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October 5, 2013

Fred Couples

Jason Dufner

Bill Haas

Zach Johnson

Hunter Mahan


JOEL SCHUCHMANN:テつ Fred, if you can start off with a couple comments and we'll go right into questions.
FRED COUPLES:テつ First, the two guys to the right of me, very proud of them.テつ I sat one in the morning, and went out and got an unbelievable win, and then I sat the other one in the afternoon, who came out in the morning and got an unbelievable win.
So on a team like this, you know, it's never fun to do any of that stuff.テつ But I don't have much to say except, really in the morning, we played extremely well, and then Zach and Duf, to flip that match around, seems like it flipped a couple other matches our way.テつ So I'll let them do most of the talking.

Q.テつ Do you talk about Bill Haas, you got some real firepower out of him in the fourballs and he's really producing for you this week.
BILL HAAS:テつ To be honest with you, speak for Bill for a minute, he's played really well.テつ We haven't really bounced around any teams, which I'm not going to lie to you, seems very boring, not in a golf way, but in a way for everyone to kind of play the same.テつ And we bumped Bill to play with Stricker when we rested Jordan, and they are playing very well together.テつ I think they are in the middle of the 11th fairway, 2‑up. テつAnd that's what you need.
You know, you guys watch enough golf.テつ You see how they play.テつ You know, I'm not around them much.テつ I've played a little bit with all these guys at some of these tournaments, but they play fantastic golf.テつ I mean, from the 8th hole on to the 15th, I watched every step with Zach and Duf; honestly, I've not seen golf like that, ever, in alternate‑shot.テつ They hit every shot at the flag.テつ Duf hit it over the top of the flag on 12.テつ You know, 13, he played a beautiful shot.テつ But 14, he made a 6‑footer.テつ 15 they couldn't reach and they holed it.テつ But it was incredible golf.

Q.テつ Can you just talk about the emotions of sitting out earlier, and if that kind of gave you a little extra motivation; and secondly, for you and Zach, just the importance of getting that out of the way and getting it tonight rather than come back in the morning.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yeah, it was a long day for everybody here.テつ Zach and I, both of us being competitors, we want to be out there playing.テつ But with the format how we have, somebody's got to sit out, so it was our turn to sit out.
It's tough to watch guys playing golf.テつ You're rooting for them, but you want to be out there contributing.テつ But we had our chance this afternoon, and I can't speak for Zach, but I was determined to get a point this afternoon.テつ You know, we got off to a slow start, but we kind of fought our way back and took control of the match.

Q.テつ How are you feeling right now, and for Freddie, how much has the weather thrown a monkey wrench into the strategy you started the week going in?
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ I feel good.テつ Had a massive plate of Mexican (laughter), so feeling good right now.

Q.テつ Nervous?
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ No, I'm pretty confident right now.テつ No, I feel good.
You know, we played well down the stretch.テつ We had some momentum this morning; even though we were down by a lot, we came back and tried to push it to more and more holes.テつ I think that kind of led into today.テつ Especially once Duf over here got his radar locked with his irons going, that really put a pep in our step.
Holing out is luck, so we played solid golf probably the last, I'd say, seven to nine holes, just really solid golf.
FRED COUPLES:テつ As far as the weather, you know, it's rough on everybody affiliated with this tournament, whether it's the crew that has to go out there, and the players are exhausted.
You know, again, I'll say everyone's playing so well, it's really very little stress.テつ The only thing I pay a lot of attention to is my guys.テつ You know, they will tell me right now; when is the bus leaving nor do I care.テつ When is the bus going in the morning; I don't care.
When we get out here, I care a lot.テつ I care how they are feeling, how they are striking it, pay attention to them.テつ And then when we get home tonight, I mean, we are going to have 40 minutes of talking to everyone, when they want to go.テつ The matches continue to play, but I have to make pairings, I think at 8:30 tomorrow, while guys are coming up 17 and 18 playing matches.
You know, I've got to figure out when they are going to go and how they are going to go.テつ So that's going to be the hardest thing.

