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Quotes: Team Europe

Talk about getting off to a great start this morning.
September 17, 2004

Q. Talk about getting off to a great start this morning.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, it was very important. It was psychologically, almost worth two points to us. And just like last year with the singles, I think it's important for other guys to see us ahead early on the way we were, 1-, 2-up, and then 1-, 2-up again must have helped the other guys behind us. It's been a super morning and delighted, as I said, that Padraig wanted to play with me because I wanted to play with him, believe me. Yet again we've done okay. It was very important for us to get off to a good start and we did. We birdied the first four holes. You can't really do much against that. We dovetailed very well, and thanks to my Irish partner here, fantastic golf.

Q. Were you surprised that they didn't come back harder on the back nine?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We didn't give them the chance. We were happy with the match going into it. We knew we were probably playing for more than a point, as he said. Colin showed the class act he is, really unbelievable partner to play with.

You know, as I said through the back nine, we made our birdies and I think that was it. At the end of the day, they knew we were going to be always in there and with a couple of birdies, we just didn't give them the opportunity to come back.

Q. Is this a partnership we can expect to see more of?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would hope so.

Q. Colin?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's not for us to decide. The pairings come out at one o'clock. So we have a quarter of an hour to have a chat with Captain Bernhard and we'll see what happens. You might expect to see us playing again this afternoon, I'm sure.

Q. The Americans, it's a long morning for them, do you think they are feeling the pressure?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: That's a very difficult question, very difficult question. Foursomes is a very different game to four-ball. I don't know. The course is drying up. It's getting very difficult, pars in foursomes are a very good score. We can just control what we do and we've done very well this morning. Whatever happens, we've had a great morning. We just hope to build on it this afternoon.

Q. An immensely enjoyable morning's work and hugely satisfying?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Very satisfying. We knew it was up to us in this match. We kind of realized that they might put out their top two guys in the first match, so we chose to go out against them. It was a big match for us, a big match for the team to get a good start. Obviously it was very positive for us, and I suppose they were expected to win; so that gave us a great opportunity. We knew we were probably playing for more than a point in terms of team spirit, so probably the right guys to do it.

Q. It was all smiles on the first tee, were you surprised at how swiftly the magic returned for you?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: To birdie the first from the bunker was a fantastic start, personally and for the team, and we birdied the first four holes between us. That was the start we required and needed, because we knew that this wasn't going to be easy.

In fact, we are delighted to finish a hole early because things were getting a little bit tight, to be honest. But at the same time, I think Padraig is right. This match is almost worth psychologically more than one point to the European Team. For the rest of the six other guys out there, to see that their No. 1 and 2 guys were losing must have held them behind, and that was our job this morning and we managed to do it very well.

Q. Looks like a dream start from the European point of view, but with all of your Ryder Cup experience what is the key?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's a long week. It will come down to the end of the order in singles on Sunday. What this does it gets us a good start that we can expect to run it for another three days.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: There's still four rounds to go. We're just glad, we are on our way to getting 14 1/2 points and as we all know. That's our target. This is a good first morning and that's all it is. We'll do our best to try to build on it this afternoon.

Q. Seemed like shades of The Belfry on the front nine; that putter was like the Excalibur; you were making bombs out of the gate.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I leave it to Phil, he was going to break it (inaudible) I think after the sixth hole, which was a crazy putt down the hill. No, it was important for Padraig and I to get off to a good start. We knew we were playing the No. 1 and 2 guys in America on American soil, and to birdie the first four holes as we did was not just necessary, but it was required. We got off to a flying start, and I think it helped the guys behind, as well. It's been a super morning for Europe and almost psychologically, for us, we feel as a team it was almost worth a little bit more than a point to beat Phil and Tiger and so we got off to a good start. That's all it is.

There's still four rounds of golf to play, and obviously we look forward to trying to get as many points as we can this afternoon as well.

Q. The European Team relishes the role of underdog, it seems as though you've gained strength from that feeling; am I wrong?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You'd be correct. Definitely we wanted to be the underdogs coming in here. It puts a little more pressure on the European Team, and it brings us a little closer together and motivates us to maybe play a little bit above ourselves. That's the Ryder Cup.

