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May 28, 2008
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: We'd like to thank Paul Azinger for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Memorial Tournament, a past champion of this event. I don't know if you had a chance to play yesterday, look at the golf course, but maybe talk a little bit about the tournament and then we'll go into some other things.
PAUL AZINGER: It's great to be back. I haven't played in a while. I did play the front nine yesterday. I can't believe how deep the rough is. Holy crap. Can you say crap?
But it's the same as it always is. Perfect shape. And it's been another great event.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Questions, please.
Q. Jack was here yesterday holding court and he started talking about the Ryder Cup. And I think I'm accurate here, there's a transcript here, he seemed to think that he didn't see the wisdom of putting old coaches on the team and things of that nature. And he related to us a conversation that you two had in the beginning and he told you it's not what you do, it's what you don't do. So to get it started, what's your thoughts on that?
PAUL AZINGER: He did say it is what you don't do, and I kind of agree with that. But I have three assistants that you know about -- actually, I have a couple more that you don't know about -- that are helping me, so, I mean, the more the merrier. For me, I just feel like Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton are there for me. And I think the players are going to love getting to know those two guys. And but to suggest that they're there as babysitters or there as teachers or instructors or whatever is just not that accurate.
Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton and Olin Browne are there to help me. And I don't know that I could have picked three better guys to be there to help me. And that's why they're there. So I'm looking forward to spending the week with them. Their wisdom I think is undeniable. And their knowledge is undeniable and their experiences are undeniable, and I think extremely valuable. And Jack Nicklaus has probably more experience than the three of them combined. I don't know. But I don't. So I'm going to take those three guys and I'm going to use them to the best of my ability to help me try to get everything right.
So they're there for me.
Q. Did you see --
PAUL AZINGER: I need them there.
Q. Did you happen to see what Seve said last week about how he was kind of rooting for the U.S. this time around to some degree because he felt like -- well, that's what he said, man. He felt like it was more important to the Cup that the U.S. won this thing to stop the bleeding. I'm wondering whether you see a danger that a lot of the rest of us have talked about where disinterest becomes a factor if the American team keeps getting hammered. You know how sports fans are in this country. Like at your alma mater with football now.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah. Thanks.
Well, use football as an example. The Super Bowl, there's been plenty of blowouts in the Super Bowl. I don't think there was a lack of interest at the next Super Bowl. And that happens every year, not every two years.
Q. Not the same two teams.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I know, but it's not the same players either. It's always different players. So I think that the blowouts are more of an anomaly than the norm. And I don't think that golf's Super Bowl, the Ryder Cup, will ever lose interest, people will ever lose interest in that. I don't think. I mean, you know, I doubt it. It's a pretty competitive event. A lot of things have been said, both sides of the ocean in the past, when all of Europe was included it became extremely competitive. Only time it really hasn't been unbelievably competitive is the last two matches. So and that's very unusual. But because a particular match wasn't interesting didn't mean the build-up to the match wasn't interesting, because the build-up was fantastic. And the build-up to these matches are going to be fantastic.
So I don't anticipate a blowout on either side, but I don't think that either of the last two captains anticipated a blowout either. But I doubt very seriously that anyone in this room will lose a great deal of interest. You may lose interest in the actual match as it's going on because it's a blowout, but Ryder Cup itself, I think that's here to stay.
Q. The Ryder Cup as we know it was born here in 1987 on this course. Have you talked to anybody who dated before that on the differences in pressure on the captain before '86, and since '87, the kind of pressure you're going to maybe be under?
PAUL AZINGER: I don't know, Julius knows probably better than I do, but somebody had Julius's job -- when was your first year, '89?
JULIUS MASON: '92.
PAUL AZINGER: '92. So I mean, I'm more of a figure head as a promotional tool to the build-up of these matches, you know, in a lot of ways. And then of course there's a lot of things that you have to do behind the scenes. But the pressure is on the players; it's not on the captain. I mean, what am I going to do? I'm going to get 12 guys that are going to make this team, eight guys who are going to make it, four guys I'm going to pick. I'm going to find out who wants to play with who and then hope they do their best. And I have three assistants to help me. So.
Q. You're saying the pressure's not on you, but earlier you were saying "my assistants are there for me" and the question I keep running through my mind is, do you feel excess pressure or do you feel insecure or anything saying, look, I need these old veterans? I mean, we all know Ray Floyd and we now how self-confident he is and we know how he'd just stare down a bear if he had to. But do you need a guy like that around you? What will he do for you?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, what I need is I have a attention deficit for one thing. I mean, I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth and forget to brush my teeth. So, yeah, I want those guys to be there to help me. You know, so that's the reason they're there. That's what I'm thinking. I'm not -- they're not there to babysit. They're there to -- I'm just looking forward to their input. I wouldn't make a bigger deal out of it than that.
Q. You know there's a Ryder Cup this year though, right?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, is there?
It's going to be great. There are a lot of things that have been said. Seve's comments, I don't think anyone from Europe feels the way -- I don't think any European player on that team feels the way Seve feels. I'm guaranteeing you there's going to be 12 guys coming over there from Europe that don't feel like America needs to win these matches. And so I expect a real intensity from those guys and they're going to play good. They play great. They always do.
Q. Have you had any meetings this year, player meetings, barbeques or --
PAUL AZINGER: No.
Q. We always read about good barbeques and get-to-know-you type things. Nothing?
PAUL AZINGER: I don't think that's that important, personally. I don't feel like it needs to be a love fest. The American players get along great. They just do. And I'm not going to target we're going to have fun this week or any of that. I just think when 12 guys get together they have fun hanging out. That's just the way it is. It's natural. It's not something that's forced. Guys just hang out and have a good time.
The American players have always had a good time. But we have lost five of the last six matches and the one match in '99 that the American team did win they came from behind so that they were getting killed all week. So for 12 years it looks like the Americans aren't having fun and Europe is. Well, you know what, if you're getting killed, you're not having any fun. If you're -- if you're getting crushed and we have been behind really from each morning each first day for six straight Ryder Cups. So I don't know how you can look like you're having fun. I think if you look like you're having fun and you're behind you would be resoundingly criticized. So the perception is that Europe has more fun than we do. I mean, they probably are having more fun. They're winning.
Q. Do you think your captaincy and how to win this cup is more about what you have to do or more what you don't have to do?
PAUL AZINGER: Look, I've already done what have I to do. For the most part. Change the way the team's picked. That's my gut belief. With all my heart I believe that the selection process is going to make the big difference. We have averaged six players each of the last five Ryder Cups who had not won a tournament that year. They have averaged around two players who had not won a tournament that year. And I think the selection process is part of the reason why.
We had a system in place that rewarded Ryder Cup points for Top-10 finishes. If a hundred percent of the TOUR was Americans, you would give out a hundred percent of the points. But because of this infusion of Australians and South Africans and Europeans, to play our TOUR, the amount of points given out for Top-10s, we give out -- like the last Ryder Cup I think gave out like 58 percent of the points possible. So it's a big difference. You could finish 11th and 10 weeks in a row and not get a single Ryder Cup point, but you could have been the low American 10 straight weeks. So it's -- I just feel like that all my work was done previously to the matches even starting. We have -- I get four picks instead of two, I pick three weeks after the PGA, not the day after the PGA. And so we have laid the groundwork to get the hottest, most confident players there.
Q. So the rest of this time is?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I mean, I'm trying to pick out the menu right now. That's pressure, you know. I've done the apparel. The apparel has been designed and the players are going to get fitted for apparel right now. This week Top-30 players are going to get fitted. Promoting the event. Doing a press conference once a month. There's a lot of other stuff going on. Like my phone ringing here. But -- sorry.
Q. It's Seve.
PAUL AZINGER: Now I'm really pretty much just waiting for -- I'll wait for the eight guys to make this team at the PGA. I got three more weeks to evaluate who I want to pick, which I'm going to do by committee as well. I mean, I already have an opinion of what I'm looking for. I know what I'm looking for. And then when we all get together, we're going to go figure out if Tiger and Phil and Furyk and Singh and those guys will figure out if they want to go play Valhalla on their own or as a team. I mean, I'll figure that out. I don't know how important that is. It's up to them, really.
