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September 27, 2010
GORDON SIMPSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 38th Ryder Cup, and a very special welcome to the The Celtic Manor Resort. I think it's fair to say, it's an historic week for Wales, and a very special week for the lives of the two gentlemen sitting next to me, to my immediate left, Colin Montgomerie, European Captain, and our visitors from the States, Corey Pavin, with our little special friend there (Ryder Cup Trophy), I'm sure he enjoys having in front of him, The Ryder Cup.
I think it's probably customary that we allow our guest to say the first words. Corey, a very warm welcome to this special Ryder Cup week and maybe just give us some initial thoughts on your flight over and being here in Wales.
COREY PAVIN: It's great to be here. It's amazing that this week is here. It's been almost a two-year journey to get to this point. It's been a lot of fun, very enjoyable, lots of planning and it's nice to see it all come to fruition here. Obviously we have a big week in front of us, both of us, Colin and myself, and both teams and many fans and all of Wales.
We are just very glad to be here. The flight was your typical red-eye flight overnight. Tough flight, but we are all getting accustomed to the time, and we'll be out on the golf course tomorrow morning playing and getting familiar with the golf course. And ultimately, getting ready to compete Friday morning for The Ryder Cup.
We are very pleased to be here. The welcome here in Wales is fantastic. The other trips here have been equally as enjoyable. So we are looking forward to a good week, a great competition, great sportsmanship out there, and just very heated competition. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. So thank you for having me here today.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Corey. And Colin, your teams are going to be wrestling for that trophy in front of you there, is that the sense for you at the moment, Colin? Is it excitement, nerves, anticipation or just a combination of everything?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes, a bit of both. Firstly, may I welcome Corey and his team and all of you American media officials that have come over here now.
It's been great that this has been two years in the making here since Corey and I were announced as captain back very early in 2009 and this day was a long way away. Now it's here and it's very exciting and the anticipation is growing, hourly, now, as opposed to by the day. I personally, on behalf of my team look forward to Friday now. Friday can't come quick enough now for us all, and I think that you guys, as well; we have a few days practice now, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and we look forward to the practice and organise team selections and such forth.
Look forward, of course, to that first tee at 7:45 Friday morning. So may I just reiterate by saying, Corey, as well, we welcome you, and we welcome everybody from the states, every PGA official that has come over with you, The PGA of America officials that have come over with you, and we look forward to the matches.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you and as Colin said, we do have the PGA of America officials and PGA of Europe officials, and Gareth Edwards, who needs no introduction in this country.
Q. Captain Montgomerie, could you speak to some of the changes that you made to the golf course, and now having a chance to see the golf course early in the week or how it matches up to what you wanted.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, yes, you're probably aware that there's a so-called home-course advantage that can be used to a home team. On this occasion, I haven't played around with the golf course at all. This golf course is set up in a very, very fair manner to allow the best team to win.
I don't think it was right to set the course up in any other way than to what it's been designed for; it's a great, great golf course and it's in super condition. All credit to Jim McKenzie and all of his staff that have put this together. The greens are firm. They are rolling at about 10 and a half, 11, which is ideal, for these conditions, and I think that everything around the golf course is first class, and I hope you guys feel the same.
I've never, ever been in a media center the way this is; a fantastic setup, not just here, but around the whole facility here, and everybody in Wales should be very, very proud of this setup that we have here, and a golf course to be proud of, as well.
Q. On that subject, both Ian Woosnam in 2006 and Sam Torrance in 2002 made quite an issue of setting up the home course for their advantage. Is there any reason why you've decided to keep the course in a very neutral setup? It's very much like a standard European Tour setup.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, hence to our advantage, if it is a European Tour setup. I was hardly going to set up to a U.S. Tour setup.
So it is a very fair test of golf, and something that our European Tour players will be used to in the pace of greens, and the setup that it is. The rough is graded very fairly. A good the shot will be rewarded and a bad shot will be penalized and that I think is the game of golf and that is what it should be. We are due for some breeze over Friday, Saturday, Sunday I see, average of about 10 to 15 miles an hour, which I think the course setup will favour.
