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September 21, 2008

Paul Azinger


CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Today was an incredible day. The crowds were beautiful and they were well-behaved, and the European team and players, I'm proud of them. They really showed a lot of class in defeat. I'm just -- yeah, I'm just so honored that I was able to be here and do this.

Q. What's it like to get this team back to prominence in this event after all the hard work?
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: You know, they brought themselves there, and if I was the guy that helped organize it, then I'm happy to be that. But those guys did it. They deserve the credit.

Q. They give you the credit; why do you think that is?
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Well, a lot of things changed from last Ryder Cup to this one, and we created the "13th Man" and I'm real proud of these people, and they made a big difference and kept our guys energized and our guys bought into the concept, and they bonded. We just went out there with a one-shot-at-a-time mission, and we did it.
My captain's picks played well. I'm real proud of them. The pressure is always on them.

Q. Compared to recent Ryder Cups you had a very good start this time. Was the first day as important as the last day?
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Every day is the same. It's like the first quarter of a football game; it's all the same. I'm real proud of them.
The first tee, if you could have felt that energy come through the TV, then you can get a sense of what that was like. It was amazing. The golf was spectacular on both sides, and our guys just came out on top. They just took an everything-to-gain kind of attitude into this competition, and I couldn't be happier. They really grinded it out. We all know it could have gone either way the first day and the second day; it just tilted our way.

Q. When you saw the singles draw and saw how the pairings panned out, did you feel good about that or slightly concerned?
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Well, the European team is still just a phenomenal team, and when I looked down, I evaluated every match, like, our edge, their edge, toss-up, and it seemed like every single one to me was toss-up, toss-up, toss-up, maybe their edge a little bit. It was just -- I had no idea.

Q. What was it you did to make your players believe? Something changed in the American team this week.
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Well, I'm not going to tell you just yet. Not yet. I took them in, I came in with a plan.

Q. I saw you whispering to every player before they gave their interviews, so there's something there. Share it with us.
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Well, I'm just telling you, I don't know what to tell you. I'm just telling you these guys came together as a group and we just -- we stuck to a message, which is -- Lou Holtz came in with a great message for us, a football coach in the States, what's important now, which is win, what's important now. We stayed on message, and I wanted them just to play to play great, and I told every player that they were on a free roll this week because they weren't expected that much.
I wanted the course to be in a way that didn't handcuff anybody. I felt like, let's play golf this time, no tall rough. If the guys hit it in the rough, let's see who has the most talent and can play out of that rough. In the end it comes down to putting and heart, and our guys had a lot of heart this week, they really did. The European team is just an incredible team. I feel fortunate we were able to pull this off.

Q. It's been a long time coming, and you won this without Tiger.
CAPTAIN PAUL AZINGER: Well, Tiger was great. He kept text messaging me and all that. I love Tiger Woods, missed him. I really wanted to spend my week hanging out with him.

End of FastScripts

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