Cue the captains
Hal Sutton, captain of the U.S. team, and Bernhard Langer, leader of the Europeans, on Monday held a joint news conference at Oakland Hills Country Club to discuss the upcoming biennial matches.
August 19, 2004
Bloomfield Township, Mich. (PGA.com) -- On Monday, Ryder Cup captains Bernhard Langer of the European team and Hal Sutton of the United States met the media for a news conference at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich., site of the 35th Ryder Cup Matches scheduled to be played Sept. 14-19, 2004. The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, director of public and media relations for the PGA of America. Here is the official transcript:
JULIUS MASON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Julius Mason, Director of Public and Media Relations for the PGA of America. Welcome to Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, and the 35th Ryder Cup Matches Captains' Media Day.
Joining us today, we have some special guests with whom you should be familiar: Michigan PGA Section President Bill Rogers; Michigan PGA Section CEO Ken Devine; Bloomfield Township Supervisor David Payne; General Chairman of the Ryder Cup Matches, Bob Gigliotti; Oakland Hills Country Club President Dick Aginian; Oakland Hills head professional Pat Croswell; Oakland Hills general manager, Rick Bayliss; and Ryder Cup tournament director Andy Odenbach.
To paint a picture for our callers, we are in the main dining room at Oakland Hills Country Club. And as far as the weather conditions are concerned, knowing that we will be playing these matches close to the same time next year, you'll be interested in knowing that it's a little partly cloudy with a slight breeze, and they are anticipating a high of 56 and a low of 40 degrees tonight.
Now ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce the CEO of PGA America, Mr. Jim Awtrey.
JIM AWTREY: Thank you and good morning, everyone. It's my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the men and women of PGA professionals all across the country that total nearly 28,000 to the Ryder Cup Captain's Media Day.
Bernhard, I'd like to welcome you to Oakland Hills and as captain of the 12 finest players in Europe we know it's going to be a great event. Sorry Vikki could not join us today but give her our best.
To Hal and Ashley, we certainly welcome you as the captain of our 12 great players in America, and we know that we've been over the strategic objective of the matches. And I don't think it's necessary to redefine what you're supposed to do next year.
Seriously, Hal, we are excited to have you as captain of our team. We know you will do a wonderful job and we know that Ashley and Vikki will be a major part of the matches, as well.
It is just one year before the 35th Ryder Cup Matches that will be played September 14-19 in 2004 right here at Oakland Hills Country Club. As all of you know the Ryder Cup Matches began in 1927 and have truly involved into the world's great sporting events founded on prestige rather than prize money, making it unique with these great players of today.
We think it's become the preeminent event in golf, and like the Olympic games and the World Cup soccer, fans and players worldwide have embraced the Ryder Cup for its competitive spirit and its exciting format. It certainly has made it one of the most compelling events in sports.
The Ryder Cup Matches have had some of the most memorable moments in golf sports history. Certainly, covering decades, but some of the greatest players and some of the greatest moments in match-play on some of the greatest courses.
And it continues to strengthen it's position as one of the most televised events in golf. NBC and USA Network will have a record 27 hours of coverage over a three-day period, going to 145 countries and territories around the world.
When you look at an event of this stature, you look at the golf course and the community and the state that you hold that, and could not be more pleased to play one of the great courses in America. You are looking at a golf course that's been home to major championships throughout its history. Oakland Hills, having hosted six U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, two U.S. Senior Opens, as well as the U.S. Men's and Women's Amateur and the Western Open. So certainly, there's great tradition here consistent with what we have come to expect of the Ryder Cup Matches.
Additionally, I think there's an interesting thing about Oakland Hills. Three of it's former professionals, Walter Hagen, Al Watrous and Mike Souchak competed on U.S. Ryder Cup teams. I don't think there is any better example of the history of professional golf than to look at the great professionals that have been here and how the game used to be played by both the club professional and the touring pro, and they were almost one and the same.
