An Interview With: STEWART CINK
September 19, 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: We welcome back Stewart Cink who was here just a couple of weeks ago. Stewart, just basically take us through your feelings about your team meeting here when the States team arrived and then again seeing the Irish public today for the first time.
STEWART CINK: It's been a really nice experience for me already in the four weeks since I was named to the team. As many of you probably already know, we came over here as a whole team, all 12 and caddies, for two days of golf and relaxation. It was fun. It's really been I think a good thing for our team just to get to come over here and prepare on the golf course a little bit, although it was very casual. But to come prepare before the fans got here.
You know, it's a lot of there's a lot more that goes into a practise round when you've got thousands of people out there, watching and asking for autographs, and all that's great because it's part of our job. When you can do it on your own and in the way that we did a few weeks ago, I think it was a very beneficial trip.
Q. Based on the record, it seems like you guys are underdogs heading into this one. Do you guys view yourself in that role as underdogs, and if so, what do you think?
STEWART CINK: Well, no, we don't really spend too much time looking at that kind of stuff. Because in the past, underdog versus favourite thing hasn't really played out too well on Sunday. You know, it's just one of those things that's on paper; we still have to go play the tournament and see who wins.
We consider ourselves to be the best representation that America could put forth, and we're going to come out here committed to win this thing.
Q. You played with three rookies today?
STEWART CINK: Yeah, I did.
Q. How was that?
STEWART CINK: And I didn't even notice until you just mentioned that.
Q. Does that make you a shepherd for them or are you a scout?
STEWART CINK: I think it makes me an old guy (laughter).
Q. How did they play and how did they seem to handle the surroundings and all the hoopla?
STEWART CINK: The hoopla hasn't really started yet, so it remains to be seen.
They will be fine. Players these days have been through a lot more at this stage in their careers than, say, 10, 20 years ago. They are used to being in the scrutinizing eye of the public, the media, so there won't be a whole lot of new stuff for them. They will be nervous, but not like I won't be. Everyone will be nervous. Everyone wants to win really bad.
These guys will handle it just fine. So far they have all been a great addition to the team.
Q. Did you play straight teams or did you switch partners during your round?
STEWART CINK: No, we switched it up. Tom paired us up and then told everybody to switch it off at the turn, play a little skins game. It was a fun day.
I love the way Tom is putting us together in the practise rounds, starting with the last time we came over and continuing today and all the way through Thursday it sounds like.
GORDON SIMPSON: Are you losing your voice? You sound a little hoarse.
STEWART CINK: Yeah, I've got a little case of the sore throat and my voice is leaving quick (laughter).
Q. I wonder, much has been made about Tiger's record in the Ryder Cup. I wonder if you have any plausible explanation as to why he has not been more dominant in this event, and also, I wonder if you can talk about his role this time. Do you sense anything different in him in terms of, we're all talking about his leadership and all that, do you see that at all?
STEWART CINK: Well, it's evident to me, just in all of the activities, he's enjoying himself. As far as his record not being that great, I think the team rises up to play against him. They see him, you cut off the head of the dragon, well, he's the head, he is, he's our No. 1 player, no question.
But Tiger has really enjoyed himself this week and he's tired of losing like we all are. That's one thing about Tiger Woods; he does not like to lose at anything, whether it's golf or ping pong or billiards or a spitting contest. Whatever it is, he does not want to lose and he's tired of it. He's going to put his best foot forward here.
Q. When he has lost, has that been debilitating for the team?
STEWART CINK: Not really. You know, it's just a point. I think it's a perception thing. If they beat him, they probably think it's bigger than we think it is. And likewise, if a guy who maybe is one of the rookies who goes out and plays awesome and wins a bunch of points this week, it might even weigh more if Tiger or Furyk, one of the veterans wins the same amount of points. It's all a perception thing.
But really at the end of the day, it doesn't really have an effect on your game or your matches.
Q. I hope your voice holds out long enough to answer. You just said now that you really, really like the way Tom is putting the team together and the pairings. Can you tell us more, why, what is he doing that's special?
STEWART CINK: I think he's leading, is what I really enjoy. He's telling us where to go, who to play with, what time to be there. He's not giving us any wiggle room, like just go out and any time he reports in, as long as you're off the tee by 10:00. He's telling us what to do, who to play with, how to play, how much money to put in the pot (laughter). He's telling us everything, and I love it. I think it's a great way for us to get prepared.
Q. And the indication is that other captains didn't?
STEWART CINK: Well, no, in fact, we didn't. We had less organised practising in the other times I was playing on the team, and at the time I thought that was a good way to approach it, too. It may be for different teams. But Tom I think has taken a real leadership role in this, and he's probably he knows us really well. You know, he still plays. Shoot, he almost qualified for the team. He knows us real well. He has a real good idea of what he think the team needs to do to win the Ryder Cup.
Q. The Europeans have targeted Tiger as the man to beat. Which European player will you be targeting similarly?
STEWART CINK: We have a target on all of them (laughter). We don't care. We just want to beat everybody. I think you probably have to say that Monty is the guy that's been around the longest and he's put a dent in our number of points over the years. He's played really well. Ryder Cup, I think that's where he shines the most.
So if I had to pick one player out who has been their most outstanding Ryder Cupper over the last decade, it's been Colin Montgomerie.
Q. And have you played against him?
STEWART CINK: I have. I don't remember how many times but I know I've played against him at least once.
Q. Just talk about that experience, what he is like.
STEWART CINK: Well, it was great winning on the 16th hole (laughter). That's the only one I remember. We may have played five other times and I lost them all (laughter).
GORDON SIMPSON: Okay, everyone, Stewart, thanks very much despite the inconvenience with the larynx.
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