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October 20, 2000

Steve Elkington

Greg Norman


Q. Greg, just talk about playing with Nick, I was surprised, you guys have never played together. Talk about playing with him.

GREG NORMAN: I thought it was a very good decision on Peter's behalf. The reason we haven't played together for a long time is the fact that Steve and I have been a pretty strong force over the years. And we've put up a lot of points. So he normally doesn't like to break up that type of a team. He was reluctant to break us up last night. He put his thinking cap on and decided to split us up. And I think at the end of the day Peter made some great decisions on the team today. Some strong moves to break up some very strong teams, but at the end of the day the balance of it all, the flow of the play for Nick and myself, because we play a lot of practice rounds together over the years, and the same with Steve and myself, we play practice rounds almost every week. You get to know the guy, you become very relaxed with it, to me it didn't make any difference if I played with Nick or Steve. I was looking forward to getting out there and playing well today.

Q. Greg, your match ended very early and you were out doing a lot of cheerleading, Seve-esque. Did the guys feed off you being there?

GREG NORMAN: I don't know, I think the guys were already playing well, they were into their game. It was my responsibility, like with Steve, as soon as your match is over, if I'm out there playing and I see the other guys supporting me while I'm in the heat of the battle. It makes you feel pretty good, because you have the support of your team members, irrespective of whether they've won or lost, they're out there hoping you win, and supporting you. It's nice to see that face in the crowd. Because we are a very close-knit team, we've been that way for many years now, and it's our responsibility to do that. I think every player does that on our side.

Q. Captain Thomson was asked about your resurgence in play. He commented that he thought you played better by playing (inaudible.)

GREG NORMAN: I will have to say that I agree with the captain, but I don't really agree with the captain. Peter has got to see the way he feels things fit into the team. And yesterday was just, between Steve and myself, we were out of synch the first six or seven holes. They made a couple of birdies on us and we made a couple of bogeys. By that time if you're four or five down in this format, it's difficult to pull it back. Once we hit our stride, it was a close match from there on in, but we had too much of a mountain to climb. But from my standpoint, I wish Steve and I were out there playing now. We're both playing well. We want to be playing, of course, but we have to rest. And the captain wants us to rest, we go rest. Irrespective of whether you're playing the foursome or fourball, I enjoy the competition.

Q. Steve, Peter just got through telling us about Ernie's words of wisdom last night on the bus. What was your version of it?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Ernie wanted to get up and talk to the boys. And he asked me to do it and I said I think it would be better if he did it, because he doesn't say much ever. Ernie is not one to -- he likes to socialize with you, but he's not -- well, let's say all the talking he does is with his clubs. But he got up on the bus and just said that we've all had a long way -- we've all traveled a long distance to get where we are on this golf scene and he wanted us to pull together, even closer than we are, for today and just put our best foot forward. We had a bad day, he explained that, we had a terrible day yesterday, but didn't want us to keep our heads down. We've all been involved in a lot of sports, particularly golf, but coming from all parts of the world, we've seen the way teams struggle in football and cricket and rugby and so on, and I think it was -- 27 points are still up for grabs as of last night. So I think it worked. I think we did well today. We were happy with that result.

Q. Are both of you also surprised that through the first two sessions Ernie and Vijay were 0-2?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, they're playing -- they're in a marquee match. They got beat by Woods and Begay. And today by Mickelson and Love. I don't think there's any shame in either one of those matches. So they're playing the lead match. But I'll be surprised if they don't win this afternoon.

Q. This is for both Greg and Steve. Number one, when you left yesterday, did you have a talk with yourself, what did you say, and how do you feel now that there's only two points' difference after the two rounds?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah, we pretty much answered that. But as you saw the momentum was on their side yesterday. You could see the momentum picking up on our side today when the first match went out, Goosen and Michael Campbell won, and the other matches started to follow along. And Ernie and Vijay almost came back in their match. I'd say the momentum was shifted this morning.

Q. Greg, Johnny Miller said something to the effect on television a couple of hours ago, that your play today here would be particularly an indication of how competitive you're going to be in the future, what you did today is going to show us that you're really going to go out there and jump on it now. Would you comment on that?

STEVE ELKINGTON: I'd say he doesn't know what he's talking about. I can answer that for him. Greg Norman has been the same competitor he has been for the last 25 years. Whenever he plays golf he's the same competitor. He's never changed as far as being that way.