Back before there was sufficient money for people to make a living on the Tour, they were also working at clubs. It brings to mind a great story told by Byron Nelson where he was an assistant golf professional. He saw the American team come in all dressed in uniform. He had never seen that before; he made a personal commitment to some day play on that team, and two years later, he did, in fact, play on the Ryder Cup team.
All that said it could not be a more perfect venue for playing the Ryder Cup Matches than Oakland Hills. To Captain Langer and Captain Sutton, all we can say is play well, and we can't wait.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Jim. And now ladies and gentlemen, the president of the PGA of America, Mr. M.G. Orender.
M.G. ORENDER: It's now time to hear from the captains. It's my pleasure today to introduce you to the 2004 Ryder Cup captain for the U.S. team. As you know, a position of this nature requires strong, experienced leadership. Hal certainly possesses those traits.
I would like to tell you a little bit about our captain. He has been a PGA member for 19 years. He becomes the 23rd individual in history to be a Ryder Cup captain since its inauguration in 1927. He's competed on four Ryder Cup teams; in 1985, 1997, 1999 and of course 2002. He turned professional in 1981 and joined the PGA TOUR in 1982 and has a career total 14 victories. He was the PGA Player of the Year in 1983, and I think is best remembered for two distinct competitions, first holding off Jack Nicklaus in 1983 at the Riviera Country Club to become the PGA Champion and then in 1999, he was certainly the heart and soul of the Ryder Cup team that mounted what is probably the greatest comeback in not only golf, but in sports.
He's a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and still lives there. He possesses a combination of intensity and courage that serves as an example to his team and made him an ideal choice to be the 2004 Ryder Cup captain. Those of us fortunate to know him, we know about his dedication to the game of golf and his love of the history and traditions of the game. His Ryder Cup experience and his relationship with players has made him a great choice and a great captain.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, Hal Sutton.
HAL SUTTON: I'd just like to say that every time I drive in the gate at Oakland Hills, I feel golf. This is going to be a great venue for the 2004 Ryder Cup. I look out the back of the clubhouse and see -- Bernhard and I were talking about it upstairs -- about the 1st and the 9th and the 10th and the 18th hole. It's just a great venue.
I'm excited about the challenge. My good friend here, I was excited when they announced him as the European captain of the Ryder Cup. I have to say this, he's beaten me twice in singles, so it's my turn. (Laughter.) But anyway -- and I'm going to approach it like that, too, by the way.
But it's going to be a great match. It's going to be very competitive, spirited, but we are going to treat the game with respect and we are going to -- all of us are going to be gentleman. So with that being said, I'm looking forward to the challenge.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Hal, very much. And now ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce from all the way across the pond, the PGA European Tour's Ryder Cup director, Mr. Richard Hills. Richard?
RICHARD HILLS: Thank you, Julius. In the history of the Ryder Cup Matches, there has never been a captain named with as much Ryder Cup experience as Bernhard Langer. He has competed on ten European Ryder Cup teams, spanning three decades. He is one of most remarkably consistent, resilient players in golf. As captain of the 2004 team, he is one of the most respected players in the game on either side the Atlantic.
Since 1980, he has not been out of the Top-30 in the Volvo Order of Merit, only on two occasions. He has 66 worldwide victories since 1974, including 42 on the PGA European Tour, two Masters Tournament wins in 1985 and in 1993, and he is the No. 2 all-time points winner in the Ryder Cup history with 24.
One of the game's true gentlemen, he is described by many as the professional's professional. He possesses a steely resolve and pragmatism which has characterized his illustrious playing career. He is one of the most influential and inspirational figures in the development of European golf over the past three decades both on the golf course and off it, where together with his brother, Irwin, he has been instrumental in creating the growth of one of the European Tour's elite tournaments, the Linde German Masters. Winner of the Volvo Order of Merit in 1981 and 1984, he was also European Tour golfer of the year in 1985 and 1993 and is an honorary member of the European Tour. He was also inducted into the World Hall of Fame in 2002. A native of Anhausen, Germany, he and his wife, Vikki, have a home in Boca Raton, Florida. It gives me great pleasure to announce the future Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer.
BERNHARD LANGER: Thank you very much for the kind words. I surely appreciate it. It's wonderful to be back here.
Last time I was here was in 1996, and I don't quite remember how well I did, but I don't think it was very well. Hopefully my team will do a little better than I performed here. I sure appreciate the very warm welcome I have received every time I've been here and it's no different today. It's just great to be a captain of the European team and to work alongside with Hal Sutton. We've been friends for many years. I respect Hal very much, not just for the way he plays golf, but the way he handles himself and the gentleman that he is. I think the two of us will get along very well, except maybe when it comes to holding onto that trophy or giving it away, but we'll see what happens to that part.
I'm sure the two of us will continue where many other captains have left off, and especially Sam and Curtis, I thought last year did a wonderful job on bringing back the sportsmanship and being fair, and trying to keep all of the other stuff away. In the end, it's still only a game, and we need to keep it that way. We're going to play hard and do our best, but we want to be fair and make it a great thrill and excitement for everybody watching, not just here, on the golf course, but as I was told, in 145 countries all over the world.
As I said, I look forward to the occasion and I look forward to seeing you again in 12-month's time on the premises and thank you all very much for being here. (Applause).
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Bernhard.
We will take questions on site at Oakland Hills Country Club first.
Q. Gentlemen, this place has so much history as a stroke-play golf course with all of the U.S. Opens and PGAs and whatnot; how do you two feel this will be as a match-play venue?
BERNHARD LANGER: I think it's a great match-play venue. The golf course is very tough. It has extremely difficult greens, and therefore, you haven't won the hole just by hitting the green. And if somebody misses it, there's many opportunities for 3-putting or doing all sorts of weird things on these undulating, fast greens. Therefore, I think it lends itself to match-play. I think we're going to see some great golf and some very exciting matches.
HAL SUTTON: I would only echo your comments. Because when you get greens like these, you are going to see the 3-putts, you are going to see a chip that's hit too hard that hits the pin that either goes in the hole or stops; guys that thought they were out of it suddenly find themselves back in the match. I think you are going to see some exciting golf here.
Q. A question for each of the captains. Bernhard, would you tell me your favorite Hal Sutton story; and Hal, your favorite Bernhard Langer story, understanding that Ashley and Vikki are present -- (laughter) -- and other countries are probably listening.
BERNHARD LANGER: Actually, nothing comes straight to my mind, to tell you the truth. As I said in my opening comments, I have always regarded Hal very highly. He has a great personality. He is very respected. He is born in the same -- what do you say, state as my wife so, I can't say anything bad about him. That would be bad to my wife, too.
Plus, it's Ashley's birthday today, as I heard -- well, yeah, they should know. 29 again, right? (Laughter.)
So I really don't have a favorite story as such. Hal.
Q. You guys have matched up twice in singles matches certainly; has anything come out of that?
HAL SUTTON: Well, wait a minute let me comment on that first. (Laughter.)
BERNHARD LANGER: No, the one thing that has come out, he's not just a great winner, he's a great loser. (Laughter.) No, no, don't get that wrong. My English is not perfect, so maybe -- yeah, I think you got the message.
He was very gracious. He never said a bad word about anything, and the two singles that we played each other in the Ryder Cup, he was very complimentary. He was a pleasure to be competing against. I know that deep down, he was hurting and he was fighting like a lion because that is his character and that is the way he plays golf. But, you know, he didn't let any of that come to the outside and never said a bad word or anything. He was a real gentleman and it was, again, a pleasure to be with him any time on the golf course, whether it's been Ryder Cup or stroke-play.
HAL SUTTON: I don't know if I can say things quite as well as you did right there.
I've been sitting here trying to think of an instance that I could relate to you about my respect for his game, and I was thinking that both he and I -- and I don't mean this ugly in any way -- I think we are both kind of blue-collar golfers, if you will. We are workaholics at the game. We try to improve our weaknesses and hopefully play into our strengths. I think that's the way you play the game, isn't it? And I've always admired that about the way that you play the game, and that's kind of the way I have to play the game. So I've always looked at you with a great deal of respect because of that.
