Ryder Cup Captain's picks official transcript


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Published: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 | 12:30 p.m.

JULIUS MASON: Good morning, everyone, I am the PGA of America's Julius Mason, and I would like to welcome those of you joining us on the phone lines from around the world and those of you right here at the New York Stock Exchange for the United States Ryder Cup Captain's pick news conference.
We have some guests in attendance that I would like to introduce. So if you would please, first, from The PGA of America, vice president, Allen Wronowski; secretary Ted Bishop; honorary president, Brian Whitcomb; Chief Executive officer, Joe Steranka; PGA of America board members, Rod Loesch and Derek Sprague; from the New Jersey PGA Section, president Dan Pasternak; vice president, Bryan Jones; secretary, Andy Brock; and Executive Director, Scott Kmiec; from the Metropolitan PGA Section, president Joe Felder; vice president, Carl Anderson; treasurer, Brad Worthington; secretary Brian Crowell; and Executive Director, Charlie Robson. And all the way from Wales, Sir Terry Matthews, owner and chairman of the Celtic Manor, site of the 38th Ryder Cup.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the head table joining us today are Ryder Cup assistant captains, Tom Lehman; Davis Love III and Paul Goydos; and now it gives me great pleasure to introduce all the way from Ludlow, Vermont, the 36th president of The PGA of America, Mr. Jim Remy.
JIM REMY: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here, taking time out of your busy schedules to join us here for what is certainly an exciting day. I would also like to thank all of those tuning in for taking the time to be with us.
You know, I have the wonderful job of representing 28,000 men and women who go to work every single day in this business to grow the game of golf, run the business of golf, and most of all, teach golf at such a high level. The best teachers in the world are from The PGA of America, and it's a true honor to be here and represent those 28,000 strong throughout the entire country who really are the backbone of golf.
You know, it's hard to believe that nearly two years has passed since Valhalla and that in just 23 days, the first ball will be struck in the 38th Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. It seemed like just yesterday, the great victory at Valhalla, and here we are preparing to head overseas with our team.
As you can see, and as most of you know, the European Ryder Cup Team was selected some nine days ago, and you can see by the list on the wall, it's a great team and we look forward to competing against the European squad.
Eight of United States Team were identified on August 15th by our points program at the conclusion of the PGA Championship, and they are listed right here.
You know, really, what awaits us today, and I'm sure it's why you are all here, is when our captain, Corey Pavin, will identify the four men who will complete Team USA as we head off for the 38th Ryder Cup. But before I turn it over to the captain with that information, I just want to say that nearly two years ago, we chose Corey Pavin as our captain and there was never any it doubt in our mind that he was the right man for the right job at the right time. He certainly has a great task ahead of him as we defend the Cup overseas.
We are proud of the job that Corey Pavin has done and we continue to be proud of him and his assistant vice captains, Paul and Davis and Tom, and we look forward to what will be a great competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, with great pleasure, I'm very proud to introduce the captain of the United States Ryder Cup Team, Corey Pavin.
COREY PAVIN: Thank you, Jim, I appreciate the comments and Sir Terry Matthews who came owl the way over here from Wales, thank you for everything that you've done for us and for making us feel welcome in Wales. We appreciate that very much.
I would like to thank Captain Lehman, Davis Love, Paul Goydos and Jeff Sluman who could not be here today, he's over on the Champions Tour playing overseas today, but I thank you gentlemen for your help and conversation last night, as well.
We are very excited to be going over to Wales and to play The Ryder Cup. I'm very pleased with the eight players that have qualified, and I'm here to add four to that list of eight, who the eight are Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Jeff Overton, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson.
The four captain's picks for the 2010 team are: Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler.
I am very pleased to add these four to Team USA. I think our team is very good. I think these four players complement those eight very well. That was the goal of these four players. I'm very proud to have Team USA completely assembled now, and I'm looking forward to the matches in three weeks. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Captain Pavin, thank you very much. Let's go ahead and see if we can't hear a good morning for your captain's picks, starting at the top, Stewart Cink, are you with us today?
STEWART CINK: Yes.
JULIUS MASON: Stewart, say good morning to everybody in the room here in New York City and give us your thoughts on being a selection.
STEWART CINK: Well, good morning, everybody there in New York City and everywhere else, too. It's really exciting to be included in the team. I thank Corey for the consideration and the rest of the assistant captains. I'm looking forward to it. I think it's my third time to be picked; so I'm starting to probably be close to being a record there. I guess all that means is I'm not very good in qualifying in the Top 10, I don't know.
I'll be excited and pumped up to play and representing the U.S.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Stewart.
Zach Johnson, good morning. Say hello to your captain.
ZACH JOHNSON: Good morning, and good morning, Captain.
I am thrilled and excited to be on the team. Team play, team sports in general, it's really something that drives me as a competitor and when you incorporate a team element and chemistry into golf, it makes it just that much more special.
Having your nation's flag on your sleeve and being led by Captain Pavin and his associates, just, you know, makes it that much more special. So I thank you guys and I thank you for trusting in me and knowing that I'm going to go out there and play really hard. I'm excited and I cannot wait until October.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Zach.
Tiger Woods, are you with us today? Say good morning to your captain and everybody else in attendance today.
TIGER WOODS: Good morning, guys, Captain Corey. It's great to be a part of this team. I'm honored to be selected and head over to Wales to represent the United States in The Ryder Cup. I've been to Wales previously in the Walker Cup and looking forward to going back and having a great time with the team and hopefully bring the Cup back.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Tiger. And last but not least, Rickie Fowler. Good morning.
RICKIE FOWLER: Good morning, guys. Just sitting here in the hotel room, tried to sleep last night but it was awesome to be selected. I have to thank Corey for giving me the opportunity to go over there, being a young player, it's a pretty special opportunity and the last time I played overseas on a team event was for the Walker Cup, so hopefully I can take a little bit of knowledge that I learned there and help the team.
JULIUS MASON: Stewart, Zach, Tiger, Rickie, thank you.

