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November 24, 2009

John Merrick

Nick Watney


LAURY LIVSEY: We would like to welcome the United States Team into the media centre for a few minutes. We welcome John Merrick and Nick Watney.
If we could get your comments, playing in a team competition for the first time in probably a while.
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, it's an honour to represent the U.S. in this team competition. I haven't played much team golf, so I'm excited.
NICK WATNEY: Yeah, it should be a great week, and we talked a little bit, mostly with our caddies, just about how we are going to approach the week in terms of team play. But it should be good. We are looking forward to it.
LAURY LIVSEY: Nick, following the WGC - HSBC Champions a few weeks ago, you've come back to China, what's your overall impression of the country and playing golf over here?
NICK WATNEY: Well, last time I was here, it was very hectic week in terms of the gallery but probably not because of me; because of my playing partners. It seems like golf is growing here, really, really fast, and I mean, this facility has 12 courses. So I think golf is just about to explode in China, and I'm happy to be back.

Q. Obviously the U.S. has a very good record in this competition going back over the years but 2000 was the last time the U.S. Team won. Are you confident that you can set that -- well, question one; why is that? And two, are you confident that you can set that right this year?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, I think so. I think we are both playing well this year and we are looking to come and play well and compete for the championship here. I think our games match up nicely for this format.
Yeah, we are looking to play well. It was pretty funny, talking with Fred -- it was probably a couple of months ago, like, "Okay, Fred, how many did you play." I think he played in five and won five. So he's like, "Yeah, good luck. You've got your work cut out for you."
But no, I think our games match up nicely, and I think we should play well.
NICK WATNEY: Well, I would just say, first of all, why hasn't the U.S. won, I think everyone else is really good, too. So I mean, I don't know if not winning since 2000 is any indication of golf in the United States. I just think it's an indication that everyone else is really good, as well.
But I think John said it perfect. We are here to try to end that drought and hopefully we can.

Q. Without wishing to be rude, the last team to win was Woods and Duval, and looking down history, there are some really big names. How serious is this tournament taken in the States?
JOHN MERRICK: I think it's taken pretty seriously. It's a global event. There's players from all over the world that play, and, yeah, I think it's a big deal. We want to represent the country well and put off a good showing.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the difference between playing with Tiger and Phil on the last day, and also, when you played with Michelle Wie at the John Deere Classic, what's the difference?
NICK WATNEY: What's the difference? (Laughter) Well, I think the difference is that Tiger and Phil are two of the best ever to play this game, and Michelle Wie was kind of -- I think people were curious; there was a 15-year-old girl that was in the tournament. I think it's extremely different.
But in terms of me, I was probably more nervous playing with Tiger and Phil than Michelle Wie. (Laughter).

Q. How did you make your decision on picking your partner for this World Cup?
NICK WATNEY: Well, I thought how my game matched up with him. Obviously we are playing alternate-shot, and John is a very good driver of the ball, very good putter. That was important.
And also, all of the best players talk about the majors being a big part of the year, and John played really good in two majors. So that was another factor in the decision.

Q. Are you two both pretty close friends off the course?

Q. Can you share a little about your strategy going into the tournament?
JOHN MERRICK: Yeah, I don't think we are going to overcomplicate things. I think we play a couple different style balls, but pretty much the same ball. I think we are going to have to make a decision on that with alternate-shot. But I think for most part we are just going to go out and play our own games, and at least for the first day for the best-ball and go from there. And probably not try to overcomplicate it. Just play golf and do the best we can.
NICK WATNEY: Oh, I think John is right on the money. I don't think we are going to try to overcomplicate it or overthink the team aspect. I think maybe you can get in trouble by changing things too much in terms of strategy and stuff like that.
So obviously when we play as individuals in almost every event, we try to shoot lowest score as we can, and that's not going to change here too much.

Q. Have you both already decided on your uniforms, colour-wise, any special matching colours?
JOHN MERRICK: My wife and his girlfriend, they kind of made those decisions on our colours. But it's a mix of blues and reds and some greys and stuff like that. But they it pretty much coordinated the whole thing. We kind of gave them that job, and they are good friends, so it was fun for them to do that.

Q. So you have seen both outfits? You're quite happy with your decision?
NICK WATNEY: We have some special shoes that we might bring out.

Q. Not the cowboy shoes.
NICK WATNEY: No. (Laughter).

Q. Both of you have girlfriends and wives with you; are you planning to go out to the centre of the city?
JOHN MERRICK: We don't have any plans yet. We are still kind of getting used to the time change. We are getting pretty tired at night. We are up pretty early and awake in the mornings, but it's been tough getting used to the time. But I feel like I'm used to it now.
Par we don't have any plans now. Maybe after the tournament.

Q. So during the week you're not really planning, or the wives?
JOHN MERRICK: They might go out. They wanted to go to Hong Kong maybe.
NICK WATNEY: We had like to but we are asleep by like 6 o'clock at night. So it makes it hard once we practice during the day and kind of hit the wall. But if we can get used to the time we would love to see.
JOHN MERRICK: Where should we go in Shenzhen?

Q. Well, you want to get the fake LV.
JOHN MERRICK: (Laughing).
LAURY LIVSEY: We are grateful for the U.S. Team being here. Play well this week and good luck.

End of FastScripts

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