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July 21, 2010

Corey Pavin


STEVE TODD: Corey, welcome to Carnoustie, your debut in a senior major championship. Wonder if you can just start by how you're feeling coming into this week.
COREY PAVIN: Well, it's great to be here at Carnoustie. It's been since 1999, the last time I was here. I'm glad to see the rough not quite as long and the fairways a little wider than they were in '99.
But it's nice, as you said, my first major championship of my senior career, and it's a good place to start it. I think this is a wonderful golf course. It's a very fair, hard golf course. Just hope the weather cooperates a little bit. We'll see.
STEVE TODD: You made the playoff on the PGA Tour a couple of weeks ago, and you've still been competing with the young guns; how do you think you can get on this week against some of the senior players?
COREY PAVIN: I hope I keep playing well. I've had a good run the last few months and I've played well, but golf is a finicky game, and I'm going to just keep working hard and doing the best I can, and hopefully I can be in the hunt from Sunday, and that's what I'm here for is to give it a go and try to win the tournament. Just have to wait and see how that goes, but I like the way I've been playing. But I'm cautiously optimistic about it.
STEVE TODD: So you're Ryder Cup Captain this year and there's a lot of former Ryder Cup Captains this week; the strength of the field is pretty impressive.
COREY PAVIN: I think the strength of the field has been great. It's been a lot of fun this week seeing some guys I haven't seen for a long time, some almost 30 years, 27, 28 years, when I played out here on The European Tour in 1983 for a few months; those were kind of the first professionals that I was in contact with, and seeing some familiar faces from a long time ago, and it's been a lot of fun.
But the field is very strong, it's very good, and this course always wins. But somebody will have the trophy at the end of the week but Carnoustie always seems to win the tournament.

Q. How difficult is it to separate your role as captain and at the same time try and concentrate on your playing?
COREY PAVIN: You know, I don't think it's that hard for me. I'm a fairly laid back kind of guy and it's not an issue that I wrestle every night or anything. My wife, Lisa, is doing a lot of the behind the scenes work and helping out unbelievably.
If I didn't have her helping with all of that, I would be extremely busy and I would not be able to focus on my golf as much this year. So that's helped me immensely.
For me, you know, the really important stuff for me is the team itself. So far, the team is starting to take shape now, still have I think three more weeks before eight players will be automatically on the team, and I still have three more weeks until I pick my four captain's picks. There's a lot of time between now and then, and as I said, I'm not stressing about it. I'll look at everything after the guys make it, and then work on my four picks and make my four picks.

Q. That will be very easy.
COREY PAVIN: I don't think it's going to be as hard for me as maybe some other captains. I've seen other captains struggle immensely with it, and I'm the kind of guy that just looks at things, decides and goes on. So I'm going to obviously look at a lot of different things, but look at pairings and things like that between the PGA Championship and when I make my picks, and that will be part of my process.
Doesn't seem like it's going to be that difficult, but maybe it will be. We'll see. But I think for me, just make my choices and go on, and do the best I can.

Q. Would your philosophy on pairings and that be, here are my eight, who can complement them, rather than, well, there's a reputation there; which would be the way you would go?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think it's going to be a little of everything. It's going to be important to have people that are informed. It's going to be important to have people that I feel personally can play under the pressure of playing in Europe in The Ryder Cup. It's going to be important to look to see who is going to be paired with who, and I have to kind of put those three things together to come up with four people. So there will be a lot of decision making, having been made, before we get to Wales as a team.
Most of the pairings will probably be done and there will be Plan B with the pairings, as well; that will be done. I think most everything, most of the really hard decisions that I would have to make with picks and pairings will be done before we get to Celtic Manor.

Q. Are you planning to bring your players over to Celtic Manor before you get there, or will they just see it the first time Ryder Cup week?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, they will just see it the first time. If we get out there on Monday if we have an opportunity, but they will have three practise rounds out there. Three is a lot of practise rounds before a tournament. If you look at guys and how they prepare for major championships, a lot of guys play two rounds, maybe 2 1/2.
So I think it's plenty of time. It's a golf course that is very straightforward. There's not a lot of nuances to the course. There's a few, and a few strategic holes that are going to be very important. But I think three rounds is plenty for everybody to get ready for The Ryder Cup.