I mean, he's an Trojan. We heard his record over there and he's a Trojan worldwide, so I respect that.
Q. Hal, there has been a growing issue, in my opinion, about the course setups that we have seen in past Ryder Cups, at least recently. I was wondering two things: One, how will you set up this golf course, will you set it up to favor or try to favor the U.S. side; and secondly, in the spirit of competition, is that the right thing to do?
HAL SUTTON: Easy question to answer. When they first asked me to be the captain, we talked about course setup. I said, "I think y'all do a great job of setting up major championships. Just set the golf course up, and for what I might have to offer, set it up the same way you would set up a PGA Championship." Kerry Haigh does a great job at that and he will set the course up accordingly.
The greens here can be very severe, so let's make sure we keep the green speed at a reasonable pace where we are not silly out there. We are just going to set it up -- I'm deferring the decisions basically to Kerry Haigh, who does an excellent job.
Q. (Inaudible.) HAL SUTTON: I would say probably -- I wouldn't look at it that way. I would look at it as you are trying to exploit the greatness of the golf course, and that would be my -- the way I would refer to that.
Q. Where does the Ryder Cup rank in terms of the majors, you have the U.S. Open, the PGA, the British, Masters, has the Ryder Cup evidently exceeded those?
BERNHARD LANGER: To me, it's very much up there with any tournament in the world. Obviously you can't compare it to a U.S. Open or PGA or Masters or any other major because all of the majors are stroke-play events, and if you make a mistake, you play the price and the penalty.
Ryder Cup is a team competition. It's match-play. It's totally different. But the one thing about the Ryder Cup, the people get more involved, the spectators, than any other tournament. But it's a totally different atmosphere. It's definitely for and against, in a sense, where in other major tournaments around the world, they applaud good shots and kind of keep quiet on bad ones. That's not the case in the Ryder Cup.
HAL SUTTON: From a player's perspective, I think it's a different accomplishment. We don't play much team competition. It's all very individual. That's what my compadre here was referring to, the individual achievements in major championships. For everybody to come together as a team for one common goal being the Ryder Cup, it has a different place in everybody's heart. I would say that it's right up there with any major championship accomplishment that any of us have ever achieved.
Q. What are the most valuable lessons you have learned from captain's which you have served under as players?
HAL SUTTON: I've played for some -- in American golf -- some heroes. Basically my first captain was Lee Trevino and second was Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange. Each one of them were very different in the way they captained. Some were more hands-on and some were more distant.
I've taken a little bit of something from every one of them that I will try to weave into it the way that I do this. I think that's one of the great compliments that a player can be made is to be a captain of the Ryder Cup team. In that I think it's a way for you to put your personal taste or how you feel that it should be done, and I'll obviously take some things from other captains.
Specifically, I can't think of one thing that somebody did.
BERNHARD LANGER: Yes, very similar. My career, I've played under five different captains. You know, I'll give you an example, when Seve was captain, he was out there all over the place, and on one occasion, he almost told me how to play the shot. (Laughter.) You could see, he wanted to, like give me the 1-iron, I'm going to aim over there and slice it 40 yards and under this bush and over that tree. And I said, okay, I think I know how to play, I need to play my game; not Seve's game, and I'll play it totally different. I chipped out and my partner hit it to ten feet and we made par. But that was his style, you know.
As Hal said, everyone is a little different. Everyone has a different style. Some of the guys talk to some of the players a lot and others make all of the decisions by themselves. I think all of that is good. And they asked me that question in Europe what is going to be your style? I said, well, it's going to be my style. I'm not going to captain like Seve did. I'm not going to captain like Sam Torrance did. I'm going to captain the way Bernhard Langer is and use my strengths and not try to use someone else's because that would be a weakness.
Again I hopefully have learned a little bit from all five and tried to use what I think is positive and leave the stuff away that I think was not so good. Yes, all five were very good captains. I have no reason to complain about any of them.
Q. You've had four years to reflect now on the '99 victory, what it meant to you personally, what it meant to the PGA. Any comments on that, please?
