September 21, 2005
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome six of the International players, along with the assistant captain, Ian Baker Finch; Angel Cabrera, Tim Clark, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Vijay Singh and Mike Weir. If we can start with some Q&A.
Q. For Vijay and Mike, you don't necessarily you can win without necessarily playing your best and lose when you're still playing well, have you guys experienced that in past Presidents Cup competitions where you've had an incident like that?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, when you're playing match play, you don't really you don't really see how good or how bad you're playing or your opponents are playing. You just want to go out there and try to beat them on every hole. They make a 6, you try to make a 5; if they make a 5, you're trying to make a 4. So you don't really realize how good or how bad you're playing until you finish so if you go out there and just try to hit the best shots and shoot the lowest score you can.
MIKE WEIR: Yeah, that's right. I've had similar instances like that in the couple of Presidents Cups I've played, where, you know, the last one down in South Africa, I remember playing with Robert Allenby one match, I played marginal and he played good, I just happened to make a few key putts here and there, and there's been other times where you feel like you've played pretty well. Retief and I, maybe in our first match here in 2000, we played Kirk Triplett and Cink that day, but I felt like we played pretty good. That's just how it comes out.
Q. Just a general question for a couple of guys. I wonder if you could talk about Ernie not being here, how much his presence not being here will be felt and has he had any kind of communication with you guys in terms of a note to the team or message to the team, do you expect anything like that?
IAN BAKER FINCH: Does anyone else want to answer that?
Ernie sends his best, wishes he was here obviously. He's here in spirit, and we obviously miss him.
But he's such a great team member, we've had notes from Pricey and Ernie, and I've had phone calls from a couple of the other boys, the Aussie boys.
Yeah, I think anyone that's not here is here in spirit, especially Ernie.
Q. Tiger talked yesterday about the incident in 2000, Vijay, about the "Tiger Who" and the hat, I wonder if you would respond to what he said and he seems to still remember it and still feel badly about it.
VIJAY SINGH: I was wondering how long it was going to take for you to ask that question. (Laughter).
You know, I didn't even realize my caddie at that time put on that hat until I got out there. I think the issue was in 2000 and it's 2005 now and it's five years away and it's gone. I think I've forgotten about it as everybody else has forgotten about it but you guys, so I think the quicker you guys forget about it, everybody won't want to talk about it, so let's just forget about it, all right. (Laughter).
Q. Vijay, for you again, last time in South Africa, obviously there was a lot of attention with Ernie and Retief and with the South Africans on the team being sort of the leaders, and the emotional leaders for that team in their home country. Now that it's here and you live in Florida, do you feel like you have more of a leadership role this time around with Ernie not being here?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, you know, our captain is Gary and I think is the team captain, he's the leader of everybody, and Ian as well. So we look up to Ian and Gary for all the advice. Guys that are here for the first time, we try to you know, they have been around for a long, long time, some of the guys, so they don't really need to be held by their hands and show the tricks around here. They know how to play the game, they know how to play match play, they have done it all before. You know, we are just out there playing the best we can and, you know, Gary and Ian's doing a great job getting the team together. We just follow their lead. If they ask for my advice, surely I'll be giving some to them. So far it's been going along really smooth.
IAN BAKER FINCH: If I could add something there, I think we all look to the leaders, Vijay, he's played in every Presidents Cup and the only one here to have done so; Retief has played a few, Stuart Appleby, Mike Weir, the guys that have played regularly. I know Angel and Michael Campbell have played a lot of foursomes golf because they play every year for their country in the World Cup. So the guys are able to ask questions of the experienced guys, whether it be through Presidents Cup competition or a lot of foursomes play, so they can feed off the more older players, the more experienced players.
I didn't play Presidents Cup; I've been involved as a captain, so I know the role and what for them to expect. I can advise them that way and accumulate all of the information and Gary and I decipher what the teams should be.
But I think all of the young guys even on tour regularly are looking for the Vijays and the Retiefs and those guys to help out and pass on information and learn from those guys. And with Gary at the top of our team, I mean, you couldn't ask for someone more learned than Gary Player to be learning from.
