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October 17, 2000

Robert Allenby

Stuart Appleby

Michael Campbell

Steve Elkington

Greg Norman

Vijay Singh


JAMES CRAMER: I'd like to welcome you to our first Presidents Cup press conference this week. We have six members of the International Team, the defending Champions of the cup. I'd like to introduce, starting here, with Steve Elkington, Greg Norman, Robert Allenby, Michael Campbell, Stuart Appleby, and Vijay Singh. If we have any questions, we'd like to take them.

Q. I'd like to get some perspective from someone that may have been on previous teams, what it's like being a rookie, first time around to having experience and being there several times?

GREG NORMAN: I think the most shining thing about the International Team is their camaraderie we have. I've said this over the years, whether you're a rookie or been on the team every time, we have great chemistry, doesn't matter whether you're from New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Japan, our chemistry is phenomenal. I think Vijay hit the nail on the head, the difference between us and the American team is we have more color on our team. But there's the spirit of what we have within our shop. And our bus trips are great, we're always joking, he's the dirty joke teller with Nick Price. And right across the get-go. When you're a rookie, we try to embrace them and make sure this is no different than anything else. It doesn't matter what country you come from, we're playing under the same flag all week, and it's up to us to make everybody feel as comfortable as they can.

Q. There's been a lot of talk over the years, and particularly after the experience in Melbourne that the Americans are a little bit disinterested, that they don't take this quite as seriously as they do "you know what." I wonder about your thoughts. Do you sense that at all?

STUART APPLEBY: Do I sense that? I don't talk to them about it, it doesn't really bother me, I'm not -- the I know they have two cups to play for, they've each got a cup to play for. It's another thing to throw into the schedule, but I think it's extremely important, we won it last year, and certainly I've never had a feeling -- last year, last time -- had a feeling like that. My first year and Australia was awesome. I don't know how you can say I can't be sort of bothered or don't have nothing but a hundred percent motivation for it. I don't understand that. I have no idea. That's a pretty poor attitude, really, there's a better attitude than that.

GREG NORMAN: Well, I think what Stuart says is absolutely right. From the American standpoint you can understand where playing in two cups is going to be difficult for them. But at the same time because we, the International Team, collectively have never experienced a Ryder Cup in the entire history of the Ryder Cup, we really look forward to this event, because we all come from all parts of the globe. We all travel and when we get somewhere, we play practice rounds together, we live in different parts of the world. For all of us to get together on a collective basis it brings us closer together as a team. We seem like we have conversations, our wives get together, when they very seldom get together on a yearly basis. But from the American standpoint they're used to doing it. They're used to traveling and playing the Ryder Cup. And quite honestly if I was sitting on their fence, I could understand what they were saying, that every year we have a team event, we'd like to have a week off. But at the same time, this event is so important to the development of golf on a global basis. And the responsibility of each and every one of us sitting up here over the years, from the International Team is we've had to travel. We've had to leave our home shores, we've had to set up camp somewhere else, probably most of us don't like doing that, but we have to because of our sport. Our responsibility is back to the sport. We have to play. We have to perform, we have to promote the game of golf no matter where we go. Whether it's The Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup, that is our responsibility. I'm a strong believer in that, and I strongly suggest that the American players should look at that the same. The game of golf has given them a lot as well. For them to travel to Australia and for them to have a potential of traveling to South Africa or Canada, or Japan or Fiji, wherever the choice is, for the next rotation, it's their responsibility as golfers to promote the game of golf. It would be sad to see any demise come that way, because at the end of the day we're all in this game together. And if a few of us decide not to promote the game, then we have a big hole. I defend the International Players because we have traveled all our lives and we accept that responsibility of traveling. Like I said, some of us don't like to do it, but we have to do it. And because of that commitment and obligation, that's why we're probably a stronger team than probably the Americans are.

Q. On that same subject, do you guys anticipate any problems in gaining interest from the American side for the South Africa 2002 event, and then secondly, in a different subject, how important do you think it is to restore a little decorum and camaraderie to this international event that may have been missing from the last Ryder Cup?

STEVE ELKINGTON: South Africa is one of the best places that I've ever been to. I like to go there myself. It's a great country, and Ernie Els has been a great representative for golf, and Nick Price, and I'm sure the South Africans would like to have everyone down there and show them what they can do, from a global standpoint of golf. I think it's a terrific possibility. What was the other part of the question?

Q. Restoring some civility, decorum, sportsmanship, that kind of thing?

STEVE ELKINGTON: I think this tournament, from our perspective, we can't really speak about the Ryder Cup, but I don't think we've had anything but sportsmanship in this event. I think we probably know the American team better than the Ryder Cup team, we play with them all the time. So pretty much as far as I'm concerned every match here on paper is a toss-up, and I think from our team perspective, it's our job to try to win that match, and we're not trying to put off anyone, we're just trying to do the best we can. I don't think there's ever been an instance of bad sportsmanship in this event.