This is going to be kind of Tiger and Phil's first time of really being the senior guys on the team as well. So there's a lot of things going on and there's a lot of things that I have to look at and address and assess. But the lion's share of the hard work was done a year and a half ago.
Q. On the inside I do recall you had some interesting competitions with Seve. Will you have to tell your guys a little bit about how to deal with that sort of thing? Or should they know by now?
PAUL AZINGER: I'm dealing with 12 professional golfers that are the 12 best Americans in the world. It's just a fact. And if I go in there thinking I got to hold hands, then what chance do we have. I'm not holding anybody's hand. They're all big boys.
Q. Besides your coaches, when you make that decision on the final four, have you thought about asking the eight automatic picks?
PAUL AZINGER: Absolutely. Of course.
Q. You said you had an idea of what you wanted. What do you want? Yeah, what are you looking for?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, if I told you that -- I mean, I'll just wait and see. I know -- I have an idea what I'm looking for. I don't want to articulate it. It would be the wrong thing to do.
Q. Who are the other two assistants that we don't know about?
PAUL AZINGER: I probably have more than that, because I got to count Julius and Susan. So I probably have four more. But there's two, they're just buddies. They're helping me out with, you know, just stuff.
Q. Jack one of them?
PAUL AZINGER: No. Jack's not. He would be a good one though.
Q. You said you have had meetings. How much talk though to guys, especially guys around the 10, 15 mark, how much talk interaction with other guys have you had?
PAUL AZINGER: A little bit. I haven't been out much. I don't think it's important for me to have a lot of interaction with those guys. The reality is that I power my heart and soul into these matches and I lose sleep over it. Because obviously, obvious reasons, but as a player I never thought about the Ryder Cup until really it was just until the team was really established and then the build-up to the preparation of getting ready mentally to play. So Jack, let's face it, Nicklaus didn't know -- I mean, how many players did he know in the Presidents Cup team? Probably not very many. It's not that important.
The important thing is when you get there, to try to understand who would you like to play with, is there anyone on the team you don't want to play with, I won't put you with who you don't want to play with, I'll try to get you with who you do want to play with. I don't think it's important to have functions and love fests together, any of that. And I feel like the guys are all big boys and they know -- but they're focused on this week, they're focused on the U.S. Open coming up. Trust me, the Ryder Cup is very much on the back of their minds, way back there. They're not -- it's not on the front of what they're thinking. They play great, they make the team. Then they start thinking about the Ryder Cup.
Q. If you were to put yourself in their shoes -- first of all, actually when is the four pick? The date?
PAUL AZINGER: Three weeks after the matches or after the PGA September 2.
Q. After Deutsche Bank. Okay. So if you were to put yourself in the shoes of someone who finished 10th, 11th, whatever, on the standings, now you may or may not go to Greensboro, but you go off to the Barclays and then Deutsche Bank. Are you trying out for the captain? I mean, how would you look at those three?
PAUL AZINGER: Probably. You probably are. If you win, you're probably going to get on. I mean, it's as simple as that. Anybody who wins a tournament after the PGA is probably going to be pretty confident three weeks later. I don't know how -- the great intangible, the thing that you lack for out here as a player, and hope to attain is confidence. More than anything. Everybody can play. But the guys that are the most confident play the best.
Q. If a guy wins one of those first two playoff events, is there a pretty good likelihood he'll be picked?
PAUL AZINGER: There's a pretty good likelihood, yeah. Real good likelihood. If a guy wins, like I said a few weeks ago, if a guy on the Nationwide Tour wins three in a row, and I'm picking the next week, I mean, I would be an idiot not to pick that guy. He's qualified for the TOUR. He just won three in a row on a really hard TOUR. And who could be more confident than that guy? If someone said to me after I made that comment a couple months back, well, how could you do that? That guy would be totally intimidated. Well, I don't think so. I mean, I don't think so.