Q. A lot has been made over here that based on the World Rankings, Europe are going to be favourites. But if you look at the World Rankings, you have the potential to have the No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 on your team. What do you say to people who are basing that Europe being favourites on the World Rankings?
COREY PAVIN: We can talk until we are blue in the face about that. It's not played on paper; it's played on the golf course. And how people play that week is what is going to determine it. It doesn't matter where you ranked, and you can argue the other side of that, as well; nine of the top 20 are Europeans, I believe, so you can argue a depth of The European Team.
You can argue that maybe the U.S. is a little stronger on top. But it takes 12 men to win The Ryder Cup. It doesn't take four; it doesn't take eight or nine. It takes 12, and all 12 players have to play well and get points for a team to be successful.

Q. Do you believe that the role of the vice captains is very important? I think someone like Tom Watson who captained 17 years ago isn't so convinced of that.
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think they have a certain role to play, yes, absolutely. I think -- I know I believe Tom didn't have an assistant captain if I remember correctly --

Q. He had his old coach with him?
COREY PAVIN: I can't remember, it's been so long ago. But I think now, it's a little bit different animal than it was 20, 30 years ago. There's so many things that are going on and happening that, you know, I think as a captain, I need some help with, with logistical things and getting things done and making sure they are done.
So there's a lot that happens. You know, I think it's great for the players to have assistant captains to ask things of.
Help is important. There's so much happening during the week. It's just a matter of how much help captains think they need.

Q. You've got one more vice captain or assistant captain than Paul Azinger had; does that mean that you won't be following his pod system, you'll be formulating something of your own?
COREY PAVIN: You know, I think I have four because I want an assistant captain watching each match on Friday and Saturday. That way I can have two pair of eyes on each group that's playing and I can get a report back to me.
As I said, I think most of the pairings will be done before we even get to Celtic Manor. There will be some potential other pairings that everybody will know about. I think last time everybody had that same concept, they knew who they were going to be playing with before they got there, or at least very early in the week. I think that's important from my standpoint and a player's standpoint to know who they are going to play with or potentially play with and have that number, a relatively small number.

Q. With one assistant captain of each match in the fourballs and foursomes, does that leave you free to have a roving commission; is that your idea?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, that's what I'd like to do is to be able to have the freedom to go around from group to group, and if necessary, to get to a particular group and talk to the guys.
But these guys are all professionals and they know what they are doing out there. If on the odd chance someone needs to be spoken with or talked to about something, I'll do that, but it will give me the freedom to do so.

Q. For that reason, are you surprised that Colin has only three and not four?
COREY PAVIN: You know, you'd have to ask Colin why he had three. Obviously he feels that that's best for him and for Europe, and that's why he did that. I don't know what his reasons would be, but you know, that's -- I have my reasons for mine and I'm sure he has his reasons for his.

Q. Tiger said at St. Andrews that he had driven the ball better than he had for a while; were you encouraged by that? And throughout the last few months, has your thoughts about Tiger been there or not been there, changed at all or are you pretty much set on your thoughts on that whole process?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I'm watching every player, not just one individual. You know, I thought Tiger played better at the U.S. Open than he had played at the Masters, and as you said, he himself said he drove the ball a lot better at St. Andrews. What his quotes were is that he didn't putt as well as he would have liked to. That's a big part of the game, once anybody starts making putts, he's going to do better.
So I'm sure he's working hard on his putting and trying to get that better and we'll find out in a couple of weeks; he'll be probably playing at Bridgestone, I believe, and then the PGA Championship.

Q. Just a few weeks ago, are you happy the way his form is progressing as regards getting on the team?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, I want him on the team, that's for sure, there's no doubt about it. He's the best player in the world. He's the No. 1 player in the world and he's going to make Team USA better if he's on it.
I'd like to see him play well in the next couple of tournaments he plays and make it on points; definitely, I think he will.

Q. You say you would like to see him make it on points; is that to avoid you having to make a difficult decision if he's not playing well at those two tournaments?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I'll talk to you about that after the PGA Championship; how's that. Might be a moot question, point. (Laughter).

Q. It was supposed to be?
COREY PAVIN: Yes. I don't like to deal in hypothetical questions. (Laughter).

Q. Just going back to your own career, your first major, are you planning a senior career?
COREY PAVIN: Oh, absolutely. The reason I played more tournaments on the regular tour this year is because I'm a Ryder Cup Captain. Otherwise, I wouldn't have played as many.
You know, there's a couple of tournaments that I really like to play on the regular tour, and I may continue to play a couple, but for the most part, I'll be on the Champions Tour.
STEVE TODD: Thank you.

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