November 17, 2002
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA
GORDON SIMPSON: We have with us the respective captains of the U.S. and the Rest of the World, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Commiserations, Gary. And congratulations for the second time, Arnold. Just give us your initial thoughts on retaining the UBS Warburg Cup.
ARNOLD PALMER: Of course I'm very pleased and proud and happy that we are able to retain it, but I think what we have accomplished with the two teams and the camaraderie and the feelings, the competition has kind of said it all: Simply that these are good, clean matches. They are things that can bring nations together and the world together, and particularly in the game of golf. So I'm very pleased.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking and watching the Rest of the World team, and I think that each and every one of them enjoyed the matches. I know my guys did. I was captain of the Ryder Cup a couple of times and there was certainly a lot of camaraderie, but not nearly as warm as it is now. That pleases me very much.
GORDON SIMPSON: Gary, I'm sure you would endorse these sentiments.
GARY PLAYER: Yes, I certainly do endorse them. And just to add to what Arnold said, at the end, after the prize giving, every one of the team members went to each other and shook hands and said, "Have a happy Christmas and thanks for a lovely match."
That just makes us feel so good, when golf is played in that spirit. Also I think that they made us feel so welcome here at Sea Island, from the top, the CEOs, to the locker room people. Just a wonderful venue. I'm sure that they will consider playing it here again and I hope that do, and it's been a great series.
Q. Arnold, congratulations, obviously. You play to win and you want to win. The weather notwithstanding, what were your thoughts on the way the week turned out and the way things went here at Sea Island?
ARNOLD PALMER: Well, I think first of all the venue was just unbelievable. Everything was about as good as you could possibly ask for. The hospitality, the event itself, a lot of good matches. And I think, as everyone saw the last three days, the competition was very close. And I'm sure as we continue these matches over the next years, that we will see the Rest of the World teams win some matches.
We were pretty lucky. I had a fantastic team and a lot of good players and they all were right at the top of their game. It doesn't take much to switch that and have it go the other way.
Q. For either of the captains, as long as you've played the game, where do the weather conditions rank among the toughest you've played in?
GARY PLAYER: Well, I've played in weather that's been worse than that. I wouldn't say it was the worst. It was very tough, but it certainly wasn't the toughest that I've ever played in. Nothing like I played in the British Open at Turnberry where the tents blew out of the ground and pegged down deep in the British Open Seniors.
And when Arnold won at Birkdale, I mean that wind, we were saying as we were playing today, was blowing off that sea. But they were tough conditions. But I thought that our team would excel in that because a lot of our team are accustomed to playing in weather like that. I was so happy to see that kind of a day for my team, but the American team just played better. That's all.
Q. If you could address that. And maybe let's rephrase the question. Compare it to the toughest conditions you've seen in America.
ARNOLD PALMER: In America, I've seen some pretty rough conditions at Pebble Beach, for example, in the old Crosby tournament. And recently we've had some pretty tough situations where the winds and the rain got very difficult. Gary mentioned Birkdale. I think the conditions were far worse than this at the British Open in 1961, when I was fortunate enough to win the Open. But in those days, you just went and played. And of course, we did the same thing yesterday and today here in the rain and winds. And I think the guys did a good job.
Q. (Cold weather at Birkdale?)
ARNOLD PALMER: It was pretty chilly, Furman. Were you there?
Q. I was still in high school.
ARNOLD PALMER: I won't even comment. I'll tell you how windy it was, Furman. The British in those days put their beer in wooden cases, the quarts of beer. Those wooden cases were flying through the air like kites. And I'm serious about that.
GARY PLAYER: I played the British Seniors at Turnberry. On the 17th hole I hit diver, 3-wood, 3-wood. And I played at St. Andrews, driver, 3-wood, 3-wood. I'll never forget it because I put it eight foot from the hole.
ARNOLD PALMER: And then you missed the putt.
GARY PLAYER: I didn't even try to make the putt. (Laughter.)
Q. I wanted to ask you if you could speak to Hale Irwin today. Hale Irwin was 2 under through 17 today, which is pretty remarkable. Talk about that and just the fact that each at age 57 on the Senior Tour, he's still doing what he's doing every year.
ARNOLD PALMER: He was 2 under par? Well, that's phenomenal. That's unbelievable in the conditions today. I saw him hole a trap shot. I didn't realize that he had played that good. That's unbelievable. What more can you say on a day like this. I think I was even bogeys.
GARY PLAYER: You know, scores in a match like this, if a man has got his par, you wouldn't putt it like a medal round. You might knock it five foot by and they give it to you. I don't know how indicative scores are in match-play. You play the hole, you don't play the score.