Q. Two things. First of all, could you maybe talk a little bit about your Kentucky Derby experience.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, it was great. It was just great. First time there and I don't know that anyone will ever get to go to the Kentucky Derby the way that we went to the Kentucky Derby. Red carpet treatment the whole way and I was presented the Mint Julep Cup by the lady that owns Secretariat. That was pretty cool. And it was just -- it was kind of -- we kept saying it's kind of like the Titanic. We were like the high fallutin's up on the top. We're in the lounge and we could go right to the betting window right there and then walk downstairs to go do the press thing with ESPN and you're down there with the every days, you know, that are, it was really, it was interesting. But I had a great time. And I don't know that you can -- I don't know that I'll ever experience anything like that again. It was great.
Q. Secondly, did you have anything on Big Brown?
PAUL AZINGER: Actually, I had Big Brown in a, like a wheel bet. It didn't pay off. So.
Q. Secondly, we are at the Memorial Tournament, I wanted to ask you a Memorial question, if I may. What did it mean to win Jack's tournament? Not that you could put in order each win being more special than another, but the fact that he hosts it and so forth, what did that mean? Did that have some special place for you?
PAUL AZINGER: Plus it's a great golf course. So you win on great golf courses, it's always nice. And then Nicklaus's tournament was phenomenal. And then the way it happened. It looked like I was one behind and hit it in the bunker and it looked like that was it. And then Payne hit it in the bunker and I got up there and his ball was buried. And I just didn't want to miss the playoff. And it was a hard shot, dramatic, right up close, the flag was right there, underneath the flag, and to have it go in like that, it was just such an exciting moment. It was a very memorable moment. And it just made it even more special.
But there are certain events out here that still hold a lot of more -- that always will hold more prestige because of what they are. The history and the tradition and Jack's tournament and Arnold's tournament, that's two of them.
Q. Did he say anything to you, did Jack say anything to you after?
PAUL AZINGER: Like?
Q. After, when at the award ceremony or anything like?
PAUL AZINGER: Not really.
Q. I mean about the shot or anything.
PAUL AZINGER: Lucky. I don't know.
No, I don't really remember too much of what Jack said. It just was -- just it was just really cool to hit that shot, win the tournament, and then come up that hill and see Nicklaus standing there with his arm extended.
Q. Thinking back to the reception that the Irish guys got the last time around, Darren Clark and Harrington and the guys with Irish blood, would you look at the Kentucky guys, Kenny or Holmes, any differently or evaluate them any differently if they were close but not locked into the top eight because of the extra goose bumps they might bring?
PAUL AZINGER: Probably.
Q. In terms of getting the crowd?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I think I would have to, if they're playing decent and they're close. I'm looking for confident guys. That's it. And you can argue the other way too that you have a couple guys from Kentucky, it might be more pressure on them. I don't know. I don't think Padraig won a point at the last Ryder Cup, did he?
Q. He didn't. I don't think so.
PAUL AZINGER: So there's two ways to look at that. I really just want guys that are playing good. That's what I'm looking for. And I like the idea that they're from Kentucky. I don't think that hurts. But you never know.
Q. What was a better shot, in your mind, the shot at Memorial or the hole out at the Belfry on the 18th?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, the results, one was the winner, and the other one wasn't. But I think that for just pure raw pressure and -- the shot here, I was just hope hoping to get close so I wouldn't miss a playoff. The shot there, my dialog with my caddie really for three holes, but then it was obvious it was coming down to us when we were on 15 fairway and I was two down. And I won the -- I think I won the 16th hole, I made a -- no one remembers that 10- or 12-footer I made on 17 or it was over right there. The whole European team is on the green on 17 ready to pop the cork. But I made the putt to keep it alive.
And then 18 we're walking across the bridge and I'm looking at the board and then I get in the bunker and I'm looking at the board, I think that was the better shot. Because I said to my caddie, I said, I have to make this, don't I. And he didn't even say anything. And the last thing I said before I hit the shot was, I looked at him and I said, well, of course I do. And then I made it. So I think in the end that was probably the best shot. Really, if we would have won those matches, where would that shot be in the history?
