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September 27, 2002

Niclas Fasth


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Niclas, it was a very close call at the end of the day, but you didn't quite pull it off. What was your first thought of a Ryder Cup now that you've experienced it.

NICLAS FASTH: It was pretty much what I expected. Obviously we have a fair idea what it's going to be like, and also obviously we talked to our colleagues who have been there before. It was very much like I expected it to, and it was absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed it so much out there. I appreciate the match even if we didn't win it. We had a great time and it was top-class golf, really. We were maybe 8, 9 under par and lost. It's not just going to happen by itself. It was the 1-putt that did it, and it lipped out, or we would have had a halve.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is this what you play golf for, to experience this type of competition.

NICLAS FASTH: Yes. I always say the winning is great, but the game is half the thing, as well. I live for these moments. I've never had more fun on the golf course than I did today, when the match was really, really tight. And I probably played my best under these circumstances, which is great. It feels great.

Q. Can you just tell us what was going through your mind as you were walking up the 18th?

NICLAS FASTH: Well, I was pissed off by missing my approach shot. But whatever was going to happen up there on the green, we still had a really good game. We played great. We played great even when we were 3-down. And so did they. This is golf like -- when it's at its best. And the people appreciated that. The atmosphere was great. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. And Paul had the deciding putt. It could have been me; could have been him.

As a team we did great out there. It wasn't enough this time; might well have been another time or next time or the next time those extra few putts drop, whatever. But we did a good job. It's not easy to fight back when you're down all the time. But we gave it a really good go.

Q. What was the feeling like when you were standing on the first, looking down there? What did that feel like?

NICLAS FASTH: Well, it's a very intense experience, especially the first tee. And it's a fantastic feeling to walk down to the first tee. It feels absolutely great. Everybody is cheering you on. It was the greatest feeling. Obviously hard to get settled enough to hit your normal swing off that tee, but it's still a moment to take in and enjoy very much. But like I said to someone else, you can't just take it in too much or you're not going to hit the ball. There's got to be some kind of balance in there.

Q. Given that you played so well, were you disappointed not to be back out there this afternoon or did you know in advance that you wouldn't be playing this afternoon?

NICLAS FASTH: Yeah, I knew about it. So it was never going to happen pretty much, anyway. And I look forward to playing tomorrow, although those matches are not decided yet. I know fairly well that I'll be playing some tomorrow.

Q. How important is it for the mood of your group, your team, to be up 3-to-1, obviously an excellent start and where does that leave the mood?

NICLAS FASTH: Well, coming in as kind of the underdogs, it will be rough for us to get a bad start. This increases our chances a lot, I think, to actually go win the whole thing, and for it to be a really close match in the end. I feel it's going to give everybody a bit of confidence and hopefully we'll be able to capitalize on that. Everybody must have played pretty good for us to be 3-and-1 up. I mean the match we lost, we still played good. And the other ones must have played even better, if anything, to win their matches. It's great for our team. I think, to be fair, it's actually great for the tournament. It really does increase our chances. We've been here before, and we've actually pulled it off quite a few times, actually more times than the American team, the last 20 years or something. But it really helps if you get an advantage from the start, it really does.

Q. You talked about getting the advantage at the start, obviously having three points on the board is a good way to start and get towards your target. But is it as much a confidence thing to reach -- is the boost to the confidence as important as the points, themselves?

NICLAS FASTH: I understand what you mean, but it's hard to say. Maybe -- the points count, but they will automatically always bring confidence. So it's a theoretical question, I guess, I don't know.

Q. You described earlier on all the fun you had. And a lot of people have been surprised about that. Because it is so intense and pressurized and so much expectations. Why is it so much fun? Is it because you're representing Europe or because there's no money involved?

NICLAS FASTH: Everybody playing here are top-class golfers, among the best in the world. And you get the top players. They will actually thrive on the moments where it's the most intense I think. And I think that's the reason why the best golf you'll ever see anywhere is always at the Ryder Cup, and quite regularly. I never stop being surprised how good team are playing at the Ryder Cup. I play these Tours all year-round, and what they achieve here is absolutely amazing. I've always been looking forward in taking part in that once, at least. I'm here now for the first time and I enjoy it so much. It's really tough on you and that's what's so fun. We live for it. We don't actually live for just going out there, playing a decent round of golf and collecting the money, it's the competition, it's the process. It's the fierce competition at the highest level, that's fantastic.

Q. Do you think could the Ryder Cup take place in your home country in Sweden, should it take place there?

NICLAS FASTH: I don't know, not within the next 20 years, I guess, because it's all settled. So it's really a long time forward, so I don't know what's going to happen in 15, 20 years.

Q. Do you think you have deserved it, like Spain has deserved it?

NICLAS FASTH: Yes, maybe we deserve it. It still takes I'd say a lot of money, good course and maybe they will be there. It's really hard to say right now. But we don't have a lot of courses that could bid for the Ryder Cup, maybe one or two. And we don't have the money, I guess, now, like some other countries may have. So that's always going to play a big part of it. And that's just the way it is.

Q. Do you think the European team could become even more a continental team than in the past?

NICLAS FASTH: I don't know how that thing has developed. I've never even thought about it now, how many are from the continent. Half the team? I don't know. Look at the European Tour, half the Tour is from the continent, I guess. And I don't see any reason why that would change either way, really. If you have enough golfers each side of this English channel, they'll come out a few good ones from each.

Q. A lot of people in your country would probably expect Jesper Parnevik to play today. What's his mood like right now, given the fact that he played such a big role three years ago?

NICLAS FASTH: You'd have to ask him that. I know he played all right the other day when I played with him. But as regards to his mood, you'll have to ask him.

Q. How do you see him? What's your summing up of him this week?

NICLAS FASTH: About him?

Q. Yes.

NICLAS FASTH: I don't know, I'm not picking the team. The picture is much bigger than any one of us can get a handle on, you never really turn out to pick two or three pairings because you're not going to get the whole picture right. Sam has some goals to achieve today and tomorrow before going into the singles and that really gives him limited options.

Q. Did Jesper seem upbeat about the whole thing?

NICLAS FASTH: Oh, yeah. I perceived him as a really good team player. He hasn't emphasized his own role at all, but rather what's best for the team. That's the only thing I can say, but that's been very true these days. But I don't know what his mood is sitting in today.

GORDON SIMPSON: It was a good effort. Glad you enjoyed it.

End of FastScripts....

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