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May 21, 2008

Ian Woosnam


KELLY ELBIN: 2006 European Ryder Cup Captain and 1991 Masters Champion, Ian Woosman, joining us at the 69th Senior PGA Championship. This is Ian's first Senior PGA Championship. Welcome to Oak Hill. I'm sure that it brings back some good Ryder Cup memories and a heck of a golf course, right?
IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, this Oak Hill is a great memory for me. Obviously '95 with the Ryder Cup, but also '89 I finished second to Curtis Strange I think as well.
So I have played pretty well around here. But I got to say I'm not looking forward to the next few days anyway, so. It's playing very long, weather's cold, and it's a good test of golf.
KELLY ELBIN: Thoughts on the golf course from what you saw yesterday in terms of where the premium lies on a golf course like this.
IAN WOOSNAM: Obviously I think if you can hit it long and straight that's the best thing. But I'm just wondering if they're going to move the tees forward a little bit because of the weather. If that doesn't -- that's going to affect a lot more people into playing.
At the moment as I see it the longer hitters are going to have a big benefit I think out here to play this week.
KELLY ELBIN: Questions?

Q. If I remember correctly the first time you walked a golf course in a long time was at the Masters. This golf course there's been over 25 guys that have withdrawn and I'm thinking some of it is because they would actually have to walk two of the four rounds. Can you just talk about your physical ability right now to go around here in four rounds and how difficult that's going to be for you.
IAN WOOSNAM: Good question. After the Masters I think that I should be all right. I didn't -- I was a bit unexpected to walk four rounds at the Masters, I got to say that. But I managed it. And then the next week I had to walk again at the Outback Steakhouse.
And obviously, if I make the cut and I go through to Sunday it's going to take a lot out of me, but I am getting fitter by the week, I would say. I walked around here yesterday I was aching a bit last night, but I feel all right again this morning. So it's just getting used to doing that walking again for me, really. But I feel like as I get more into the round I seem to get better. It's sort of like midway halfway through the round I get the lulls and then as I get further into it I seem to get my second wind and pick right back up again. And hopefully that will be the case this week.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian was 44th at the Masters in April. Questions?

Q. You're talking about the physical demands it takes to play this course. But many of the guys this week and previous years that they have had championships here talk about how it tests you mentally. How difficult is it?
IAN WOOSNAM: It's like any Major tournament. This course is -- you can do anything with this golf course. They got the -- I don't know how long the rough is, four inches or whatever it is. You know if you're going to get in there you're not going to get it on the green in two unless you're going to be lucky and get a good lie.
But again if you took that rough away, you could play it a different way. You could have it running and going into the trees and having shots where you might have to play it underneath trees, over the trees, it's a lot of things you could do with this golf course. But you hit it off line, you're over by under hanging trees and things like that. So it's not just getting in the rough, you're behind trees as well. So you've got to get it off the tee. If you don't get it off the tee you're not going to win this tournament.
KELLY ELBIN: Any particular holes stand out as maybe key holes among the ones on the East Course?
IAN WOOSNAM: I don't know. I think that on both nines you got to, on the first nine you got 7, 8, and 9 finishing on the front nine, which are very, very difficult. And then you got 16, 17, and 18 on the back nine. And like yesterday I think that if I had driven it on the fairway on 17 it was most probably a 3-iron.
And on the 18th hole it was, I hit a really good drive and I hit 4-iron. And on those -- there's a lot of guys -- they were two of my best drives, really. And I think Jerry Pate said he had to hit 3-wood into both of them.
So I think that shows you how long it's playing at the moment. I think that's a little bit too long. It's like going a bit at the Masters, it's taken a lot of people out of play, I think.
KELLY ELBIN: Questions?