HAL SUTTON: Well, it ranks right at the top in terms of how it made me feel. As I mentioned earlier, for us to be able to come together with one common goal and for us to try to win the Ryder Cup team, we grew together as friends. We were all much better friends when we left after '99. There's some things about '99 that I would probably like to change, and other things that I would not like to change about '99.
I think the one thing that I would not want to change is that we all left as a team. We were all united and we made -- we made a mark in history that week. I was very proud of that.
Q. The U.S. has lost three of the last four Ryder Cups, what does it mean to you to bring the Ryder Cup back to the United States, and what are you going to do? Without giving away necessarily your game plan, what are you going to do; how are you going to rally the players and what's your plan generally as far as helping the U.S. win?
HAL SUTTON: Well, I'll even go back. I think the U.S. has lost six out of the last nine; isn't that right? (Laughter.)
I don't know exactly what I'm going to do. You know, I'm looking at the points standing right here and the points standing is changing constantly. A lot of what a person is going to do is going to have to do with the personalities that are on the team. You are not going to treat one guy the same as you treat another guy. We are going to try to do the best that we can to bring out the best in each individual so that we can all look good as a team. I'm going to do whatever it takes to do that.
And at this particular juncture, one year out, I can't tell you what that's going to be. I'm going to try to be positive. I've said this, I'm not afraid to say this, one of the things that's been lacking in American sports as a whole is that it used to be our honor that we played for our country rather than our country's honor that we play for them. And I am going to ring that message home loud and clear every opportunity that I have. When I grew up, it was a prideful thing for us. If you were an Olympic whatever, you were out there carrying your country's flag, that was an important thing. You should be prideful of that.
It is not looked on as drudgery or something that you have to do; it's an honor. That's the way I feel about it and I will deliver that message loud and clear every chance that I get.
BERNHARD LANGER: May I make one quick comment to add to that, if I may. You are talking about America lost three out of last four or six out of the last nine. I seem to remember vividly that before the last Ryder Cup, they gave us some statistic, I got it somewhere in the press I think, that out of the last 188 matches that were played, both teams won exactly the same amount, individual matches, which is extraordinary when you think about it. When you play close to 200 individual matches and it was like 97-97 or 100-100 right on the spot, that was before the last Ryder Cup was played, so it's gone back over a span of 20 years I think.
That's part of why the Ryder Cup has become so popular and exciting is it seems to come down to the last match every single time we compete against each other.
Q. Talking about course familiarity, Europeans are very familiar with the courses they play, The Belfry, Valderrama, K Club the next time, then in Wales; where over here, a player is lucky if he's played one of these courses, Oakland Hills or whatever, once every ten years. Does familiarity help the home team?
BERNHARD LANGER: We go back to Muirfield in 1987, the players were very familiar with Muirfield Village, yet we still won.
There might be something to it. It helps maybe on the odd occasion when a player knows the course very well. But, you know, you've got to look at these guys, you are looking at 24 of the best players in the world. They have three practice days. If they can't figure out how to play a golf course in three days, plus they have professional caddies to help them, that's my own personal opinion on that.
HAL SUTTON: The other side of the coin is, if the Ryder Cup Matches are played on a venue, take Oakland Hills, he's probably played as many rounds of golf at Oakland Hills as I've played at Oakland Hills. So I don't think that there's any differences. I mean, Muirfield Village, I play there once a year and so does he. We probably know the golf course the same.
Q. You've both talked about how a Ryder Cup atmosphere is different, it's a fever-pitched crowd for and against. As captains how do you plan to keep your players from getting caught up in the emotion?
HAL SUTTON: You know, golf -- first of all, we've all thought, known for a long time that golf was a gentleman's sport. And that's something I'm going to try to impress on my players that we are going to treat it that way. I want everyone to feel the freedom to be themselves. Each person has to be responsible for his own actions, and I'll remind them of that.
We can't take away the spirit of this match. I mean, I think Bernhard would agree with me on that. It is a spirited competition. It is what it is. It's Europe against America, and it's part of the reason that I'm nervous on the first tee. It's part of the reason he's nervous on the first tee, because there's things on the line here.
