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September 20, 2008

Paul Azinger

Ben Curtis

J.B. Holmes

Steve Stricker

Boo Weekley


KELLY ELBIN: U.S. Ryder Cup team members Boo Weekley, J.B. Holmes, Ben Curtis and Steve Stricker joining us after the afternoon fourballs at the 37th Ryder Cup.
Steve Stricker made a lengthy putt on the final hole to halve the match with Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia. Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes defeated Lee Westwood and Søren Hansen 2 & 1. You have a 9-to-7 lead going into singles play tomorrow.
Boo, opening comments, please, about your victory and how the team feels going into singles play, please.
BOO WEEKLEY: Our victory today was great. You know, Paul put us out early and we kind of showed the team that we do got one team out here.
We tried to make a point early in the round, or early in the tournament, and see if that would help the team, boost the team a little bit, and it did a little.
What else you want to know?
KELLY ELBIN: Thoughts about where you stand going into tomorrow, please.
BOO WEEKLEY: I know I'm ready. I mean, I want to go home right now and get some sleep and get energized and get ready to come out here and play again.
KELLY ELBIN: Steve, quick comment, please, about that putt at 18, the length of it, what was going through your mind, and your feeling about the situation going into tomorrow.
STEVE STRICKER: Well, you know, the last hole and the last putt was basically a do-or-die situation. You know, it was just the way the match went all day. It could have gone either way. I mean, there was only two holes that were won, but there were a lot of opportunities on both sides, and like I say, it could have gone both ways.
I felt very good about the line. I felt very good about the way I've been putting during the course of the afternoon round, and I just told myself to make sure to get it there because it was uphill. And I was nervous, but again, it was good to be in that position and good to make the putt.
KELLY ELBIN: We've been joined by U.S. Ryder Cup team Captain Paul Azinger. Comments, please, about the day's activities, and where your mind is and your team is going into the final day.
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Another roller coaster day that could have gone either way. We only lost one point today. I was real happy about that. Europe put -- again, they put some phenomenal teams out there.
I think Nick did a good job of resting Westwood and Sergio. You guys wanted to rip on him for it, but I felt like he probably didn't want them to go 36 holes. You can look at that either way.
I just think that our gamers gamed up today. We could have lost 3 to 1 in the afternoon, we could have won 3 to 1 this afternoon. But Stricker's putt was amazing, and J.B. and Boo coming through the way they did against that team I thought was incredible.
I just couldn't be happier with the effort that the players are giving so far this week.
KELLY ELBIN: J.B. Holmes, would you offer comments, please, on the match today, your victorious match, and what the Ryder Cup experience has been like so far, please.
J.B. HOLMES: Experience has been awesome. It's been amazing, everything I expected it to be. I'm glad our team is playing well. We're looking forward to tomorrow. You know, me and Boo had a good match. Boo hit the ball great all day. I tried to help when I could, but it was a fun match.
KELLY ELBIN: And Ben, comments, please, on what obviously is a very important half point that you and Steve earned.
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I think when the pairings came out, I think 99 percent of the people would agree that they didn't expect us to go out there and win, especially the way we played yesterday.
But Steve played good -- he putted well yesterday, and then the difference today is we put a lot of pressure on them and we made a few putts, and that was the difference.
KELLY ELBIN: We're going to have Captain Azinger here a little bit longer, so I'll ask that the questions be directed just to the four players, please.

Q. Ben, can you describe the difference between this 18th hole and a major, what the difference is other than just the team aspect? But what's the difference between this and that and the crowd noise?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I mean, you've got 50,000 people around one hole. I mean, that's pretty neat. You know, especially coming down the last hole, pretty much everybody is around the 18th hole waiting all day long, and the pressure is immense.
Like Steve said, we were probably both really nervous. Especially we just -- you know, I think obviously we wanted to win the match, but obviously we wanted to get some points for our team to help out the best we can.

Q. Is it the same kind of pressure?
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, it's not much different. It's pretty similar. I think it's totally different because of the team aspect, but the pressure is there just like a major.

Q. Graeme McDowell was just in here before saying that Europeans now have the momentum after today. Do you feel like in any way you've lost it?
BOO WEEKLEY: Were we supposed to have it? Were we supposed to have it starting this week?

Q. You gained it yesterday. I'm wondering if you feel like in any way you've given up any momentum to the European team.
BOO WEEKLEY: No, that's just -- it's how you feel I reckon. I don't feel it. Do y'all feel it?
J.B. HOLMES: No, we started as underdogs at the beginning of the week. We're still underdogs heading into it, so we're playing well and we've just got to go out there and do the best we can.