Q. Corey, could you tell us if you had a tough time last night rounding out the team, and did you have to take any kind of special measures to get everybody on the same page for your last pick?
COREY PAVIN: It was very easy. You know, it's difficult. But we were done at a fairly early hour I thought last night. I thought you were actually going to ask me if I took any special medication for last night.
There was a lot of thought put into it. I spoke with all eight members of the team, as well, and got their opinions. Obviously the assistant captains here, I received their opinions, and simply made the choice.

Q. Did you take any special medication last night?
COREY PAVIN: I refuse to answer that question. (Laughter).

Q. Why Rickie?
COREY PAVIN: Well, you know, I think obviously he's deserving. There's a lot of guys deserving to be on the team. Like I said, there was a lot of people in the mix. I've said that before, and it's absolutely true.
We talked a lot about it last night, the three of us here, and as I said, I spoke to Jeff Sluman on the phone, as well. It just came down to feelings. I had a gut feeling about Rickie. He has a good Walker Cup record, 7 1. He's a very good player. There's a lot of very good players that I had to look at, but that's the way I went.

Q. Two months ago, there was a lot of question about Tiger Woods and does he qualify, does he get selected; what was your mind two months ago about Tiger Woods on the team and where is it now?
COREY PAVIN: What I was trying to do was just try not to form any opinions until almost this weekend. I didn't want to burden myself with over thinking this, so I just waited and waited and waited. Obviously I was pleased to see him playing better, certainly, as well as the other guys. Tiger is one of 12 guys on the team, and every one of them is just as important as another player.
The objective here is to have 12 players that make up Team USA that are going to go out there and have one goal in mind, and that's to try to win The Ryder Cup over in Wales.

Q. Did you ever have any doubt he would be on the team?
COREY PAVIN: Did I ever have any doubt? I didn't think about it very much. I was just waiting and watching. As I've said before, I was hoping that he would qualify on points. He didn't, and then I just waited to see how he was going to play.