Q. What is it about these Matches and your enthusiasm for them and obviously your great success in these?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know. I end up with very, very good partners. I unfortunately finished with Bernhard Langer, and now I've got Padraig so I'm very happy indeed.

Q. How respectful for the galleries?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Everybody was great, as expected. It was obviously loud cheers for the U.S. and respectful for us. Very, very good.

Q. What are your hopes for the afternoon?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, we'll try and finish before the 17th this afternoon, because it gets a bit tight around that hole. So we'll do our best to see what happens this afternoon.

Q. Why is it that the Europeans always seem to get off to a great start on day one?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think the Americans are under a little more pressure than we are possibly. Coming in here as underdogs, again, less pressure, possibly, I'm not sure. That's for you guys. That's your job to sort of think about and write about and analyze. It's our job to try and win and that's what we've done this morning.

Q. Great start, but how about the condition out there? Was it a difficult golf course?

COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It's a very difficult golf course in any condition. It is drying up, the greens are getting quicker and firmer, and the fairways are getting firmer as well. It is a very difficult golf course. You'll find in foursomes golf this afternoon that par is a good score.

Q. What work best for you out there today?

LEE WESTWOOD: Putted very well. When one of us was out of the hole the other one was there looking at birdie or par at worst. So it was only one hole that we were putting for bogeys on. Which we both 3-putted, so it was, it's a great combination. We play well together.

Q. The putting has been outstanding. Not just in your match but in all the Europeans it seems you've hardly missed a putt out there. What's going on. Do you just feel comfortable out there?

LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I think we feel comfortable on the greens. They're in excellent condition.

We used teamwork to read them. Certainly myself and Sergio looking at each other's putts and, you know, two pairs of eyes are better than one.

Q. Sergio, you got the first birdie of the day didn't you? Was it important to get off to a good start against a pair like this?

SERGIO GARCIA: Yeah, I think that was huge. Mainly because Jim hit it really close on one. So it was really big to make that putt. I got to thank whoever put that big screen on the driving range because I saw Monty's putt and it gave me a great read. I had the same putt, just a bit longer. And so it was nice to make that. So that was, I think that was a huge start. We just played really, really well. And as Lee said, when one wasn't doing good on one hole, the other one was right in there.

That's what it's all about.

Q. Momentum is obviously huge and I expect they will come back at you at some stage and I expect you're expecting that. Is the most important thing to avoid complacency?

SERGIO GARCIA: Definitely. I think the other thing you have to do is take it as a great start and just keep going with it. I think that we don't have to go down, let down and let them come back into us. The good thing about it is this start is going to put a lot of pressure to them and it's going to be a little better for us. But we still have to play well.

Q. Is there an explanation, Lee, as to why you two are such a great team.

LEE WESTWOOD: We just get on very well. One of the explanations might be that we both see the putts the same way. So we're helping each other to read them. It's, as you know, I know how hard to hit it, I know how much break to leave into it. But I think that we just play good together because we get on so well.

Q. Having said that you're such a great team, you're not going out this afternoon. Was that a surprise to you, Sergio?

SERGIO GARCIA: No, I don't think so. I think that it's -- I feel likely's playing very well. I think I'm not playing too bad either. I think it's good to split us for a foursome. Get two good players split up with another two good, other players that are also playing well. You don't want to have your best two players together because you kind of like are losing a bit of good playing in there. So really I feel comfortable with the partner I have this afternoon and I think Lee feels really well with the partner that he's playing with. So we're looking forward to it.

Q. Was it a surprise at all to you two as to the momentum Europe got is so early this morning or did you expect it.

LEE WESTWOOD: We wanted to come out fast. And Monty birdieing the first, we saw it on the Jumbotron down there and it gave Sergio a great read on his putt. So we were keeping an eye on things that were happening in front. It was going to go one way or the other with Hal putting Tiger and Phil out first. If they won then the Americans were going to get off to a flying start and have a lot of momentum. But if they lost, you know, it was always going to be difficult.

Q. You got off to a fine start, what is it about Ryder Cup that makes for incredible golf?

DARREN CLARKE: It's been a long week building up and whenever you get out there we're all just excited to get out and play. I made a couple of good putts early on. Just kept going.