GREG NORMAN: That's right. You go out and play every game like it's the game you want to play. And I'm no different now than what I was when I was 21, or when I was 35. I think sometimes I feel the older you get and the younger the team becomes, the more you feel like you don't want to let the team down. So you really have to step up to the plate, maybe a touch more mentally and physically, because you want to be there. And if you're a tough competitor, which I've been for the 25 years of playing this game, I'm not going to lay down and roll over. That's just not my nature. I don't know how to respond to Johnny's statement, but I think what he's trying to do is pay a compliment there, no question. And rightfully so. He sees it. I want to play golf for many years to come. Both of us are sitting up here with hip surgery. Both of us feel like we've been given a second lease on life, especially in the game of golf. And with that, and with our mindset and our competitive nature, when you eliminate a problem that we both had, and we become more excited about playing. And yesterday was a bit of an indication, where we both haven't been back in the foray of competition to the high level that we should be or we'd like to be, and that's probably why we're out of synch. For Steve and I to play some of the shots we did early on yesterday was not like us. And that was an indication that we haven't been or haven't played enough. We can hit balls as much as we want on the driving range, we can chip as much as we want, we can putt as much as we want. But when you have to do it, especially in a foursome match, when your buddy is next door to you, you don't want to leave him a four or five footer. It becomes a little more intense. And that's probably why we were out of sync today.

STEVE ELKINGTON: The reason they won today, is because of the heat they got on the bus, because there's 90 years between them. We said it was the Senior Tour pairing. Or 89 between you?

GREG NORMAN: We are not 89, we're 88 (laughter.)

STEVE ELKINGTON: You're 46 and Price is 43.

Q. Steve, you were out watching the Franco/Maruyama match, and that's been called a big upset on television. Do you consider it an upset or do you think that Franco particularly is the sort of person who can play well against a guy like Tiger, and if so, what about him makes him that good?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Well, I'm not sure if there is ever a thing in this match as an upset. I think if you were going to play Tiger Woods over a 72-hole stroke-play, the odds are smaller. When you're playing over 18 holes with a partner, the odds are back in the favor of the other team. So Maruyama and Carlos Franco wanted to play that match in the worst way today. They knew that both of them were probably feeling the pressure of being the underdogs severely, and for them representing their country is like Paraguay and Japan, where it would be an enormous victory for those two countries, they responded well. And that was probably -- all the matches are crucial, but that one sent a message to us, not to them, sent a message to us that those boys were really bearing down today and they probably -- they had the biggest job to do today, don't you think, Greg?

GREG NORMAN: I agree with you. It was a great pairing because both of them are very loose. Carlos has got that free-flowing action from his driver to his pitching wedge all the way down to his putter.

STEVE ELKINGTON: He speaks a little bit of Japanese.

GREG NORMAN: He does. It's that type of attitude that they've both got. And Maruyama is the same. He's very relaxed, easy going, he's got that jovial type of approach. So I took a bit of exception when I heard this morning that these guys were like a sacrifice match. For anybody who's played the game of golf and has been involved in the game of golf to make a statement like that is absolutely way off base. We know Peter Thomson would never put a match out there for sacrifice, because every 12 men on this team have got the ability to beat any of the 12 men on the other team. And to hear of garbage like that is absolutely an insult and it shows the stupidity of the person it came out of. Because the game of golf is so strong nowadays that each player is so good and so strong, I don't care whether it's Tiger Woods or anybody. Anybody is capable of beating anybody, and that was a perfect indication this morning of if you get complacent and make comments like that, then you're the one -- well, I'm not saying you guys are the one, but the ones who did say it have got the eggs on their face.

Q. This is for Greg. Greg, you were out there this morning watching some of your teammates and cheering them on. Mike Weir has played exceptional golf. Give us a comment on what you think of Mike Weir from what you've seen.

GREG NORMAN: My impression is he's probably one of the most underrated players I've ever played with. Michael has talent coming out of him more than I've seen in a lot of players. Just an easy going, likable guy. He's got a great game of golf. And he can put the ball in a thimble with the putter. The kid's really got it. I've enjoyed his company, myself, personally, I know Steve have, and all the other 11 members have. It was like a hand in a glove, he just fit right in with the team. And it's indicative of the way his golf is. He feels very, very comfortable. And I've no doubt he's going to go a long way in the game of golf. He's got it.

Q. Can you talk about Weir, Steve?

STEVE ELKINGTON: I played with Mike a little bit on the Tour this year, and we practiced together. And as Greg said, I think Mike is one of the best young players I've seen for ages. He's got a great wife and little kids and he's just sort of -- I think he's on his third year on Tour. There are 11 more families pulling for him now, because he's fitted right into the international Team. He's playing tremendous golf. He's probably playing better golf than anybody out here right now.

Q. Greg, as a leader and as a cheerleader for this International Squad, with your rest right now, how important is it for you to get out, say, on the back 9th and to cheer on the rest of your squad?

GREG NORMAN: We're going to go do that. We're going to hit a few balls and on the back 9, be out there, or however many holes they're going to play. I don't think they're going to get to play completely today unfortunately. But we'll be there every step of the way, splitting ourselves up with all the groups.

Q. Do you feel like you appreciate this Presidents Cup a little more than in the past because of the physical problems you've overcome in the last year?

STEVE ELKINGTON: I think we've enjoyed all the Presidents Cups. It's nice to be back playing, both of us, I suppose. We're a lot fitter now than we were 6 months ago, I can tell you that. But we wouldn't be here if we weren't fit. So we feel much better, both of us.

Q. You mentioned that play may not conclude today. What possible explanation is there for two games to go over five hours and don't reach 18 holes and what does that do to promote golf worldwide, which we've all heard about for the last three days?

GREG NORMAN: There's one simple explanation, and that is these greens. You've got to understand that you've got the best putters in the world here, and you've got some greens out here that are on the verge of being either too fast or too undulating, whichever one comes first, you can put it in whatever category. These are not great tournament greens. If you get tournament speed on undulating greens like this, it's going to take you a long period of time. Because look what Tiger Woods did on 16. He had a fairly flat putt, a little bit downhill, but the ball rolls 10 feet, 12 feet by. And he's not the only one doing that. We all are doing that. So there's only one excuse, and that's the greens. And you can break it up, either too fast or -- and pin placements, yeah. But we've had some very, very questionable pin positions. And it's very, very difficult to get the ball close to the hole.

STEVE ELKINGTON: The greens have been inconsistent, as well. Some of the greens are like cement and other greens are pretty soft. You stand back not knowing what shot to hit. It's difficult for -- I don't know how many of you have been out there, you haven't seen a lot of balls stiff to the hole, so you have 20-footers, and 3-footers coming back, and so on.

Q. At the conclusion, Greg, during the interview after you had just won your match, you and Nick Price were rather eloquently talking about where this event might go in future years and the importance that it be moved about in different places. Would you speak to that a little bit?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think it's extremely important for each team member of the International Team and the American team, who are fortunate enough they're going to come back here every other year, they're home facing their home gallery. I think more important from the International Players, and we touched on this the other day in the press room, it's the fact that you can get 24 of the best players in the world to go to a country like South Africa or Australia or New Zealand or Japan or Paraguay or maybe Fiji or wherever, and that does more for the game of golf than you could ever imagine. That's why it's crucial for this tournament to go on a rotational basis. America one year, the next time wherever we decide, or wherever the powers that be decide. If you don't do that, you're going to lose the International Players. If you lose the International Players, you lose The Presidents Cup. And this is a tournament that should be a very unselfish tournament. It's not America's tournament. It's an event promoting and giving money, two and a half million dollars every year to charities around the globe. So it's important that our powers-to-be understand that this thing better keep rotating. We don't care, from the International standpoint, we don't care where we go on an International level, but we don't want to play every year here in the United States.

Q. Just a follow-up to that, Greg. There's been some noise made that some American players may not go to South Africa if it's there in 2002. Does that bother you?

STEVE ELKINGTON: For what reason?

Q. Well, for the reasons that have been mentioned, their long trips, scheduling, long season, but some Tour players have said they're going to look hard at their schedules and you've heard the talk, I'm sure, as well. What's your take on that?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I would be very sad end if that is the case. I haven't spoken to any of the American players about that, but I think it's their responsibility to the game of golf that they travel overseas and let some of the lesser countries have the ability to see these guys play. Now, for them to go to South Africa or to Australia or anywhere else, it would probably cost the tournament close to four or five million dollars in appearance fees to get those 12 guys there. Now, no tournament in the world is going to get that and you're never going to get your money back, so that tournament -- it's just not going to happen, for one. So just to think of having the 12 American players going to a country that they haven't played in before, I'd be really sad end if they would take that approach. Because it's turning their back on the game of golf and the importance of where the game of golf right now on a global basis is, golf has really moved out of America in the early '80s. It moved, for the last 20 years, it's truly been International. And I can make this one comment or statement. Imagine where the British Open right now if Arnold Palmer was the first American to go over and qualify to the British Open and then go on and win it. The British Open wouldn't be where it is today if it hadn't been for Arnold Palmer. And I think that these guys are making these type of comment, they should think about what Arnold Palmer did to create one of the best major championships in the world, that probably some of these guys have won the British Open. I think they should take back -- we all travel a lot. We all have to move around the world and --

STEVE ELKINGTON: You never hear that out of our team. We're all delighted to be on the team and we like to play in it. But the point is, I read your piece the other day, Jeff, most of these guys that are playing this event this week, I can see if they get tired or played five weeks in a row, but most of the top players have been off six or seven weeks in a row. I never have understood it.