Q. In selecting four players to add to eight, is there anything that you look for? What defines a good Ryder Cup player and what are some of the things tangible and intangible that you look for in making those final selections?
COREY PAVIN: Well, what was important to me is who I thought could play well in that environment over in Wales on European soil. That was my first criteria. Obviously I like guys that are playing well, and that's important, as well. I wanted to find guys that round off the team and make it a team of 12, not 12 individuals that are great players. I wanted 12 players that made up a great team.
That was my objective, and I've succeeded, I hope, and we'll find out in a few weeks. But that's where I wanted to go with this, and the important thing was to match up these four with the eight that are already on the team.

Q. Just one comment on the blend of experience and youth you have on the team. It seems Rickie rounds that off for you and so does adding Stewart Cink and Zach.
COREY PAVIN: I think we have a very good blend. I was very pleased with the eight that I was given after the PGA Championship, and I think adding these four is a very good blend, as well. I like the overall blend of the team. There's a lot of options. It gives me a lot of flexibility with the four players I picked today. There's many combinations up there that will work. I'll have to work on that the next three weeks.

Q. I wanted to pose this question to Tiger. Tiger, is this perhaps a different mind set for you going into The Ryder Cup in that somebody chose you and has faith in you to come through?
TIGER WOODS: I look at it the same. I'm part of the team and honored to be part of the team and looking forward to going over there and playing and competing and hopefully bringing back the Cup, and that's our main focus as a team.
Whether I was a person who was picked or a person who earned their way on the squad, it doesn't change the overall goal, it's still the same, and that's to go over there and win.

Q. Is there a difference between Ryder Cup experience and Ryder Cup experience on the road, and if so, did that factor at all into any of your decisions?
COREY PAVIN: Yes, it did. It factored in and it didn't factor in. There's a point where I have to make a call on who I think can handle the pressure over there. You know, obviously Zach, Stewart and Tiger have played overseas, and Rickie has not obviously played The Ryder Cup overseas, but it came down to a judgment call on all those guys to see in my own opinion if they can go over there, play well, and help the team be a better team.

Q. I know he's only one of 12, but this is Tiger Woods, and what was that conversation like when you told him that he's been chosen for the team?
COREY PAVIN: Well, you know, I asked him last night if he I would like to have him on the team, and he said absolutely, and said, whatever you would like me to do, I will do, just tell me what you would like, which is exactly what a captain likes to hear from any player on the team.
So obviously I was happy that he was very excited about playing, and he wants to be on a winning team, just like the other 12 guys, as well.

Q. In the past, you've shown some indifference towards The Ryder Cup; is it different? Do you feel you need The Ryder Cup more this team, and you're now more aware of your responsibilities to your team and to your country?
TIGER WOODS: It's the same. I've always loved playing The Ryder Cup. I've always enjoyed being a part of the team. I don't know where the perception of indifference is, because I've always loved it. The team bonding that occurs, getting to know the guys and everyone there that's associated with our team are experiences that you'll never forget and I've created some great friendships because of it.

Q. Obviously your counterpart, Colin Montgomerie was criticized for some of his captain's picks last week; do you expect any similar criticism for any of your selections?
COREY PAVIN: I'm not very concerned about it personally. My job is to put together the team that I feel is the best team and to represent the United States in The Ryder Cup.
What other people's opinions are, I cannot control, and I'm not concerned about it. I am just trying to get the best guys together to go over there and win.

Q. Tiger, how much did you do this because you've been playing better lately? And one for Corey, was putting in the end a big factor for you? I know J.B. Holmes made a good case for being picked on the team.
COREY PAVIN: Go ahead, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: Okay. It's just one of those things where I've been looking forward to it, and there are signs my game has been coming around working with Sean, I'm hitting some better shots. Things are starting to transition there, and I feel like my game is not very far away and that makes it a lot easier going into a pressure packed environment like that knowing that my game is coming around.
COREY PAVIN: Question for me, I think every aspect of everybody's game that I looked at is important. You know, putting is one aspect. Obviously making putts is a good thing in Ryder Cup. It definitely factored in.
But there were so many factors that I looked at, that we looked at last night; that we would be here all day talking about it.