Q. Steve, you matched Sergio's birdie at 8, but you more than matched his outburst of emotion. I'm just curious where it came from. And for Ben, were you a little nervous that Steve was too emotional right there at that point?
BEN CURTIS: I wasn't worried about Steve, I was worried about me. I was going to go give him a kiss (laughter).
BOO WEEKLEY: (Applauding Ben).
STEVE STRICKER: This week has been way beyond my expectations as far as atmosphere and the crowds, the emotion of it all, and I am not that type of player that you saw out there, I guarantee. But it comes out. You know, in competition like this, it truly does come out.
We both had the same putt there, and I'm telling Ben, we're going to top him, we're going to put it right on top of him and we're going to go on and keep applying the pressure. Sure enough, I was able to make it. If I didn't make it, I'm sure Ben was going to make it. I don't know, it comes out here, and you get so emotional into it that the fans are so much behind us, and it just comes out.

Q. J.B. and Boo, on a broadcast today, one of the announcers said they had never seen in the Ryder Cup a team have the crowd embrace them as the crowd embraced the two of you today. Can you talk a little bit about that, about how the crowd sort of embraced the two of you guys today?
J.B. HOLMES: You know, I'm from here, so I kind of expected them to embrace me a little bit. And Boo might as well be from here (laughter). We've had a great time with it. They have, they've supported us so much; it's been awesome. We're really glad today to put up a point for them. We appreciate them coming out and supporting us and everything they've done for us.
BOO WEEKLEY: He about summed it upright there. I feel like I've been adopted (smiling).
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: We're compatibating with the gallery (laughter).

Q. Boo, the level that everybody is playing on both teams is so high. Do you feel when you're playing for a team and for a country that it brings out things in you that might not have been there just if you were playing by yourself?
BOO WEEKLEY: I can say a little bit of it, the adrenaline of it is for sure. The adrenaline, I feel like a dog that somebody done stuck a needle to and it juiced me up like I've been running around a Greyhound track chasing one of them bunnies (laughter).
Yeah, it's amazing.
KELLY ELBIN: He's one of a kind.

Q. Just looking at the picture overall, Hank had mentioned, did you lose some momentum? Did you gain it? I would like to ask it a different way, and that is do you feel maybe Europe threw a lot of big punches and yet they didn't really land any, because here you are at the end of the day and you still have the lead?
BEN CURTIS: Well, absolutely. This afternoon we didn't get to see any of the other matches. That putt on 8 was probably the match for us. Sergio made a great putt from 40 feet or so, and he was getting up pumped up and excited; and for us to make it right on top of him obviously probably took a little bit out of him.
But I think as Paul stressed all week, we're the underdogs, and we just want to go out there and just play like we have nothing to lose. And we still have nothing to lose. I think everybody is still expecting Europe to win, and we're just going to go out there and give it our all, and hopefully the crowd will stay behind us.
To be two points ahead going into Sunday, I think that's a good feeling.

Q. For any of the four of you, the first two days, you played rookie pressure with a teammate alongside you. Tomorrow you guys go out in the world that you're accustomed to playing, playing your own ball, still with teammates, but not in your group. Strategically, do you play differently tomorrow when you're playing your own ball, more conservatively, more aggressively, than you would with a teammate in the group, in the foursomes or the fourball?
BOO WEEKLEY: I do. I mean, I probably play a little more conservative, down the middle, on the green, two-putt and go to the next hole.
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, it's definitely different, playing your own ball. It's more what you're used to. You don't have to be quite as aggressive. Be aggressive when you need to and play safe when you need to. It's different. It's more like match play and stuff that we're used to, playing our own ball. With a teammate, they get one in there close and you're going to gun right at it. So a little different.

Q. This is for anybody or everybody who wants to answer. Could you just talk about the attitude about singles? Do you care what time you go off and what your hope is, what your goals are, how you approach this final day?
BOO WEEKLEY: I'm going to approach it the same way I approached it the last two days, just go out and do the best that I can do knowing that our team is behind me. I ain't going to speak for all of them, but I know we're all here together as a team, and we're going to go out and support one another and hoo-hah and get the crowd into it early, is what I'm going to try to do and see if it helps flow over.
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, no different. I mean, it doesn't matter who you play. You're playing a world-class player, and you've just got to go out there and make more birdies and win more holes than they do. I know that's being a little cheesy, but that's what it boils down to. Any one of us on either side could win, on both teams, and you just -- hopefully the guys out front get off to a good start and keep the momentum going our way.
KELLY ELBIN: J.B. Holmes, Boo Weekley, Ben Curtis, Steve Stricker, thank you very much.

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