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September 20, 2008

Justin Rose

Oliver Wilson


KELLY ELBIN: European Ryder Cup Team members Oliver Wilson and Justin Rose joining us after Saturday morning foursomes play at the 37th Ryder Cup. Oliver and Henrik Stenson rallied from 4-down to defeat Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim 2 & 1. Justin and Ian Poulter won the first hole and never trailed, beating Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell 4 & 3 to tighten the Ryder Cup, U.S. now leading 7 to 5.
Oliver, start with you, please. Congratulations on a tremendous comeback. It must have been a tremendous thrill in your first Ryder Cup appearance.
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, I've just been itching to play. Obviously excited to get out there this morning. I felt like me and Henrik were a good pairing. We spoke about it yesterday, so I was ecstatic to get out there. We didn't get off to the best of starts, but it was a lot of fun. The first tee shot was a lot of fun. And just got off to a bad start, kept pegging away, and fortunately managed to get ourselves back in the match and finish nicely.
KELLY ELBIN: Justin, comment, please. You almost holed out -- Ian almost holed out on the 1st hole and you had it going from there on. Pretty good focus on your part and got the team off to a good start.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly. Obviously it was a repeat match for us against Chad and Stewart, who were perfect gentlemen yesterday.
Even though we lost, it was a well-fought, hard-fought game, but in the right spirit. We were looking forward to the rematch today.
I think we wanted to prove a little bit of a point. We felt like we could have or should have won the game yesterday, and we wanted to go out there and obviously get the point this morning that we felt like we should have got yesterday.
We obviously got off to an amazing start today. We played great golf. We were 4-under par through 7 holes and had chances on 8, 9 and 10, really, short chances had I been able to make the putts.
And then they sort of worked their way back into the game, and obviously feelings of the previous day obviously came over us, the fact that we lost a big lead the day before, and it was looking like the same thing was happening.
But it was -- I think the experience gained from that helped us just to stay calm, and clearly we won two holes that row just to finish off the match quickly.
It's always a strange feeling when you're 5-up and then all of a sudden you're 2-up. You can't see yourself winning another hole for a little bit. But it's important to really stay positive and to realize that you just need to stay calm out there, basically.
It's amazing, the crowd really sensed that comeback and really got behind the home team, but we were delighted to finish off the match as soon as we did.

Q. Justin, could you speak to the fact that it seemed like a slight disadvantage for you guys to be going out there with kind of your two acknowledged leaders benched in the morning session, and yet you made up ground? That seems like it might be a pretty big momentum shift.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly. Well, that's obviously why the team is 12 men deep. Hopefully every one of the 12 guys here is capable of winning a point. You don't have to rely on your so-called big guns all the time. That's really important.
And I don't think it was a case of them necessarily being dropped. I think it was mutual decisions and discussions with the captain, so that was certainly the case.
Like myself this afternoon, I really felt like it was best for the team, should I just sit out a little bit. I've got a little bit of a sore wrist and a few little things that you just want to just take care of, no big deal.
But Graeme McDowell is playing great golf, and I think he'll be a fantastic partner for Ian this afternoon and I believe they'll get a point. Sometimes you've got to look at what's best for the team and not purely go on World Ranking and those sorts of things.

Q. Justin and Oliver, for both of you, obviously both rookies, does going in, in particular for you, Oliver, against Mickelson and Kim who were so successful yesterday, and you're down big and you come back and you eek a point out of there, I know it's your first time here, but does that sort of tell you what the Ryder Cup is all about, that these are the points that people don't necessarily count on, and it's the ones that you don't count on that you get that make you eventually win?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, it was great to be out there against those guys, and for me, when I wanted to get into the Ryder Cup, I don't want to be -- you're always playing against great players, but I want to play against the best.
I was really pleased when I saw the draw, to get Phil and Anthony. They played great yesterday. It was a big match, because if we could go out there and get something from it, it was good. It was going to maybe quiet the crowd a little bit and get a bit of momentum going our way.
Obviously after the start, it wasn't looking good, but to come out on top against those two guys we felt was pretty good for the team. There's a couple other good half-points which is massive for the team, and when you put them all together they make a big difference.