But by the same token, at the end of the day, he spoke about it earlier, I want to walk off the 18th green and for us still to be friends, and we've been able to do that for many years. I hope that we can continue to do that in years to come, and that's what I'll try to remind the players. They will be playing against these guys for a long time. There will be friends together just like Bernhard and I together for 20 years, you want to still be the same friend, 20 years from now.
BERNHARD LANGER: I very much agree. I'll tell my players, I want you to play fair, play by the rules and no gamesmanship whatever. Play hard, do the best you can but no tricks or any other things. We don't need that. If we win the Cup or the trophy, we want to win it by the correct rules and win it correctly and not by tricks and gamesmanship and everything. It's not necessary.
Q. I'm wondering if you saw the Solheim Cup last month, the remaining matches on the course were conceded. I'd be curious your thoughts on that; is there any point continuing to play once the Cup has been won?
HAL SUTTON: Bernhard and I talked about that earlier today. We are going to continue to the 18th hole. Everybody has bought their tickets and paid to see the action. We are going to continue the matches all the way to the 18th hole. If it comes down to the match has been decided in the final match, then either he or I can step out there and make a decision on the last match. But we feel that everybody deserves to see the whole competition.
Q. Again, I'd be curious on your philosophy on sitting out players. Hal, I think you played just once at The Belfry last year. Bernhard, if I'm not mistaken you were on the '83 team when Tony Jacklin did not play Gordon Brand until Sunday. Do you think there should be a rule or policy that everyone must play before Sunday or is this all about the team and you do what you have to do to win?
HAL SUTTON: Doug, I'm doing to step up and correct you. I played twice, and thank God I did, because I did win one match anyway.
Q. Sorry, Hal. I don't remember.
HAL SUTTON: You're a reporter. You're supposed to know that sort of stuff. (Laughter.)
Q. Just answer the question, please. (Laughter.)
HAL SUTTON: Maybe I need to quiz you. We need to reverse roles here.
No, I don't think there should be a policy change. I think it should be left up to the captain, and I'll be as straightaway with you as I know how to be. I went to Ben Crenshaw in 1999 and I told him, "Ben, let's play to win."
In the past, we want to make sure that everybody gets played and everybody feels the Ryder Cup. You know, that's not the way Europe plays. They play to win. If I can't be used and I can't help the team, please set me out. If I can be, put me in, coach. I said the same thing to Curtis. It was two different eras in my life, playing two different ways, and I didn't feel I could be a benefit to the team in 2002. I said, "Look, you don't ever have to apologize for not playing me. I'm part of the team and I want the team to do the best they can." And I will take that same attitude in as captain, too.
BERNHARD LANGER: I would agree with Hal. Every captain needs to decide what are the best players and how he wants to play them. Obviously, you are running a risk if you play the same-aged guys all week every single round; they are going to be tired. You are looking at 36 holes the first two days. And Ryder Cup is known to take a long time, especially four-ball. It can take up to five and a half, six hours at times, and that's a long time out on the golf course for anybody, no matter how fit you are, because you know every shot, there's a lot on the line. The emotions run high. Therefore, you really need to think about that pretty hard, whether you are going to play several of your players five rounds in three days or whether you're going to give some guys a rest and bring in any of the other guys.
I personally always felt it was not smart to leave the rookies totally out and just throw them in on Sunday. I don't think that's the greatest thing to do. It has been done on the odd occasion and I'll have to see how many rookies will be on my team and whether I will play them early or not.
Q. One of your key jobs, even before the tournament starts is your captain selection. How will you approach that for this coming event and will this course be a factor in your decision as to what type of players you would add to your team?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, definitely, I'm going to look at a couple of things. One is definitely the golf course. You know, what type of player might it favor, and then look at the handful or ten people that might be considered and see which player might perform better here. The other thing I might look at is also who has been playing very well lately. Our selection process is over 12 months. We just started a couple of weeks ago. Somebody might be very hot right now for two months or three and play his way into the team and then he goes into a slump -- hopefully it will not happen, but it could happen. And then if he then plays very poorly the two or three months prior to the Ryder Cup, there's not much chance I'm going to pick him because I need the guys who are in form who have confidence and who would do well on this type of golf course.
