of thing. If you had a vote, would you turn The Walker Cup into The Ryder Cup format?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I think we discussed that a little bit yesterday. I would love to see more golf from a personal standpoint because I think it would be nice for the players because they would get to play -- and if it were ten matches on Sunday, everyone would get to play and that would be wonderful.
I'm not sure whether best-ball or foursomes is the right way. I'm not sure that's even your question. But I think more golf would be nice. So I think if we were going to a three-day format, I think that would be great.
I think I also reflected yesterday that I appreciate the other side, which is the tradition that was started over the years. So if tradition is the issue, then The Matches should stay the same. But from a players' standpoint, after all of the hard work they have put in, I think it would be wonderful to play a little more golf.

Q. I wonder if I could ask the players the same question.
JAMIE LOVEMARK: Yeah I'm really on the same page as Buddy, I really have nothing further to say.
WEBB SIMPSON: I've heard that the two days go by really quick. It's almost like you blink your eyes and then it will be over. We've been over here for almost a week, and I think it would be nice, you know, maybe to try to extend the Walker Cup to a three-day event. But, you know, like Buddy said, the tradition is how it started and that's what we'll go with.
STEWART McDOUGAL: Buddy, Jamie, and Webb, thank you very much.

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