November 14, 2002
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GEORGIA
MODERATOR: Tomorrow, two team members will play alternate-shot for 18 holes, and here for the draw are the two captains, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. And the managing director of UBS Warburg, Mr. Rory Tapner.
To start the proceedings, we toss a coin to decide which captain goes first. The idea is, or the procedure is, that the captain makes the first peck, and the second captain decides which two players he will put against the first captain's pick. And then the second captain goes first for the second match, and so on, and it alternates all the way through the six matches.
So I will toss the coin, and if it's tails Gary goes first, and it's heads, Arnold goes first.
So you two captains are in the first group of every day's play. The principle of that is once you're in, you can then follow and encourage your troops for the rest of the games.
So I've tossed the coin and it's come down heads, and I believe that was Arnold has first pick.
ARNOLD PALMER: That means that I put my team up first?
MODERATOR: You nominate your two players for the first team.
ARNOLD PALMER: Well, you know I'm one of them. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: I know you're one of them. What we need is the second player.
ARNOLD PALMER: You want to know who I'm going to play with. I'm going to play with Curtis Strange.
MODERATOR: Arnold Palmer and Curtis Strange.
GARY PLAYER: I'm going to play with Nick Faldo.
MODERATOR: Gary is playing with Nick Faldo.
GARY PLAYER: Now my turn to pick. Arnie and Strange. I'll put Bernhard Langer and Eduardo Romero.
MODERATOR: Bernhard Langer and Eduardo Romero in Match No. 2 playing against ... Arnold?
ARNOLD PALMER: That will be Paul Azinger and Scott Hoch.
MODERATOR: Paul Azinger and Scott Hoch.
For Match No. 3, Arnold, you get the first pick.
ARNOLD PALMER: Okay. That will be Raymond Floyd and Tom Lehman.
GARY PLAYER: Okay.
MODERATOR: Raymond Floyd and Tom Lehman.
GARY PLAYER: I'm going to put Sam Torrance and Woosnam.
MODERATOR: So Raymond Floyd and Tom Lehman versus Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.
Gary, your pick for Match No. 4.
GARY PLAYER: I'll put Aoki and Seiji Ebihara.
MODERATOR: Isao Aoki and Seiji Ebihara.
ARNOLD PALMER: Okay. Mine will be Fred Funk and Bob Gilder.
MODERATOR: Isao Aoki and Seiji Ebihara versus Fred Funk and Bob Gilder, or Bob Gilder and Fred Funk.
Your first choice for Match No. 5.
ARNOLD PALMER: And that will be Hale Irwin and Tom Kite.
MODERATOR: Hale Irwin and Tom Kite versus ...
GARY PLAYER: I'll have Rodger Davis and Stewart Ginn.
MODERATOR: Versus Rodger Davis and Stewart Ginn.
For the last group, Gary?
GARY PLAYER: Durnian and Lane.
ARNOLD PALMER: Tom Watson and Mark O'Meara.
MODERATOR: Denis Durnian and Barry Lane versus Tom Watson and Mark O'Meara.
First match off at 9:15 will be Arnold Palmer and Curtis Strange versus Gary Player and Nike Faldo.
At 9:30, Paul Azinger and Scott Hoch versus Bernhard Langer and Eduardo Romero.
At 9:45, Raymond Floyd and Tom Lehman versus Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.
At 10:00, Bob Gilder and Fred Funk versus Isao Aoki and Seiji Ebihara.
At 10:15, Hale Irwin and Tom Kite versus Rodger Davis and Stewart Ginn.
Lastly, at 10:30, Tom Watson and Mark O'Meara versus Denis Durnian and Barry Lane.
That's the draw for the first day. If anybody has any questions, we'd be pleased to field them.
Q. What went into your thinking playing with Faldo tomorrow?
GARY PLAYER: Well, actually, Eduardo was a last minute change. I had Eduardo and then Bernhard Langer and a few of my team members said that they thought that I should play with Nick Faldo and then Bernhard should play with Eduardo. I discussed it with my team and I went along with that.
Q. We just had Sam Torrance and Curtis Strange and they were about to say, or they started saying, that the influence of your match last year, that it had something to do with the atmosphere in this year's Ryder Cup. Would you both like to comment on that?
GARY PLAYER: Well, I think that Arnold and I were both quite vociferous about the previous Ryder Cups where you were talking and hearing it being a war. You suddenly have a friends who has been through Vietnam and in a war, who sits down and tells you, "Do they have any idea what a war is, any perception of what a war is?" Golf is not meant to be a war; golf is meant to be a game.
Last night, Arnold appropriately said, his father said: You have to go out there, compete and have fun, but enjoy it, but play your best. And Samuel Ryder, I'm sure that his idea, if I can quote him, said this is a game between, in those days, two countries of great rivalry playing in the true spirit of the game.
And the Ryder Cup in the past X amount of years has been marshals saying your ball is over there and it's over here; and the TV commentators saying, not to mention names, this guy hates this guy and that guy hates that guy. And young people, young potential golfers of the future who we are all concerned about, that's not the atmosphere that we wanted to put in front of them. We wanted to see the true spirit. Yes, you want to win, you want to do your best for your country, but we felt it was getting a bit out of hand. And we all sat down with Sam, who is a wonderful man, and with Curtis, and we said, you know, we all love the game, the four of us. We want to see this take place in the true spirit of the game.
And the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup this year was so refreshing, as compared to previous times. It was a joy to see it.
So let's hope that we were a little influential. Maybe we were, maybe we weren't.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen for coming. That closes the opening draw press conference, and the same thing will happen again tomorrow afternoon when we draw for Saturday morning's four-balls.
Look forward to some great golf and I hope everybody enjoys it. We'll have good competition. Thank you.
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