Ryder Cup LogoRyder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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An Interview With: CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM

19 September 2006

GORDON SIMPSON: Ian, at long last, we have some players out on the golf course and I suspect there's a tangible sense of anticipation now that we've got to this level.

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, it's great to see we got everybody out. You know, I put my team out today, you could see that everybody's got that, their pairings and my pairings for today. I think it's just the sort of day, just go out there and have a look at the golf course and get a feel for it.

GORDON SIMPSON: Just give us a general idea of the mood in the camp now that you've had one night together.

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: We had a nice team meeting last night. Did my little bit. We had a great bit of fun, a few beers, and in the camp, everybody's happy with everything.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, Ian. We'll move into questions.

Q. Lehman's team were having matches and having a bit of a game, what were you doing, having any matches against each other?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: No, we were actually having matches against each other as well. I think it's important to have a little bit of a game and have a little bit of a feel. It always puts a little bit more of an emphasis on the feel of the golf course as well.

Q. What kind of matches?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Some players are playing more and some players are playing for less. I think it's something like 50, 50, 100 Euros, some are playing for less.

Q. Was it best ball?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Best ball today, yeah.

Q. Ian, how much can we read into the pairings that you put out there this morning?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I think you can read a little bit into that I think. But again, for Friday, it's important that I go out as strong as possible, and I think as I said in the team room last night, it's important that the guys are honest with themselves, honest with me and how they feel like they are playing, it's important we go out with the strongest team on Friday morning.

Q. When you look at the pairings that you put in, one thing we can deduce is that you know your geography, a lot of players, you know, the Irish boys together, the Spanish together, the Swedes together; is that a conscious ploy or should we not read too much into that?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I don't think you can read too much into that. I just feel with the Swedish guys together, they play a similar sort of game. They are both long hitters. They are good, if they miss the fairways, they are good at getting out of the rough and obviously they speak Swedish and they get on great together.

It's the same with Olazábal and Garcia. I see that as a little bit of a mentor, Olazábal as a leader, and Garcia being the young and up and coming bull.

Q. What was the situation in the bunkers today, the sand?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yesterday we had up to an inch and a half of rain yesterday, so they had to do a lot of draining and they had to get the water out of the bunkers and they had to rough them up today to dry them out a little bit.

Obviously you go into bunker, you just can't get out of them, there's so many rake marks. Obviously tomorrow there's going to be bad weather again. When they do get raked, they will be raked more towards the greens, and at least if it's lying in the groove mark, you'll be going with the groove mark instead of going across it. That's how I'd like to see it, anyway. Two of our players were in the bunkers and basically just couldn't get it out.

Q. I wonder if you could just speak to Darren Clarke's state of mind right now, and also the state of his game.

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Darren Clarke is fine. You know, he played last week, he did a press conference last week. He was asked them questions. Darren is in a great mood. He's looking forward to this match, and he's just in terrific he's in a terrific mood. No, he's playing in front of his Irish fans, and I have no worries about Darren Clarke at all.

Q. What about his form?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: His form? He's hitting the ball great. I was admiring him holing a few putts.

Q. We asked if we could read too much into the European pairings, but do you read too much into the American pairings like woods and Furyk and DiMarco and Mickelson?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I felt that was going to be pretty obvious and that was going to happen. Some of the other pairings, I didn't see that, Vaughn Taylor and Zach Johnson, a couple of rookies together, I'm playing two rookies together as well. Robert Karlsson has been around a long time, he's won a lot of tournaments. Stenson has won a lot of tournaments as well, and I don't classify them as rookies. I know they are rookies in this, but I classify as pretty experienced players.

The other guys, Toms and Campbell, I think that was pretty obvious as well. You know, Cink and Henry, that's a good move, a bit of experience with a rookie. The other two, you know, obviously you've got a pretty long hitter with a pretty short hitter. That's a pretty good move, as well. No, he's done a pretty good job on his pairings I think. It's worked out well.

Q. Being British, we have to talk about the weather if you don't mind. There's supposed to be some bad weather coming, even a hurricane out from the Caribbean, what's the worst weather you've experienced and is there any advice you can give them if that happens?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Try and stay dry. If it's going to be that really bad, the thing is being able to play the golf course. I know they have got a lot of green keepers out there and there isn't that many matches but if the rain and weather is going to be that bad, I think what we've got to worry about is will we be able to play the golf course.

I've always been comfortable playing if the rain because I'm a fast player. I pull my club out quickly, get on the tee, hit it quickly. The longer you're out there, the wetter you're going to get. I just felt, you know, I spent six months working on the rain suits, because I know what the weather can be like here. I've tried to get the very best out of the waterproofs.

Q. Have you imparted any of that advice to your team, as well, have they been doing similar to the practise in hurricane winds?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: In their time, everybody has played in bad weather. In America when it does get bad, you get pulled off the course very quick because there is that kind of weather over there. In Europe, there's that sort of rain, it drizzles and all day and you have to play all the way around in it. As I say, if it's going to be that wet, we could be coming in.