Q.テつ Last year at Medinah, we now know that Ian Poulter making that putt was huge and gave the guys a lot of momentum.テつ At some point today, it was all blue on the board.テつ How do you feel like what you guys did today helps the team going into tomorrow?
JASON DUFNER:テつ Yeah, you know, you're right, at one point I think maybe seventh or eighth hole, I looked at the board and it was all blue.テつ Being in that lead group, you want to kind of set the tone, and for us to be down a couple holes, and then to come back and actually close the match out before darkness suspended play, I think is pretty key.
Hopefully it will get some of the guys fired up.テつ It seemed like it turned some of the matches.テつ I think some of the deficits that we had out there were significantly reduced.テつ And hopefully tomorrow morning, they will get off it a little bit more and maybe swing some of those matches our way.

Q.テつ I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Nick a few minutes ago.テつ With respect to tomorrow, I assume you came into the week with a good idea of who you might want to match up on the singles matches; and has any of these guys play over the last three days changed your mind and maybe made you rethink who you might want to match up tomorrow?
FRED COUPLES:テつ No, not really.テつ I think I looked at the list in The Ryder Cup last year a little bit, and Davis is certainly here, so he knows exactly where everyone went off and how they felt about it.
You know, when we get home tonight, as a captain and two assistants, we'll go sit.テつ And then I like to do it a little differently where I go feel the guys out.テつ Some guys may want to play against someone; others want to go in certain shots.
You know, you just get a feel for everybody.テつ And like putting Zach and Duf off today first, they sat around for, it seemed like a day and a half, there's no way they wouldn't go first, and I think they paired them against two guys that sat, also.テつ So it was kind of a fresh match.
Hunter playing early in the morning sat around until right now, just kind of stewing over it and watching golf, and I'll talk to him a little bit tonight.テつ You never know if he's going to go first or last tomorrow morning at 8:30.
But everyone has a great idea on how they are playing, and when guys tell me that they would like to play against someone‑‑ people turn it around.テつ I used to play against Vijay in this all the time and I asked to play against Vijay; not a grudge match, I just felt like our games were similar where we didn't go out and make every single putt and I wasn't going to get frustrated watching, you know, someone make a hundred feet of putts, and so we had great matches.
We'll figure that out tonight for probably 45 minutes or an hour.

Q.テつ The partner play is three quarters or more done.テつ Have you looked at putting people together as more of an art or a science to pairing the guys?
FRED COUPLES:テつ Well, you know, I text Duf a lot and he tells me that he and Zach are a great team.テつ But I think before Duf got here, he kind of knew.テつ But once you change a team or two‑‑ like earlier, someone asked Nick why he didn't change many of the teams.テつ It's very difficult, because you change one, you have to change two or three, and it just doesn't seem worth it, because no one is coming in there pulling you aside, saying, look, I let my partner down, we need to re‑pair.
We've lost several matches on 17 and 18.テつ Hunter, he plays with anyone, so we put he in a pod with Sneds and Billy Haas and Webb and they have performed very well.
You're not going to win every match; let's not get carried away but when they come up 18 today and win that match, it's huge, because you can really start looking silly in this when you start moving pairings and people say, well, why did he do this or why did he do that; well, they all make you look good when they go 4‑1.

Q.テつ Your thoughts on just the emotions of yourself and everybody else when you see the board, obviously blue early, and then start to swing, and obviously you guys get the point.テつ Just how the emotions maybe changed or thought process there.
HUNTER MAHAN:テつ Yeah, I played with Bill Haas yesterday afternoon and we got shellacked.テつ But I told him after the round, I said, you know, I think we are both playing pretty good.テつ We didn't play that bad.テつ They just played really good.テつ And I thought we had to kind of make sure we didn't take that defeat too hard and get too frustrated with ourselves and know that we were playing pretty good, team is playing great.
We just have to keep our heads up and keep on moving.テつ And obviously Bill played great this morning.テつ Sneds and I had a tough match and we gutted it out.テつ It's stuff like that that kind of keeps momentum on your side.テつ Even if you lose, if you don't take it too hard, if you know that you did some good stuff, you can kind of keep momentum going.
Yeah, it was great to have a great run this morning, and then it was fun to watch.テつ It really was fun to watch all the guys.テつ It was interesting starting out there, because it was all blue and there was an instance where we were watching, Tiger made a birdie, these guys made a birdie, and all of a sudden there was three huge holes and it just kind of flipped the whole thing over on its side.
It's been fun to watch, because it's been a great comeback so far, and they are taking the second session down to the wire here.テつ So it's going to be a great momentum for us going into singles.テつテつ So it's exciting; exciting to be a part of.

Q.テつ Just a couple weeks ago Tiger talked about at THE TOUR Championship, he's tired and it's been a long run through the FedExCup and everything, and also Phil talked about how he needs to cut his schedule back to be at his best.テつ Can you talk about those two guys, how they are holding up and the energy level you're sensing?
FRED COUPLES:テつ Well, real quick, they are beat.テつ I just saw Kuchar, who is physically exhausted, as you can imagine.テつ But when you look at them and you ask them‑‑ I can ask Tiger anything and he goes, no, I'm playing five matches.テつ And I said, okay.テつ And I asked Phil, and he said, I've never been more excited to play golf in my life and I'm ready to go.テつ So that was pretty easy for them.
You know, they have been on, I don't know, 20 teams, each of them.テつ So I rely on their help.テつ They do help me with pairings, and I just totally rely on them.テつ I'm not someone out here who is going to come and just make pairings tomorrow.テつ I ask them more about how they are feeling and they are exhausted, but they help me more than just on the course.テつ They do a lot off of it, too.テつ They have a great feel for this thing.

Q.テつ You said it's luck to hole out but that's a modest way of putting it, isn't it, because some people would say it's a perfect shot to put the ball in like that.テつ Can you just talk about the shot and also winning a game like that, what kind of thing it does for the team morale to win in such a spectacular fashion like that?
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ Well, yeah, I mean, you're just trying to hit a quality shot.テつ And it seemed like Duf was going to hole out three times.テつ He had, in about a three‑ or four‑hole stretch, his ballmarks were in a three‑foot circle next to the hole.テつ I guess if you just keep knocking on that door, maybe one is going to fall.テつ There is a lot of luck involved.テつ You can't deny that.
But I had a good number.テつ I mean, he laid up‑‑
JASON DUFNER:テつ Perfect.
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ I put the ball in the rough off the tee.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Perfect number. テつClearly.テつ Perfect lay up number.テつ Clearly.テつ Clearly.テつ From the rough, I'll add.
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ From the rough, thanks.
JASON DUFNER:テつ Do you know how hard it is to control the ball out of the rough out here?
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ I'm talking.
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ Honestly it was a perfect number and I'm not embellishing because‑‑ the greens are so saturated that it was a half‑shot.テつ It was one of those shots, it was‑‑ I could have got my 54‑degree sand wedge there, but it would have spun, a lot.テつ So it was kind of just a chip wedge that took spin off and landed right next to the pin and dropped.
But I'm assuming Duf feels the same way.テつ When we had to come back out here this morning, we had our backs against the wall, and we fought.テつ I mean, you know, a couple lip‑outs early in the round and a couple burned edges, even the last hole or two, and we would have kept on extending that match.
But that was good momentum for our afternoon match.テつ Even though we sat for a good while and ate four breakfasts, watched some football, and eventually went out there, you know, we were hungry going into that last match.テつ Getting down early just added more motivation.テつ To win five and three, being down two through seven holes, I'm certainly proud of that and I know he is, too.

Q.テつ What was your number?
ZACH JOHNSON:テつ I had 117 hole‑‑ 115 hole playing 117.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN:テつ Gentlemen, thank you very much.

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