Q. Better than Justin's shot.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah. I mean seriously. So I had to make it and it went in. I got home and my friends were like, good grief, you're the best bunker player that's ever lived. Man. I can't believe you made that shot.
And I just -- my response is, I'm the luckiest guy in the world because the flag's only that big, right. If the ball's just this much to the right or to the left of that dead center point on that flag, it kicks off. And I hit it dead center and it went in, so.
Q. A follow-up, when you were at the Derby you met Muhammad Ali and your thoughts and while you were there, you also played Valhalla. Anything -- first time since they made a couple changes that I guess you had seen it. Anything else?
PAUL AZINGER: I seen it a bunch, but, yeah, I did tour the course; I didn't play it. And I spent some time with Mark Wilson there, the superintendent, and if there's any way that we can get any kind of advantage in course setup, I think Europe's been able to capitalize on course setup, take advantage of their strengths and I don't think that we have ever really even looked into that. In the end it's just been kind of just set it up a certain way and go. But I don't know how to get it an advantage at this point.
I think when the team's -- the makeup of the team finally comes together, maybe there's a way. And so I just feel like that it would be irresponsible for me not to try to find a way to gain some sort of an edge if it's possible as the home captain. I have that privilege to set the course up like I want. So it may not -- there may not be anything to do. It may be if I look at their team and my team and realize that, well, they all -- everybody hits it the same distance or something, or everybody hits the same amount of fairways or whatever, there may be no way to get that edge. But I'll look for it. If I can find it, I'll try to get it.
Q. People read this tomorrow or hear this and say, meaning there's maybe 150 guys that have a chance three weeks out from the Ryder Cup --
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah.
Q. -- to get on the team?
PAUL AZINGER: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, I just think that, you know, it would be -- if you were captain, Alex and some guy won the week before the matches, would you pick him?
Q. I'm going back to think about the clothing right now.
PAUL AZINGER: Well, seriously. I think it's just common sense.
Q. Well, but as an example you have guys that win and then the next week they don't play so well. So is there --
PAUL AZINGER: Well, there's a week off now. So they got a week off to go home and party and then get ready.
They can go play terrible at home and then come to the Ryder Cup and play good.
Q. Wondered if you could recap when you were playing in the '93 Ryder Cup, that was the head-to-head with Faldo I believe the last day. But did you have, during that week, an inkling that something was seriously wrong or had it occurred before then with the shoulder or was it not until after that? Was it in the back of your mind, were you worried?
PAUL AZINGER: I was seriously worried. And at the PGA in '93 the orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe actually looked at my bone scan and all that and he told me that he wanted to do a biopsy Tuesday after the PGA. And I had already had my shoulder biopsied in '91 because there was something going on out here. And then it moved back to there. And so, yeah, I knew my shoulder was killing me during the whole Ryder Cup. I couldn't, even if I had a scorecard, I couldn't have put it in my back pocket the whole matches. So it was killing me. I knew that I was going to be biopsied eventually. I didn't know when.
Q. In your own preparation for the Ryder Cups that you played in, was there a correlation with how you were playing and how you performed in the Ryder Cup and your confidence level? Is that your personal experience that the better you're playing probably the better you'll play in the Ryder Cup?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah. Absolutely. And also I think experience is overrated at Ryder Cup as well as a player. My best Ryder Cup was my first Ryder Cup. I played great the whole week. I played -- I didn't even play great in '93 at the Ryder Cup. I played better than my record, but it was nothing special there. So I just -- plus there's a whole, some guys are totally lovers of Match Play and the finality of each putt and some guys aren't.
Q. Having played with Tiger in a Ryder Cup, does that give you any help in figuring out who he plays with and along those lines?
PAUL AZINGER: I have --
Q. And who does he play with?
PAUL AZINGER: I have an opinion about the type of person that Tiger should be playing with, but I also respect his opinion. So my opinion and his may differ. His is more important than mine when it gets down to the brass tacks who do you want to play with, who don't you want to play with. So I have an idea of what I feel is a great combination for somebody like Tiger Woods, but he may not agree. So bottom line is you ask every player on the team.