Q. Mark James wrote in his book, talking about the 17th at Brookline last year, there was a similar instance here, in I guess it was '96 when Freddie holed that put, did the Americans not come on to the green?

VIJAY SINGH: I quite understand what they did, because it was a winning putt. And the emotions were just so high, they didn't really run on the green, but they were celebrating pretty good. If we had holed a putt like that, we would have done the same. But it went on a little longer, because I had a putt to make there. It was totally different than the Ryder Cup. I think it was the second time we ever played that cup. And I had no problem with that. It was just that it lasted a little longer than I thought it would. But we forget it soon after we left the greens.

Q. Has that come up at all in meetings either this week or in past meetings leading up to the year, using the Ryder Cup as an example how not to lose focus of what this is all about?

VIJAY SINGH: Ryder Cup has been -- I guess the Europeans, they get so fired up for the game, and if something like that happens, it's in the book now. So I can't really comment on what happened there, because I wasn't there. But I read about it and it turned out that it wasn't as good as I thought it was. I spoke to the European players, and they were not very happy about it, obviously. But I have no problem with crowd, as long as I've played over here. And in Australia, when you're playing in a competition like this, and you're playing it on your home soil like we did in Australia, obviously the crowd is going to be on our side. And over here we expect the Americans to be on the American's side. We have to be prepared about that. It's only obvious that the Americans have to be cheering for the Americans. But we have to be prepared mentally to accept that and go on and play the game.

Q. Stewart, for one, anybody else, if you're -- are you familiar with what happened with Sorenstam and Robbins at the Solheim Cup?

STUART APPLEBY: The chip-in thing?

Q. Right.

STUART APPLEBY: I heard about it, didn't see it. Didn't see highlights, just heard about it.

Q. Based on what you know about it, what would you do in the same situation?

STUART APPLEBY: Who am I? (Laughter.)

Q. Robbins.

STUART APPLEBY: Annika chipped in, correct?

Q. I guess you wouldn't start crying?

STUART APPLEBY: Was there a five-yard difference between the shots or was it only feet?

Q. Four feet.

STUART APPLEBY: It was like a long shot.

Q. She chipped in from 25, 30 feet. And after it went on they discovered that she, in fact --

STUART APPLEBY: I think if it was obvious -- the context of it, I don't know what the scores were at the time.

Q. Then to reset, if Azinger chips in out of line, and you're leading 1-up on the 13th hole, and you're trailing -- the team is trailing in the match, do you say play over?

STUART APPLEBY: You've got to at least call for a measurement.

STEVE ELKINGTON: I think the rules official at that particular time -- I know that's happened to us before, where if it's a bit close you ask the official that's walking with you to pace it off. I watched it on the TV and I thought that was going to happen then. But it didn't happen.

STUART APPLEBY: That's not gamesmanship, whatever you want to call it, that's just the rules. If you play out of turn -- you don't do that. You're supposed to have an agreement between the two players, or you call for the official. Then it gets funny after that, somebody chips, and they ask to get it checked, especially if they chipped in. You make an agreement and get on with it.

Q. In general are you saying you guys are more aware of it and you'd ask for a measurement before you play?

STUART APPLEBY: I think most guys are pretty aware, this type of format -- maybe in stroke-play --

STEVE ELKINGTON: On their behalf, it was raining, it was nasty over there, and maybe the official was off to the side and the other girls thought they were away or whatever.

STUART APPLEBY: It only takes a minute for a club to come out of the bag and hit the shot. And all of a sudden someone comes up and unfortunately that was a bit sad. Annika didn't like it very much, but that's the rules.

Q. Gentlemen, can you assess the relative strength of the International side, who's playing well, how you like the course, whose hip feels better than whose?

GREG NORMAN: I know whose hip feels better (laughter.)

ROBERT ALLENBY: My hip is pretty good. (Laughter.) I'm sure the guys to the right of me are feeling pretty good, too. But I think the whole side is a very, very strong side. We're all playing well. We're all fit, and we're all ready to play and we're very eager to get out there come Thursday and put some points on the board. All the players, obviously we're all from different parts of the world, and some of us play different Tours, as well, but I think we're all -- this is just one of those weeks where the past that I've played in as a team we all come together so strongly, and as Greg said and everyone else said before, it's just so important that it really doesn't matter how good you're playing coming into this event, because during this event it's amazing how quick you can pick it up, if you weren't playing that well. Because when you become a team like the International Team, it's very easy to -- because everyone is on your side, and everyone is pulling for you, and helping you along the way, if it's from the bus ride to the -- from the course to the hotel, it's just the feelings that we get. Everyone is very positive. And when you're in a positive mood and very relaxed atmosphere you always play a lot better. It doesn't matter how well you've played or how many tournaments you've won prior to this event, I think it's -- come this event, we'll be ready to play.

Q. How will it feel if you get to team up with Stewart, two guys who have sort of grown up together and played together?


Q. You were sad two years ago?

ROBERT ALLENBY: Obviously I just wasn't playing well enough to make the team last time. So that was my goal this year was to play as good as I could, try and get a couple of wins or win or whatever it's going to take to get myself into the side. But I think obviously if I am playing with Stuey, obviously we've played a lot of golf together over the years, a lot of junior golf, a lot of match play together, and obviously if I wasn't married they'd probably think we were a bit strange (laughter.) But actually my wife's just there for looks. Don't tell anyone. (Laughter.) If that's the case come Thursday, it doesn't matter who we play with, I'm sure we could be paired with anyone in the whole side, we could always put on a good show.

Q. Greg, based on the World Golf proposition that you fronted for, at least, years ago, is this and the World Golf Championship of particular satisfaction to you?

GREG NORMAN: I would say this more than the World Golf Championship. I don't think the World Golf Championship is anywhere near what I proposed a couple of years ago, and that's a different subject all together. But this one here definitely is. The only thing that I thought would be different about this thing right from the outset is I believe it was I made a suggestion, is the fact that we should play the winner of the Ryder Cup. And that way you give a break from whatever Ryder Cup team each year, you're not going to play the same team every year. From our standpoint that would be great, from the Internationals, because we could go back to Europe where a lot of us play. That would have eased a lot of pressure on what the Americans are feeling right now. Outside of that, that's the only thing that I would have seen different with The Presidents Cup. But the World Golf Championships are nothing like I proposed.

Q. They're not?

GREG NORMAN: No, they're not.

Q. Greg, following on from that, do you think it will ever happen that the International Team will play the Ryder Cup team?

GREG NORMAN: Not to the play in the Ryder Cup team --

Q. Against them?

GREG NORMAN: Well, you're asking the wrong guy. I'm just a member of the team. You have to ask the PGA TOUR and Tim Finchem and all those guys, and ask the European Tour. That's a big decision. You have to get the PGA of America involved now. You have to understand the dynamics of that decision are going to be very, very huge. You have to understand from the perspective of the players it would be a very, very likable decision.

Q. So you would favor that?

GREG NORMAN: I would personally favor that because I enjoy traveling. I enjoy going to different places. I just went to Germany just recently, and I forget how much I enjoyed going to Germany. From any personal standpoint, I'm not speaking for these guys, but I'd like to be able to go back and spread golf around the world as much as we can. Even though the Ryder Cup is there, we haven't experienced playing the Europeans in a Ryder Cup format. From the International standpoint it's better for us, because we have a chance of playing against them. The United States always plays Europe; the United States plays the International Team. The International Team only plays the United States.

STEVE ELKINGTON: If we had a plane like yours, we'd like to travel, too. (Laughter.)

Q. I'd like to ask Michael Campbell about the rookies, this is your personal rookie experience.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL: I'm lying back here, sucking up the atmosphere. This is my first. It started with the team meeting. And I thought I'm really here, and I'm just looking around the golf course and ready to play. And as the rest of the guys said before, although we're from different countries all around the world, every time we get together we gel very easily. That's our strong point, I think, in the last victory two years ago down in Melbourne. But for me personally it's a great honor to play as a team, because obviously in professional golf it's very much an individual sport and to actually play as a team it comes along probably twice a year; Dunhill Cup and Presidents Cup and sometimes World Cup, as well. So playing with 11 other guys is a great thing for me.

Q. Greg, the team played when the Northerlies were blowing in Melbourne, how much more difficult will it be to win this time?

GREG NORMAN: I think Vijay hit the nail on the head. When you're playing in your home country on friendly soil, you feel that much more relaxed and that much more confident about your outcome. And when you're playing over on foreign soil, no matter where you play, you have to accept the fact that there's another agency involved. It's the enthusiasm of the spectators in the gallery, you hear things that you don't necessarily hear on a regular 72-hole event. You have to learn to blot those things out. So that is an added pressure or difficulty winning on home soil. But at the same time it's a stimulus, because we haven't won here. We'd like to win here. We've come close the last couple of times at this golf course. We strongly believe we can. And now the good advantage for us is that a lot of us live here in the United States. We are in certain ways friendly faces. With the Ryder Cup team, very few of the Ryder Cup actually live here. We know, we've played with the American guys, like Steve said on a weekly basis. We live in the same places. And so we're in front of the same public. But it's not that easy. It's not as easy as going down to Australia and knowing the golf course. Because we, as Australians, knew exactly what to expect that time of year, so we gave a warning to the guys who had never experienced Royal Melbourne under those conditions. All of us here have played that golf course like that. It was a huge advantage when we could sit down and say expect this or hit it here or hit it there. I think that was probably one, maybe two-shot advantage to each of us every day.

JAMES CRAMER: Gentlemen, thanks very much. The next press conference will be at 2:00 with six members of the United States team.

End of FastScripts….

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