I think it's not too tough, and yet it's tough enough.
Q. But is there an actual reason why you've not taken advantage of it, to get a special home advantage?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, there's no reason at all. I think I'm allowing the best team here to win.
Q. Does that surprise you, that Colin has not fiddled with the golf course?
COREY PAVIN: Well, you know, I think what he was saying, basically, is you set it up to European Tour standards, and that's the advantage that he's describing, I believe.
You know, I think Colin needs to do what he thinks is best for The European Team to have the best chance to win. That's his job as captain. So I think that's what he feels he's done, and setting up the golf course fairly, in the way The European Tour sets it up, it is what he thinks best.
I don't really have anything to really say about it besides that. You know, I'm glad it's set up fairly, because I think that's the way the matches are meant to be played, in fairness and in great sportsmanship, and I think that's what Colin is striving to do here.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Very good. Exactly how I was thinking (smiling).
Q. Colin said last week that he knows who is playing Friday morning and that all 12 will be playing Friday. Tiger on his website says he doesn't know who he's playing and it keeps changing; so is Colin more advanced in planning than you are?
COREY PAVIN: More advanced, more mature?
I have a very good idea of what we're going to do. We've talked about it quite a bit and the players have an idea of the direction that I'm going to go, but there's no reason for me, as far as I'm concerned, to discuss it too much until actually write the pairings down on paper and turn them in.
Q. Two years ago, Paul Azinger had his pods and a leader in each pod. Do you want Tiger to be a leader in your team, or would you see him more as just one of the guys trying to fit in?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think every player has a role to play on the team, and all 12 guys have their own individual abilities and personalities. And, you know, I'm going to pair the guys according to that, and every individual knows a couple of players they are going to play with or potentially with. How they interact with each other is very important to me, and I've talked to the guys about that, and will continue to talk about it this week.
Q. But can you say what Tiger's role is on that team?
COREY PAVIN: Well I hope he's just going to go out and play well and win some points. That's the role I would like to have him play, just like everybody else on the team.
Q. The Ryder Cup has provided you with so many highs over the years. What does it mean to you right now to be here in the week of a Ryder Cup back to captain your team?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I'm very proud and very honored, obviously. But with that, there's a responsibility, as well; a responsibility to try and win The Ryder Cup back. An opportunity has been given to us to try and achieve that, having lost the Ryder Cup two years ago.
So the opportunity has been given to us to try and regain this trophy back. This will not be an easy task, at all. The American Team are very strong. They hold The Ryder Cup. They have won two Presidents Cups, and there is no doubt that these matches will be very, very closely contested.
I think anticipation is as high as it's been for many, many years coming into this Ryder Cup, and I personally look forward to it all. But to answer your question, I'm honored, hugely honored, but at the same time, have a huge responsibility, as well.
Q. Is it difficult keeping your emotions in check?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. Not at all, no. The job in hand keeps that heavily in check, and no, we have our first tee meeting this evening. It's an important one. I think Corey will say the same thing for his team, putting out who I want to play with tomorrow morning, and then we start practising in earnest. I shall look forward to having five hours of freedom, if you like, on the golf course tomorrow morning with our three or fourballs on the course, and I look forward to that time. That's a time I've looked forward to for about a year and a half now.
Q. People talk a lot about momentum, coming into this week; players from your team have won three of the four FedExCup tournaments. I just wondered if you feel individually they have got momentum coming in here.
COREY PAVIN: Well, I like the play Team USA is playing right now. I think there's a lot of guys that have been playing well, and that's always a good thing. Any captain is going to want his players to be up on their game, but then again, anything can happen during a week of golf. Things can change quickly. You know, I just would like my guys to be out there and be comfortable, relaxed and get some good practice in the next couple of days, kind of get used to the time change, get used to the climate a little bit, and the pace of the greens and the grasses out here and just relax and enjoy the next couple of days and be ready to go on Friday.
