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An Interview with Chris Riley - Day 2


September 18, 2004

JULIUS MASON: Chris Riley, ladies and gentlemen. Feeling pretty good after his morning matches, thinks some openings comments and we'll go to Q&A please.

CHRIS RILEY: When I saw my pairing last night, saw that was playing with Tiger Woods, it was -- I mean, getting paired with the best player in the world, in my opinion, I pretty much free-wheeled it out there because I knew I was going to have a backup. I helped on a couple of holes maybe one or two holes on the front nine and then I was tired of watching him play by himself so then I made some putts on the back nine.

JULIUS MASON: Questions, folks.

Q. What does Tiger Woods do for you and what do you do for him in this pairing together? With the way you guys mesh?

CHRIS RILEY: Well, we were reminiscing about our junior golf days. You know, we played a team match when we were 15 years old together. I was 16 and he was 14 or 15 and we paired up and we beat somebody like 5 & 4 and we were just talking about the days of old.

Just how much we enjoy playing with each other, and you know, what can I say, the crowds are bigger following him -- it's just a lot of fun, that's all I can really say. It's nerve-wracking, but it's still fun.

Q. Are you nervous playing with him or are you so comfortable with him that it doesn't matter?

CHRIS RILEY: I've been nervous since I got here on Monday. (Laughter.) And I'm still nervous, but it's a good nervous. It just shows that you want to do the best you can. The only way I can describe it is your heart's just pounding out there and, you know, like Hal said last night in our meeting, he said we made it look like -- what was he saying. He was saying instead of making it happen, we were trying to let it happen. And today we saw a video in our team room last night of all these putts everybody was making and Stewart Cink was making the most on the video, it was funny.

I hope we get back in this thing. It's still a long ways to go but we just came out firing today because we knew we had to.

Q. Yesterday Hal said he thought you were uncomfortable with the alternate-shot format and you're not going out this afternoon. Could you elaborate a little bit on that?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I've never played alternate shots, but to tell you the truth, I'm really tired and he asked me if I wanted to go out this afternoon, and I want to be fresh and ready to go tomorrow morning for the matches tomorrow morning because I think it's going to be a big deal tomorrow.

Sometime I'd like to try alternate shots. This is my first time at the Ryder Cup and I'm pretty drained right now. So I told him I wasn't ready to go and, you know, look at our U.S. Team, we have tons of guys that will step up and play. I just told him that if I could, could I sit down this afternoon.

Q. Could you describe your shot on No. 2 from behind the green? You bumped it into the hill, and then when Tiger was slapping hands with you after, was it pretty cool then?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, any time Tiger Woods slaps your hands, you did something pretty good.

I saw that I think Darren Clarke was in there probably ten feet and Tiger was in there about 12 feet and I said, "You know what, I'm going to hole it."

I tried to hole all of my chip shots and especially in this format, so I was aggressive with it and I just chipped it into the hill and it got a nice bounce and went a foot away. So it was good.

Q. Obviously Tiger relaxed you, do you think you relaxed Tiger out there? Did he say anything to you?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, sure, we're friends and, I don't know, it's a real tough thing to pair people up, because you don't want to get friends because they get too friendly and too lackadaisical.

I made it a point to walk with him on every hole and talk about things. You know, didn't talk about the matches, just talked about life and that's pretty much what it's all about, really. We were just being friends out there.

Q. The other thing is, Hal was pretty steamed last night when he headed back to the team room. Just your thoughts on how everything unfolded last night in the team room?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, Hal was real positive. He came back, the Europeans kicked our butt yesterday and they played good. They played good golf. They made shots. Yeah, so Hal was -- he's still a positive guy and he just told us to come out today and he'd rather see us hit it six feet by rather than just kind of lag it up there.

Today I was going with the attitude that I didn't care and I was just trying to make everything. No, Hal's been a great captain. It's been everything and more than I expected.

Q. Two things. What did Hal say to you when you stiffed it on 13 as you were coming off the tee, you had a pretty good conversation with his arm around you. And Davis Love was in here earlier this week saying there's not enough Chris Riley's on this team. Do you understand what your personality brings to a team that a lot of people view as too straight laced?

CHRIS RILEY: I walked off the tee and Hal goes, isn't this what it's all about, when I stuffed it in there.

I was like, yeah, man, it's awesome.

I forgot the second part, my attitude?

Q. Your enthusiasm, what does it bring to a team a lot of people view as too straight laced?

CHRIS RILEY: I just try to be myself. I tell you what, there's 11 other guys out there that I would pair up with any of them. They are all great guys, great players, and they are all having fun, too. So it's been a great week so far and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Have you talked to your wife today since your match and you said she might come in tomorrow?

CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, she's coming in tomorrow morning, so she'll be here at 10:30. She's leaving Las Vegas at 4:00 AM Sunday morning. So, yeah, she's going to come for our singles matches and then the closing ceremonies, which I'm very excited about.

I've been afraid to call home because she has not been getting much sleep and I don't want to wake her up. I call her, her mom's -- my mother-in-law is staying there so she's been a great help as well.

Q. We heard some bits about what you got out of the meeting but let me ask you this, from a personal standpoint, emotionally, and nationally, what did the meeting do for you as an individual hitting the course this morning?

CHRIS RILEY: Hal Sutton's meeting last night fired me up. There's not one guy on this U.S. Team that doesn't want to win for Hal Sutton. Hal Sutton is a winner.

We were embarrassed yesterday. We lost 6 1/2 to 1 1/2. We were embarrassed and we're coming out swinging today.

So personally, I came out trying to win and trying to -- with having Tiger Woods on my team, it wasn't that -- he's a great partner and I didn't even think about the alternative than winning.

Q. It seemed to be a little subdued yesterday with Europe dominating. How different was it today with you guys starting strong with regard to the crowd support?

CHRIS RILEY: We really needed it. If Europe would have got up there and started winning matches early, it would have been really, really tough.

You know what, the crowd was into it today and that was awesome, just hearing them -- one side is yelling U and the other side is yelling S and the other side is yelling A. Just goose bumps and heart pumping. This is what it's all about for us pros. Forget the money, forget everything, this is pure golf at its best, with a team. It doesn't get any better. CHRIS RILEY:

Q. Were you going to play with Tiger this afternoon if you had that chance and once you decided not to, did you talk to Tiger?

CHRIS RILEY: I didn't think I was going to be paired with Tiger. I didn't know. Hal just asked me if I wanted to play. He didn't say who I was playing with and I just said, "I'll do whatever you want me to do, but if it was up to me, I'm pretty emotionally drained, and let's get a fresh guy out there", so that was it.

JULIUS MASON: Chris Riley, folks. Thank you very much.

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