Q. In some ways last year, did you feel a little under the radar over there because obviously the local attention was on the South Africans?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, you know, I think it was only right that Ernie had all of the attention. He was a South African and it was his home course or hometown, you know, all of the crowd was on Ernie's side. Even if if I was a South African, I'd want Ernie to play as well. If I was an Australian, I'd like most definitely to see the Australians do well.
Here I think we expect that the Americans are going to get the most cheers from their home crowd. I feel like I'm playing here, this is my home as well, so there's a lot of fans out there that's going to be on our side, as well. You know, I just go along and go with the flow kind of thing. If the crowds are on my side I go with it, but there's no real disadvantage playing against a home team. Some guys, they like to face the pressure and be in the arena where the crowds are not in their favor and play better. The Europeans, for that matter when they come over here and play the Ryder Cup, I think most of the guys feel the same way.
Q. For Retief and Mike Weir, wondering if you had any insight into why the Americans seem to play so well here and have such an advantage over the International Team on a course that's virtually a PGA TOUR type course that you see a lot of?
MIKE WEIR: I think the biggest difference when I played in 2000 here was, and I think Vijay and Retief would agree, we just got outputted. I think we played just as well as they did, they just seemed to make a lot of putts and we didn't and that just happened some weeks. I think our putters were just a little cold that week. I can't speak for '96 or '94, but you know, I know last time we just didn't see the hole on the key putts when we needed to and that was a big difference. It's such a fine margin, they beat us last time pretty good, you get a little momentum and make some putts, that tide can turn quick.
IAN BAKER FINCH: Any reason why?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Yeah, well, I'm not sure why we've struggled around this course so much, like Mike was saying, it's a fine line, really, between winning and losing around here. It's all about momentum as well. The last time they got momentum on us very quickly and it's difficult to come back from that.
Q. I'm just wondering if anyone can answer, obviously the United States is the United States, and you're called the "Internationals," even though you're mostly Australian and South African; how do you guys come together as a team, if not under one flag, maybe or Mike or Angel, what do you do when these guys start talking about cricket or rugby or whatever they talk about?
MIKE WEIR: Well, they don't know anything about hockey, either. So I can talk hockey.
IAN BAKER FINCH: And we don't care, either. (Laughter).
MIKE WEIR: It's just like cricket; it takes four days and it's still a tie.
IAN BAKER FINCH: I'm still trying to figure out how to play cricket in that jersey you gave us, the long sleeves.
MIKE WEIR: To answer your question, we all play the Tour together, we play a lot of practice rounds I think with one another and we get paired in tournaments and we all just get along well. I think our team is relaxed, can't speak for the U.S. guys, but we're just relaxed and we enjoy each other's company and enjoy just hanging out, playing ping pong or whatever and I think it's pretty easy to come together and we get along pretty well.
IAN BAKER FINCH: Angel, how do you feel as the only Argentine here?
ANGEL CABRERA: We are a team and we have to take that definitely as it is. We are a team. On the golf course definitely we feel like it, like we are playing for the same thing and we stand together.
Q. Just curious how much of last year's Ryder Cup, anyone can answer this, you all saw, and if what you saw in the U.S. Team, they obviously admitted to being very tense, whether that was apparent to you, just watching on TV and were you surprised it was that one sided?
RETIEF GOOSEN: Once again, I think the Europeans got off to a good momentum role, especially on Sunday. This game is all about momentum. I think if you get on top of the guys early on, then it's difficult to come back. That's what I saw on the final day. I didn't watch any of it on the first rounds, only the singles.
VIJAY SINGH: I just think the Europeans played better as a team. You know, they get together as a team, there's a lot of they go out in Europe with the same guys they play golf with. Here in the States, Presidents Cup is great, but the guys, the American guys I play with them every week. You know, I talk to them on the range every day. So it's just like we're going out there to play another golf tournament, but with the two different uniforms on. I think the Europeans they play better as a team. They mold better, they really are into it. The Americans the only time they get together is the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup and in Europe, it's second nature to them. They go out together, eat together, drink together, they do everything together.