Q. You were obviously part of the beginnings of the European ascension on the Ryder Cup teams. Now we have that basically everybody thinks that the Europeans will win and the U.S. will lose. You were at the early stages where everybody thought the U.S. would always win. Can you kind of talk about that whole process and how you guys turned things around and how difficult that was or if it was difficult at all?
IAN WOOSNAM: I just want to say is that I think the European golf has got a lot stronger over the last 20 years in depth wise. Maybe there might have been, myself, Langer, Faldo, Seve, Jose Maria, you know, there was a lot of guys there and we all also had a lot of other great players, the Torrances, Lyles, and all that.
So now we're stronger in depth and I think that we have -- what I have seen is that in we play more as a unit in the Ryder Cup. We enjoy it, we enjoy the challenge. I think it's always been that's that we have been the underdogs all the time. And I think that we're, we have risen to the challenge and that's what we really wanted to do. And we have done it now.
And actually I'm blubbering on and I don't know what I'm talking about. But I think that now it's on the other foot. You guys, I think Paul Azinger has got now four picks and it's going to be fantastic. I think it's going to make your team a lot stronger. And I think we're going to go back to seeing maybe one or two points over who wins or loses. And I think that's going to be great for the Ryder Cup.
I think that the system you use in America over two years is maybe not as good as the system we use in Europe over one year.

Q. What is it, you were there when they were the underdog now you're watching this, as the Europeans are the favorite this year, what does that mean to the European guys?
IAN WOOSNAM: I don't know, it's strange. On paper Americans should be stronger. But the Europeans I think what happens is we play, when we tend to play a friendly or we play along we tend to play match play all the time. But what I notice with the guys over here, they tend to, you tend to play stroke play all the time. If you go out in a four-ball it's always you keeping a score. And how many shots it is.
But we don't, we just if we have a 10 it doesn't matter. And I think we play that game more, we're more aggressive playing match play all the time. And even when I go down to Barbados, we play a four-ball there and I say, well, we'll just play a four-ball and, but they want to play individual because they want to keep a score. And so I say we don't do that.
And I think that maybe is the difference between the Americans who play so well in stroke play, and the Europeans play so well in match play, I think.

Q. Earlier this week Seve said that he hopes the Americans win because it's kind of taken the air out of the tire here, if the Europeans keep beating us at the Ryder Cup that the Ryder Cup may not be as relevant now as it was in the past. Just your thoughts on that.
IAN WOOSNAM: I think I disagree with that. Because you're a nation who wants to be winners. And I think it's made it even stronger that you've lost for a few times and there's more public awareness of the Ryder Cup now and I think that where we want to get it back to is where it's going to be really close again.
As I said, the one point here or there of whoever wins and I think that's what's going to happen with Paul Azinger having four picks this time it's going to make that difference, I think.

Q. One of the things he said was that he thought there needed to be more confrontation maybe. He used the term bull and matador type situation. Do you think that the, that we should be more reserved at the Ryder Cup like they are at the Presidents Cup or do you think there needs to be a little more contention in there?
IAN WOOSNAM: No, I think there's got to be passion in it. It's got to be sportsmanship and passion. I think the players always have that. The crowds again what, you know, as long as it's cheering for your good shots and clap or applaud for, applaud for the goods shots, that's all we need in golf.
We know what golf is all about. It's all about sportsmanship. And I think the Ryder Cup is always going to have that passion in it. And I think that hopefully it stays like that. We don't want to have it too friendly, you know. We're always going to be friends at the end of the day. But it's like going into a boxing match, you know, you have all this when they're weighing in and all that. But once they're finished they're having a cuddle after it, aren't they. And that's what we want in the game of golf. But put a little bit of spice in it.

Q. How much fun was that post-match celebration in '95 with the fans outside the clubhouse sharing what happened?
IAN WOOSNAM: I think that is just the two years -- well, what I have to put into two years into the Ryder Cup -- and some of the criticism I took over it, and I think that was, that celebration was part of that two years that I give to the European team.

Q. Having experienced the matches as both a captain and a player, which is more nerve wracking?
IAN WOOSNAM: I think being a captain. No doubt about it. I think, unfortunately, like you're responsible for 12 players. But when you're a player you're just, well you're responsible for yourself, you're part of 12, but I think as a captain that you're more nervous that way because you don't know how it's going to pan out or anything. There's a lot more to it.
KELLY ELBIN: With the weather being what it is here, what are the adjustments if any that you make as a player to deal with this type of weather as opposed to a more comfortable 80 degree type of day?
IAN WOOSNAM: Well, obviously you got to, it's like dressing in the heat. You got to dress for the cold. And I think you got to make sure that you got the right close on. I like to make sure if I'm going to wear my rain suit just have something light on underneath.
But looking at the forecast I think it's going to get better by the day and I think that -- hopefully you'll see the scores get better by the day as well with the weather when it warms up.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian Woosnam, thank you very much.
IAN WOOSNAM: Okay. Thanks.

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