HAL SUTTON: From my part, I think the playing aspect of it is the easiest part to pick. I think you have to look at your team's personality and decide what's lacking, and you need to, obviously in every recipe of winning, there's a lot of ingredients. I think that certainly personalities and how they fit into the team would play a big part. So that's one of the things that I'm going to be looking at when I choose the two guys.
Q. You've said that if you make the team on points, you will consider stepping aside on captain; is that still your position?
BERNHARD LANGER: Yeah, I've thought about it even more last few weeks. If I should play extremely well and qualify as No. 1 or 2 -- I'm looking forward to being the captain. I'm putting all of this time and effort in and working hard to do all the right things. So, I'm very committed to being a captain.
Q. Bernhard, would you step down if you finished first or second on points, or are you saying that if you still finished maybe 6, 7, 8 in points that you might not do it?
BERNHARD LANGER: Well, I don't want to put it exactly on a certain number: If I'm second I'll play; if I'm third I won't play. No, that's not what I said. I said I'm very committed to being the captain. That is the only way that I'm looking at it right now. If anything should change in eight or ten months, we'll have to take it then, but I don't think it will. And therefore, just take me as the captain and hopefully things will go well.
Q. Also, I wonder if you could speak to the resurgence of Lee Westwood.
BERNHARD LANGER: It's terrific to see Lee as being one of our great young players a few years ago who has won many tournaments all over the world. Whoever has watched him knows how well he can play, and he's a wonderful person and a great guy to be with on top of that. He has struggled a little bit the last year or two. He's made some swing changes and it's great to see that he's back.
I played a couple of practice rounds with him about six weeks ago, four weeks ago, and now he's just won two of our tournaments the last four weeks, I believe, or four. I think he will go from strength-to-strength with a lot of confidence. I will be very surprised if he would not make the team.
Q. Could you give me the Cliff Notes version of your new selection process, how you understand it?
BERNHARD LANGER: We have two ways of qualifying for the European team. The first five players of a world-ranking-type point list, it's not the world ranking that is commonly known. It is a new list that started with the tournament in Switzerland, the Omega Masters, where we have a world ranking, but it's not on an average -- of 20 tournaments played, you have a five-point average, who knows that is the way it is. That's the World Ranking. It's cumulative; it doesn't matter where you play every tournament. We are going to have -- inaudible -- it's not the more you play, the more points you can get.
I might have a situation where one guy plays 35 events and the other guy played 12, and the guy who played 12 has got one point less and is out of the team. I need the best players, not the players who play a lot.
But if you make a step in the right direction, by winning three or four tournaments in America and they count for nothing for the Ryder Cup, I want this guy to be on the team. The next five players of our normal Money List for a period of 12 months and I get to pick the other two. It started three weeks ago, the BMW International event in late August, I think, and the NEC, for the rankings.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our news conference.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
- Team U.S.A. (9/19/04)
- Team Europe (9/19/04)
- McGinley & Harrington (9/18/04)
- Clarke, Garcia, Westwood, & Donald (9/18/04)
- Bernhard Langer - Afternoon (9/18/04)
- Hal Sutton - Afternoon (9/18/04)
- Toms & Mickelson (9/18/04)
- Chris DiMarco (9/18/04)
- Bernhard Langer (9/18/04)
- Hal Sutton (9/18/04)
- Casey & Howell (9/18/04)
- Stewart Cink (9/18/04)
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- Haas & DiMarco (9/18/04)
- Chad Campbell (9/18/04)
- Colin Montgomerie (9/17/04)
- Chris Riley (9/18/04)
- Woods & Riley (9/18/04)
- Clarke & Poulter (9/18/04)
- Europe Secure Ryder Cup After Singles Success
- EUROPE WIN THE RYDER CUP
- All the Drama from the Final Afternoon
- Europe Take Record Lead into Singles
- Langer's men set for singles showdown
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