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September 14, 2011
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, welcome to the seventh edition of the Vivendi Seve Trophy back here at the beautiful Saint-Nom-la-Bret√®che. It's a pleasure to welcome back, in Paul McGinley's case the captain of GB&I, and for the first time the captain of Continental Europe, Jean Van de Velde.
Before we open the conference with various remarks, I think we should put everyone out of their misery and you can tell us what the opening fourball session is going to be.
So Jean, first of all, would you tell us who is going to open up for Continental Europe.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: For Continental Europe, Miguel √Āngel Jim√©nez will be playing with Pablo Larraz√°bal.
PAUL McGINLEY: Against Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson.
GORDON SIMPSON: The second match at 11.50. I should say the first match starts at 11.35, second match at 11.50.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Peter Hanson will be playing with Rapha√ęl Jacquelin.
PAUL McGINLEY: Against Scott Jamieson and Ross Fisher.
GORDON SIMPSON: Match 3 at 12.05.
RAPHA√čL JACQUELIN: Anders Hanson with Francesco Molinari.
PAUL McGINLEY: Against Mark Foster and Lee Westwood.
GORDON SIMPSON: Match 4, 12.20.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Manassero.
PAUL McGINLEY: Against Darren Clarke and David Horsey.
GORDON SIMPSON: And the final match of the session tomorrow at 12.35.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Will be Thomas Bj√∂rn and Alexander Noren.
PAUL McGINLEY: Against Robert Rock and Ian Poulter.
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you, gentlemen. I think it's important, first of all, Jean, I think you have something to say about tomorrow, we normally have a protocol point visiting team which is GB&I would hit the first tee shot, but that's been changed for tomorrow. Can you explain?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: This has been changed because we came up with the idea, I came up with a suggestion that, you know, being the Vivendi Seve Trophy, Seve being the reason why this tournament even exists, Seve passing away a few months ago; I and everybody felt like paying a tribute to the man would be something more than important.
He was one of the players, if not the player in my heart, who made The European Tour or at least launched The European Tour from where it was and where it is now. So we decided to that extent there would be a Spaniard hitting the first shot of the tournament, and who better than his good friend, Miguel √Āngel Jim√©nez. So I asked Miguel, first of all, if he would be happy with that, and obviously he's thrilled with it. I spoke to most of the players about it. I addressed Paul with that idea, and everybody else thought it was great.
Paul, the gentleman that he is, gave us the honour for the full section. It would be difficult and quite inconceivable to have the honour only for one group, so he said, "Why don't you have the honour for the full day so we can have this happening."
I'm delighted that it is going to happen.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, I'm sure you feel it's a fitting tribute to Seve, as well, that make he will should play for the seventh time in the Seve Trophy and hit the first shot.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, obviously it is. It was Jean's idea, and a very good idea and I was very happy to roll in behind it. Once we got John Paramor on side, who is a stickler for the rule as everybody knows, I think it was okay. And the way we got him on side was Britain and Ireland would concede the honour for the first day and for the first day only. He was happy with that. Britain and Ireland would revert back to being at way team having the honour from the second day on.
So it was just for the first day, and it's Jean's idea to honour Seve and honour his friendship particularly with Miguel. So a great idea and very happy to help in any other way. Anybody else up for any good ideas about Seve this week, please run them by us, we would love to honour him in any other way we can, as well. That's obviously within the rules.
Q. It's quite interesting, you have Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood on the team, were you tempted to put them together?
PAUL McGINLEY: I was very tempted, yeah, and who is to say I mightn't do it at some stage during the week. Although they are not in the mold of Seve and Ollie in terms of historic partnerships and European history, they are not far behind. They are in the top echelon of success that they have had together. I decided on the first day it was important; if you look at my pairings, that the rookies on the team all have experienced players with them, and I thought it was important that I got off on the foot where I had those guys with some experience.
So that's obviously what I've done on the first day, why I broke Lee and Darren up.
Q. Continental Europe have not won since the first time but you look at this team, and it's a very, very strong European Team. Are you very confident that you could win at this time?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: I will be content on Sunday night when we hold the trophy. I think beforehand, there's a couple of numbers we can concentrate on: On the amount of success they had in foursomes in previous years; the amount of success they had in single games the previous year; the amount of success they have had individually in Ryder Cup and different things. I'm thinking about GB&I here. I have no doubt that you know, the players on my team will rise to the challenge.