Q. Oliver, could you just tell me how you felt when you knocked that one in at 17 about 25 feet?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, pretty happy (laughing). I felt like I've been waiting to hole that putt all year. You know, I've done quite a few things like that in my amateur career, and it's annoying that I haven't done it as a professional. I love team competition, and there's no better stage to do it on.
I hit a lot of good putts today. I felt like I was due. And to be in that situation, I was just excited to be able to hit the putt, and I hit a great putt, great read, and it all came true. It was a lot of fun, and that's why we play.

Q. Oliver, what would you put the turnaround down to from 4-down after 6? How did you regroup? What changed things?
OLIVER WILSON: To be honest we didn't get off to the best of starts, but it was more they got off to a good start. They made a couple of mistakes, but we felt pretty good. We stayed patient. I think we've got probably more foursomes experience, and even though we were 3, 4 down at the time, we felt pretty relaxed and we knew what we had to do. In foursomes if you keep hitting the fairways hitting the greens you're going to get a few holes back at some stage.
We felt like they're not going to keep up that kind of play. It's almost impossible to keep making that amount of birdies out there. We're due to make a few. If we can keep the pressure on on every hole, as the holes go down, it gets tougher for them. They're trying to close that match out. So we almost had nothing to lose when we were 4 down.
Like I said, we kept putting the pressure on. They hit a few loose shots. Once we got a bit of momentum going our way, things really started to change. You could see that we were playing solid and they were hitting a few loose shots, and they didn't really produce anything big on the back nine, and we just kept doing what we were trying to do. You know, we had a few birdies.
The par-3, 14, was quite a big hole, to get away with a halve there was big. And then after that we just kept plugging away, had chances on every hole, and managed to hole that one on 17 to close it out.

Q. Oliver, when did you feel that you were comfortable within yourself, that you kind of were oblivious, if you will, that you're at the Ryder Cup? That's, of course, part of the question. The second is how are American galleries treating you? How do you feel about that out there?
OLIVER WILSON: I guess the first couple of days, I was a little -- my game wasn't quite where I wanted it to be. So I was a little bit uptight and I was a bit aware that I was here, and I was trying to force myself into playing well and feeling comfortable.
And then it kind of gets to a point where you just sort of let go, and I just want to play. I don't care how I'm playing, I just want to get out there.
And yesterday I didn't play, gave me an extra day to get ready, go and work on a few things, and I started to feel really good yesterday. I was out there on the first tee in the morning, experienced the guys on the first tee shot, which I think helped me quite a lot. And then yesterday I would definitely say is when it sort of hit me that I'm ready, I want to get out there.
It's fun to play on a team. It's fun to walk and support them, but it's much more fun playing. I was so excited to get on that first tee today, it was an amazing feeling, and I just want to keep doing that, really. And the second part of your question I've completely forgot.
Oh, the crowds have been good. There's plenty of them. We've got a few leprechauns out there which are cheering. We've got a few football songs on the first tee which was fantastic. We were outnumbered, but I think they're giving it a good go. We've got a lot of support out there. The American crowds are good. They've been great. They're supporting for the American guys, but when we hit good shots, they're clapping and applauding that, so it's been good fun.

Q. Justin and Oliver, could you please tell us what impact Nick Faldo may have had on your rounds, how much communication there has been, or has it been down to you exclusively?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think there's only so much a captain can do, obviously. It does come down to the players committing to the shots, executing and going out there and getting the job done. I think obviously he put myself and Ian together, which I think may not have been a hard decision, but I think it's a pairing that we're very comfortable with, and therefore me being in my first Ryder Cup, it made it a very natural pairing and made my life a lot easier.
But Nick and I talked a lot just prior to Thursday morning about Thursday morning and the first tee and basically just about breathing, just really what he used to do, some of the skills he used in major championships, and he passed it on to us. I must say, it helped me through that situation.
So yeah, you've got to give him some credit for that. But at the same time, the captain's job is an important one but it's obviously, to a certain extent, a limited one, too.

