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November 19, 2011
STEVE CARMAN: Captain Norman will select first.
GREG NORMAN: Kyung-tae Kim.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Webb Simpson.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go Dustin Johnson.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go with Charl Schwartzel.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go with Ryo Ishikawa.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Bubba Watson.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Bill Haas.
GREG NORMAN: Geoff Ogilvy.
GREG NORMAN: Go with Jason Day.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Hunter Mahan.
FRED COUPLES: 28, we'll go with Nick Watney.
GREG NORMAN: K.J. Choi.
GREG NORMAN: Adam Scott.
FRED COUPLES: Phil Mickelson.
FRED COUPLES: Matty Kuchar.
GREG NORMAN: Who you got next? (Chuckling). Retief Goosen.
GREG NORMAN: Ernie Els.
FRED COUPLES: Jimmy Furyk.
FRED COUPLES: David Toms.
GREG NORMAN: Robert Allenby.
GREG NORMAN: Aaron Baddeley.
FRED COUPLES: Tiger Woods.
GREG NORMAN: Steve Stricker.
FRED COUPLES: What did I say? Did I even say Steve Stricker? It's the last year I'll do this, I'm pretty thrilled about that. (Laughter) No harm in that, but I can't even remember.
STEVE CARMAN: First tee time, 10:30. 12-minute interval, last time 12:42. If the Cup happens to get decided in the early part of the round, matches will continue their match until their conclusion. If the Cup is not decided, singles will go extra holes until the Cup is decided and we'll play holes 1 through 4 in a sequence and repeat that if we need to. Tough day to play, but good going, guys.
CHRIS REIMER: Like to start off with a few comment the, Captain Couples with the singles picks, you've front-loaded with some of the newcomers and put some of your experienced guys on the back end. I don't know if that was an intentional strategy or the way it worked out, but some comments about the singles matches tomorrow.
FRED COUPLES: Well, we assumed that Webb and Bubba were going to tell us they wanted to go 1 and 2, and they did. So we snuck in Dustin.
But you know, we obviously tried to set up a couple matches, not against certain guys on Greg's team, but certainly where they wanted to go.
You know, we put in the young guys up front, and we put in some of the older guys at the back, which as you said, but it wasn't really a well-thought-out-plan. We just tried to match up guys when they wanted to play, and get some rest. I think just like Greg's team, we are all cold, tired and put some of our older guys later so they could sleep in until eight or nine o'clock and that's basically about it.
CHRIS REIMER: Captain Norman, some comments on the pairings?
GREG NORMAN: I think replay Freddie's comments. That's our philosophy, you have to look after the older guys who have been out there playing golf in very trying conditions over the last 24, 48 hours and you need to get them rested up and that's basically what we did. Respect for the players. They are all good enough to play each other, or they wouldn't be in this field in The Presidents Cup.
So we are really looking after the guys from health-wise and being able and capable of playing to the best of their ability.
GREG NORMAN: Alex, you always have to ask the first questions. (Laughing).
Q. In this particular situation, 13-9 down, this is pretty much a match-up draw, would you have felt that you had a better chance in the draw -- would you have like to have seen the draw differently like if it was a blind draw like they do in The Ryder Cup?
GREG NORMAN: No, not really. I actually enjoy this part of it. I think what I would like to see personally is that the host nation has the right to defer. I know when you get in the United States, it's a lot easier when you have the right to put somebody -- or I have to put somebody out first.
So to have the ability to defer makes a big difference as the tournament goes by, being able to match up your partners. And so if I had to make a change, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't just throw all of the names in the hat and how they come out or what The Ryder Cup does. I would just say, hey, every event, it alternates for the host nation. If it's twice in the United States, The Presidents Cup, then fine, they get the right to defer twice. If it comes to Australia or South Africa or Korea where it's going to go in a few years' time, I think the host nations should have the right to defer.
Q. Could we just get your thoughts on where your team is now? I know you have some momentum late today but going into tomorrow, can you talk about how you feel about your chances?
GREG NORMAN: First of all I'm extremely proud of the guys. We won the session today. When you look at the fourball compared to the alternate-shot, you can see where the balance of our power really sits. When we go head-to-head with the USA, we can handle ourselves in a fourball. We just really cannot handle ourselves in the foursome format. Yeah, a lot of thought has to be put into that.
Frank and I from 2009 to now have thought about it long and hard, how do you do it; is it the ball deal, what are the issues. It's just a matter of -- I truly believe it's the comfort level of the players playing or haven't played it. And when you have played in alternate-shot when you have played with somebody who has not played alternate-shot, you can actually hold them by the hand and take them through the process a little bit easier. I think our lack of experience in alternate-shot has proven to be our downfall to this point. I think the guys who stepped up to the plate today and to win the session today the way they did under trying conditions, it could have been really close today, but you know, right now, we have got our backs against the wall, no question about it, and you've got to believe that you can come back, win nine matches out of 12 to win this.
