An Interview With: CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM
18 September 2006
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ian, thanks for joining us as always. We just spoke to Tom Lehman about excess baggage there, that's a bit of excess baggage you have there (the Ryder Cup), which I assume you're quite keen to keep a hold of. Your thoughts going into the week?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Glad everybody got here safe and everything and it's nice to get settled in and get everything out of the way, and looking forward to obviously the next three days of practise, mixing around with my parents and whatsoever. The course is looking fantastic. Pity about the weather.
I think it's going to be an absolutely fantastic week, not just for all of the people of Ireland, for everybody that's put this competition together. Absolutely fantastic.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You said you are almost glad it's starting, can you reiterate that.
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I think, yeah, 18 months ago, nominated as captain and seemed to have taken such a long time to get here but over the last few weeks it's gone really quick and now I'm here.
The excitement, I'm just really looking forward to it, the team is looking forward to it, they are excited. The guys are playing great, they have played some great golf over the last couple of weeks, three weeks, and we're looking in good shape.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ian, thanks for those opening comments. Now we'll take some questions.
Q. How do you feel about being a skipper on a unique occasion when the European side is actually favoured to win this trophy?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Well, as I say, I don't want to feel that we're favourites at all. I want to feel like we're going to get back in that team room and feel like we're still underdogs. I still think it's going to go down to the wire. A lot of people said their team is one of the weakest they have ever had and I just don't agree with that. Guys that are on the team deserve to be on it. You know what rookies are like, they come out and they have got nothing to prove, and only thing they can do is prove to what they are, that they are great players. I think it's going to be a very close contest, but as a captain, you know, I'm excited about it.
Q. Regardless of what you're going to do with Colin and what is going to unfold, would you mind just telling a little bit about the points of what having someone like Colin Montgomerie brings to the team?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: He's like an ambassador for our team. We all know what Colin's record is in the singles, I don't think he's been beaten and he's going to be a guy, I've got my vice captains, my assistants, another guy I can sit back and talk to about what's going on and everything and take his advice as well. He's done two or three Seve Ballesteros's Trophy's, and I think he's a man of great wisdom and a lot of class and a lot of talent. He's going to be such a big part of our team.
Q. Given the recent history of these matches, how hard will it be to convince your team that they are the underdogs, and what will you say to do that?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Basically we've got to do what we've done for the last 20 years; I've been saying that, and just keep them in the right frame of mind, enjoy it, and at the end of the day, this is only a game of golf and it's about friendship and sportsmanship.
But, you know, we definitely want to win. We've got 12 great players this year and this is probably the strongest team we've ever had. People might ask me about who is going to play with who; they are all prepared to play with whoever they want to play with. It's up to me and me only to get them pairings right.
Q. Two years ago Montgomerie was rested on one of the days, would you consider resting him because he is now 43?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I think that's up to Monty. But as I say, I would like, as we've got such a strong 12 players, I think that I'd like to try and play everybody over the two days and try and get everybody to get the experience of the Ryder Cup. You know, it's going to be an interesting -- obviously if someone is not playing very well, we'll have to see what that situation is at the time.
Q. Tom was telling us that he had his Friday morning pairings sorted out a couple of weeks ago. Are you as definite about yours, and do you know who is going to go Friday morning?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Let's put it this way, I put some pairings up for tomorrow four-balls, and foursomes for Wednesday. But I think I'm going to go tomorrow and have a look how everybody is playing, talk to the lads.
I think it's important to see how things go tomorrow. Obviously I've got, there's so many different pairings I can use. Again, I want see how everybody is performing over the next two days before I actually put out my pairings on Friday.
Q. How difficult is it to balance the -- to find the balance between form and perhaps the inspiration that playing had this environment, I think in particular of Paul McGinley, a guy that let's say if you put him in the morning four-balls in Friday, the atmosphere could lift him above his current form. How much of a gamble would that be, and how much do you want to gamble in those situations?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: To answer that question, I think we've got three days of practise to see. Paul's had a week off to reflect on what he's going to be feeling like and what he's been practising like and how his mood is going to be feeling.