There's really one thing that I guess a lot of people realise, but when you verbalise it, it's much better. I don't think any great champions likes to lose all the time. And you know, I have ten great champions on my team. When you tell them -- you know what I mean, since when was the last time we won? Some of them were not even born I think. Having said that, sitting opposite is a great friend of mine here in Paul, but unfortunately with great experience for all this.
It's going to be, I think however you want to put it, it's going to be a great challenge. It's going to be a great challenge to overcome five losses. It's going to be a great challenge to beat the opposition, and to beat everything that comes with the opposition, which is the experience.
So, you know, I'm fortunate enough to have a very high potential there, and now it's time to deliver.
Q. You put the younger players together, Nicolas and Matteo together. Is it for them to play once together and see if they can fit together for foursome?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Well, listen, foursomes is a long, long way away from here. So not sure about that.
But having said, that you know, you look at a player like Matteo Manassero who has been on the scene for what, now, 18 months, is definitely a kid with an idea, he's 18 years old but really has a body and definitely the brain of a guy who is 75 years old -- not a body but definitely the brain. (Laughter).
So only a kid like that, of course, he will probably be a bit, if he's not nervous, a bit challenged by the emotion and by the tournament. But let's not forget that he has the experience of a Royal Trophy, as well, if my memory serves me right, and he learned a lot from it. When we spoke about it, you know, he acknowledged the fact that he played extremely well in the singles and wasn't the case in the doubles, but I think he will only learn from that.
Having said that, he's a player that he hits the long irons like you rarely see in the game of golf. He's a phenomenal player. He's really comfortable in the Majors that he plays, and he's only 18. So he's capable of shooting a 65 around here without any doubt. Being paired with Nicolas, they are both young and extremely talented, and I'm pretty sure that we are going to see them for a long, long time in the years to come.
So the quicker they can jump in there, I don't think they need any baby-sitter. You know, of course it's great to have experience around, but sometimes it's good to discover things by yourself.
So I had different pairings in mind and you know, tomorrow is the first time out. We'll see tomorrow night how it goes. I have absolutely no reason to believe that they are not going to step up to the challenge.
Q. Paul, I understand that Ian Poulter was a sort of late addition to the team and that he had to wait and see what was happening in the U.S. for him. Are you expecting what we normally see from him in The Ryder Cup, the sort of passion that he shows at The Ryder Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I think he's a guy who loves team sports, obviously, and particularly The Ryder Cup. He was phenomenal as everybody saw in the last Ryder Cup, and probably the defining moment in his career so far was when he got the pick, what some people obviously said controversially, under Nick Faldo.
Under that kind of pressure to go over to Kentucky and perform the way he did, was quite did he nominal. And probably the most, in my opinion, the defining moment of his career so far. Because he used that as a platform the following year to go on and have his best ever year on Tour.
Now, situations like playing in team events, as much as players like playing in it, it also can be a great platform in their own personal careers. Again, you witnessed it with Luke Donald last year who, had a phenomenal Ryder Cup last year, and was probably the key person in that team last year in winning The Ryder Cup, going on to become world No. 1 this year on the back of the confidence he got out of The Ryder Cup.
As Jean said earlier, these guys are natural competitors, and yeah, I mean, he's a super player, there's no doubt about it and a great team man, and I've been fortunate to be on teams with him, as well. He was a great fellow to have around.
Q. You have three guys, Poults and Darren and Lee with a lot of Ryder Cup experience, have you found yourself already drawing on them to suggestions or have you taken input from them?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, no question. Yeah, absolutely.
Q. Could you elaborate?
PAUL McGINLEY: Don't want to elaborate too much, though. (Laughing). Not when Jean is sitting there.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: You want me to go? (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: When you have that kind of experience at your disposal, I think you would be -- it wouldn't be right not to use it. So I have my ideas. Those guys have played a lot of Ryder Cups between them and a lot of Ryder Cups with me. They know me as well as I know them. I have my ideas and in general I'm going to go with my ideas.
