November 17, 2004
GORDON SIMPSON: Apologize for the lack of heating in here but I'm sure it's colder out there.
Anyway, we have with us Team England. Paul, not a new experience for you; you played last year with Justin. Luke, it's a completely new event for you, so maybe you can give us your thoughts on the week.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I'm very excited to be here. This is, I suppose a little bit of a wind-down event for me. It's my last event of the year. I think Paul's, too. So we'll be looking to finish on a strong note. But it's an exciting event, some good teams here and I'm looking forward for the whole week.
GORDON SIMPSON: And I suppose it's Walker Cup reunited for you two.
LUKE DONALD: Paul and I, we played together obviously in '99 and were very successful there. So hopefully we can rekindle that partnership and go onto win this week.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, did you enjoy the experience at Kiawah last year where you did pretty well?
PAUL CASEY: I did indeed. This is my fourth now. The first was Ian Poulter in Japan, and the last two with Justin in Mexico and Kiawah last year. I've had some good success, I want to say maybe fifth, second and third.
GORDON SIMPSON: Progression is going the right way.
PAUL CASEY: Yes, the natural progression is obviously a win, but we're just going to enjoy this week and I think we can do very well. It's a strong team and it's nice to be playing with Luke. You know we have confidence in each other's game and we get along very, very well. We're good friends. You know, it should be a good week.
Q. Have you actually played competitively together since you were amateurs?
PAUL CASEY: As a team?
Q. Rounds in tournaments together.
LUKE DONALD: We played in Phoenix I remember a few years ago. Other than that, since we've been professionals, I've played more in America and Paul has played more in Europe, so we haven't crossed paths that much. But, there may have been a few more times. I don't remember.
PAUL CASEY: I don't remember. No, there has not been that many opportunities.
Q. What can be done to get everybody to the World Cup? It should mean a lot, shouldn't it?
PAUL CASEY: You mean players?
LUKE DONALD: I spoke to Tiger in Ireland when I played with him, and he wasn't aware of the rule change where the top-ranked player picked his partner. And I don't know if that was just an excuse for him, but he didn't seem aware of it and maybe that needs to be reinforced. I think the rule was changed so Tiger would play with, I don't know, on O'Meara or someone.
PAUL CASEY: Phil? (Laughter.)
LUKE DONALD: I don't know. When you mean better players, do you mean a better American team?
Q. Well, I would think --
PAUL CASEY: There's a list of guys.
Q. The top teams don't have who they could have here.
PAUL CASEY: I think, I mean, I want to represent my country. So the only reason I wouldn't play in the World Cup is if injury or some other sort of emergency, I guess or can't get away.
LUKE DONALD: I jumped at the chance when Paul said he would like to play with me.
It's a World event. It's one of only four World events, so it should be held in the same esteem as the other events, the American Express, the NEC and The Match Play.
You know, this is only my first World Cup. So I don't know too much about it. But it does seem to be on a little bit of a smaller scale.
Q. Are you prepared to answer questions about your comments about the Americans?
PAUL CASEY: I have answers, yes.
PAUL CASEY: I haven't prepared a statement but I have answered some questions.
Q. How it's come out, is that how it was?
PAUL CASEY: I guess I can't -- everything I said, everything that's in there I said. You know, I don't like the headline, but there's nothing I can do about that. It's obviously got the piece noticed and that's his job.
I stand by my words. I think that, you know, Americans do have a tendency to sort of wind people up. You know, when they are chanting USA, and there's lots of them, it just wants to make you beat them even more, and I think that's the point I was probably trying to get across. They probably failed to realize it really sort of riles us and the rest of the world. I don't hate Americans. I have an American coach, an American girlfriend, I live in America, I play many events in the U.S. I certainly don't hate them.
But, like I say, they do have a tendency to wind us up occasionally. And I can't remember the reporter areas name, I should.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul Forsyth.
PAUL CASEY: He's entitled to write what he wants. I'm not upset at him necessarily for writing that. He's entitled to write what he wants, and I'm entitled to say pretty much what I want. If I started getting upset about it, or holding grudges against people I dislike, then I would have a lot of grudges. (Laughter.)
So, it's done.
