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October 2, 2013

Fred Couples

Davis Love III

Nick Price


STEVE CARMAN:  Good afternoon, welcome to The Presidents Cup 2013, the initial pairings session.  As the defending team, the U.S. Team has the choice of either selecting first or deferring to the International Team.  So Captain Couples, what's your choice.
FRED COUPLES:  We are going to defer.  (Laughter).
STEVE CARMAN:  Captain Price, your choice first.
FRED COUPLES:  You told me in Hawai'i (pointing to Mark McNulty).
NICK PRICE:  Our first team is Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.
We'll go with Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker.
STEVE CARMAN:  Match one, Jason Day, Graham DeLaet versus Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker.
Captain Couples, it's now your choice.
FRED COUPLES:  We'll go with Billy Haas and Webb Simpson.
NICK PRICE:  We are going to put up Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.
STEVE CARMAN:  Match two, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama; Bill Haas, Webb Simpson.
Captain Price, it's now your choice.
NICK PRICE:  Our third pairing is Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.
FRED COUPLES:  We'll go with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
STEVE CARMAN:  Okay, match three, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel versus Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
Captain Couples, it's now your selection.
FRED COUPLES:  Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth.
NICK PRICE:  Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge.
STEVE CARMAN:  Match four, Ernie Els, Brendon de Jonge versus Steve Stricker, Jordan Spieth.
Captain Price, it's now your selection.
NICK PRICE:  Match five, our picks are Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman.
FRED COUPLES:  Richard Sterne, does he hit it long?  Does he hit it a long way?
NICK PRICE:  Do you think I'm going to tell you that?  (Laughter).
FRED COUPLES:  Matty Kuchar and Tiger Woods.
STEVE CARMAN:   Match five, Angel Cabrera, Marc Leishman versus Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods.
That leaves Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson versus Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.
CHRIS REIMER:  Thanks to the captains and assistant captains and our tournament director from our rules committee, match committee, Steve Carman.
Thanks again to the captains and captains' assistants from each team, start off with our captain who has not gone through this before, Captain Price, just some initial thoughts on the process and on the pairings you ended up with.
NICK PRICE:  To be honest, there aren't really any surprises in Fred's pairings.  Mark and Tony and Shigeki and I discussed this the last couple of days, and we pretty much figured that's who was going to play with each other, as I'm sure Fred figured out who was going to play on our team together.
But I think we've got some great match‑ups there, I really do.  A lot of long hitters in the groups there, and I think obviously the U.S. has got a little bit more experience than we have, but I think what we lack in experience we'll make up for in enthusiasm.  The rookies on my team are all very eager to go, and I think there's some great match‑ups there.  I think we're in for a real day's treat of golf tomorrow.
CHRIS REIMER:  Captain Couples, also some opening comments, if you could.
FRED COUPLES:  I agree totally with Nick.  You know, we were on the ball on a lot of their pairings, which it's not a rocket science.  Everyone plays.  They have great players, young players, guys who hit it a long way, and once these pairings came about, we took our time and tried to figure out what would be fun groups to play and as Nick said, his guys are excited.
We got to watch nine holes and our guys are ready to go, and I feel like the pairings are‑‑ I love a lot of players on Nick's team just by the way they play, so I like the way they set up against our guys, which means it should be very fun and entertaining.

Q.  What took you so long at the end there to decide where to put Tiger and Kuch, to put them against Leishman and Cabrera, or leaving them for the end.
FRED COUPLES:  Good question.  We tried to figure out a little bit of length.  Cabrera and Leishman hit it a long, long way.  And then we asked Nick and Tony and Shigeki, they didn't tell us if Sterne is a long hitter or not, so we were trying to feel out if they would let us in on that information.
Obviously I've played five or six tournament rounds with Branden Grace so I know he's long.  We felt like Woods would be good in the five slot, and that's almost where we had him from the get‑go to clean up and hopefully get a point for us, so we had him going late in the day.

Q.  Marc Leishman is one of your rookies and he's into a baptism of fire; do you think he'll do well there?
NICK PRICE:  If you look at the two captain's picks, I put them both with experienced veterans, Marc with Angel and Branden with Ernie.
You know, they are going to have to face the music any time, any one of the five rounds or five tournament days.  So, you know, it is a baptism of fire for him, but Marc is very capable.  He and Angel played very well yesterday together and they make a good team.