Q. What did you think of Jack's deal of having guys write on a piece of paper who they want to play with and who they don't if there's someone they don't and turning that in. I'll probably just ask them and then write it down myself.
But I like the idea. I was an assistant captain at the Presidents Cup in '94 or whatever, and Hale Irwin was a playing captain, so he allowed me to do a lot. And that was the very first thing that I did back in '94. The very first thing you do. It's just obvious that you find out who, is there somebody on this team you just don't want to play with and who would you like to be with. It's simple. Guys have opinions. They know.
Q. If you're prepared for -- you know, it maybe a little early for this, but it's a good time to ask, if you're prepared for afterwards. Have you thought about if you win or if you lose you're the goat, you're the hero, every little decision you're going to have made will be scrutinized by us, some former captains are like in seclusion practically. So have you thought about that?
PAUL AZINGER: Not really, no. I'm thinking that I'm hoping that I'm sitting on a white sand beach drinking out of a bamboo cup with a pink umbrella out of it, smoking cigars. I'm going to take that up. I'm going to drink Courvoisier and smoke cigars and sit on the beach, one way or the other. And play a little Champions Tour maybe.
Q. That seems like loaded question, do you just ask a guy, who don't you want to play with or would you say, who would you rather play with?
PAUL AZINGER: My first question is, is there anyone on the team you just don't want to be with this week, you don't want to play with. Simple as that. And you got some preferences? And the guy rattles off three preferences. And in the end you can't get him with everybody so you say, I'll do my best to get you with who you want to be with.
Q. What what happens if 11 guys say -- they all put one guy they don't want to play with?
PAUL AZINGER: Dude's in the envelope or something, I don't know.
Q. Sit until Sunday?
PAUL AZINGER: May not play until Sunday. Right.
Q. Would you have qualified for the '87 team and was it because of that rule that no longer exists that you didn't play. Do you remember the circumstances?
PAUL AZINGER: I wasn't a member of the PGA of America, they had a rule in place back then that you had to -- I don't remember. Had to attend a sweater folding class or something. I don't know what it was. But something.
I won three tournaments in 1987 and was PGA Player of the Year. So I probably would have made the team.
Q. But couldn't play on the Ryder Cup team.
PAUL AZINGER: Um-hum. Couldn't play. As a matter of fact I didn't really -- I didn't have any idea and then I went and looked at the Ryder Cup list and it was like, what the heck? What have I done? You know. So I wasn't on the list.
JULIUS MASON: We have since Photoshopped him on that team.
Q. Have you double checked on -- you've thrown out the Champions Tour I think at one point this year as well, on Nationwide Tour, that they are eligible, that you don't have to be a PGA TOUR member? If they won three in a row they would be. What if they won two in a row?
PAUL AZINGER: I don't know. I thought Ruyji was in the Top-10, but. I didn't know he was born in a Japan. Julius?
JULIUS MASON: I don't know.
PAUL AZINGER: The point I'm trying to make is pretty obvious I'm just looking for guys that are confident. That's the point.
Q. You keep talking about the confidence issue, does chemistry and those last four picks have anything to do with it?
PAUL AZINGER: Of course. Definitely. I mean, you know, the question was asked earlier about other players on the team and their opinion. And do I take input from other players that are already qualified. Of course I do. I'm looking at, it's a big decision, you get four picks, that's a big decision and if I'm to be criticized in the end it will probably come from how my four picks end up performing in the end.
So I think it's going to be difficult to tear down the selection process. I think it's going to be difficult to make the team this year and not win a tournament. It could happen, so far Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk haven't won this year. They play well every week though and they played well in the four Majors last year.
But there's still a long way to go. We have three Majors yet to go and Majors are worth a lot more, so. But we have averaged six players that go to the Ryder Cup the last five matches that haven't won a tournament that year. I think that's not, you know, that's not likely to happen. It could, it could produce the same exact scenario, but I don't think it will.