Q. Do you feel the need to apologize to the two Americans here or the American Ryder Cup Team when you see them?
PAUL CASEY: No, I don't -- I mean --
Q. Or just explain?
PAUL CASEY: Maybe explain. Because the way obviously the piece in the Sunday Times I was fine with. Yesterday's piece, obviously I wasn't very happy with.
I mean, for example, the Tom Lehman bit, I think if, you know, if Lehman wins the Ryder Cup back for the Americans, it will be the best captaincy, the best appointment they have ever made. However, I don't think his appointment will be universally accepted on this side of the Atlantic. I don't think people really want to see him as captain. We've got had a very, very good rivalry since '99 and I think a lot of people are just afraid that it might bring up a Brookline-type -- could be a Brookline-type situation at K Club. I think that's what everybody has in the back of their mind.
Q. Paul, just under what conditions was this interview made, where was it made and when basically?
PAUL CASEY: I had the interview in London a couple of weeks ago, not even that long ago.
Q. Before the elections or after the elections? (Laughter.)
PAUL CASEY: Day after, I think. They were still counting votes in Florida.
GORDON SIMPSON: Ohio.
LUKE DONALD: Ohio. Big state, actually.
PAUL CASEY: It was a very, very big, long interview and that subject was touched on for two minutes in an hour-long interview.
Q. Could I ask you, seriously, how would you expect the appointment of Tom Lehman to affect the atmosphere? The Matches in America by all means, but how would it affect the Matches on this side?
PAUL CASEY: It is a good question. I thought about that this morning. I'm not sure. But I think that's in the back of everybody's mind. I wasn't at Brookline. I don't know what happened. But we were talking with some of the players, you know, and Tom's name will be one of the people who is mentioned that was maybe not in the spirit of the Ryder Cup. And I enjoyed my Ryder Cup experience this year immensely. I thought it was fantastic and I enjoyed the spirit of it. And from talking with those players who were at Brookline in '99, they thought the spirit wasn't right. That's probably the best way of putting it.
And I would not like to be at a Ryder Cup or involved in a Ryder Cup where the spirit wasn't in the keeping of what it should be, Samuel Ryder. And you know, unfortunately, I think I've maybe got a -- I shouldn't judge anybody, but unfortunately Tom's name does get mentioned with that. That's the problem with it.
But as I say, they are entitled to appoint who they want and it will be the best appointment ever if they do win the Cup back. But we intend to win the Cup again, so ...
Q. Do you think the way your remarks have been represented in the media over the last couple of days might spur them to want to win the Cup a little bit more?
PAUL CASEY: Possibly, yeah. I think the public are always fully behind it. The crowds are just fantastic. I think maybe it will spur the players on a little bit more to bond as a team. If it does, then that's dangerous. That would make them very, very good and that's the thing of why we are so good and they are maybe not as good as they should be.
Possibly. But that's two years away. Might have forgotten what I've said by then.
Q. Luke, you're sitting there very quietly. Let's have your take.
PAUL CASEY: Actually I don't hate Americans at all. It's Luke who hates Americans. (Laughter.)
LUKE DONALD: Won't let me back in the country.
Q. Could you just, are you backing Paul to the hilt?
LUKE DONALD: I haven't read the article and I don't know what Paul said, but I'm sure knowing some papers over here, something was taken out of context perhaps. I think people who are not Americans can get upset with Americans quite easily. They do seem to be very insular. They make rash comments that are really quite upsetting sometimes. I remember watching Disney and Ryan Palmer said, you know, the Nationwide was the second strongest tour in the world, days after Europe had just thrashed the U.S. 18 1/2 to 9 1/2. Those kind of comments force people like Paul to say what he says, I would have thought.
Again, I don't know what he said, but you know, I've heard about it. I guess it's a reaction to the Americans way of thinking that they have the best country in the world and they don't really need to leave their country; they have everything there. I think a small percentage of Americans, I don't really know the numbers, have passports. Most they haven't left the country. Because of that, they are in some ways a little bit naive. And to make some comments that I've heard -- you know, I've heard a number of comments like that where they just think America is the be's end or whatever that quote is.
GORDON SIMPSON: Be all and end all.
LUKE DONALD: Be all and end all. I think a lot of Americans could gain a lot by exploring the world a little bit more.
PAUL CASEY: To be honest, we would like the Americans to come over here, if we talk about strong teams, we want the Americans to come over here and play. It's as simple as that.
There are, you know, a handful of Americans who do come and play the European Tour. It would be wonderful if more of them did, as well as the Open Championship and the World Golf events that are here. I think they are missing out on a fabulous tour.
Q. Luke, would you endorse Paul's comments on Tom Lehman?
LUKE DONALD: From today?
LUKE DONALD: Again, I don't really know Tom that well. I've played with him a few times, and I don't know his past that well. I've heard reports, you know, about he was the first person to rush on the green at Brookline when Justin Leonard holed that putt. I've heard a few things that go against what he kind of proclaims as being a very religious man and it just seemed a little bit shady to me.
I don't really know how good of an appointment that was. I think from what I've read, the Americans were running out of candidates, and he was kind of a choice that they probably wouldn't have made if a few others had accepted.
So, we'll have to see how good of a captain he is. I think obviously being in Ireland, it won't affect it that much to be honest. I think the Irish, as we saw this year, they are great fans. They are going to endorse the game of golf. They are going to be cheering for us loudly but they won't disrespect the Americans.
PAUL CASEY: The Irish always have a party no matter who wins, that's for sure.
Q. What kind of message do you think the Americans are sending out this week with the team they have here?
PAUL CASEY: I'm glad, all credit to Scott Verplank and Bob Tway for playing this week. I think they are still a very, very good team. They are both very good players.
LUKE DONALD: It goes a little bit back towards what I was saying. If a tournament is outside America, they seem less bothered to want to make an effort to field their best team. And not that Scott Verplank and Bob Tway are a bad team. They are obviously very strong players. They are good friends and I think they will do well together because they are so close-knit. They travel a lot together and they went to college together in Oklahoma State so I'm sure they will do very well this week. But it's definitely not their best team on paper and I think it just shows when an event is outside of America, you know, there's a lot of excuses from the good players that they don't want to play.
Q. Paul, do you think Lehman's appointment should have any effect on who the European captain should be?
PAUL CASEY: It shouldn't, but it might. I don't know how our selection process works. I should know how it works but I don't. Tough one to answer.
I don't know. I mean, maybe pick somebody who was at Brookline. I don't know. I have no idea. We've got a lot of strong candidates, though. Whoever we select, the main thing to do is select somebody who is going to do a good job, as simple as that, and has the respect of the players. Whoever selects the team manages to do a very, very good job. There are a number of very strong candidates for the position.
Q. You've not been asked by anybody whether you want pressure to be put on Bernhard to do it again?
LUKE DONALD: I have not.
PAUL CASEY: No.
Q. And if somebody did ask you?
LUKE DONALD: I would be all for Bernhard doing it again. I think he did a great job. But that's obviously his personal choice and he has -- it's a lot of sacrifice I think to be a captain. Maybe he wants to finish on a high note. I think he could obviously be captain again and get a result like he did this year. But if whoever wanted the players wanted to try to encourage him to be a captain again, sure, I would do that. I think he would be a good captain.
PAUL CASEY: I think the players will all get behind anybody who is selected, so I don't think it would matter anyway.
Q. But if asked?
PAUL CASEY: Yes.
Q. Can you both make a comment of your season; out of ten your season, so far?
PAUL CASEY: Oh, boy, out of ten. Like six or something like that. And probably only six or maybe seven because of the Ryder Cup. Having accomplished goals such as making the team, being part of a winning team for the Ryder Cup, getting my U.S. TOUR card which was a big goal. But no wins, so that's disappointing.
So pretty flat season to be honest. Still an opportunity to win, I guess, partner.
LUKE DONALD: Absolutely. It's been a good year for me. I would never deny that. I would probably give myself an eight and a half. I've made good steps from what was a disappointing year last year. You know at the end of last year I was ranked somewhere in the 130s, so I've made the climb that I've wanted to. I wanted to make sure I was a solid Top-50 player in the world, which I am now. I've won a couple of times in Europe. It's been a good year for me. I've pretty much accomplished most of my goals.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, Luke, thank you very much. Have a good week.
End of FastScripts.