Q. I'm just wondering, was Anthony Kim one of the players very much in the mix, and was he one of the last two or three guys standing in this process along with Rickie and whoever the others might have been.
COREY PAVIN: As I said, there was a lot of guys in the mix and it was a very hard choice, definitely. As I said, I got input from the eight team members and from the assistant captains, as well. It ultimately came down to what I thought was best for the team. There was a lot of guys there that I was looking at, so you know, it's hard to narrow it down to just a few guys, but I thought that obviously Rickie was my choice. Difficult thing. But that's the way I went.

Q. Did anyone play their way in or play their way out with last week's results?
COREY PAVIN: No.
Would you like a longer answer than that? (Laughter).

Q. If you're willing to provide it, yes.
COREY PAVIN: I don't think a lot of things changed last week to be honest with you. As I said, I didn't really sit there and think about it a lot before the weekend, but as the weekend progressed, I didn't see a lot of things changing. You know, Sunday and Monday, there was a lot of thought going on, and I watched a lot of golf. Obviously I watched a lot of golf before that, as well, but I didn't see much there to change.

Q. If you had another week or two, do you think it would have made a difference?
COREY PAVIN: Possibly. I mean, it's hard to say. It's a wonderful hypothetical question which I don't like to answer, but you could look at from the PGA on, and you know, there was a lot that happened. Hypothetically, there could be a lot that happens in the next couple of weeks, but today was the deadline. I had to make a choice, and that's the way it is.

Q. Obviously Anthony Kim was a big part of the team two years ago, and obviously before surgery, probably would have been on the team, played his way on to the team. Did you ask him about his physical state or did you have any conversations with him before you made the selection?
COREY PAVIN: Absolutely. I talked with Anthony. I talked with a lot of players the last, you know, month or so actually. So every player I spoke with, I gave every player an opportunity to ask me anything they had like. I tried to express to them everything that I could express to them, and I told everybody that I was considering that my phone was on 24/7; they could call me, they could talk to me.
I went out there to Deutsche Bank last week and spoke with everybody on Thursday, as well. I wanted to have a face to face meeting with everybody, as I always feel like it's a lot easier to be able to talk to somebody face to face. I wanted everybody to have an equal opportunity to talk to me and express how they were feeling and if they had anything they would like to ask me, they had that opportunity.

Q. There's representatives from Celtic Manor here, it's being held in Wales for the first time and I know you picked the team based on player decisions, but Tiger Woods, we are here at the stock exchange, the big business of Tiger being involved in The Ryder Cup; were you aware of outside sort of forces thinking Tiger needs to be part of The Ryder Cup from a popularity point of view and a business point of view?
COREY PAVIN: Well I'd have to be living in a bubble not to be aware of it, certainly, but it had no effect on picking him, if that's where you're going.

Q. Stewart, what are some of the challenges of playing The Ryder Cup on foreign soil, as opposed to a home game?
STEWART CINK: A little different environment, because you're already in a less familiar setting. But I think the longer I've played on these teams, the difference has blurred more between home and away, because there's so many Europeans that travel over to The Ryder Cup in the States and there's so many American that travel over here to The Ryder Cup. So on both sides, it gets louder every time, and there's plenty of support and plenty of there's a little negativity, too on both sides. But it's just a really neat, neat atmosphere to play in; it's charged, it's exciting and there's really almost nothing like it in the game.

Q. Obviously you're not ready to name your pairings yet, but philosophically, are you more inclined to try to put veterans with veterans and have a solid team or temper rookies with veterans? Do you have a general philosophy about that?
COREY PAVIN: You guys want to answer that for me? Yes, is my answer. I think you should know me by now to answer that one.
There's a lot of combinations out there, certainly. I'm not afraid to put anybody with anybody. I think that everybody on this team can play; you can put two young guys together, you can put two veterans to go, you can put a veteran and a young guy together, and I think they all can handle what the Ryder Cup will bring in Wales. So as I said, I think there's a lot of combinations and permutations out there, and there's nothing set in stone, that's for sure, yet. I'll be working on that very hard with my assistants and the players the next two weeks.