Q. For Tim Clark, you were a captain's pick in '03 and experienced your first Presidents Cup in South Africa, since then, your career really seems to have exploded, have you looked back at that Presidents Cup in that experience and being part of this team and learning from these guys as what was the catalyst for your great play since then?
TIM CLARK: Yeah, that could well have been. Obviously at that time it was the biggest stage I had been on on the golf course. Certainly going out there in one of the matches with Ernie Els as my partner against Tiger and Charles Howell, I think that was some of the best golf I had ever played. So certainly that gave me a lot of confidence moving forward; that I can play under those conditions, but certainly under the pressure that we are under.
You know, since then, I've had another surgery on my wrist and that's helped, so health wise I'm a lot better, too. I think confidence wise, it was a big boost and coming here this week, like Vijay said, we play every week here in the States, it's sort of like we're away from home or anything, we're able to treat it just like another tournament. So we all feel very comfortable.
Q. Vijay, as you're getting paired up with somebody, what's the most important facet of the pairing to you, is it somebody that plays a similar style of game or somebody that has a similar personality; what's the most important formula for you and another guy?
VIJAY SINGH: I think I haven't figured that one out. I played with Ernie a lot of times and our record wasn't the best. In Australia we lost almost every match together.
I played well with Retief. We hit the ball the same distance. We do a lot of things very similar.
You know, this week, I don't know who, I'll probably be playing with, I don't know, Mike Weir or Tim Clark, Hensby. It really doesn't matter who you play with out there. I get along very well with the guys and we mold very well together. We all know how to hit the ball pretty well, so it's just that if you get along with the player. I get along with everybody out here, so if you're comfortable out with your partner you can go out there and play well and cheer each other on. For me I don't really mind who I play with as long as we just play well.
Q. Two part question for Trevor. Trevor, can you talk about what it means for you to represent or to appear on the Presidents Cup squad, and also, can you talk about last night at the White House?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yeah, first of all, it's a tremendous honor to be here and to represent my country and the International Team. You know, this whole week has kind of been the highlight of my career so far, and that includes last night. It was the first time I've been involved in anything like that, and for us to go to the White House and spend time with the President and Mrs. Bush was a tremendous occasion for us and our wives. You know, that was fantastic, and from a golfing point of view, you know, like I said, it's a tremendous honor for me to be here with guys like this, guys that have achieved so much in the game.
You know, I'm hoping to play some great golf this week and also maybe this can kick me on for the rest of my career. Maybe I can learn from these guys and it will stand me in good stead in the future.
Q. A procedural question, maybe for Ian. The Americans say they were told not to sign autographs until after the rounds were completed this week, and it appears from what I seen that you guys have been signing from green to tee during the round.
IAN BAKER FINCH: No, you didn't, did you? (Looking quizzically at the team members). We told them not to. (Laughter). We said no signing on the course.
But, oh, well. We've got to get as much support behind us as we can. Got to get a few of those crowds cheering for us on Sunday afternoon.
Q. Last year the European Team came in and they made a big detail out of saying that they were the underdogs and playing that underdog role. Do you guys feel the same this week?
RETIEF GOOSEN: I wouldn't say we feel like we're the underdogs. Obviously on paper we look like we are probably not as strong a team. But in match play, it always can turn around so many times, like we've seen in the Ryder Cup.
You know, these guys can all play, so it's just a question of getting on a roll early on and playing well, try our best. That's all we can do.
Q. The recent past has not been terribly successful for you, can you give us a synopsis of what's been going wrong and does this tournament provide a format that gives you a chance to turn things around?
MIKE WEIR: You know what, this week's this week and that's the way I'm looking at it. It has not been the greatest year for me and the last few months hasn't been very good, but I feel good about my game right now and that's all that matters. So I feel like I've turned the corner and everything feels very good.
So I know I've got some good partners to lean onto and I'm going to help them out, as well, but my game feels good right now.
IAN BAKER FINCH: I can tell you that Mike has practiced really well, and all of the guys when they say who they'd like to play with, just about everyone on the team says "put me with Weirsy, I want to play with him," so that's always a good sign, I think.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you, gentlemen.
End of FastScripts.