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September 21, 2005

Seve Ballesteros

Colin Montgomerie

Jose Maria Olazabal


RODDY WILLIAMS: We have Jose Maria, thank you very much for coming in and joining us. You've had a look at the draw, your impressions of the way things are stacking up for tomorrow's four balls?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, you know, I've said I look forward before today that both teams are really pretty much even out. We do have five strong players on both sides. I don't think there's any player that sticks out on either team. So, you know, I think it's going to be a close competition, or at least it should be. And all depends, at the end of the day it's how the players play to be honest. I've had experiences where winning Ryder Cups and other events that on paper, yeah, you think you have a match one or whatever, and the other guy is really, they play their socks off.

At the end of the day, it's how well they play and we'll have to wait and see.

Q. Have you and Seve discussed the draw?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: No. I'm in charge of the team and the decisions and everything. Seve is hosting the event. He's like the ambassador of the event, and, you know, the other day he did a lovely thing for the kids, you know.

Q. What are your impressions of the actual course itself?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, the course, you know, it's always in good conditions. I think the toughest part will be the greens. I think they are pretty hard to read. And you do have holes that sometimes are hard to see and I think that might cause a few headaches when looking at the breaks. Apart from that, the golf course is in good shape.

I think that our team is pretty strong. A couple of the par 5s are really very, very long, 14 and 16. Par 4s, I mean, you have a mixture of things. You have short par 4s, you have decent par 4s. So I think in general it's a good golf course. I think obviously for playing the format of four balls, I think we should see a few birdies, anyway.

Q. When was the last time you were a captain?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: The captains, no. The only time was at the Dunhill Cup and that was it. I try to keep a low profile, you see.

Q. What kind of captain are you � do you bang tables or anything like that?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: I'm too old for that. I don't have the energy. I'm trying to save the energy to walk on the golf course. I think I'm a pretty relaxed captain. I don't try to impose on the players. I think they are grown men and they know what is best for them and I don't think I will jeopardize that for the team. So I have good trust in the boys and we'll see what the week gives us. At the end of the week, I think they will be the ones that should be answering that question, anyways.

Q. So your style is not like Seve?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: He was a very relaxed person to me. (Laughter).

Q. Did he have any advice for you?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yes, there is one good advice: Win. That is to win.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Funny, we have the same.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Colin, thank you for joining us, as well. Initial thoughts on how things are shaping up.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: The course is in great condition and both teams I've just seen the draw, I think it's going to be close and we look forward to good competition. This is what this is all about, and why people switch on the TVs. That's why the Ryder Cup has worked so well in the past is because it's been close, it's been competitive and this is no different. We look forward to the matches ahead.

Q. Does it make it more competitive when you are playing against the same people week in and week out?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Oh, yes, definitely, I think we are all very competitive people. That's why we're in this position and professional pride gets in the way in a huge way. None of us love to lose. And these matches, we're mixing two teams right now and everything, and we'll mix afterwards but during the game, it's all on. The game is a very competitive very competitive, because it's part of a team.

I think Seve can talk about teams until the cows come home, but at the same time the, team environment makes is so that you don't want to let your team members down by losing your game, if you like. So the intensity is stronger that way. I'm sure the European Team feels exactly the same as we do.

Q. Does wining mean as much as the Ryder Cup?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yes, of course it is.

Q. Is this a stepping stone to the Ryder Cup?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: You know, this tournament stands on it's own two feet, I don't want to talk about the Ryder Cup too much, but this is a definite, you know, these 20 players now are in a Ryder Cup squad, if you like, and you can't be you can't make the final 12 if you're not in the squad.

Everyone is delighted that they are here and we look forward to it.

Q. Seve � what are your thoughts on the two teams?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: Well, I really don't have much to lose this week besides watching the two captains, how they act with their own teams and obviously enjoy all of the matches. I just hope that we have a great week and just hope that the best team wins the competition. I wish both of the captains good luck and everything is ready I think. Good players, great golf course, the people will show up. So it will be a fantastic atmosphere from tomorrow on, and I'm looking forward to enjoy the week and especially looking forward to take a look at the match between Jose and Colin on Sunday. I think that will be interesting.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Stand close to Monty on the tees and the greens.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Just stay away. (Laughter). You played in the Pro Am, yeah? How did you play today?

SEVE BALLESTEROS: I played very well.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, good for you. We're all excited and delighted to hear that.

SEVE BALLESTEROS: I may still play tomorrow. (Laughter). Obviously somebody is

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no, not again. (Laughter).

Q. Is there a possibility you would play if an injury occurred to a team member?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: If someone gets injured in the next two days before the singles match, I suppose there is a captains' agreement that whoever is from whatever system that person has qualified from, either the World Rankings or the Order of Merit, we can call up, I suppose, if that happens. But everyone is fit and everyone is raring to go so there's no problem. I can speak for my team. My team are okay.

Q. What about the singles?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There is still the possibility of somebody being injured on the Sunday, and it depends, there's a number of situations, a la Ryder Cup.

Q. How important is it to get a good start for the team?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think very important, for me having a lead going into the singles is very important. Because Sunday, as everything happens, you have ten points to play for on Sunday and that's all tomorrow and all Friday put together in one day. So a lot can happen on Sunday. It's most important to try to build a lead, and that will be our goal, and I'm sure it's theirs as well, to take a lead going into Sunday. You know, so we go our best and we get our team selections as well as we can to try and achieve that goal.