Q. You've been in Corey's position before having to make those captain's picks. Could you talk about what that process was like then, and how it was different now as one of his assistants?
TOM LEHMAN: It was a tough process in that there's so many players who are great players, who would be capable, and so that the idea of trying to come up with the four that you think are best can be difficult.
I think the process, the selection process now is a better process, and it gave Corey a bit more flexibility. I think the one thing that we all are very clear on with Corey is that you really could not make a bad decision. He had nothing but good choices. But it's tough. It's tough overlooking a player who you think is very qualified who could do a good job.
But I to know this; I think Corey has selected four great players out of a universe of great players, and the 12 that he has are fantastic. It's a very strong team.

Q. With your captain's picks, did you feel like any specific weaknesses or short comings that maybe needed to be addressed, maybe adding another great iron player or another accurate driver? Were there any specific things that you were looking to address in those picks?
COREY PAVIN: You know, I really wasn't. I think the eight players that were on the team, it was a very balanced team already with eight, which as Tom was alluding to, gave me great luxury to pick four that whatever four I thought would be best.
So it was very nice to have those eight on the team already, and it allowed me tremendous flexibility which actually as a captain, is a pretty nice position to be in. It doesn't happen very often, I would think. The captains are in a position where there's so many good choices out there, and I was as I said in my press conference after the PGA, I was very pleased with the eight that are on the team and it did give me a lot of flexibility and a lot of maneuvering to pick the four players that I did.

Q. For Rickie, when you're sitting here listening to this, what's going through your mind and your heart about being chosen for this team?
RICKIE FOWLER: Kind of just soaking it all in. And being able to be with a lot of the guys that are already on the team it's going to be a lot of fun, and like Tiger was saying, we are going over there for one reason, and the four picks, picking the four of us and the eight there are already on the team, for us to blend and go over there and work well together, and like he said, to bring back the trophy.

Q. Rickie, A, do you think you can get through a week without wearing orange, and secondly, just what do you think you bring to the team?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I've made it through two Walker Cups not wearing orange. It worked out well there.
I can bring I guess a little bit of color to the team, I can bring some youth to the team and hopefully get the guys pumped up a little bit. But as I said, we are all going over there to win so we are all going to be getting each other pumped up and kind of focusing on our main goal, bringing home the Cup?

Q. I assume you watched the last time; can you see yourself bringing some of the energy to the team that Anthony Kim did in '08?
RICKIE FOWLER: I thought Anthony Kim did a great job of that the last Ryder Cup, but I do think I could bring some energy and that's one thing I would like to do, is help out the team, obviously playing well, stuff like that, but keeping the guys fired up and keeping that main goal in mind.

Q. Charley Hoffman had a pretty spectacular performance yesterday, and expressed a desire to be picked; obviously you only have so many picks, but were you impressed by that, and did you evaluate it in terms of whether he had just vaulted into the picture?
COREY PAVIN: Well, absolutely I was impressed with the way he played yesterday. I wish I could make 11 birdies in a round like that.
Yeah, he jumped on the radar last night after the tournament, certainly. He joined a large group that were on the radar. We certainly looked at him as we looked at a lot of other players.

Q. It's great to have this event here in New York City. A quick question, obviously a huge success in Valhalla, Coach Azinger, are lines of communication open there and have you chosen to pick his brain looking to Wales?
COREY PAVIN: Obviously I've talked to Paul, I've talked to a lot of captains. Paul and I talked a few weeks ago and he actually texted me this morning wishing me luck with the choices. He's been there and he knows what it's like as Tom does, to my left.
So those lines will stay open all the way up to and including The Ryder Cup. So there's no it's great to have people that have been there; the experience that people have been there to talk to and discuss things with. I've been doing it for a couple of years now and the process is still continuing and it will continue up to and including The Ryder Cup.

Q. Given that the atmosphere may be fairly highly charged and possibly boisterous in Wales, would you concede that it's a bit of a risk picking someone talented as he is, as inexperienced as Rickie for this?
COREY PAVIN: No. That's why I picked him. I think he can handle it, and that's why I picked him.
I think he's a very mature young man. He's had experience in international play, very solid player, and I think as you listen to his answers just a few minutes ago, he's got a very steady head on his shoulders.

Q. Was there ever a point in the last couple of months where you thought, if I am asked to be a captain's pick that you would have declined?
TIGER WOODS: No. If you go back a couple of months ago, I was trying to make the team on points, and it wasn't until after the PGA where I didn't. I felt that my game was turning around then, and my last few events I've played, I think I've played much better, and here we are.

Q. A lot of ballclub, teams take on the personality of their captain and skipper; is this club here, this team, taking on your personality, and even a guy like Rickie Fowler, is he adaptable to taking on that bulldog personality?
COREY PAVIN: I was wondering what personality you were referring to. I was going to ask you to clarify that.
I certainly hope that me as captain, it rubs off on the players. I don't think that any of the players really need that to rub off on them. I believe that every one of them has a mission. They are all very excited to represent the United States. They all want to do whatever it takes to go over there and do the best we can to keep The Ryder Cup in our hands. So I have no doubts about any of them. What I'm trying to do is create an atmosphere of trust and team work out there. I want the guys to feel like they are a part of every process that happens with The Ryder Cup, to the pairings, to the captain's picks, to everything. I want them to be part of that.
So far I think that's happened fairly well. We have got four new players to indoctrinate into that, and I feel very confident that those four will fit right in very well.

Q. In your discussions with your assistant captains and the players that already were on the team, could you point out one maybe compelling argument that one made for a particular one of the players that you picked?
COREY PAVIN: I don't know, they are sitting right here (turning to Assistant Captains Davis Love II and Tom Lehman).
DAVIS LOVE III: (Smiling).
COREY PAVIN: I think we just discussed it. It wasn't a matter of assistants and myself taking sides or anything or arguing and debating, we just discussed it. So there wasn't really any, I can't believe you said that or anything like that. There was nothing like that.
We were just sitting there having a discussion and going over a lot of different points about each player, and we just came up with the decision.

Q. What are the things that you will concentrate on or deal with from now until that first tee shot on October 1?
COREY PAVIN: Obviously pairings is a huge thing. I'll be talking with players about that, talking with assistants about that. Very important aspect of it obviously.
Talking to the players, making sure that they are comfortable with everything that's going on. I would like them to have knowledge of potentially who they will be playing with, certainly before we go over to Wales. It's not going to guarantee that they are going to be playing with that person, but I want them to have a short list of guys that they can communicate with, talk with, understand and get to know better if they need to. That's going to be a very important aspect of what's going to happen the next few weeks.

Q. Tom, how much is this team similar to yours, and what did you learn from that that you could positive onto Corey? And Tiger at the past few Presidents Cup, you've played very well; what's the difference, do you think, maybe playing international for The Presidents Cup at home and now playing at way game at The Ryder Cup where people say it's more intense at The Ryder Cup; do you think that's the case?
JULIUS MASON: Tom, begin with you, I think looking for similarities between your team and Corey's team.
TOM LEHMAN: The similarities between the two teams?

Q. And the experience.
TOM LEHMAN: There was a question earlier about the experience, and I think for starters, once you hit that first shot in The Ryder Cup, experience, you've experienced it. So experience in some ways is a little bit overrated I believe. I think Corey picking Rickie Fowler is an example of seeing a kid who is very, very tough mentally, very strong, very fearless in the way he plays and realizing that even though this is his first Ryder Cup, he's able to handle that kind of situation.
So I think when you look at a team, you do look at who is on the team, and what you need to fill in the gaps, experience at times does come into play. So I know with our team back in 2006, experience played a big role in who we picked are to the two picks.
With this team this year, I think Corey had more flexibility, and I think he made the right decisions.
JULIUS MASON: Tiger, to you.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think part probably the biggest difference between the two Cups is the players on The Presidents Cup team generally all 24 players, all 12 International Team members, all play the PGA TOUR full time. Like last year Ryo was the only player who didn't play the PGA TOUR full time.
Ryder Cup is different. A lot of players play over here but a lot of them still play in Europe. So it's a little different atmosphere, certainly different I've played three away can you please, in Spain, England and Ireland, and certainly the atmosphere is great. It's fun to play in front of crowds that are that excited as a team member of the U.S., as well, obviously you want to play well enough to make the crowd go quiet and that's always the objective of every away team coming in.
So hopefully we can do that.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, that's going to conclude our news conference today.

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