Q. You say your four picks, it's not going to be a consensus four picks at the end?
PAUL AZINGER: I'm calling this. I'm pulling the trigger. I'm not going to say, well, Ray said this guy and I went against him and took Dave's guy. Tiger wanted so and so, so I picked him, even though I didn't want him. It's not going to be like that. It's going to be, it always falls on me, right, so. I just I'll ask you and Doug too, I mean, hey, come on tell me, help me out. I mean, I want to get it right. I want to get the right guys there. But like I say, I think that I already kind of know the personality type and style of player that I'm looking for. So on me.
Q. Are you seeing the kind of volatility or change that you had kind of expected when you put in the new point system?
PAUL AZINGER: Um-hum. I am. The top four guys look fairly secure. But not a hundred percent secure. I think that the top three are secure. I think. I mean, let me look.
Q. 3,500 or more points.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah. But you know, Zach won the Masters, Stricker hasn't played that well, Justin is playing good every week. So I like the way it's shaping up. I really do. And I think that I personally don't know how it's going to work because it's never been done before. But the three Majors are double money. And then we got some really big cash tournaments coming up. These world events are coming up and there's a lot going on.
I think that there's a potential that there's going to be a lot of fluctuation. I think that it keeps it very interesting. It's very interesting. I watch every week.
Q. You mentioned that you thought Tiger and Phil, this is sort of their first time through this process as veteran elder statesmen for lack of a better term. Are you looking for anything from them differently, leadership-wise?
PAUL AZINGER: Those guys are just natural born leaders. They're just, you know in the end my feelings when I played with Tiger from the get-go he kind of stayed in the background a little bit. But it was probably, he's so smart, that there's other guys that have been on the team for years that are older than him, why would Tiger jump out and take some kind of leadership role.
He's an intelligent guy. His role will be exactly what it should be, because he just seems to do everything right.
And Phil's the same way. Phil and I have a great relationship and I feel like he's always, every team I've been on with Phil or the one I guess, 2002, Phil is right there. He's smart too.
Q. It's such an honor to make a Ryder Cup team, do you think it's unfair in your position as captain to have players play with, who you think are going to make the team win rather than, oh, I don't want to play with this guy? I mean, to me that, it just seems like anybody that would get on that team, that they would play with anybody, they would sit out whenever they had to sit out, they would do whatever the captain wanted so that they could win.
PAUL AZINGER: Well in the end I'm sure they will. But there's one Ryder Cup team I played on where there was just one guy I just didn't really want to play with. So I think that's human nature. There's certain guys that for whatever reason you just don't want to play with them. And the 11 other choices are there.
Q. But isn't that unfair that one guy? I mean he made the team.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, well, maybe that one guy might have named me.
You know, so.
Q. Who was that?
PAUL AZINGER: I wouldn't make a bigger deal out of that. There's certain guys, it's likely that 10 of the 12 guys also say, there's nobody on this team I don't want to play with. I mean in the end that's kind of the way that boils down.
There was one year there was a guy on the team I said, you know what, I don't want to play with that guy if you can help it. But I don't care about anybody else. And then every other year when I was asked that question it was like, yeah, I'll play with anybody. I don't care.
Q. Is that decision based on personality?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, you might have had a run-in with that guy, who knows.
Q. Would style of play have anything to do with it?
PAUL AZINGER: Probably not. Probably personality.
Q. What do you make of the guy at number five right now? Boo-boo weekly?
PAUL AZINGER: I love that dude.
If he makes the team everyone's banned from the press room but Boo.
Just get Boo quotes all week.
Q. When did you first see him? Do you remember your first time you ran into him?
PAUL AZINGER: I don't really remember. I just, I still really haven't watched him play other than on TV. But I just know he hits the ball really, really well and it would be great. He'll be great.
Q. Kind of curious about one thing. Just from one experience do you remember a rainout Saturday afternoon at Valhalla, the PGA one year, when we came back it was really, it was really loud and bordering on unruly. Given their propensity to kind of a flag waving part of the country, their excitement over this Ryder Cup, do you anticipate any problems?