Q. Justin, as a follow-up to that, obviously Europe going into day two playing catch-up, just wondered if Nick had given you and Ian any special message to try and set the tone for today? And as a follow-up, if you could talk about how cool it's been playing with Ian first three matches in the Ryder Cup for you.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, he did give us a pretty special message. He said, "You're going out number one." So that kind of told us what we needed to do and what was expected and what he hoped for. So it was nice to go out there and do the job, put that blue number on the board ASAP and lead from the front. So that was our job today, and that was incredibly -- a special moment, really, to have that responsibility.
And to go out there with Ian, who's a great friend of mine, has made it -- it was weird. Actually on the 14th green, I was standing behind him watching him hit his putt, and behind was a huge bank of people, and I just kind of -- this feeling came over me, and he probably won't thank me for saying this, but I said, "Come on, Poults, the fat kid from Milton Keynes, knock it in." Just because I've just known him from way back when, and I just had this moment come over me, really. My mind went back to Challenge Tour days and just how far we'd come. It was just an amazing moment of perspective, and obviously he knocked the putt in and it was a key putt in our whole game. It swung the momentum back our way.
That's how close our friendship is, that we can kind of see where we both come from, and therefore it makes us playing the Ryder Cup together pretty special.

Q. Justin, one last question about your playing partner. More than anybody else, Ian has probably taken the most questioning about being on the team and stuff. While he's on the course and you can talk totally freely, just how nervous was he, and how does he react to all of that? Does he just let it go, or does it cause him to work harder? Can you explain a little bit about him?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think Ian was under a lot of pressure this week, but in some ways that doesn't phase him. I think the loss that we had the first day hurt us both because I think he sensed that had we got that first win, he would have been into the Ryder Cup and justified his place in the team immediately. So therefore that put us under more pressure in the afternoon.
I think he was very conscious of the fact that he needed to go out there and produce this week, otherwise he would have been in for a lot of criticism. But that's the kind of player he is.
I knew if Ian had something to prove this week, he was going to prove it, and I think -- obviously he's got two more games to play, this afternoon and tomorrow. I expect him to do well in both those games, but if he doesn't, I still think he's justified his place on this team. And he's done that not just on the golf course but also in the team room. The guys do embrace him. He's a good laugh, he leads the banter, and he's a valuable team member (Oliver Wilson nodding in agreement).

Q. I've got a question for each of you. First, for Oliver, how did you handle sitting out yesterday? Were you disappointed? And at what point in time did Nick tell you what you were going to do today?
OLIVER WILSON: Yeah, obviously I was disappointed. I wanted to come and play every match. But I knew as a rookie, it's not going to happen. We all want to play every match, but you've got to think of the team. And it wasn't the right decision. I wasn't playing great at the beginning of the week.
So we had a chat about it yesterday -- actually the day before, and just went through a few scenarios, and I knew I'd be playing today. But then I spoke to Henrik yesterday, and we really felt good about going out in the foursomes, so we spoke to Nick and we decided to go out this morning. I was excited to get out there, so yeah.
JUSTIN ROSE: 100 percent Ryder Cup record. That's good.

Q. Justin, as a team, when you look at a match like Oliver's, they go 4-down and they end up winning 2 & 1, and that was probably a point that a lot of fans were out there banking early on and maybe the U.S. Team was banking with their No. 1 squad out there. What kind of lift does it give the whole team when you have that sort of two-point swing right there?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's unbelievable. I mean, today it looked -- Ian and myself, we were 5-up and you kind of think, okay, job done, but it actually makes you realize when somebody comes back from 4-down to win the game 2 & 1, even when you're 5-up you're still in a precarious situation. It teaches you when you're up in your game, you need to keep your foot down and play as hard as you can.
But I think the halve that we got yesterday evening with Lee and Søren, the turnaround of Oliver's and Henrik's match today and Graeme McDowell and Jiménez winning, I think those three games are key. We don't get anything out of those and we're close to dead and buried. Often the Ryder Cup comes down to the last hole and who plays it the best. Our lads are pulling through at the moment. 7-5, it's a really exciting Ryder Cup to be a part of. I think it's going to be a tense battle to the end. But if we can just keep chipping away at it and improve each session, that would be amazing.

Q. Oliver, I just wondered how soon after you holed that putt you were told you weren't playing this afternoon, and was it at all frustrating to be on such a high and then not be able to go straight back out there?
OLIVER WILSON: I actually knew before that. I knew three or four holes before that, I think when we were level. So I said to my caddie, "We'd better make this one count because I want a 100 percent record." We was playing well, and I wanted to be out there, I wanted to play this afternoon, but just because I felt like everything was good. But it probably spurred me on a little bit more to know that, and we just kept pressing on, and it just made it a bit more important. Not that we needed anything else to make it important, but it was just the way I felt, I guess.
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you, Oliver Wilson, Justin Rose. Thank you very much.

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