But there's also -- I'm not arrogant enough to think that I know it all and if somebody comes up with a suggestion than might work, of course I'll take it on board.
Yeah, I have run things past them and I will do the rest of the week as well, like I will do with the other players, as well, too, but particularly with the experience. I'm going to use that experience.
Q. When you talk about experience, you look at the makeup of your team, you have one guy with a lot of experience and one guy sort of maybe a rookie and not so much experience. Have you sort of done that on purpose with the sort of first morning session?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I've gone for balance the first morning much I haven't gone for my gung-ho pairings, I've gone for balance as you can see. I've put all the younger guys with experience on the team, people who have either played quite a number of Seve Trophies in the past or Ryder Cups or won tournaments or whatever the case may be.
Take Simon Dyson on the back of winning two tournaments in the last couple of months; I put Jamie Donaldson with him with that kind of experience. Again, Ross Fisher has played a couple of Ryder Cups and Seve Trophies, I put Scott Jamieson with him. I have gone for balance my first morning to try to get people -- like Jean said, I'm very much aware of how formidable this European Team is.
It's probably the strongest team they have ever produced, and we are very much aware of that. So we are under no illusions, no illusions whatsoever that we are going to have to play extremely well if we want to win this week.
Q. Explain how you composed your pairings tomorrow.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: I took the ten names in a hat, and put them out.
No, I did a little bit of homework I have to say. I'm playing Paul here and I'm kind of, you know, studied from the best. I looked at what he's done. I tried to find a link to the way he was thinking, at least two years ago, and he also said that he learned pretty much everything from Sam Torrance, so I had a look in the archives and pulled out a few informations. And I studied thoroughly what everybody has done for the last month and a half, everything they have done. Probably the only thing that I haven't counted was the times they went to the bathroom.
But you know, having said, that all of that is on paper. I think I'm not going to give you my recipe, but there's a couple of golden rules, three golden rules that I have in my head. One, for sure, being the first one that I can give you is I'm a novice at it. I'm a beginner. I'm a little kid who is just starting to walk and is going to fall down many times.
Paul is very experienced and as you say, he's still nevertheless with his experience, he listens to experience players. I tend to listen to everybody; I know nothing out there. So I try to discover the language as I go along. I try to communicate a lot, try to have the maximum feedback that I can have, try to expose my idea to every single player there is out there, get their feelings back, and from there, we move forward.
So you know there, is absolutely zero surprises for any of the players here. They are going to look at the pairing. They know a long time ago who they are going to play with.
You know I might be right, I might be wrong, we'll see at the end of the week what is going to happen.
Q. And what is your style as captain.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: My style, listen, I can't even define my style as a human being. My style as captain is, well, you'll find out sooner or later. I'll tell you that later. French, that's my style; French, being French.
Q. Paul, what can be the unique advice you can give to Jean to be a good captain in such a team? Just one.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: I'm listening.
Q. To be very present, to be very in the backstage or to go from one to the other? What is the good relationship you must have with your players?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: You don't have to answer --
PAUL McGINLEY: It's very hard for me to answer that in a very truthful way. I think the relationship -- without giving anything away, but I think Jean's relationship with his players I think is the most important. I think that's very important, your relationship with each individual player on the team is important. So that's probably --
Q. So he has to be very discrete or very present, very close to them?
PAUL McGINLEY: There's no right way and there's no wrong way. Everybody is different. What I see as right someone other might see as wrong. I do things my way and everybody can do things differently. Look at Seve the way he was captain going around on a cart charging the fairways, getting everybody up for it; he won The Ryder Cup.
Then you have Bernhard Langer would did things in a very understated calm way and sort of hid out of the way most of the day, and he won The Ryder Cup, too. So who is right and who is wrong? I think just be your own personality out there, whatever your personality is out there, let it come through in your captaincy.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Thanks, Paul.
Q. Did you ask your players how they would like to see you?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Maybe I should start talking to them, yeah. Yes, I did speak a lot with my players without a doubt. Communicated a lot with them even before I arrived here.
So you know, as I say, the key -- I think the key to having a team perform is to make sure that they feel individually that they are listened to, they are taken care of, and, as well, that they get on well; the decision comes from the group. It doesn't come -- you know, I'm just -- what am I? Really, I'm the guy who brings the water for the cement to take over. I'm here to make sure that all of the components are put together and that, you know, it works in an efficient way that they all become one.
That's the bottom line. As far as I'm concerned, there's ten players, but there's ten caddies as well and there's a few more people in the locker. So we are all in the same boat hopefully going in the same direction and we all need to have the same language. We all need to speak the same way. If that doesn't happen, if there's somebody who is unhappy or somebody who doesn't communicate what he feels, then you know you're going to head into a problem, without a doubt. This is definitely not the type of captaincy that I want. I'm not -- yeah, try to learn along the way.
Q. Paul and Jean, to be captain here, is it the first step to be a Ryder Cup Captain of the future?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: That's for you I think. (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't think it's a step but it certainly doesn't do your credentials any harm, that's for sure. But, listen, my attitude has always been, I do what I do, I do what I think is best, and if I'm honoured with Ryder Cup captaincy in the future, great.
If I'm not, I'm not, and I move on and do other things. That's all for the future, wait and see. But I'm really concerned about getting my team up for this week, because as I say, we have got a really big task ahead of us. So that's my concern at the moment.
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: Yeah, well, that's my only concern, it's about this week. Captaincy, vice captaincy, this is -- let's concentrate here. I've said it before, I was actually surprised somebody asked me that before and I was like what are you talking about here. I'm just French, I'm a peasant and I take this as a great honour.
And I'm -- yeah, it's already -- it's already big enough right now. I'm not going to put myself ahead on anything. I'm just going to make sure that I am going to try 600 per cent to beat my good friend here and if I can achieve that, then so be it. I'll be very happy. But whatever has to come in the future, it's not here. I will tell you one thing, it didn't even cross my mind before people addressed me with that question, and to be really honest, it's not even -- I don't even think about it. Not that I don't care; but right now, it's right now, right here, and you know, it's about the Vivendi Seve Trophy and about trying to beat Paul and his wonderful players.
Q. I understood what you said, but would it be interesting in 2018 to have a Frenchman as a captain at Le Golf National for The Ryder Cup?
JEAN VAN DE VELDE: You know what, to be a captain, I think it takes a lot. It will be interesting, first, to have a few French players playing in The Ryder Cup. Let's start with that. But after that, let's start with those players gaining the trust and the confidence over the entire group of players called The European Tour.
Then, after that, having a strong enough character, a big enough charisma, and being able to sustain such an amount of pressure; so 2018 is in seven years' time. Do I hope there's going to be a French captain? Yeah, I would love it. I would love to see a French captain at The Ryder Cup in Paris. If it's not a French captain, a vice captain; why not? Because there's no doubt about it, 25 years ago, people never thought we would win on Tour, or even play Ryder Cup or even contend in Majors, and all that has been done.
Sooner or later, we will win Majors. And sooner or later, yes, I'd like to believe that there's going to be one day a captain. Will it be in 2018? I think we have to seriously put our minds together for that to happen. You know, that's another subject.
Q. It was two years ago that we got our first sighting of that fantastic pairing of Rory and Graeme; obviously they are not here this year. One, how disappointed are you that they are not here, and two, did you try to persuade them to come, and did you understand their reasoning?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course I'm disappointed they are not here. I would love for them to be here. No point in saying otherwise. I would love Luke Donald to be here, as well, too. If I had those three, and Justin Rose, too, and even Martin Laird who would have made The Ryder Cup team if it was on this year.
Of course I want the strongest team possible, and anybody would love to have Rory and Graeme on their team. Of course I'm disappointed they are not here. But, you know, it is what it is, and we move on and you know, I've still got a very strong team. And I think it was huge the last week that Darren, Lee and Ian Poulter committed to play. I think it was great for me, for my team, and great for the tournament, as well, too.
So, yeah, I still have a very strong team, and it's difficult in this day and age to produce the very strongest team possible on both sides for reasons where players are playing world schedule now and have got different agendas going on.
GORDON SIMPSON: Gentlemen, good luck to both of you tomorrow and may the better team win.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports