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November 22, 2003

Ian Baker-Finch

Jack Nicklaus

Gary Player

Jeff Sluman


JACK NICKLAUS: Get our opening comment outs of the way, we got our butts kicked. (Laughter), it's really kind of funny, Gary and I were on the first tee this morning and I was sort of consoling Gary. And I said, "You know, Gary, it's a funny game." I said, "You know, we got you guys pretty good yesterday, but you know, it could turn around just as easy today." I didn't think it would. (Laughter.) And it did. It turned right around.

But that's the game, momentum. And what happens with momentum is something that sometimes you can't put on paper. The International Team fed off the momentum and did very well. They were terrific. They played great golf. I really didn't see our guys play bad golf frankly.

JEFF SLUMAN: No. And Jack and I were just talking about how the pairings came out yesterday, the afternoon, we were ecstatic.

JACK NICKLAUS: I thought the pairings were great. Those are good pairings. Those are good for our teams. Well, so much for strategy. (Laughter.)

Q. The big match-up with Tiger and Ernie, that's what the South African public was wanting, can you comment on what you think it will mean?

JACK NICKLAUS: Let's first of all say, well, how did it happen. Tiger has asked me, he said, "If I can play Ernie, I would like to play him." No different than Tiger asking me at Melbourne, if he could play Norman; he'd like to play him.

So, Gary ended up putting Ernie out -- when we got down to the last four, Tiger and Ernie weren't picked. They were going to play each other because he didn't have any choice, whichever way Gary picked. If he avoided Ernie on Match 11, then I would avoid Tiger, and so it would have been either way. So that's how it happened.

In fact, I think Ernie would just as soon play Tiger, too. It's going to be great for golf. It's going to be a great show tomorrow. We are all hoping the match is not over by the time it gets there. You certainly hope -- you don't want that. We would like to see it happen where the two of them came down to the last two matches and that was where the whole thing was resolved. I think that would be good for golf, good for the matches. Is that what you're asking me?

Q. Thank you.


Q. Tiger has not looked too happy out there, is there any concern or is it just one of those days?

JACK NICKLAUS: You have to understand Tiger's personality a little bit. Tiger hates to lose. And he gets so mad at himself that he just absolutely wants to explode. Now, most time I think if you've ever watched him play when that happens to him he usually comes back with about 63 the next day. That's been his record through the years. I certainly hope that's the case tomorrow.

But, you know, he knew that his four-ball record was not good. He had not won a four-ball in Presidents Cup and still hasn't. He's like, what, 0-6 now in Presidents Cup competition. He knew that going into today. And he was pumped up to play like he was playing at a U.S. Open or British Open or Masters, or even PGA Championship; throw all four in while I'm doing it. (Laughter.)

I mean, he turned to Jeff after the 17th hole and Jeff just showed me the expression, said he was about to explode because he was so mad at himself. That's just Tiger, and that's good. That's what a competitor is all about. That's why he's so good because he's so hard on himself. I was hard on myself. I just absolutely wanted to tear my head off. I learned how to not hear it off here. I waited till I got back to the room and told my wife to get out of the way. (Laughter.)

He's just a competitor.

Q. Gary, a question I asked Jack about the Ernie Els/Tiger Woods matchup, Jack explained how it happened, but from a South African perspective what this matchup means for the golfing public?

GARY PLAYER: Well, I think it's fantastic. I think they both -- it's worked out this way and I think that the public would love to see it and I think Tiger would like to see it and I think Ernie's happy with it. I've been very impressed with my guys. During the meeting they said: Well, whoever we play is fine. We've had a great spirit and I'm sure that Jack has had the same tinge. I think this is -- it's a dream match and I think that there are a lot of other really, also, great dream matches.

You know, one match, it's just one match of your life. I played Jack in the World Match-play Championship and beat him 5&4 and 6&4, but hell, my record doesn't compare to his. So it's one day in your life.

JACK NICKLAUS: Why did you bring that up? (Laughter.)

GARY PLAYER: Give you a few more gray hairs.

I think it's wonderful.

Q. Other than Woods or Els, did anybody on either team ask for a specific match?

GARY PLAYER: No. When we went into my room, we said, here are the numbers. These are the numbers I'm going to submit.

JACK NICKLAUS: Gary went by numbers. I went by what I thought was a good pairing and what I thought was a good match. Gary had come in, he had a pretty set thing that he was doing.

GARY PLAYER: Yes, I put my numbers down and that's how I was going to put all my games in.