Q. At the Ashes testing in Cardiff last year, the England cricketers were taken aback of the support for the Welsh fans; can you talk about the home support this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think as average, I suppose, 90 percent of the fans out there will be European. If you play away from home, of course it's the opposite. So, yes, I'm looking forward to the Welsh support. Most of the support out on the golf course are golf club members, and so therefore, they know the etiquette of the game and the sportsmanship of the game.
Although, yes, you will hear a bigger roar than a cheer, I suppose, for European putts going in, with an American putt going in this week, the crowd will be very, very fair and looking forward to the matches as we all are.
Q. Captain Montgomerie --
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, thank you very much indeed. That's a very polite start. I do hope your question resembles that. (Laughter).
Q. Return to course setup.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes.
Q. If you had wanted to set up the course to the advantage of The European Team, what might you have done? Or what do you perceive as some of the weaknesses of the U.S. Team?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm not here to say any weaknesses of the U.S. Team at this stage. I'm here to talk about the strengths of my team and I can only control what my team do and how they play the game.
I've left the course to allow the best team to win here this week. I think sometimes you can get yourself in a muddle by thinking that this is going to favour one team, and then the wind direction changes or something happens and of course it favours the other.
Mother Nature will keep the greens at a certain pace. So I feel the course is very fair. I'm very happy with the setup. I think Jim McKenzie is, and all of our European Tour staff that have been associated with the setup of this course have been very, very happy with it as I am. This course will be the fairest test for many a year, and I'm very happy with the set up for my team.
Q. Captain Montgomerie, congratulations, for the first time The European Team is favoured in these matches. Is that going to change your strategy any bit here besides the course setup we just talked about, any other things? I know you've switched around the order of the fourballs and the foursomes.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, that was just because we didn't win last time, so we just had a change. But at the same time, no, I'm just -- the strategy, so-called favourites, it's very, very close, very close. Yes, on paper, yes, it's been said we are. Unfortunately Ryder Cup is not played on paper.
These matches are very, very close; remembering that even in our record win in the States in Detroit in 2004, we had a record win. But 11 matches went up to the last hole, seven of which Europe one; two halved. Now, if these matches were the other way around, the result would have been different, very, very different; we would have lost.
So from a record win to a loss on one hole, it's very, very close. Yes, we might well be favourites, but I don't see it as much as you guys might be putting this together. This will be very, very close and very competitive, as they always are.
Q. You talked about your excellent record as a player. Do you think that if you lose The Ryder Cup as a captain, it will be tarnished in any way?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not at all. Not at all. I'll still hold the record of not having lost a singles match. (Laughing).
Q. When did you impose the Twitter ban and have you done it to try to control -- is it like Kevin Peter son in the cricket?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's exactly why this so-called ban, it's not a ban, because if somebody does it well, how can you punish someone for it? It's not a because as such. I've just asked my team not to, and they have said, okay, that's fine, we'll start again Tweetering or Twittering, having never done it (laughter) on Monday October the 4th. But Kevin Pietersen's error changed my view as to that, yes.
Q. Which player in particular or players were you particularly keen not to be Tweeting this week?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Not mentioning any names. I don't know who Tweets or who doesn't Tweet on our team. So I can't tell you. I can't tell you. The captain doesn't, and whoever does, has been asked not to.
Q. Ask Corey the same question; is there a reason behind it?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think we talked about it as a team and we thought it best not to do it. We need to focus on playing and working on preparations and getting ready to play The Ryder Cup. As Colin said, Team USA, whatever they would like to do, Tweeting or Facebooking or whatever it may be, they have the opportunity to do that next week and for the rest of their lives. (Laughter).