Q. The two cup thing has been brought up, too, guys -- half of their team has to play a cup every year.

STEVE ELKINGTON: From our team's perspective, I think that would be -- we'd like to do that, wouldn't we?

GREG NORMAN: Absolutely.

STEVE ELKINGTON: If you're going to represent your country -- when you watch the Olympics and stuff on TV, the American athletes are always the hardest athletes to beat. That's why Greg and I are over here, because you guys have the best athletes and best Tour and everything. We've both been a lot better off for it. Americans are always the most prepared. And for me I haven't bought into the fact that they don't want to compete. I think maybe they're just crybabying about two cups or whatever. But I just don't see how they can't get pumped up for an event like this. It's a great event. To play a match like this has got to be better than playing a regular TOUR event, would wouldn't you say?

GREG NORMAN: We really enjoy it. I asked Phil a question the other day, when I saw him. I said what do you think of the comment I made where the Internationals should play the winner of the Ryder Cup? And I think he misunderstood, because what his answer in the paper was different than the way I was trying to explain it. He said -- when I explained it to him the winner, we play the winner, not integrating the International Team with the Ryder Cup. It was the winner of the Ryder Cup. And I said, Phil, that way somewhere you're going to get beat by the Europeans, it might be a little bit more often than not, it might be not for a while, but you have a chance of getting a year break. The only reason why I made that comment is because I think it's important from an International flavor this event actually gets moved around on a larger basis. I'm not saying the International players are better than the United States or better than the European players. But it's an easy way to balance out The Presidents Cup. And it's fair on everybody. There it becomes more of a burden on the International Team, because we have to play all the time. So we're willing to accept that. And I haven't heard any of our guys making a derogatory comment --

STEVE ELKINGTON: Our guys are dying to get on the team. They all want to get on the team.

Q. Was there anymore sense of urgency on this morning's play after yesterday's match, anything more unusual, anything that may have turned it around?

STEVE ELKINGTON: I think there was a sense of urgency, yeah. We're playing against the most powerful 12 guys you've got, and we could be 9-1 or something, quite easily. So I think all the boys had to -- everyone had -- it had our attention this morning, I can tell you that. And our team has continued to stay loose in the locker room and in the cabin and the bus rides. There's been no anxiety, really, throughout the team at all. We've been able to keep our looseness, starting today I think that was the key. Maybe we were too loose yesterday. But we had a good morning. We're -- it doesn't mean much other than the fact we've got ourselves back in the game. We've still got a long road to hoe before we get to the singles. So we don't know how this thing is going to pan out today and tomorrow.

Q. Is there any way to explain how the momentum gets started, whether you guys in '98, the Americans yesterday or your team this morning, what starts a roll like that, putts going in or what is it?

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think yesterday the Americans made a lot of putts; today we made a lot of putts. I think that was obvious from watching the play, the little bit of play, and obviously the play of myself and my group.

STEVE ELKINGTON: I think you can see certain things in certain matches. Like you see Maruyama and Franco, that's a little bit of a benefit. If you see Greg and Nick four or five up, you think they're going to win for sure, and if you see Vijay and them coming back, so there's all sorts of little positives you're pulling off the board all the time. All of that thrown in together gives you that boost, I think.

Q. How important is the lead match to that? Yesterday the Americans said they drew off of the fact that Tom and Phil got ahead of you guys early, and the other guys behind them were looking at that and took that as encouragement. Michael and Retief get off to a good start today, do you guys draw off that?

STEVE ELKINGTON: Yeah, they're -- all the rookies in The Presidents Cup won today, and they all played well. That was a good positive for us, especially as you say our lead match was two rookies, Michael Campbell and Retief. Michael Campbell is -- he's the other underrated player on our team. Retief Goosen hits the ball as far as anyone, with the most simple and usual swing. You guys are writing about Campbell when he was playing Tiger, when he won five out of the last six tournaments, he won a week ago in Germany. Campbell is a stout player.

End of FastScripts….

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