Q.  For both of you, in the past, this tournament seems to really be about that first day, typically the U.S. gets a good lead, and then the internationals are always trying to catch up and invariably, they don't.  So talk about tomorrow's importance‑‑ the importance of tomorrow to the week.
FRED COUPLES:  Well, it's very important.  It's like a regular event.  You know, if you play your way out of it, in a four‑round event, you've got to fight back, hard, with some great play.
In this, you know, you want to get off to a good start.  We've had great success the first day in several of these.  But we flipped the alternate‑shot to tomorrow and the best‑ball, and I think that's a great move.
I think as Nick has a lot of young players, it's much easier to play your own ball, to get going, and we have young guys, too.  We have guys that have played on a team before, but as Nick said, he put a couple of his youngsters; we put Jordan Spieth with Steve Stricker, and we feel like they are almost like Steve Stricker's son the way they play and hit the ball.  Obviously Jordan hits the ball a long way.
Other than that, the seven of us or the eight of us will go and root hard and watch and it will all fold down to see how the points get pushed out.
NICK PRICE:  The start is really important, obviously.  There's six points out tomorrow, and in the past, it's been alternate‑shot, foursomes the first day, which I think is the hardest format by far.  And because of the dynamics of our team and where they all come from, it's very difficult to putt a great foursomes pairing together right from the get‑go.  I don't think Hideki Matsuyama has ever played golf with a partner before, so this is new ground for him, and that's why I put him with Adam, because I think Adam is really a great‑‑ will give him a lot of confidence and also be a great support for him, a lot of support for him.
But it's wonderful that they changed to the better‑ball tomorrow.  Obviously, you know, Fred's had The Ryder Cup Team to go from from last year with some of these pairings.  Phil and Keegan, who played so well together last year.  For us, this is new ground.  So I'm really happy that it's better‑ball tomorrow.

Q.  Saying that, you put Jason Day and Graham DeLaet first, you had the opportunity to decide who you wanted there; can you explain why you picked those guys to lead off since it's so important tomorrow.  And Freddie, can you talk about where the tee was on 14 today and is that something you would like to see during the matches?
NICK PRICE:  Jason Day and Graham DeLaet played really well together yesterday, and I just felt it was good are to us to get off to a good lead, a good start, and those two guys are very keen to get going.  For all of us, it was an obvious choice who we were going to put out first.
FRED COUPLES:  On the 14th, I watched Hunter and Webb and Haas and Snedeker play the hole.  They all tried to drive the green.  Three of them could actually reach the front part.  I think it depends on‑‑ obviously depends on where the pin is, but it's a very difficult shot.  Most players can probably get it up in front of the green but there isn't much room.
So, it will be exciting.  I believe the tee is going to be there tomorrow, and Jay and I and Davis, I don't think we are going to tell them what to do, whether to go for it or not.  They will figure it all out.  But it was reachable, and you guys have watched a ton of Memorial Tournaments; it's hard to hit the green with a wedge, let alone get it in the right spot where you have an easy chip.

Q.  Both of you have alluded to the fact that you're leading off with four‑ball tomorrow and I think this might be the first time since '96.  I know much of what you tried to change got shot down; was this a concession made at your request?
NICK PRICE:  Yes, it was one of our‑‑ when Ernie and I went to see the Commissioner last year, just to talk about it, see if there was any kind of‑‑ if he was keen at all, that was one of the concessions that he made.  Both Ernie and I felt it was very important just to change it from the hardest format being an alternate foursomes, to the alternate‑shot foursomes to the better‑ball, so that was a positive move I think; certainly for us it was.

Q.  Were you out there with Jordan when he made the ace today?
DAVIS LOVE III:  I was.  Actually we walked up on the green, right on the fringe of the green and right when they were getting ready to hit.  I got a good video of him getting the ball out of the hole if you want to see it.

Q.  Does it reach a point where you wonder if anything is ever going to go bad for this kid?
DAVIS LOVE III:  Every time I've been around him, great things happen.  So I'm trying to hang around him as much as possible.  I'm sitting by him at dinner.  I've been kind of watching him, as we talked the other day, since he was real young, like four years ago.  (Laughter).
He came up through the junior ranks just ahead of‑‑ barely amateur ranks ahead of my son, so I've always been impressed with everything he's done.  He says the right thing, does the right thing, fits right in.  Robin Love said, "He just walked in the room like he belongs."
And I said:  Yeah, that's why Fred picked him, because he does belong."  He's mature beyond his years and playing great.
It wasn't like a little kid made a hole‑in‑one out there.  He's tipping his hat and excited and let's go play the next hole.  Nothing fazes him.  That's why he was so successful this year and yes was so s successful at Texas and junior golf.

Q.  What have you seen this week?
FRED COUPLES:  I'm going to go the other way, and one of my favorite players on Nick's team is Jason Day.  He carries himself great.  He's been on TOUR a few years, and I think Jordan Spieth is well on his way to be like Jason.  Obviously, you know, you have a lot of other guys on both teams.  I mean, Adam Scott has turned into a machine.
But he's just such a nice kid.  I don't know, you see like an eerie, steel guy, and that's why we really put him with Stricker.  They both remind me of the same player; as I think Jordan and Steve will tell you, he's a much better player than probably any of us were except for Tiger when they were 19 and 20 years old.
He earned it to be on the team in six months; I mean, he almost made it on points.  He was close.  He played so well that there was no way he wasn't going to be here, and he's really having a blast.  I met his father who is probably eight years younger than I am yesterday (laughter) which was really weird.  I wasn't expecting that but he came up and said "Hi, I'm Jordan's father."  I looked, and I thought he was 30 years old.

Q.  Did he address you as Mr.Couples?
FRED COUPLES:  No, he didn't, actually, but I told him to from now on.
CHRIS REIMER:  Thank you and good luck tomorrow.

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