Q. How long did it take for you and Padraig to settle the issue from your last match in the Seve Trophy two years ago?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, you should talk to him. No, we managed to clarify the situation pretty much on 18th. Obviously, you know, I was not a happy camper with what happened that day. I made it clear and that was reasonable and we leave it there. So we all make mistakes and we put them behind us and go on with our lives. Pad is a very respected player, he has a great future ahead of him and I'm pretty sure that in the next few years we'll have the chance to play together, and you know, that is no problem at all.

Q. What did he say to you?


Q. When you clarified the situation?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: He thought it was to his point of view, he wasn't sure if that was a ball mark or not. That was his point, as simple as that.

Q. Colin you said if you were not in the squad you couldn�t be in the Ryder Cup

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, I just said that no, sorry.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: You are reading between the lines. (Laughter).

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, no. I mean, you've got to be you've got to be in a squad if you're going to make the team, that's what I'm trying to say.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: The best thing is we have a better chance, but, you know

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: No, it was very clear to me. I need someone to translate my Scottish. So, please, you know what I meant or sure.

Q. Colin � have you played much with Graeme?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes I've played many stroke play events but I obviously haven't played any match play with Graeme. I felt I'd go with my four balls have set up in a country type way, it's quite obvious that I have Hollywood going out with Poulter and Dougherty, and I have the Celts going out second and I have my Welsh and English and Irish. So we're all pretty happy with that and we'll see what happens for Friday.

Q. Your thoughts putting the Hollywood pairing out first?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't want them hanging around, I think their hair gel would get all messed up, so get them out first and get them on the go, get them on the road, they are quite quick, so get them out there early.

Q. Were Harrignton and McGinley the first you wrote down?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, they are the first two I wrote down in the position we were in, yes.

Q. How did you feel about your pairings as well?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: It's pretty much what Monty said, two French, two Spanish, and then four players, the other two obviously, Canonica, Lafeber. So I think that you have to have good chemistry between the players to play four balls or whatever format, and you need two players that they understand each other, and in that sense, you know, I went with those pairings maybe because of that. Obviously Canonica and Lafeber were the two outsiders, let's put it that way. I put them together, we'll see how things work out, and after tomorrow, we'll see how they play, how they feel and if there is any changes, we'll do so.

Q. Guessing that Monty would put the Irish pair out first, were you tempted to try to match yourself and Jimenez against them?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: No, not really. I'm not trying to put myself in any particular match against any particular player. I know the chances of Monty will be pretty much close, but it's hard to tell in which position they are going to be put. At the end of the day, it goes down to how good you play, as simple as that.

Q. Do you have a Hollywood pairing as well?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Yes, Jiménez and Levet. (Laughter.)

Q. Who decided to change the singles draw to a blind draw?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, it was pretty much we sat down and talk about it and it came pretty much from both sides to be honest. Our opinion is the two in particular was more than the other I think the Tour has that in mind anyways. Is that correct, Monty?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I felt that sometimes it might encourage a grudge match, if you like.


COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I think that it could have encouraged a grudge match. I didn't want it, and I'm sure Jose felt the same. And sometimes, you know, you pick a pairing, if you like and we felt this was the right thing to do, and on Sunday, we'll see, we'll see how that all figures out. You know, the first game, and then the next nine, you'll find out who you're playing.

Q. So you're not responsible for it?


Q. How do you feel about your year so far?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Well, it's been a lovely year obviously compared to the last two I've had. It's nice to be able to be in contention the last day every now and then. I've really worked hard in the wintertime trying to get back and it's been a pretty strong season. Obviously I'm missing a victory. Still working hard at it and, you know, I'm running out of tournaments, we still have a few more to play, so hopefully my game will stay in good enough shape for me to have another chance.

Q. Ryder Cup still in your mind?

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Obviously, yes. It really hurts when you're not playing on the team. I watched both last two Ryder Cups on TV and you miss not being in there, the atmosphere. I know that it's a lot of pressure, but at the same time, that's what gets your adrenaline flowing. And in a way, we all miss that, and it would be nice to be on that team again next year and I'm going to work hard to do so.

Q. The Irish players your team, what do you think of their role?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it's interesting because my automatic pairing, McGinley and Harrington, that would almost guarantee you that that wouldn't remain through the week.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL: Come on. I'm not buying that. (Laughter).

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I guarantee that they will not be playing together all the time, so that's one. So in splitting, when I split them (laughter) but that means that we'll have three Irish in the five, three out of the five matches will contain an Irish player. And that's good for Irish golf and you know, talking about the Ryder Cup in Ireland next time. It's encouraging to see as am I relationship as we have. And as many good Irish as we have, because Graeme McDowell is right on the verge of the Ryder Cup Team and I'm sure that Paul and Padraig will make that team. Paul is nearly qualifying already and I'm sure that they will both be there again. That's very encouraging for Ireland and Irish golf. And you add Darren Clarke into that mix as well and they have a very strong four out of the 12 players, if you like, on the team, and it's important that they be on that team for the home support to get behind, as well.

Q. Just going back to your squad thing, obviously Paul, the contenders for the Ryder Cup

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's what I was trying to say, yes. You've got Darren and you've got Luke and you've got Lee Westwood and Sergio that would obviously, you'd feel would be in the Ryder Cup Team and then of course you've got the other eight that would possibly come from this 20, yes.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Thank you very much and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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