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October 3, 2013

Fred Couples

Nick Price


CHRIS REIMER:  We want to thank the captains and assistant captains for joining us.  First of all, congratulations on an exciting day.  Perhaps some opening thoughts, Captain Price, on round one, and then we'll get some comments from Captain Couples, as well.
NICK PRICE:  The front nine was kind of like an exhibition from the U.S. Team.  They just made so many birdies.  It was incredible golf they played.  Our team, I mean, I thought they played really well, but they just came up against so many birdies and some fantastic golf.
At the break, I just spoke to each one of them, to most of the guys and said, hey, the U.S. has had everything go their way the front nine, and just be patient, persevere.  The back nine, there's still plenty of holes to go, and what a great come back they made.
Our two matches, the two matches we won and the halve were all from behind obviously but Louis and Charl played fantastically well together.  Hideki and Adam played really strong at the end.  Hideki probably hit the shot of the day as far as I'm concerned, the second shot on 18 to about six inches.  And then the other match, Graham DeLaet and Jason Day, those two are really I think going to be a great team together.
So good day's golf.  I think obviously we were happy to get back to 2 1/2.  It would have been nice to be three each, but compared to where we were on the front nine, I think we made a great effort coming back.
FRED COUPLES:¬† Yeah, I thought it was fabulous, too.¬† You know, Nick and I stayed up on the first tee for the first six groups, and then I followed Zach and Duf for about five or six holes, and they got to be 3‑up; a couple other teams were up, and as Nick said, the rain came and you know, our guys were rocking and rolling.¬† They went in there and rested a little bit.
And when they came out, you know, we didn't do anything wrong.¬† There were a couple poor shots hit, but there were so many birdies made, you really couldn't keep up.¬† And I think it's a testament to what we were talking about the other day on how the course‑‑ who is setting up, whether the home team or whoever; well, the TOUR set it up, and they did a phenomenal job.¬† And they are just great players and they all played well.
Graham DeLaet, I watched play late in the day and he hit some quality shots.¬† Like Nick said, the shot that Hideki hit on the last hole.¬† But to be honest with you, the par that Steve Stricker made was phenomenal for a lot of reasons, but the smile on his face was I think 24 people deep, and it was just a phenomenal shot to get that up‑and‑down.
CHRIS REIMER:  Before we open up for questions, the question I've been asked the most is:  What was in your pocket, Davis Love?  Why were you carrying around a squirrel today?
DAVIS LOVE III:  It was good luck until the break at least.  My dad always picked up sticks for good luck, and he told me I had to keep it as long as we were winning holes.
And I was watching matches; Fred told me to stay with Jordan.  I saw so many birdies.  It really was unbelievable.  Even when our guys would hit it close, like 12, Brendan chipped it in and one of them would have to make it.  Brendan played unbelievable.  Tiger and Kuch, I got to watch them a lot; they were behind.  I saw a lot of good golf, and it was a lot of fun.

Q.¬† Your trademark is to have the team nice and loose, but I'm just wondering, with squirrels and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and wigs from Louis and Charl; is this like an all‑time for you?
FRED COUPLES:  You know, that was pretty fun on the first tee what Charl and Louis did.  I don't know where they got those wigs, but their haircuts that they got, even though they didn't like them, sure looked better than those wigs (laughter).  But I carry a rabbit's foot around a lot, I don't know much about a squirrel or a live squirrel, but it was pretty funny.
And you know, this thing is going to get tighter and tighter as we go.  I saw Tony Johnstone out there a few times and we were talking about being under stress and watching the guys play.  But again, like Davis said, there were a lot of holes won, but there were so many holes that someone would make a birdie on top of whoever the team was that made a birdie where you thought you were going to win the hole; it just was fun to watch.
It was a long day.  Look, it's 8:00 almost, and the guys are ready to get back and go to bed.  But for the seven of us, it was fun to watch.

Q.  How impressed were you with Matsuyama, and in retrospect, how important was it to get Maruyama as one of your assistant captains to show him the way around here?
NICK PRICE:  The first time I saw Hideki play was at the U.S. Open.  I watched him hit balls on the range and then I watched him play a couple of holes.  He's got such an good game; he hits the ball so straight and he has a wonderful touch around the greens, beautiful putting stroke.  Then I walked a little bit Tuesday and then yesterday with him, and he's a great player.  I mean this, guy has got a huge heart and he's just not scared, and I think that showed with the shot that he hit on 18 today.
It's been great having Maruyama, Maru, there, because Maru, I just said to him, try to make sure he feels part of the team and that he's relaxed for the week.¬† I put him with Adam, and Adam was, you know‑‑ when I asked Adam if he had played with Hideki, because I think Adam is sort of a calming influence, and his self‑confidence would sort of rub off onto Hideki, and that really gelled well today I think.
So you know, initially there were a couple of Japanese on the team early on, and I said to the Commissioner and the guys on the TOUR, I really need someone from Japan because of the language barrier and someone who has played in The Presidents Cup before, and so Shigeki was an automatic choice for me.  He's got a great spirit.  He's got a great sense of humor, and you know, it actually was probably a trump card at the time that I pulled out getting him to be there, because, you know, you've got this mature very easygoing guy with a youngster who is quite intense.  So it was a really good mix.

Q.  Jordan got off to a difficult, frustrating start; did you say anything to him early on or at the rain delay or afterwards?
DAVIS LOVE III:  No.  Steve came up to me on 5 and asked, you know, what should I say to him.
And I said, "I would just tell him a joke or get him to relax a little bit."  Then Steve and I talked a little bit at the break and I said, you know, the more you tell him to calm down, the worse it's going to get.  But the best thing that happened was Jordan had a birdie putt at 5 after we talked about it and then he made a birdie putt at 6.  After that, he was fine.
He was a little disappointed that he didn't‑‑ he wasn't in the last two holes, but that's team golf.¬† But, heck, he made at least five or six birdies, and he pulled his weight on the day for sure.¬† But Steve‑‑ you know, Steve hit a few bad shots and Jordan hit a few bad shots, but they were at least 10‑under par.¬† They played great together. ¬†It just took them a few holes to kind of calm down.¬† I could even see it in his swing.¬† He birdied 6 but he didn't hit the greatest shot in there.¬† You could tell he was uncomfortable in the beginning.¬† But, boy, in the middle of the round, he was ready to go.
That putt he made at 12, I used a Fred Couples line, it was pivotal.  If he doesn't make that putt at 12, it could have changed the whole match.  So he stepped up when he needed to.

Q.  If I'm looking at this right, I think you kept all your groups together, you're going into a different format tomorrow.  Is that just a chemistry thing off what you saw today?
NICK PRICE:  Yeah, you know, I felt that they all played pretty well today.  I've got confidence in our pairings, if some don't work well tomorrow, then we'll switch on Saturday a couple of them.
But to be honest, you know, Branden Grace and Richard Sterne came up against a juggernaut today with the guys they played.  I just think they are starting to get comfortable with each other.  They have played three days now, so to split them up or start changing things around, I don't think would be a wise move now, especially after we had that nice momentum, that bit of momentum on the back nine today.  So hopefully we can carry that through to tomorrow.

Q.  Given your not so great history in foursomes, what do you tell your team tonight, and how critical is tomorrow for the rest of the matches?
NICK PRICE:¬† You know, it has generally been very hard for us in foursomes.¬† I think one of the reasons being, it's, a, it's the hardest format of the lot, without a doubt.¬† Alternate‑shot, you're playing basically half a round.
But I think, you know, the individuals have got to get together; the two guys, the teams and get with each other and spur each other on.¬† I can only do so much.¬† But keeping the ball in play; we've got, I think 12 wonderful ball‑strikers here.¬† I'm not going to lose faith in those teams to be honest.¬† I really think that they are all ready to take their games to the next level so to speak team‑wise.

Q.  What was it like to have President Bush around today, and did you talk any baseball with him?
FRED COUPLES:¬† No, we did, it was great.¬† He was on that first tee for a long time, maybe a couple hours.¬† Took several pictures and we talked about golf and some of his friends, and a little bit of baseball.¬† But, you know, that's really‑‑ it's fun for us.¬† I know Jay was out working.¬† He was the leader getting the groups off, and Davis and I hung around and we got several photo opes with him, and he's a great guy.

Q.  After the seventh hole, Keegan and Phil didn't win a hole going down, played maybe not as well down the stretch after the rain delay.  Why did you put them first and why did you keep them together?
FRED COUPLES:¬† Well, because up until that time, they were really, really doing well, and they played well in Chicago.¬† They like to play with each other.¬† They have a lot of energy, and we put them out first because that's what we want tomorrow.¬† You know, when we did have the break, I don't know if Phil is the oldest or Stricker, I don't know, maybe Stricker is; but Phil told me it was going to be a little rough.¬† I just felt in my mind, that that's okay because it's best‑ball.¬† But he said he didn't play that well, he didn't hit that many great shots, but can't far off.
As Nick said, he didn't change anyone.¬† We changed a couple teams, and to be honest, once you start changing more than one team, then it becomes a whole mix‑match of everybody.¬† We feel very comfortable with Phil and Keegan leading the pack early.

Q.  What was it about Tiger and Kuchar that you liked putting them not only today, but tomorrow as well?  What do you think about that celebration they were doing out there on the course?
FRED COUPLES:¬† The celebration of having fun?¬† I didn't see a lot of it.¬† I left them once they got 4‑up and then I went with the younger guys, the Hunters and the Bill Haases and the Sneds.¬† It's never a lock, but they kept making birdies.¬† And I don't know what they did when they won, but they really enjoy each other.¬† They both told me months ago that they wanted to play, and they just had a great time today.¬† They will team up tomorrow.¬† But I think Tiger really likes it, and obviously anyone in the world would like to play with Tiger, so Kuch enjoys it, too.
CHRIS REIMER:  Congratulations all six and happy birthday, Captain Couples.

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