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November 25, 2008

Ben Curtis

Brandt Snedeker


LAURY LIVSEY: We'd like to welcome the American Team into the media centre, thanks for coming, Ben Curtis and Brandt Snedeker making their OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup debut.
You played a little bit today. How is the course?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, the course, it's very nice. You know, it's in great condition. The fairways are obviously pretty generous but it's in great shape and it's going to be a good test, the greens are real small and I was very impressed. We only played nine holes, but a very good layout and it should make for some very exciting golf.
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I like it, too. I think other than the elevation changes, it's great (chuckling).
Yeah, it's going to be a good test of golf. It's going to be a lot of fun and I think you're going to see a lot of birdies, especially like today with the weather. But it's just a great course to play, and it just seems like it's a course that you can play every day and you'll find a new experience and just keep enjoying it.

Q. Can you tell us how confident you are to win the World Cup this week? And also, what's the chemistry between you two compared to the other teams as far as your partnership?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I think most everybody that's here I think gets along, and Brandt and I get along great. You know, it's our first time in this event together. So it will be interesting to see how it goes.
Who knows how I'm playing; I haven't played since THE TOUR Championship. So it's going to be -- I'm sure I'm going to hit some great shots and I'm sure I'm going to hit some bad ones. Hopefully my partner, he's been playing quite a bit lately. He'll keep me in there.
Just looking forward to it. It's a great experience to be able to come to China to represent your country, and to play in this event. I mean, I think every golfer in the world would want to play in this event at some point during their career, and so to be able to have this opportunity; it's just going to be a lot of fun.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Like Ben said, we get along great, so it's good chemistry for us. We both play a similar style of golf, we are really good friends and our caddies are great friends. I think we're having a great time.
When it comes to -- I'll be relying on Ben a lot because Ben played great at The Ryder Cup. He's good at team formats, and he's been playing some great golf the second half of the year, some of the best of anybody the world. I'm going to be leaning on him for some leadership here because I'm kind of new and a rookie at this.
You know, we are both -- I played last week, so I feel like I've got some kind of form right now, got some kind of idea what's going on. Like I said, each week brings a new challenge and there's a lot golf teams here this year and it's a very deep field. But you know, I like the way our team sets up. We are going to have a great time. We play a similar style of golf, and I think we'll be great for partners. Look forward to having a chance to play on Sunday and just trying to win the thing.

Q. Can you give us an insight into what the American uniform is going to be on Thursday morning?
BEN CURTIS: We haven't even discussed it actually. (Laughter).
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I don't even know if we know what uniform -- if we're going to have uniforms.
BEN CURTIS: Well, I found out a couple of weeks ago that obviously to wear the same stuff. And he's been over here for a month, so he's just told me he's had his phone off for a month, so it wouldn't have mattered, anyway.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: We'll be trying to mix-and-match.

Q. You're going to mix-and-match?
BEN CURTIS: We don't dress too well, anyway.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: I won't be bringing any colored belts or funny-coloured shoes or anything like that. I think we will be pretty plain Jane.

Q. Could you tell us what your experience of alternate-shot is, and also whether if either of you have spoken to Boo Weekley about his Chinese experiences last year before coming.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Don't really have a whole lot of alternate-shot experience in tournaments. We used to do in college a lot, kind of a team-building exercises and that kind of stuff, and a way to try and improve your golf game. I haven't really done it in competition, so it's going to be my first try at that. Look forward to it. I think like I said, Ben and I play similar style of game, so it's not going to be anything too crazy out there for us.
I did talk to Boo last year when he got back, and he had a great time and obviously a chance to win and didn't get it done. But he had nothing but great things to say, great place and loved the golf course. I know he really wanted to come back this year but just didn't work out. I'm glad to be here and glad to have Ben as my partner, so it will be fun.

Q. The first day is four-balls. How will you play, any strategy?
BEN CURTIS: Just tee the ball up and hit it I think. (Laughter).
To be honest with you, I think we both hit our drivers a lot. I think tomorrow after the Pro-Am, we'll have to sit down and probably think about which holes, who is going to tee off on which holes and stuff like that in the alternate-shot format.
But other than that, just go out there and make a lot of birdies. It's the only thing that you can do in this format. The weather is going to be good, and the course is in good shape, and the greens are great.
So you've just got to keep making birdies. So no, I don't think it's going to be anything extraordinary with the planning or anything like that.

Q. Last week you played in Japan; can you tell us a little bit about the teenage sensation, the Japanese kid who came in second. And you played all over the place, will you consider joining The European Tour Race to Dubai?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: First, I think though Ryo Ishikawa, I played with him on Sunday, and he's phenomenal. He's probably the best 17-year-old kid I've ever seen in my entire life. He hits it very long, very straight, and the kid is going to be in the Top-50 in the world in the next month I would say. He will be beating up on me U.S. Tour probably two years from now, so I'm going to enjoy my time away from him, he beat up on me last week. He's a great kid and more importantly, getting to know him, he's a great kid. That was more refreshing, watching him play golf and seeing how grounded he was, and a super-nice kid.
You know, he's under so much scrutiny in Japan, I think he wants to get out travelling and see the world a little bit. He's kind of like Tiger over there. But he was great to get to know, and he'll be in a lot of majors and win a lot of golf tournaments.
When it comes to the second part of the question, European Tour for next year definitely, yeah. I'm planning on playing in the Middle East at the beginning of the year, definitely Qatar and maybe even Abu Dhabi. That's a definite starting point for me for next year, and then go on from there.
Yeah, I'm planning on joining the Tour. The Race to Dubai is such a good opportunity for me being young and newly-married, to see the world, be able to travel around and see all of these great places. That's why I played in Japan last week and that's why I'm playing here and I'll play anywhere. I love travelling and seeing the world. It's a great opportunity with me being young and not having any kids at home and not worry about travelling too much. Hopefully I can play well enough over the next couple of months to make that a real possibility.