Q. Miguel, you put the first point on the board, that must be pretty special?

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: Yes, we enjoy very much the Ryder Cup and they play well but good to get a point.

Q. Some players talk about the pressure being too much that they can't enjoy it but you seem to love it?

DARREN CLARKE: We talked about it last night -- that's what we've done.

Q. Difficult pin positions on the course but you seem to be attacking everything.

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: Yeah, well, when you're playing well, you can do that.

Q. What is it about these matches that makes you play so well?

DARREN CLARKE: It's a long week and we all could not wait to get out there and play. Thankfully for us, we got off to a very good start. We made a couple of putts early.

Q. Everybody out here is the best of the best, does it surprise you to look up at the board and see so many results going the European way? How important is it to win a match in the afternoon heading into the weekend?

DARREN CLARKE: It's great for team morale to get some points up early. There's a long, long way to go before the end. But we're very pleased with the way that we got off this morning and from the look of things, the teams are all doing very well.

Q. Talk about a great start.

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: Well, it's great that we played so good at the beginning of the round, and get a point for the team.

Q. You had a fantastic start.

DARREN CLARKE: We both got off to a good start. We made a couple of putts, and momentum is huge as we all know in the Ryder Cup and we managed to grab it early and hang onto it.

Q. How important is it when you saw the first board?

DARREN CLARKE: You always notice what's going on. But when you start worrying about other games out here, you have enough work to do in your own game.

Q. Has to be a extraordinary start to the tournament, what do you expect for the afternoon?

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: We are doing very well.

DARREN CLARKE: We'll see what Bernhard decides but the way things are looking at the moment, it's a very good start for us and hopefully we can hang onto that momentum and ride it as long as we can.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DARREN CLARKE: We were trying to make everything we could. That's the way it goes. You take a look at all the Ryder Cups, so many different teams make different putts at different times of the week. And it was just fortunate for us that we were making so many this morning.

Q. You've both done this before, but were you nervous on the first tee? What was on your mind on the first tee?

MIGUEL ANGEL JIMENEZ: Nervous? No. I feel great. Yeah.

Q. No nerves?

DARREN CLARKE: A little bit of nerves, but whenever you're playing against Davis, who one of the nicest players, and Chad too, that made it a lot easier.

Q. How are the galleries, were they respectful today?

DARREN CLARKE: Very much so. They were very fair to us. They were cheering for us as much as they were for the other guys. So we couldn't have asked for more.

Q. Hal said that there was going to be hell to pay if he put out his two big guys early and they lost. What's the risk there for them?

DARREN CLARKE: I think that Phil just made a putt there to go to 17. They're dormie though, right? You don't know.

You've got two good players Phil and Tiger there and obviously we have got two very good players. And in 18 holes of match play, anything can happen.

Q. If they lose is that just as big a boost to you guys as it would have been to them?

DARREN CLARKE: I don't think it would make a moments difference to the team really. You take a look at all the four games out there, they're all very very tough games. It doesn't make any difference who is playing against who. You just have to play well to win them. Fortunately we have managed to do that this morning and other three matches they will each have to do the same thing.

Q. Strong play and quick play kept the galleries pretty quiet as well.

CAPTAIN BERNHARD LANGER: It always does. It always does. We know that from the past, whenever we play well, it keeps the opposition quiet and that's what we want to do, obviously.

Q. How important was it get off to that fast start?

CAPTAIN BERNHARD LANGER: Well, it's very important. It's always better to be ahead than behind. It gives the guys confidence. It gives them belief that they can win.

It's just, you know, so much better to go out this afternoon having won a match instead of having lost a match and so it should help us.

Q. Colin said he felt like that was worth a point and a half, not just a point.

CAPTAIN BERNHARD LANGER: I would agree with him. Everybody thought that was the strongest pairing Hal could have put out in four-balls and probably a large percentage shot, nobody could beat those two guys, and they beat them fairly convincingly.

Q. What will you do between now and the afternoon?

CAPTAIN BERNHARD LANGER: There's no time. My next group is teeing off in 11 minutes, so I'm heading over to the first tee again.

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