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September 28, 2007

Woody Austin

Steve Stricker

David Toms

Scott Verplank


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome to the media center Steve Stricker, Scott Verplank and Woody Austin and David Toms. A long day but a good day for those of y'all sitting here. Maybe just a couple of quick opening comments and we'll go down the line for questions.
DAVID TOMS: First comment is very happy to get a half-point today. We were just talking about Woody and I were on the way over here, about how good that we had to play score-wise to even get a half a point, because the team we played awfully well.
And I think it was a great day for Woody individually. I think there will be a lot of highlights from today's round, and you know, it was an interesting day. A lot of emotions we went through. We were up at one point, down a good bit at another late, and then to come back and, really, after he hit his second shot on 18, I thought we had a chance to win a point.
So you know, it was quite a day.
WOODY AUSTIN: Yeah, well, to say what David said today, again, we're he is at that time I can to get a half point, because technically that turns into a full point really. The way the day went, it was tough on everybody today. They came out and played really good. We stayed with them for most of the day, played well ourselves, and then we just got into -- we just played a couple of bad holes and got down. But it shows the character of the team. We fought really hard and we got our half-point, which we thought was going to be huge in the whole scheme of it. So we're ecstatic about a half-point.
STEVE STRICKER: The same with us. You know, as the day started to unfold, you could look at the board and see that the direction of the day was going in favor of the International Team.
You know, I was looking at it, and I'm sure Scott was, too, in our match and we felt it was very important to try to sneak out a half a point at least, if not a full. But we played well together. We supported each other. When I was out of the hole, he would pick me up and vice versa. So we made a good team today and we were fortunate enough to get a point.
SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah, I reiterate what Steve said. We figured we would be a good team together, and I mean, the highlight of the day -- well, there was two highlights. The first was when Woody went underwater. (Laughter) because we were on the 16th tee, and that loosened us up. Stricker made a birdie on 16 to get us in the lead for good, but we were 1-up, so that was big.
I think Woody, his effects were far reaching, not only he played great golf, I watched the last few holes, it was pretty spectacular.
WOODY AUSTIN: We're the old guys on the team you're supposed to be helping me out.
SCOTT VERPLANK: I am helping you out. You know what, it was one of the positive influences of the day.
DAVID TOMS: We are all sitting up here, the senior citizens of our team, that's for sure.

Q. Obviously going into the water there when you've got Sabbatini, whatever he was, ten feet for eagle, and just describe what was going through your mind when you decided to get in there. And then how was the face wash? Was probably the more interesting part.
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, I don't think I look any worse than I always do. (Laughter) Scotty says I smell different, but I think, you know, everything else, I think I look just as ugly as I always do.
But the whole idea of the shot was just to try to get it to the bank, because I felt like from the bank, I had a chance to make three. If I drop it from where I drop it, 30 yards over a little corner is not, you know -- at that point, I knew, deep down knew I probably couldn't pull the shot off. But between wanting really badly to pull it off and having my caddie urge me on; and I'm going to get Brett for that for a while. He kept saying, "You've got to try, you've got to try, you've got to try."
I was doing okay until I stepped on the rock and once I stepped on the rock, I lost my balance, and your legs aren't very clean.

Q. I think it was three or four weeks ago when you played so well with Tiger, especially towards the end of the tournament, you said that this was validation for you; not for us, not for anybody else, but for yourself.

Q. Are you riding that wave? Especially after a finish like today, you're 2-down and come back and do what you did with the three birdies, are you riding that wave kind of?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, I'm trying to do the best I can for myself as well as my 11 teammates. But like I said, at my age, for this to be my first, there's -- you know, and I can't speak for the other guys, and I know they are as competitive as I am. But I know that there's nobody that wants to be here any worse than I do. It's taken me so many different roads to get here. I've come from as far back as you could possibly come from to get to this point, and it's something I've always wanted to do. Because like I said, I think this fits my personality. I will -- I have the mentality where I will do anything I can for my part, my teammates, whatever.
I hope today I proved that I'm never going to give up until it's over.

Q. Woody, you probably knocked that Oklahoma State football coach off the sports center lead, but people may not notice that you made eight birdies. I wonder down the stretch if that's as well as you've putted under some sort of pressure, and just sort of define for us what that meant.
WOODY AUSTIN: Bar none, I've never putted that good under those circumstances, because let's face it, I've never been in those circumstances before.
So, you know, I have nothing to say that I did anything better than that.

Q. Just wondered, after what must have been at least a little bit embarrassing, how difficult was it to gather yourself again and keep fighting?
WOODY AUSTIN: Well, like I said, I don't think it was really that hard for me because like I said, you know, I laughed about it on the green.
I can only tell you how much the competitive fire burns in me. It didn't douse it. I was still fired up and ready to go.

Q. Obviously this is a bit different than if you guys were playing in the U.S. and that there's only one Canadian on the International Team. Does it start to feel a bit like an away game when they had some momentum going?
DAVID TOMS: Absolutely. You knew without looking at the board, you could tell what was going on on the golf course, much like a Ryder Cup-type of atmosphere would be, when you can tell how the other team is doing when you're away from home.
We could feel that. And then you would see the board and you saw a lot of blue numbers up there. We knew that we were needing something from our team. Woody and I talked about that. Even when we were 2-down, we were like, let's get something out of this because we need it as a team, and we were able to do that.

Q. I know that you've spoken through your individual play late in the FedExCup about this, but I wonder if you can speak more, today for example, Gary Player made some comments to a few media that he really admired how much you had fought back. Just wondering if you can talk a little bit more about how much this means to you to get to where you are, I guess ranked No. 4 or five in the world right now.
STEVE STRICKER: It means a lot. You know, from the position where I came from about three years ago, to be here today and sitting up here and being a part of this team means a great deal to me.
You know, I feel like I should be doing this in one respect, you know, but I look back at where I was three years ago, and I wonder how I got here again. But I do feel like I belong here. I do feel like I'm a good part of this team, and it's been a pleasure and it's been a lot of fun so far and we're only a couple of days into the event.
You know, we just keep trying to move on. We try to keep making points and that's what this week is all about is it's all about the team and getting as many points as you can and that's what I've been focusing on.

Q. Steve and Scott, you got the only full point for the Americans today. Can you talk just a little about that, and also, what made you guys want to play together today?
SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, we've been talking about playing together for the last six weeks to two months, just because we -- at least from my side of it, we like each other, I think. At least he didn't say anything real bad to me today.
We get along well. We play fairly similar. You know, without being as dramatic as some of our other teammates, we take it to heart pretty good. You know, we grind it out pretty well, and we play pretty hard and we both scratch and claw. And when you get guys together that almost actually enjoy doing that, then it makes for a good team.
DOUG MILNE: Thank you for joining us.

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