Q. There's clearly a very good mood in the camp this morning, lots of fun and laughter out on the course. Are you happy for your players to take that mood into the competition on Friday, or would you like to encourage a lot better tension in a nice way, a little bit of a competitive edge?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: They will be tense. They will be very tense when they get up into the matches. I think leading up to the matches, I want them to be relaxed. We play our best golf when they are relaxed. I want them to go into the tournament with that little bit of a relaxed mood. If you get too tense, you're not going to play your best golf.

Q. You talked about the unique nature of trying to figure out foursomes and who to pair a guy with because of the nature of the alternate shot and how much more difficult is that, and from your own experience, in the Ryder Cup, how is it to adjust to playing that way?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Well, I think that it's important, you know, this is a very long golf course, so it's a little bit different on how we're going to look at it for myself. Do you put a long hitter with a shorter, straighter hitter? Do you put two longer hitters out?

I think, again, I'm going to wait till Friday to see who I'm going to match up with who, because it is very difficult to sort of get it right. It's nice to sometimes have two straight hitters playing together. That's what it was all about in foursomes, foursomes players. You've got to hit the fairways, keep it on the fairways, get it on the greens, and you're going to win a lot of holes with pars.

Q. Just to follow that up, from your own experiences, do you have any interesting stories from playing alternate shot with a tough partner?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I think my stories about Bernhard Langer before are memorable. I played with Bernhard and he says to me, "Woosie, can you either leave me 101 metres to the flag or 80 metres."

And I thought, "Well, Bernhard, I'll try to."

He says, "Well, how long would you like to be left with your sand iron?"

"Just hit it down there, it doesn't bother me. I'll just get on with it. " (Laughter) Some players like to play very precise on what they want with their sand irons to greens and whatever. That's the way I play golf naturally and just got on with it.

Q. You said at the team meeting last night, you did your bit, what does that mean, inspirational talk?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, inspirational talk. We talked a lot about, you know, the pairings I had out today and all sorts of different things in the team room, and the players had a few things to say and generally we had a really great team meeting. I was very pleased with it.

Q. Are you content with the final state of the course, and is there an advantage to your team, the final question that the Americans seem to be making great detail of the course the last number of days?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, the guys have played a lot of golf around here, but it is set up a little bit different with the run offs and little bits where they have got to play some chip and runs. It's wet at the moment, you try to hit a delicate sand iron from around the greens, you can duff it right in front of your face. We'll be putting it, chipping and running it, we'll be using 3 woods from around the edge of the greens. At the moment, the course is very wet and a bit worrying about if there's going to be mud on the ball or not and we're looking at that at the moment. That is a factor definitely and that is something for the officials to look at. Generally, the course is in fantastic shape for the amount of rain we've had already.

Q. Sorry, I've just come in from the course, if you've already answered it, but Woosie you must be getting very encouraging signals from the way Paul McGinley was playing this morning. He seems to be striking it quite well. Is that encouraging?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I just spoke to Des and he said he's hitting it very well and he's hitting it straight and he's hitting the greens and that is very encouraging. I'm very pleased for Paul.

Maybe that's what he needed was to get out there and hit some good shots and hopefully he'll follow that up tomorrow and into the matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Q. There's been quite a sort of electricity between the crowds and especially the Irish, three ball, four ball, was that deliberate?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Yeah, I felt it was great put Darren with Lee. They have played a lot of golf together, they are a great team, great friends. And Darren, and Paul, as well, they are very good friends.

Paul has played a lot of golf with Padraig Harrington in these matches, and I thought Paul, you know, as we all know, he's been struggling a little bit, and I felt with him going out with them guys, will give him the encouragement and support of what he really needed, and I think that's proved today that he's back there.

Q. We saw that you mentioned that you looked at the pairing and Garcia and Olazábal, that was a mentor and suit or situation, would you perhaps look at Montgomerie in a similar light, perhaps pairing him up with David Howell, do you think that would be a good roll with him with his experience to take on one of the younger lads?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: Exactly. I think that's, you know, it is difficult to putt who you're going to putt with whom because they are all such great and players and who you're going to put together.

I think I watched Howell and Monty play against each other at Wentworth last week and I thought they sealed to be playing really nice golf and they complemented each other in the same sort of way they played as well.

As I say, Colin is there, as you say, as a leader, of the team, and prepared to play him with anybody, really. If it comes to playing with a rookie, I wouldn't hesitate to do that.

Q. In making your pairings, how much of it is scientific and technical and how much of it is just sixth sense?

CAPTAIN IAN WOOSNAM: I think it's just to me, you've got to think about it, but there's a lot of pairings out there that just naturally go straight together.

But again, you have to look at these three rounds we're doing, who is playing the best, and that's what I want to see, who is striking the ball the best over the next three days of practise and then put them together.

GORDON SIMPSON: Ian, thank you very much for coming in today. Enjoy the rest of the day.

Video Highlights

Darren Clarke Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch

Memorable Moments

  • 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.
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