But I must tell you, I made a little mistake with Vijay, we wanted him off at about the fifth game, and Ian and I were looking at the piece of paper that we were moving quite quickly and we realized we had gone by him and we said, oh, we had gone by him. But Jack had already put the name up, so we couldn't change it.

So then we put Vijay a little later and Jack said, well, this is amazing because I was going to put David Toms against Vijay, anyway, s it worked out.

Q. When you said numbers, you mean the order in which you wanted the players to play?

GARY PLAYER: Yes. We sat down there and we said we want weakest, strong, weakest -- well, when you say weak, weaker, strong -- or strong, and very strong, or strong and very strong. (Laughter.) You have to think very carefully when you're an old fart, haven't you? We said: Strong, very strong, strong very strong. That was basically our theory.

JACK NICKLAUS: Mine was a little different. I matched the guys against the guys a little bit, but I also wanted to come out with some guys that I felt like to get off to a good start. We felt like there were three players that wanted to get out early: Jim Furyk, Jerry Kelly and Kenny Perry, one, two, three. And the way they came out, Gary picked Mike Weir and I put Jim Furyk against him. I picked Jerry Kelly and he put Tim Clark against him. He picked Nicky Price and I picked Kenny Perry. I thought they were all three matches and I wanted to get those three guys out first.

I then came back with what I thought were some guys who were sort in the middle on our team and who sort of felt like they were good, solid players. But I didn't want to -- we didn't want to put the pressure on those guys to finish. That's sort of -- and then I had Tiger and Davis Love to finish. That's sort of the theory that I went by.

Q. Would if it be fair to say that apart from the Woods/Els game, the Furyk/Weir, U.S. Open against Masters and the two youngsters playing each other were also games that you wanted to see happen?

GARY PLAYER: That was coincidence.

JACK NICKLAUS: That wasn't coincidence.

GARY PLAYER: You planned that. I didn't.

JACK NICKLAUS: No. You put Adam Scott down and I thought Charles Howell would be a good match. I thought it would be a great match, the two young guys. It would be great and that's where I wanted him to play.

GARY PLAYER: It's really neat, isn't it? I never thought about that, the Masters/U.S. Open Champion until you mentioned it.

JACK NICKLAUS: How do you think I did it?

GARY PLAYER: I said I never thought it.

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, you thought of telling them about 6&4 and 5&4. (Laughter.)

GARY PLAYER: You've got to remember, he's younger than me. His brain is still more active. But I heard him say the other day, "where did what go."

JACK NICKLAUS: So what's what we did guys, ladies.

Q. You have five members of your team who have been on an International U.S. team and have come from a large deficit to win in singles. Does their experience help you tomorrow, the fact that they have done it before?

JACK NICKLAUS: Well, I think that the same guys played today, too, and the same guys played yesterday, and yesterday they played great. Today, they got, I don't know, I think they played poorly today. I think they just got beaten and fed by momentum. I think they know what they have to do. I think they know that they are behind. I think they know they have to play and they have done it before, is what you're saying.

I think that they that I, hey, we've done this before, we can do it again. I think they have a good positive attitude. We'll talk about it a little later. I haven't talked to all the guys later. We just haven't had time. But we will have -- we'll meet tonight and we'll talk about it and give them my best Knute Rockne and the whole bit, or in that case I'll give them a Jim Tressel because Tressel is playing better.

GARY PLAYER: The great thing, which all of you would agree which is exciting, is to have the matches going down so close, to have a real good series, a Presidents Cup is just magnificent.

I think one thing that I was really, really thrilled about and Roger Maltbie mentioned it to me, but the crowds were responded to all of the players, which was just fantastic. When you look at U.S. team this morning, they were getting a great reception on the first tee.

I just think really it's an indication of just how strong American golf is. We musn't forget it's America playing the word, one country playing the world. Think about that.

So it gives you an idea how strong American golf is. And one of the things, which I don't know whether you people have heard it, which has given me a thrill, I spoke to Jack earlier in the year, I wanted to see -- I had seen what happened with the rubgy and what had happened with the cricket and approached Jack and approached my players and asked them if they would give some donation to the development board for our young golfers which are 85 percent -- well, 15 probably percent are white.

And last night, we collected between Jack's team and my team and the PGA TOUR, 1.2 million Rand, and Johann Rupert, as always, being very kind and spending millions on sport in this country, he said "I'll match it." So we got R2.4 million for the development board, which is really, I think, really fantastic.

Q. Is Nicky a South African or a Zimbabwean tonight?

JACK NICKLAUS: South African today.

GARY PLAYER: Well, you know, I'm going to be careful what I say here. I'm very happy to say he's half-and-half.

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you very much and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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