I believe the guys can. I have not heard any grumblings or rumblings in the camp to say the negative to the opposite side. All of the guys want to do is get warm, eat and go back to bed.
Q. I know you were out there watching, your team won four out of the five matches and seemed like that 11 was a swing hole.
GREG NORMAN: 11, yeah, I knew where that pin position was. I knew there would be some -- well, when I started going out there, the wind switched. It was almost a right-to-left and a little bit down and started getting more back into the wind and that was going to make that little pitch shot one of the most difficult pitch shots on the golf course.
So I knew there would be a little bit of drama there and it turned out to be that way. So, you know, at the stage of round two, if you can get a little bit of momentum on the 11th hole, you can actually carry it through to the next couple of holes.
There were a lot of great putts made at the right time out there and that's what match play is all about. The USA team made a lot of clutch putts. The putt Hunter Mahan made on the 17th hole was clutch. That is what makes you the professional golfer, what you are. That's why these guys win golf tournament, because they love that moment. They seize the moment, and when you see things like that take place; or Adam Scott making it on the 16th hole today just to halve the match -- seize the moment, and it's always on the putting green. It's never normally somewhere else. And these guys always hit great shots all the time but it comes down to making the 4-footer, 5-footer, 15-footer, whatever, to keep the match alive or to shoot it down.
Q. Really what you've got to guard against is a Brookline situation, you have a four-point lead, Brookline I think was the last time that was overcome. What do you do, what do you say and how do you avoid something like that happening?
FRED COUPLES: Well, that's a great question. I don't know how they did that back then. I know Ben Crenshaw said he had a feeling.
But, you know, we just matched up our players. We do have a very nice lead.
But in reality, you know, these guys are all champions, and I personally feel like they have all played so -- these last two days have been kind of ridiculous on how hard they have been. We just finished an hour ago with Nick Watney and Furyk winning a huge point and we have not even had time to really sit down with them and tell them, you know, like Greg used the word "proud." If I was a basketball coach and they played like this, I would probably get used to it.
But when you only do this every two years and you watch them play in a downpour in 50-degree weather, and we needed those two points really bad and they got them for us. Because this team was rallying and playing some great golf in that junk, but our guys somehow won the last two groups.
When we get back there, we will get the old guys, as we did get a couple of guys on the team bus to tell them, this isn't far from over, and you need to go out and everyone needs to win a point. That's kind of the game plan.
But, you know, they are all such great players. Once they tee off on No. 1, they are pretty much on their own.
Q. How much consideration did you give to holding Tiger into that 12-spot for a rematch against Y.E. Yang like in 2009?
FRED COUPLES: We sat there and that's what we looked at. You know, he played with Aaron Baddeley last week, I believe, in Sydney and they had a great time. You know, we wanted Tiger to play Badds, not for any reason. We just sat there and looked at that.
But a lot of the pairings, Charl Schwartzel I have a lot of respect for, he went early in the match tomorrow. But our guys, we did put at the end and then that particular slot, it was either going to be Steve Stricker or Tiger, and we just chose Tiger to play Aaron and Stricker to play Y.E. Yang.
Q. Can you put into perspective how big that point was that Yang and Kim got today?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think for the team it was enormous. It was a big lift for all of us, no question about it. I had a sneaking suspicion this morning when we did the pairings and put them out there that they would do that.
They are two very tenacious players. One is the PGA Championship winner, obviously, so he knows how to deal with the pressure and the circumstances. And yet with K.T., Ryo Ishikawa told us that he's one of the best match players in the field. He loves match play more than he does stroke play from what I'm understanding. And it proved out today. I mean, he really did, that clutch putt, he hit a 7-footer left-to-right down the hill at Royal Melbourne to win the match was just really impressive.
You really have to love match play to do that. And we talked about it before, it always comes down to a putt, but even the second shot he hit in there was a great shot under the circumstances.
So I want him to get out there. He feels comfortable with match play. Ryo told me today that he'll win his match tomorrow no matter what, because he loves match play, so, boom, put him out first and let him go have his day in the sun, and hope the sun finally shines around here.
Q. You just answered the question I was about to ask.
GREG NORMAN: Okay. Try another one.
Q. Has anything or anyone surprised you this week?
FRED COUPLES: Any ideas? (Turning to assistants). Well, I'll say in Melbourne, the weather can change. I'll say the weather was very surprising.
JAY HAAS: 90 to 50.
FRED COUPLES: No. I mean, Greg hit on a point about the alternate-shot. We do play it every year. And I think when we get here, we may have three of the six teams already set, which probably is easier for us.
And this morning, you know, that 4-1, I mean, I guess that -- you know, I've got a great team; I guess that was surprising. I mean, 4-1 is a huge boost to any team and I think that was the most surprising thing in that weather, early in the morning, that our guys went out there and won that.
Again, they have great players and they all pair up. We do play the alternate-shot every single year and most of Greg's guys do it every two years. I don't even know where else they would do it.
CHRIS REIMER: Thank you and good luck tomorrow.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports