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August 14, 2005

Bob Lewis, Jr.

Jeff Overton

Lee Williams


Q. Joining us up front as part of the USA team, Captain Bob Lewis in the middle. On the far side, Jeff Overton, and nearest to me, Governor Lee Williams. Bob, you must have died 1,000 deaths you waited so long for this. I don't want to get you crying, but I mean, this means the world to you?

BOB LEWIS: Absolutely. You know, two years ago at Ganton, we put a lot of time into that, and when we lost, it hurt, it really did, but I just didn't think there could be another match of that caliber. When I watched what was going on when we were coming in, and every time I walked up the 18th hole, they would hole a 20 footer or chip a ball in. It got to be crazy. I kept saying to myself, I can't believe what's happening.

We could have won that match a lot earlier if we had any luck at all. Every's ball basically went into his hole on his chip, but then his opponent makes the chip. It's really special golf. That's all you can say. Obviously they're a great group of players. I know we have a phenomenal team. I think down the road a lot of these guys will turn pro, and you will see their names out there, and they'll look back on this team and realize we had a really great team here.

Q. Lee, you waited to hopefully get another shot at redemption, let's call it. Last time wasn't so sweet for you. How sweet is this one?

LEE WILLIAMS: Awesome. Two years is a long time to wait, and for it to have ended just like it did, I would have loved to have won by more than what we did. The way it ended, Jeff having to 2 putt the last hole to make par, I couldn't have imagined a more exciting finish. Two years of wait was well worth it.

Q. Jeff, was that more than you were bargaining for?

JEFF OVERTON: I mean, I was thinking I teed off today, and every single putt I've ever hit in my life, I've done every single worked so hard, and there was one thing I prepared myself for, and that was this tournament. It's just the greatest feeling in the world. It was awesome. I'm glad that Captain Lewis helped me make that decision to stick around and play in this event. It will stick with me the rest of my life.

Q. Talk a little bit about what you and Michael Putnam, conversations you had about doing this with Captain Lewis?

JEFF OVERTON: Obviously, neither one of us really wanted to play without the other one as a partner, I think in the event. I mean, there is other guys, Lee and Holmes, and then Thompson, they also had a decision to make to stay, and I think we all were real happy we did.

Q. For Lee again, how big is it for you also to not only stick around, come back from last year's team and win but also the points leader, I believe? Can you just talk about how that feels?

LEE WILLIAMS: That's awesome. Jeff, were you not

Q. Tied, yeah.

LEE WILLIAMS: That's awesome. I was telling myself that, you know, I wanted to win that match so bad, because I wanted three points. I was really I mean, it's everyone's goal to go in here and try to win every match we play in, but it's rare that you get to play in four of them, and to win three is in my mind a great accomplishment. 4 0 in the Walker Cup is pretty dang tough to do, so I'll take 3 1.

Q. Bob, your thoughts on the play of an 18 year old and a 16 year old over the past two days?

BOB LEWIS: Well, I knew we had a young team, and I think they were picked for a reason, because they're all great players, but I was very impressed with the young player. He obviously has got a lot of talent, and he held up, you know, well under the pressure. I think it shows a little bit of where the game has gone. You know, these kids, they mature at a younger age now. They have better golf swings than when I was that age, and they're just ready for the big time a little bit earlier than they used to be and he proved that. I mean, he was a horse, and showed what kind of a caliber player he really is.

Q. Earlier Captain McDonald was in here and somewhat jokingly and somewhat seriously, even though he won't admit it, talked about the rematch or a possible rematch in two years. I know it's a little earlier for you to even focus on that and it's been a difficult probably four years for you. What would it take for you to say yes to do this again?

BOB LEWIS: Well, probably to be asked, you know. But you know, I said to myself, boy, I don't know if I would ever do that again. I don't know if I really should. There are a lot of great people that probably should have the opportunity to be Captain. I mean, you can't do it forever, although I just absolutely relish this type of atmosphere because I love to be around the kids.

I mean, I've enjoyed my time of going out and being around them. I'm kind of young at heart really. I think some of these guys might agree to that. They're not allowed to tell some of the stories, but I love being around the kids. They're emotional. They have great games. They're a little bit different. They remind me a little bit of me when I was back at that age, and it kind of really keeps me young, I think.

So, it's a lot of work, but part of that is because that's the way I like to do it, and whether all captains would put the same type of time in that I did, I don't know. I know I've set some things up for the future that I think will bode well for whoever the next Captain is. I thought some things needed to be done. We needed to change the way we prepared GB&I was preparing better than we were. I also believe, and I will fight hard for that behind the scenes that all 10 players should play the final Sunday afternoon singles. I feel very strongly for that. It's time for the USGA and the R&A to get together and make some of these decisions.

The Captain should not have to sit a player out on Sunday afternoon in my opinion.

Q. Just to follow up, do you think even though you've won this week, do you think your job is actually done?

BOB LEWIS: I don't know. I love golf. I'm still competing fairly well. I mean, I played in four tournaments this summer, I think won three of them. And I actually won one that was the younger group at Garden City. I still love to compete. I'll do anything that the USGA would really want me to do. Anything that has anything to do with the game. I love the kids. You know, yeah, I'm still young.

Q. Jeff, you mentioned on the TV right at the end you were looking at the leaderboards, you saw things moving, it was pretty fluid out there. How did you seal yourself off from that and were able to concentrate and did it get to you all?

JEFF OVERTON: It got to me a little bit. I looked up and saw it, and all of a sudden they have the match, and I was like, I'm going to have to win my match here, to par here to win.

And I mean, it was a struggle from the very beginning of the round. Just I missed a few putts, hit and missed a few drives, and I missed it on 17, and I was just like, I have to fight here, I have to battle this golf course, I have to battle my opponent and I have to make par here and go into the last hole to win the match.

And somehow I was able to gouge it out on 17 from the junk. It was a horrible lie, and it was 6 iron I think from 175 yards or whatever, and I didn't even see it come out. I looked up and I saw it. It came out about 20 yards right of where I was trying to hit it. Luckily it got up there pretty close to the green. I wanted to leave myself a reasonable putt because I knew I was going to make it, and then I was really confident, and it's easy to putt whenever you have a couple thousand people watching you. You get in that zone and you want to make it, and that's the only thing that comes into your mind because you can't wait to hear that roar, and representing the USA was the best feeling in the world.

Q. What was the Captain thinking through all of that?

JEFF OVERTON: He was really nervous.

BOB LEWIS: The last hole, well, first of all, you'll notice that the what happened the last two matches, I mean, we had those two people out for a very distinct reason, and I mean that was part of our strategy. We wanted to come out strong, but we needed to have a couple guys in the back that could do the job if we needed it. I have been around this for a while, and I couldn't ask for two better guys, and the team agreed with us.

That's what's so great about our team. We made a lot of decisions as a team, and we decided I had somebody else in the eighth slot in the seventh slot. I played Lee eighth on Saturday and he said it feels all right, and so I threw him in there again. We had another good player at the seventh, I forget who it was, but anyhow it doesn't make any difference, but we decided to move Jeff up there, and I think the team did it for a reason.

I mean, Jeff is a competitor. He's a great putter. He's got a great short game. You know what, that's what we needed at the end, and that's why they were back there.

So, it was a team effort all the way around. The only funny thing about the end there, I know how these guys are, they're so aggressive it will drive you nuts. I mean, it's Walker Cup match play. So once Nigel missed that putt, I walk over to Jeff and I say, I want you to hit the greatest lag putt of your life. I know he's thinking, well, but he wouldn't mind making that putt.

JEFF OVERTON: I wanted to hear the roar.

BOB LEWIS: You wanted to hear the roar, and I wanted that thing to be like that, so he has to concede the putt, and that's exactly what he did. He did exactly what he had to do. They had to concede it. When you see the hat come off from your opponent, that was one of the great moments in our Walker Cup.

Q. Given the results of the last few Ryder Cups and the previous Walker Cups, there have been a lot of suggestions that Americans are basically too self centered to play well as a team. I would like to hear from all three of you sort of on your assessment of the chemistry of this team and how it comes about?

JEFF OVERTON: If that was true, I probably would have rammed the putt in on the last hole to hear the roar. Instead I lagged it up because I knew I had 9 other guys wanting to win as a team. Billy Hurley, he was fine with sitting out today even though he was playing good. Somebody had to. This team, I think Lee would agree with me, there wasn't in golf, it's hard not to be self centered and cocky and arrogant or whatever. This team loved each other and we would die together.

Q. Is that a big factor for you, character, in choosing a team?

BOB LEWIS: You know, the USGA was criticized a little bit in circles for not putting a mid amateur on the team. I would have loved to have a mid amateur on the team. I've said that many times. They basically decided they wanted to try to pick the ten best players they thought were playing well at the time. They did. The fortunate thing was is that we had that initial practice session. All of this is part of the process that's been developed now over the last four years.

There is a reason to it, and these guys got to know each other there. We had the pre practice session ten days ago and then we're here. These guys were already had become a team. They had bonded, and I knew I was not going to have a problem with it. I got a couple guys that can be a little bit of loose cannons but great loose cannons, and don't mention any names, you guys. They know exactly who I'm talking about.

You know what? Everybody handled themselves well, and I think these guys probably even matured a little bit, more than they already are, and I think it's going to just it's going to be great for them.

I just think that American golf is back. That's the way I'm going to say it. I got a nice note which was really nice sending it to the team room Tom Lehman and wished us good luck, and I don't know if there is luck in this or what it is. I was beginning to wonder on the 18th green again, but maybe the tide is starting to turn. Something happens there and you got to get people thinking that way and believing that and players sticking around to play, you know, rather than thinking about themselves all the time.

Maybe that's just all part of it, what will transpire over the next number of years. I happen to think it is, and things go through cycles, and I'm hoping that maybe this will sort of start to turn around.

LEE WILLIAMS: I would like to say one thing too about Captain. The one thing he said when we first got together was check the egos at the door. Going back to us bonding as a team together, I think that was will really big, because, I mean, anybody golf is normally an individual sport, and any individual sport, I mean, you're going to have an ego, and the one thing that he didn't want to happen this week was our egos getting in way of us winning this week.

He said a million times check the egos at the door, check the egos at the door, and I think everyone did that, and it was, I'm sure, hard for everybody to do that, but that's what we knew we had to do as a team to win this thing. Captain Lewis saying that right there, I think could have been the difference in us winning and losing this week.

Q. Bob, when you say you like to feel that you laid the groundwork for the future, would you extend that to the 2010 Ryder Cup, 2012, beyond?

BOB LEWIS: Extend what?

Q. Laying the groundwork.

BOB LEWIS: You know, I mean, yeah, I think somehow when things start to change and a tide turns, you know, it takes something to change it, and I really believe if Nigel Edwards would have made that putt on the last green today, I mean, I don't know how much longer we would be fighting this thing, okay. I'll be honest with you. There is something about it, but he didn't. He hit a great putt and our guys were good enough to hopefully that's the beginning, because we have a lot of good players in this country, I will tell you that, phenomenal number of players, and if we can get them to you know, the Walker Cup some guys I hope these guys will spread the word.

I hope our players will know what a great experience this was. If they do, the guys that come along behind them, the next amateurs and the great amateurs, will stick around. They will say, you know, I heard about this. This thing is much bigger than we thought it was, and they'll be around for the next and whoever the next Captain is will have more choices to have a great team, and hopefully, a guy like Brian Harmon will be smart enough to stay in school, you know, stay at Georgia and get his education, play in another Walker Cup team, and Anthony, maybe Anthony who's the got a heck of a lot of talent will maybe be able to do the same thing now. Who knows? At least there is a chance of it.

Q. If all 20 players are playing in the Sunday match, isn't there a case that they should play every session? Would you go for that?

BOB LEWIS: Yeah, I think there's been talk of going to three days like the Ryder Cup format. I don't think they play every match in the Ryder Cup. That's not that big a deal with me. I just think that when you pick ten guys and if they're good enough to make ten best players from this country good enough to make the United States Walker Cup team, somebody shouldn't have to sit somebody down. We had a situation one of our players played twice, and he didn't win. The team had to make a decision at that point in time. We had to throw the best eight players out there, not the best, but the players that the team felt were perhaps playing the best right now.

Those two players that sat out might have won, might have been able to go out and play and won a point for their country and feel even better than they do now, even though they're on a winning team. That's what you want. I really believe this will be changed. If I don't accomplish anything else in the next number of years, I will accomplish this. I will tell you that right now.

Q. Bob, you kind of touched on this. I would like do delve a little more. How can you explain to your team if it had gone the other way tonight, how these guys could have found a way to make those chips and putts at 18? Is there any way to explain it?

BOB LEWIS: It's a good question. I think these guys would probably understand, because, you know, they play a game we all play this game which is so difficult. There is also a lot of luck in this game. You know, you probably could sit there and say, my God, we were unlucky again, even though it's normally we're all men here, and we know, you know, that's a great thing about golf is when you do lose you congratulate your player that you played against, and because we know how difficult the game is, it's also a lucky game.

Every's chip he hit from the left of the 18th hole was a very difficult shot and how that ball did not go in is beyond me. His playing partner then hit a chip and it went right in. I don't know how you explain that, you know. It's just the way it is. It cycles and, you know

Q. Bob, you're a very positive guy, but was there a point in the mid afternoon where you said, oh, no, here we go again?

BOB LEWIS: I knew we were still up enough. It wasn't that we had to win a zillion matches coming in, but yes, when I was walking down I think it was either the maybe it was we had two matches where we were 1 up going into the 18th. I think it was Putnam's match and Every's match and back to back I walked down the fairway with these guys and watched a guy make a 20 foot putt that he had to make and a guy chip it in that was off the green that he had to make. They both made it.

At that point, I was starting to wonder a little bit about what was going on here. Even though we were up in the matches behind us, I just wanted to get it over with. I told these guys many times, I said, you know, you're going to love being back there at the back if it's on your shoulders, but it's a lot of fun and we've already won the cup. I have had it both ways it's nerve racking when you have to play well, and it can be a lot of fun when guys are whooping it up and you can really play loose out there, because you've already won.

Q. You preached how important even a half point is for I don't know how long to these guys. Over the two days was there one match when it was done you look back at it and say that was the one that was really important to us at that point?

BOB LEWIS: Was yours a win or half point?

LEE WILLIAMS: I won. The Kim and Harmon match was pretty big.

BOB LEWIS: That was probably the biggest one. They came back from 3 down and had the match. Anthony should have he missed three putts coming in. I've never seen him of miss.

Q. In the singles?

BOB LEWIS: He came back because Wolstenholme was just so tough, it's hard to explain. He's got grit. I mean Anthony is hitting it 80 yards, it's unbelievable. Anthony missed three pretty makable putts coming in. He just doesn't do that very often. So, you know.

Q. Go celebrate. Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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