It was a stellar round 1 of the Presidents Cup for the U.S. side, as they dominated their foes from the International team for a 5 1/2 to 1/2 lead after alternate-ball match play. While most the matches were close, the U.S. team, led by Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker among others, were seemingly unstoppable by the end.
Afterward, Woods and U.S. team captain Jack Nicklaus sat down and talked to the media about the U.S. domination on day one.
Q. There were an extraordinary number of pretty poor shots, not necessarily in your match, but in all matches coming down the stretch. Do you feel that there was a lot of pressure or was the course playing tough or the conditions were tough or again, was it just the pressure of the competition?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's just the nature of foursomes. Foursomes is a strange animal in itself; when you get rolling, it's the greatest format in the world. But when things start going awry, it's amazing how it just snowballs so quickly because you don't have a chance to re-right yourself right away with your own game. You're alternating, you're waiting, you may not have hit a putt, you may not have hit an iron shot, you may not have hit a drive and all of a sudden you're counted upon. Basically four holes, you're dealing with quite a bit of water, and anything can happen.
Q. Could I just get your thoughts on what it's like to be in such command at this point? It's been a long time since the U.S. has jumped out to this type of start, 5 1/2 to a half, it seems like it's always fighting to get back into the ballgame for a miracle on Sunday.
TIGER WOODS: We've been on this side in the last two Ryder Cups - oh, it's the European side. (Laughter) This was I guess reminiscent to what we did in 2000. We got off to a pretty commanding start, and I guess we were under Captain Venturi and basically rolled from there.
We're a long ways away from the end of this thing, there are so many points available. Second session tomorrow, you know they are going to come out with some of their best pairings and top guys out early and try to turn this thing around. We need to still go out there and play well and get our points.
Q. After everything that was said on how strong this International Team is; surprised about how overall it went for the U.S. today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, if you look at what we - one of the things I say, every time you ask us about the difference between the Ryder Cup, why we keep losing all the sessions, if you look at it, the Europeans are up early, and up early in the match.
And in this format, there's only 18 holes. It's so hard to come back from a 2-or 3-down deficit, especially this caliber of players. It's really hard to turn that around. If you look at all of our matches out early, they were all up. It's amazing how the guys towards the end tend to feed off of that and hopefully tomorrow we can go out there and do the same thing and put a bunch of red up there early and keep the momentum that we built today into tomorrow.
Q. Your comments on the play today?
JACK NICKLAUS: Needless to say, if you would say if this is what I expected the results to be, I would say no. But am I happy with them? Absolutely I'm happy with them. Our guys played well. They played well down the stretch. Even the match that they halved - Austin holed about a 12-footer at 16. Phil holed a 20-footer at 17 and Austin came back with about a 12-footer at 18 to just halve the match. And so they all played great coming down the stretch.
Time after time, they just did what they were supposed to do, and Gary was right, it was very close. Could have gone either way. There's a lot of golf to be played. We've got a full four-day tournament in front of us, a four-round tournament in front of us, so a lot of things can happen.
Q. Did you decide to concede Vijay's putt on the 18th in the Weir match? It was pretty long.
JACK NICKLAUS: It was about three and a half feet. I think that Phil and Woody made the right decision, and they both felt that Mike, you know, had played a good match; and Mike being a Canadian and being here, that it was the right thing to do. And I'm glad they did. I would support it 100 percent.
Q. Going back to the conceded putt, would it be the right move that you would applaud if this event were played in the U.S. or South Africa or something?
JACK NICKLAUS: I think it's up to the players playing. You know, I think that all I said to them when they were there is I said, "What do you want to do with Mike's putt?" And they both looked at it and turned around and said, "It's good."
I think they felt like they had a great match, they had six holes they tied, six holes that the U.S. won, six holes that the International Team won, and they just felt they all played well and I thought that - I guess they felt that there shouldn't be a loser in that match. I thought it was a good decision.
If it was played somewhere else, I would say if it was the second, third, or fourth round, we probably wouldn't do that. Maybe the last round, if it sits there, if it makes the outcome of the match, in the spirit of what we are playing these matches, I think that's the important part.
I think Gary and I both have stressed that throughout the matches that we want the guys to walk away from here feeling like, you know, we didn't get everything we could get. But we gave everything we could give, and meaning from themselves and golf and spirit of the game and sportsmanship.
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September 28, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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