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November 22, 2003

Stuart Appleby

Nick Price


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Nick, Stuart, thanks for joining us great victory over Davis Love III and David Toms. Only the third time in Presidents Cup history that a session has been swept, so congratulations. Maybe we could start with some opening comments first from Nick.

NICK PRICE: We kind of beat the last match out and -- or close to it. I KEPT an eye on the leaderboards to see the situation of the games. When we were up in four, I think it was sort of like the middle of the front nine, it certainly gave us a lot of confidence. The match play, a day like today, any day is about momentum and when you see your team doing well it certainly lists your spirits.

I think Stuart and I today, we just ham-and-egged it about as well as you could. I don't know if we had two holes where we were both in play. (Laughter.) It wasn't an ideal four-ball match. I hit some terrible shots and Stuart did, but we also bounced back with some great golf.

They made a couple of mistakes, which we capitalized on. I think the birdie that Stuart made on 16 was phenomenal. That was just really -- and also the two on No. 14, obviously that was a huge point in the game. We were very excited to win our match today, very excited.

STUART APPLEBY: As Nick said, we knew we were in for a long day based on the weather. It was going to play like nothing else we had seen so far this week. Really, the key trying to get off that a good start, one Was playing very tricky with the second shot, and two was unbelievably long and we wanted to settle down and get some rhythm to the round, but we knew that everyone else had the same scenario. Basically it was two strong players and we're basically going to keep the ball in play most times. Davis hit some awry drives and David always hit them down the middle.

So we knew there was going to be a lot of guys in the hole. We didn't. We did ham-and-egg it so we didn't play clean golf. That's why it was tight for basically every hole; we never got a run going.

It was very, very difficult out there. The conditions throughout that and the pressure of the whole situation, what you're trying to do for your team and your partner, it was a very long day. It was just a battle right to the end. The bunker shot of mine was certainly a swing around. I had two shots previous in the day that I had just about made both of those. I had a good lie, and as soon as I saw it in the air, I caught this is stiff and as soon as I say it laying there, it was in. That was a momentum changer. And Nick came strong on the 15 and 16 we hit two errant drives there, and I guess the Americans probably thought they were going to get two birdie opportunities themselves and we might scrap around and maybe get one. It turned out that, well, we had one-and-a-half birdie chances and we got away with it and left us 2-up with two to go, a better situation. Just a very long day, hard work, but for all of us to win was big news.

Q. What did Ernie feed you guys last night?

STUART APPLEBY: A lot of his wine, Ernie Els' wine.

NICK PRICE: T-bones and steaks.

Q. How was that last night, and if you didn't talk golf, was it a good night, was it any affect on today?

NICK PRICE: I think most of us were in awe of Ernie's house. It's so beautiful. It's such a lovely place that he's got there and he's built himself a great home. He was just so relaxed last night. We laughed a lot. One thing about our team, there's no shortage of humor. There's a lot of clowns on our team. K.J., being one who you wouldn't believe.

But he gave us the royal treatment last night, Ernie.

We were motivated this morning because of yesterday and having our backsides kicked yesterday. I think -- but again, I go back to saying it's momentum. When those first couple of groups go out and play well, it certainly spurs on the other teams and I think today was a great example of that.

Q. When you said it was unlike anything, the wind was unlike anything you had seen in practice?

STUART APPLEBY: The course was playing nothing like what -- very strong. You hit a 100-yard shot and you go, "Well, I've hit this shot all week into the wind." You just really had to go into British Open mode. It was very much a British Open course and which I tried to bring around because I like that style of course and those conditions, but it doesn't mean you can go out and play great because you can hit ordinary shots out of nowhere.

Q. Everything is firmer?

STUART APPLEBY: Greens have been firm all week. The fringes are drying out quite a lot now and some greens you just sit there and go: Danger left, danger right, where do you hit it? You don't want to be 50, 60 feet from the hole so you are really testing your short game.

The secret today was we hit some good chips at the right time and we holed a bunker and that obviously put us in front. If you can chip-and-putt you probably will sneak in front, or wear away your partners. If you do that all day and if you throw in a few birdies, that will really make it difficult for the team.

Q. Which such conditions as you just described how would they impact on match-play?

STUART APPLEBY: Stroke-play, there would have been some pretty ordinary scores out there. I was dropping plenty of shots early. Nick was in strong early. It would have been an ordinary stroke-play day but it's match-play. It's all about halves, wins or losses. There's only three options and you just scramble it around and get whatever you can.

We certainly came to 16 and I knew I had to make birdie. Nick had a chance, a good chance for birdie there. But that was, that was we have to make birdie and then we got on 17 and I hit it over the back and I said to my caddie, "Got to make three. We've just got to make three. Somehow we've got to make three."

NICK PRICE: Didn't have confidence in me 2-putting.

STUART APPLEBY: I had the confidence but I wanted to think about me making three and hopefully Nick knocking it upstairs but at same time, I had been prepared that I had to do it. Just like I had to make my putt on 16 because if Davis makes his, I've got it make mine.

Q. I'm thinking in terms of tomorrow, as well, how will such conditions affect?

STUART APPLEBY: Doesn't really matter because you're both playing from the same tee. You event actually have to get it into the last four and a quarter inches of the hole, and you are all doing the same thing. I haven't got to the last few holes, so for me to get down 16 and 17 was new to me. I had not seen the layout so that was a bit funny to finish those holes off okay. But yeah, it's all the same. It's match-play, it's one-on-one and just put the runs on the board. That's what you try and do.

NICK PRICE: Par was a good score today. Par on just about any hole today and you had a chance. Maybe there were two or three that you felt like you may have to birdie, the two par 5s, 9 and 16. And then obviously the short par 4 that we played up. But the rest of the time you felt if you were going to make a par, you would have a chance. You weren't going to lose the hole and you had a chance of winning it.

STUART APPLEBY: There was bogey holes more than birdie holes. Without doing a lot wrong either.

Q. What were you hoping for, drawing even, getting within one?

NICK PRICE: I don't think anybody really thought that far ahead to be honest. When we sat down last night and we were working on the teams for today, Gary and Ian Baker-Finch were both very supportive of the team's input and not necessarily who wanted to play with who but who felt who should play together. We just laid the cards on the table. I think we came up with great pairings today. I played well with Mike Weir in the foursomes, but today with the four-ball, I needed to have someone who was a little stronger off the tee. And Stuart hits the ball a little further than Mike does, so that takes a little pressure off me on the par 5s.

If you look at our pairing today, they were pretty much like that. Mike played with Robert and Robert hits it further. Tim Clark played with Ernie. Vijay, Retief, those two gays can launch it. But you find the shorter hitters or the medium-length hitters were paired with guys who could hit it a long way and that worked really well today.

Q. What would you have thought going into the day: You're down three and up three at the end of the day?

NICK PRICE: After yesterday, I don't know, we probably would have -- but you never know in match-play, that's the thing. Match-play is just -- I can't say that -- we're obviously very surprised to have a clean sweep. We've had it done to us a couple of times. But for to happen today for us, this was a dream day for us, really.

Q. How well does it set up for tomorrow?

STUART APPLEBY: It's set up for, as typical of every year, it's going to be a very exciting finish, that's an understatement. We've got a strong team. Americans are always going to field a strong team, never anything but a strong team. A lot of matches left and a lot of golf left and our attitude is just take one day at a time, one, literally, right down to one shot at a time one match, one shot at a time. There's no forward thinking at all. It's all about playing tomorrow and that's it. Because you just can't let up with this American team. You never can, never will and we never intend to. We intend to stick down and see how the cards fall tomorrow.

Q. What are your plans for tonight?

STUART APPLEBY: Just relax. Team dinner, I guess, the usual thing, relax, get some shut-eye and off we go.

Q. Do you reckon the Americans will come out firing tomorrow, a bit of a backlash?

NICK PRICE: Oh, I have no doubt. Even though we won all those matches today, our mood in the team room was very upbeat but everyone knows the seriousness of tomorrow. There wasn't one player in there who for one minute is going to count anything tomorrow. We've got a big day of golf ahead tomorrow and I think we only have to win five matches, but we're not looking at it that way.

I think when you look at the way the teams are setup tomorrow, I think it's going to be front-loaded on our side and I certainly don't think it will be front-loaded on their side. So everyone is aware of what we have to do tomorrow. If the momentum swings either way, it's going to be --

Q. Who are you playing there?

NICK PRICE: I'm playing Kenny Perry. Okay. 12:00 Furyk versus Weir. Second group out, Jerry Kelly/Tim Clark. Kenny Perry/Nick Price. Justin Leonard/K.J. choi. Charles Howell/Adam Scott. Jay Haas/Stephen Leaney. Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen. Fred Funk/Peter Lonard. Chris DiMarco/Stuart Appleby. David Toms/Vijay Singh. Tiger Woods and Mr. Easy. Davis and Robert Allenby. That looks like a really good match-up there.

I think that's the difference between the way our format is, here as opposed to the Ryder Cup. You're going to get -- there's seven or eight stellar games there where I think guys are playing very similar golf. It's anyone's game tomorrow to be honest. Only thing, we've got an edge on we've got a three-point start.

Q. On that point, the three-point start, obviously it's a better place to be, but does it give more pressure because it's almost there to lose now?

NICK PRICE: I think it depends on the team's attitude. If everyone is going to be in there celebrating -- hey, we've all been around the game long enough and there's enough experience in our team room to know that it can swing anyway.

The guys are going to knuckle down. That was made very apparent by the attitude in our team room today.

Q. I know all of the matches gone the full distance, but it seems over the last three days that you guys have played 16, 17, 18 better than the U.S.. Is there a reason why that should be? And does it give you guys confidence going into the stretch that you do seem to play it better?

STUART APPLEBY: If that's a true stat, I have not seen it. I have not played much of those holes like I mentioned before, so I personally can't express, apart from today.

You can't really -- you don't pick that down to trying any harder, better players or anything. Sometimes it's just the breaks, really. On this type of course, because it's not -- the ball can bounce differently ways. Literally a running ball goes ten feet from the hole falls in the bunker, gets a bad lie, and it's something you can't put your finger on. I don't think the Americans fell asleep and I don't think that we turn it on anymore. It's just a very fine line at this level to what separates it. It's hardly tangible at times, really.

Q. For both of you, did you have any kind of discussions with the captains who you would like to play against?

NICK PRICE: No. I think what our captain, what we spoke about was to try and even the whole from top to bottom out so we were not top heavy in one area, i.e., all our best players were in the end or the beginning, or the guys playing the best, I should say. And I think if you look at the way that our captain did it, it's a nice spread in there and that's what he tried to did. I don't think he was going to worry who Jack put down. He was going to put down our team in that order.

Q. Does it ease the pain of the rubgy?

STUART APPLEBY: I don't think there's a lot of pain there, actually, because we were the underdogs. We got close. There's only one state in Australia only that plays, New south Wales, Queensland, so the country doesn't really take it on wholeheartedly. (Laughter.) For 18 million people, about five or six only count in this one state that get involved and watch TV.

End of FastScripts.

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