PAUL AZINGER: Well --
Q. Do you anticipate it being over the line?
PAUL AZINGER: You never know. They serve alcohol there so anything is possible. But my message really will be simply that I want the crowd to be completely into it, but in the end sportsmanship plays out. So that's what we're shooting for. And I want everybody to behave properly. That's what you're hoping for.
But at the same time I want this crowd to be raucous and unruly too to a point where they're not out of line. I think it's going to be great crowd. And not everyone's from Kentucky. Well there's going to be a lot of people from all over the country. Because there was a lottery. It's not just people from Louisville that are going to be there. I don't know if there's a much higher percentage of tickets that went out to the state, I suppose.
JULIUS MASON: Correct.
PAUL AZINGER: But there was a lottery.
Q. How many went to the state, Julius?
JULIUS MASON: It's a number you don't need to know for your story, Doug.
Q. How many, Paul? What did he tell you?
PAUL AZINGER: I'm going to say I don't know. I really don't know.
Q. What is over the top or out of line?
PAUL AZINGER: Well I think any time you're talking in a European back swing or yelling stuff out or throwing out disparaging remarks which might have happened at Brookline I think that's over the top. I think we want to play this above board and sportsmanship plays out in the end. Golf's an honorable game and I think the fans understand that. And hopefully in their enthusiasm, if we're doing well that it will never get out of hand.
Q. If Monty doesn't make the team who do you think they will pick on?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, really. What you, you want me to answer that?
Q. You going to nominate somebody?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, really.
Q. Have you and Faldo spent much time recently talking about Ryder Cup?
PAUL AZINGER: A little bit. I did a function with him a couple weeks ago Monday after TPC. And we spent a little bit of time together.
Q. Is he mad?
PAUL AZINGER: No. No. Faldo and I are on great terms. But not a whole lot to talk about. I did tell him that I might have to deliver some tainted meat to the European room, but he told me that they were bringing their own chef so I couldn't do that. So I thought, oh, darn.
Q. If they're bringing their own cooks that's all you need.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, really.
Q. Your most memorable Ryder Cup?
PAUL AZINGER: My most memorable Ryder Cup? Probably -- they're just all unbelievable. My first Ryder Cup was unbelievable. And I got to play Seve in singles. Kiawah was amazing. The Belfry was amazing, playing Faldo in the last group on Sunday was amazing. All my Ryder Cups have been really spectacular. I wouldn't single any one out. It's just one, it's, I think it's the greatest experience you can have as a player at this level is to go as a team to represent your country and hang out with 12 guys that you ordinarily probably wouldn't be spending a lot of time with.
And the camaraderie in the room is just something that if you don't get to have that in your career you really missed out on something. And you don't realize it because you didn't ever, you don't know -- sometimes you don't know what you're missing. So it's just, it's just something special about being at a Ryder Cup.
Q. How come Nick hasn't named his assistant captains yet? He can't find anybody to do it?
PAUL AZINGER: Well, I thought he already named McGinley and Jose, right?
Q. Didn't one of those not work out? I can't remember.
PAUL AZINGER: Well McGinley wants to make the team. I don't think that's a shot at Faldo. He wants to make the team. The European press will try to make it a shot at Faldo. Present company excluded, but.
But, you know. That's just, it's, they just like to take as many shots at the guy as they can. So he understands that. But he's picked his assistants. I don't know if he's added somebody else or not. I don't know.
Q. I thought they were talking to --
PAUL AZINGER: It's not that important. I don't know why it's that important. I guess because I picked Raymond and Dave it's like such a big deal.
Q. Well it's always a bigger deal over there.
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah.
Q. They talk about it incessantly. It's a 24 month cycle for them for the European press?
PAUL AZINGER: Yeah, I guess.
Q. They want to beat the Americans.
PAUL AZINGER: Yes, they do.
JOAN vT ALEXANDER: All right. Thank you.
PAUL AZINGER: Thank you.
End of FastScripts