I think hopefully when Paul gets out there, his confidence in the crowd behind him is going to lift his game. That's up to me and my vice captains to actually make that decision. You know, believe me, I think Tom is going to come out with the strongest team he possibly can the first day, and I'm going to try to go out with my strongest team. So I'm going to go out with the guys that are playing the strongest, definitely.
Q. Have you spoken to Paul?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I've spoken to Paul. I spoke to him the other day. I actually sent him -- I tried to ring him up. You try to ring somebody these days, they always have their phones off. I spoke to Paul and he eventually got my text and said he's had his phone off all week because he's been concentrating on his game.
He's had a fantastic week and he's been practising hard and said he found a little bit of a secret; let's hope it's a big secret. Paul could be such an influential player to our team. He can play great in four-balls and he's a fantastic foursomes player as well. So I just hope he's there.
Q. I think I understand you to say that you have decided on your pairings for the practise rounds and foursomes on Wednesday, can you tell us what they are?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: No. I'm not going to do that. You'll see them tomorrow.
But I just feel that, you know, it's a mix up, there's a lot of pairings, most you've probably seen before, maybe a couple of different ones. But I think not necessarily -- I wrote some down for Wednesday. But I want to see how the guys perform tomorrow and maybe, you know, I might carry on with what I've got already for Wednesday, but I might make a couple of alterations tomorrow night.
Q. If you're looking that closely at form the next couple of days, is there any sense at all that these boys will be essentially trying out for the opening match, and if that's the case, do you think that's a good way for them to build their game up for when the matches start?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I think on the end of the day, we're only here to do one thing and the one thing to do is to win the Ryder Cup. And some of the guys have to stand down, they are all grown men, and someone is going to stand down in the end of the day, and as I say, we're here to win the Cup.
If someone doesn't play first two days, that's, you know, because it was probably they were out of form or something like that.
Q. How important do you see the role of the captains this week? Can a captain win or lose the Ryder Cup this week?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Well, we all know what match play is like. I think a captain can be inspirational. You know, a lot of things happen in the team room that you guys don't probably see what goes on. At the end of the day, the guys have to perform on the golf course, but there's a lot of stuff that goes on in the team room; it's how you enjoy it and how you perceive the week continuing. You've got to go out there and enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, it's hard work.
Q. Have you brought any inspirational videos or anything like that? What's happening in the team room in that regard?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, we've always got an inspirational videotape and we've got a very good one this year. We are playing that one tonight. We're going to have a nice little quiet night to night. I think we are going down to Dr. Smurfit's cellar, we don't want to drink too much of his wine. We're going to have a nice, quiet dinner and play a little bit of music and watch the inspirational tape. And that's what we've always done in the years before and we're going to try and continue to do that and carry on that tradition.
Q. Ryder Cup moments, is it?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, we're seeing clips of that on at the moment. The more we see that, the better for us really.
Q. What music, do you mind me asking?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: There's bits of different music. There's a lot more modern stuff that's been put together because a lot of the team are a lot more younger than me. (Laughing) A bit noisy, some of it, but it is a fantastic tape.
Q. How do you feel about putting two rookies out together?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Well, you know, obviously you can actually see a pairing of Stenson and Karlsson together. They have similar games. I think you might see that over the next few days, them playing together and see how they perform. I have no problem putting two rookies together, because when I play them, I'm not sure when I'm going to play them, if I did play them together.
Q. I take from the way you say that, "that music is modern stuff," that you didn't put it together; is it a state secret who did?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: No, it's TWI put it together. That's who has always done it. I went over to London and seen the tape being put together and I thought it was very good. I sent it over to Peter Baker, a little bit younger than me, obviously it's very good.
Q. The music, as well?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: No, I agreed what music that went on it, yeah. I've heard the records before.
Q. Can I ask you, are you delighted with this weather?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Well, obviously you would like a bit of wind. I think it would be fantastic for the crowd and the fans and everybody associated with this tournament to, you know, maybe have a shower here and there, but we might want to see some sunshine just so everybody can enjoy it.
Q. Did you have a police escort it, and how did you still get stuck in traffic with a police escort?
CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: It was very busy coming over the bridge.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ian, thank you, and I wish you all the best and good luck for the week.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.