Q. Arnold, Gary has told us this week he wants to win a tournament in his 70s. Does that make you think that you would like to go out and practice?
GARY PLAYER: No, I want to win one in the sixth decade. I'll still be in the 60s.
Q. Does that sort of stir you or leave you feeling exhausted?
ARNOLD PALMER: I hadn't thought about it, but I will give it some serious thought.
Q. Talk about your match today and how well you played today in these conditions. And maybe was there one really memorable shot that you pulled off today that you were proud of?
GARY PLAYER: I think the best shot I hit today without a question was a 9-wood at No. 9. I had a good drive and the wind was blowing across. And I saw the flag up on the right of the green. I aimed at the flag, which was 20 yards right of the flag, and it ended up about 12 foot from the hole. That was my best shot today. But I was pleased with the way I hit the ball in those conditions. I was trying a new swing today. My son helps me a lot with my swing and it worked pretty well.
Q. Are you both happy with the format?
GARY PLAYER: I think the format is excellent.
ARNOLD PALMER: And I agree.
GARY PLAYER: Some players were saying they would like to see on the last day or one of the days greensomes, but you always get guys with opinions. A greensome, obviously, is when you both hit the tee shot and you pick the best one. And then some players said why do we draw like this? If we're copying the Ryder Cup. Why don't we hand in the pairings without them being seen. But I think it's nice for you guys to sit here.
You go to the Ryder Cup and this. Which one do you think is nicer? Do you like this or do you like the Ryder Cup system.
Q. I think this is appropriate for this. And the one we have at the Ryder Cup is okay for the Ryder Cup.
GARY PLAYER: I think for you people that help the tournament so much, you give this tournament such great coverage across the board, I think it's interesting for you to see it. I think the format is great.
ARNOLD PALMER: I do too. I endorse that. I like the way we play here.
Q. Please don't think me being disrespectful. But how long would you like to carry on playing?
ARNOLD PALMER: Are you referring to this tournament? I haven't given that any thought. I'm just about -- I'm only playing a few events a year, in America or anywhere. I will probably go on as long as I can do it, playing in what I'm playing in. There's nothing really significant about the tournaments I'm playing in in the United States. If a sponsor needs some help, I can go there and play and help keep the tournament on the Senior Tour. And that sort of thing is what I'm doing. But I have really -- I won't say retired because I'm never going to retire, but I have really cut my schedule almost to zero.
This is a special event. I suppose I will play, when I think about it, as long as they want me to play.
GARY PLAYER: I've spoken to a lot of players on the Tour, and we want to see Arnold continue to play, because Arnold is still the most loved of all golfers at the tournaments and the public want to see him play. They don't really care at tournaments how he plays. They just want to see him. A lot of young people have never seen Arnold Palmer and they want to see him. You have to see who draws the most crowd, it's Arnold Palmer. So I hope Arnold keeps playing and he likes the challenge. He's on the Senior Tour now. He's not on the regular tour, and they want to see him play.
Q. How long do you see yourself playing? You say that you love playing?
ARNOLD PALMER: As I said, I've kind of got to where I'm not going to quit playing. I'm going to play, and in special events. Hell, Sam Snead played the year before he died, and enjoyed it. I enjoy playing golf. I play golf at my club all the time. And I get a lot of mail and urging to continue to play.
Now, I've really kind of removed myself from the front of the tour, but in cases where I can help golf, I will play.
Q. Arnold, what keeps you from playing more on the Senior Tour?
ARNOLD PALMER: My game. Did you hear me?
Q. I did.
ARNOLD PALMER: You said what keeps you from playing more on the Senior Tour. My golf. If it got better, I might play another tournament or two. But playing the way I'm playing and have been playing recently, it's a bit discouraging. But part of my life and my enjoyment for doing what I do is trying to bring my game back, get it back to where it used to be.
Gary and I talked about that the last couple of days. It's something for me to do, you know. It's sort of like saying why does Furman Bisher still write a story. Because he didn't know what else he would do if he didn't write. That's why I play golf. I like it. It's enjoyable, and I'm going to continue to play.
Q. Did you see any glimmers of hope this year?
ARNOLD PALMER: I leave the practice tee almost every day with a glimmer of hope, and then I leave the 18th hole and I'm not too happy with what happened there.
Q. Arnold, Gary said he would like to see the venue here considered to have this event come back. Do you endorse that? Would you like to see that?
ARNOLD PALMER: Absolutely. I think we would be very fortunate to be able to come back and do this same thing next year.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, gentlemen, very much. You've both given us enormous pleasure this week. Thank you very much, and your teams.
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