Q. Race to Dubai hold any appeal for you, Ben?
BEN CURTIS: Yeah, I joined The European Tour, so I'm going to most likely try it and just see how it goes.
Yeah, I think it's a great opportunity for me. It's a little bit tougher for me now that I have a couple kids, but I'm going to try to figure out a schedule where if we do come over, come over for more than just one week, maybe do two or three weeks at a time so they can come over.
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it. I think what The European Tour has done, it's great for golf, and it's going to bring a lot of recognition to The European Tour and Asia and Middle East and all that good stuff, and not just mainland Europe. So I think for the whole game of golf, it's going to be great and I think there's maybe five or six Americans that have now joined the Tour.
A lot of people might say it's going to hurt the PGA TOUR, but I think it's only going to help the game of golf in general and so it's going to help the PGA TOUR.

Q. It looks like recently the economy is not doing so well in the States and all over the world, and maybe there might be some possibility of sponsorship not as good in the past on the U.S. Tour coming up, and the news is that even stopped sponsorship with Tiger. Does that bother you regarding the tournaments, sponsorship on the U.S. Tour?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I think it doesn't bother me, because I only have a couple sponsors, anyway. It's not like I'm John Daly or NASCAR that has got 20 different sponsors.
I think the Tour, it's going to struggle for a couple of years. You know, they have got a good plan and they have done such a good job in the past of keeping the sponsors happy and all that. I think our purses will go down a little bit, but I don't see it being a big change.
Obviously losing GM with Tiger, even I think cut back a little bit on courtesy cars for us. I think on the whole, five or six years, we'll hopefully be back to where we were a couple of years ago. I don't see it being a major issue unless there's a major -- unless we have some kind of depression back home.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Yeah, I mean, I don't -- it raises your eyebrow and it makes you a little concerned when you see GM go through what it's going through right now. The TOUR's mainstay, having 40 percent of their sponsorships are through car companies and financial institutions, which are two of the hardest-hit industries right now, so it's obviously a concern.
But the TOUR has done a great job of working with those clients that we do have and making sure that they are happy. I think the players as a group, we as a group are going to have to do more to keep corporate sponsors happy, go out and make sure that they have a good time and see an investment in their dollar.
I think everybody is starting to realise now as a whole that marketing dollars are starting to shrink, and for us to putt out a product that people want to be a part of, we are going to have to do more and make sure that they see a benefit from it.
I think Tiger coming back is going to have a big impact on that. So as long as he comes back healthy and has a good year, I think we'll be okay. So I think we'll be all right.

Q. On a lighter note, how does it feel to be spending Thanksgiving week with the international golf family in China?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Last year, I spent Thanksgiving in Japan, and had sushi. So this year, we're going to be having -- I think they said they were setting up some turkey and Thanksgiving for us. It's going to be fun. I don't have any plans at home, we don't really have Thanksgiving anyway so, it gives me an excuse to say I'm going to be out of the country no, worries.
This is great. This is a huge event for me, and it is for Ben, as well. Just so happy happened to be on Thanksgiving but no worries to me at all. Maybe different for Ben because he has a family.
BEN CURTIS: I don't think my wife was too happy when I first said I was going to go. But no, it's tough being away. Probably in four or five years, it will be even more difficult when the kids understand the holidays.
But you know, I've got Brandt here (patting Brandt on the back). He's part of my family here now, so we'll have a big turkey dinner and mashed potatoes, so it will be fun. It's always tough being away for the holidays, and like I said, I'm just glad to be here and able to play. And never been to China or Hong Kong, so it's just kind of nice to see what it's all about and get a little experience here.

Q. Have you been surprised by the experience, China experience?
BEN CURTIS: Well, I've only been here less than 24 hours, so you know, driving over from Hong Kong at night was pretty spectacular seeing all those buildings and stuff. There's a couple bridges you go over, it's pretty neat.
It's good to travel. A lot of times you come and you don't get the opportunity to go see the cultures like you really should. But you know, it's nice to be in some places like this, just to see it.
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Hong Kong's great. You know, I got here on Monday mid-day, so I haven't been here that long. Heard nothing but great things about it. Heard some shopping we got to do and got to go hit some stores down in downtown Hong Kong after the week is over with. But at least staying Sunday night down there, so that should be fun.
I love seeing different cultures. I happened to be in Japan last week and doing that. I was in New Zealand; Fiji; I've been all over the place. And China was someplace I wanted to go, after I spent some time with the NBC people after the Olympics, and they just talked and raved about how great Beijing was and how everything was awesome over here, and really got me excited to come over here and play. It's exceeded all of my expectations so far, the hotel and resort is fantastic and everybody is so nice, so very happy to be here.
LAURY LIVSEY: We would like to thank the American Team for coming in. Play well this week and good luck.

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