Q. As an individual sport, how do you prepare your teams to work together instead of competing against each other, specific preparations?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think we have the motivation to motivate a team. If any of my players needed motivation, they shouldn't be here. So therefore, they are highly motivated to win back this Ryder Cup. As I say, the opportunity has been given to us, and it's our job to now try and take that opportunity and so motivation is not an issue in our camp at all. The motivation is trying to regain this Ryder Cup.
So there's no issue with that with our players.
COREY PAVIN: USA is in the same position, really. It's been a long time since we won in Europe, since 1993. If there is any motivation, I think that's plenty, but I think everybody wants to win. We are all over here to compete and play the best we can to try to keep the Cup.
If anything, I have to almost calm down some people; guys are so excited to be here and to play. So just try to manage that a little bit with the guys and just realize what happens to one happens to all.
Q. Just wondering if now that you're here, in the role of captain, if there are pangs of wanting to play or pick up a club? You've been involved in Ryder Cup as players, and now you're the captains and just wondering what your emotions are about the different role.
COREY PAVIN: Well, personally, I really surprisingly maybe, I have no desire to play this week. It's been quite a lot to prepare for to be ready as captain this week, and frankly I haven't touched a club for about a month. So I don't think I would perform very well, actually.
But these guys, it's their time. This is Team USA's time. These men earned their right to play for the United States of America, and more than willing to do so and excited to be here.
So the thought really has not entered my mind until you asked the question (smiling).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, sorry, yes, I have to agree with Corey. Corey has not hit a golf shot for a month; I haven't hit a golf shot for about two years. (Laughter).
And it's the first --
COREY PAVIN: Says it all, nothing left to say.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: First time I've arrived with no golf clubs I assure you. Strange in many ways, biggest event in my golfing career and I've come here with no clubs. Quite weird really. I stood on the first tee on Friday when I arrived. Had my own thoughts about ever play again in The Ryder Cup, and after this great honor and responsibility that this is, I intend to do my utmost to try to make the team in 2012.
No European player, no European captain has played after since he's been captain. And I would like to try to achieve that goal and play again, because I do love this competition, and whether I'm playing in it or captaining it, I do love the whole scene here and I do look forward to Friday morning when other players are on the first tee, as opposed to me, on this particular occasion.
Q. Like it or not, speeches and speechifying is of certain importance here. Two of your predecessors had differing successes at it. Sam was terrific. Sir Nick wasn't quite so good last time. Have you spoken for example to David Purdie, have you done all of your own composition, have you had any professional advice, have you gone to the extent of having a dais or lectern put up in your garage?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, it was heavily advertised and talked about and written about the way that Sam Torrance went around his opening speech and did such a great job and all credit to him.
And Ian Woosnam, I believe, had the same advice. I've had less advice. That doesn't mean I'm less prepared. I've been preparing for what we have to say to the team and to the general public on Thursday, and to the Welsh visitors at the Welcome to Wales Concert on Wednesday.
Everything is prepared and there's no need to ask for anymore advice as to anything. I haven't really had much advice on that just in the way that one speaks and the way that one delivers one speech is very important. Ten percent of a speech is actually listened to; 90 per cent is how it's spoken, and that will be delivered, hopefully the right way, throughout this week.
Q. Corey, you won't know, because you were not able to listen to the program, but on a radio program yesterday morning, Colin said he had two speeches written, a winning and a losing speech. Do you have a winning and a losing speech written?
COREY PAVIN: I don't have a speech written yet. No, I haven't really given that much thought. I like to kind of speak from my heart and what's on my mind and just try to go with that. That's kind of the way I go about speaking.
So obviously I've written some notes about the opening ceremonies, but for the most part, I just like to jot down a few notes and just speak from my heart and what's going on.
Q. You've spoken about running an open campaign and you were open enough to share with us a couple of the pairings last week, the Molinaris and McDowell, McIlroy.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, go on.
Q. Would you please open enough to give us another one today?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yeah, fine, just everything, because Corey Pavin's not listening, so it's okay.
COREY PAVIN: What's the order, as well.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: And the order, as well. I can tell you all the pairings. Doesn't matter who pairs with who -- I can tell you the whole pairings. I won't, but I could. But it's the order that counts, who plays where.
But, yes, so obviously I have a certain pairings. It's obvious that you might see the Molinaris playing together. I don't think that would shock anybody so I might as well tell you right now.
Yes, the two lads from Northern Ireland are great friends and great pals and play well together so you might see them play together, as well.
Do you want me to continue? (Laughter).
They know. They know who they are playing with, when they are playing, and I think they can prepare from tomorrow onwards for that start. I have run an open campaign and e-mail to all of the players throughout this campaign and wished them well in qualifying and how they have qualified.
It's been very difficult to make The European Team on this occasion, the hardest I believe, ever, to make the top nine. They all deserve credit and they can all play with anybody, really, to be honest with you. They are a great bunch and I look forward to captaining, but at the same time, yes, there's two pairings that you might well see on Friday somewhere along the line.
Q. For all of the many fans coming over the next few days, can you just confirm that all of your team, Tiger and everyone, will be playing in the slots listed in the program and there will be no dawn patrol, nobody going out before the gates are open?
COREY PAVIN: No, I think I said earlier, we are going to be teeing off Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, and like I said, I think I've given the guys the option to play nine holes if they wish only on Thursday and prepare as best they can for Friday, and otherwise, unless somebody is sick, or not feeling well, they will be out on the golf course on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. For both of you, what happens -- I know Lee is looking good at the moment, but what happens if somebody is ill or injured before Friday? And Colin, did you ask Paul Casey or Justin Rose to be nearby, because Canadian Rockies does not look nearby to me.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it's not and he's gone for a bike ride, and I wish Paul Casey all success. And he did fantastically well in the FedEx series, even in the back nine of yesterday evening to pull it off, and that would have been a fantastic result for European golf and we'd have treasured that victory if it had happened.
Lee Westwood has been in close contact with me over the last month. And for that reason, and for that reason of his total, total return to full fitness, there was no need to have a so-called reserve that was talked about at Gleneagles when, of course, Lee's position was not as good as it is now.
So there was no need to go down that route.
Q. But if something happens with him, or with somebody else, what happens?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You're allowed a reserve in until Friday morning (COR: **The reserve needs to be announced before 3.00pm Thursday**).
Q. And that would be?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I'm allowed an extra pick.
Q. And that would be?
COREY PAVIN: Colin didn't bring his clubs so it can't be Colin apparently.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Can't be me. I can't say who it would be. I would have to go back to my vice captains and we would discuss the situation.
Q. How would a success this week compare to your own successes in The Ryder Cup when you were players?
COREY PAVIN: For each of us?
Q. Yes, please.
COREY PAVIN: I think it's very difficult to say having not gone through it.
As a player when you play, it's about you and how you play and what you do. As a captain, it's a whole different atmosphere. There's the administrative side so to speak and managing players, which I haven't done until now. So I think there will be a lot of satisfaction in preparing and getting everything done properly for The Ryder Cup. The results are up to the players and how they play. I feel like if I can do everything I can do, as captain to do my job, then I'll be very satisfied and it will be a different type of satisfaction than I would ever have as a player.
So you have the saying here, it's comparing apples and oranges. It's hard for me to say at this point. I might be able to answer that question a little bit better Sunday evening.
GORDON SIMPSON: Colin, last word?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, well, for me, I'm here on behalf of The European Tour, and we run The Ryder Cup now. We are very proud of what we have put together here.
So it's not my success; it's not anyone else's success. It's the European Tour's success if this result goes our way on Sunday. So all I'm doing is managing a team on behalf of The European Tour this particular week, so individually, to me, no. But as a tour, from George O'Grady down, it means the world to us all.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Colin. Corey, again, welcome to Wales. Colin, have a great week, both of you and look forward to seeing you here for the rest of the week, thank you very much.
End of FastScripts