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An Interview with: CAPTAIN NICK FALDO
Nick, well into the second day of practice on the golf course. How goes it out there with the team and general impressions of the day so far, please?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, all going well. Team is out there as you saw. We played a fourball match today. I don't know the results yet. I can get you birdies and bogeys later. But the guys are doing well. They are all happy, getting very acclimatized. We decided to have an easy day. Most of them, probably 10 out of 12 I think, if not all 12, will just chip-and-putt and do a little bit of work on their own games this afternoon.
Obviously we've got the gala dinner tonight, but that's kind of the game plan. They had a long day yesterday and with jet-lag and that sort of thing.
I'm more than happy with that. That's what the guys want to do. So things are all pretty good, very good for a Wednesday.
Q. Azinger said yesterday and again today that he's planning to put Holmes and Perry out on Friday morning to get the crowd going. Do you believe him when he says that, and if so, do you expect that and does that change what you'll do?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: I think Paul is trying to pull a poker move here. So we will see.
As you know, as you know, The Ryder Cup, each captain does their own thing and it's a blind draw and they come together and we will see. If that happens, that happens.
Q. Have you already decided your pairings for the Friday morning? Do you already have those set?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: I have a very good idea. I've been talking, if you've been watching, talked to over half the team, or more than that, and input's been great from the guys.
So we pretty much have a very clear idea of what we're going to do.
Q. Are you planning to let all of the European players play on Friday?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, there's always a plan, and there's a reality, because we've got 12 guys and who is playing their best. As you know, I pick eight out of 12 so four are going to get left out. Whether they are left out of both morning and afternoon, we will see. I will obviously review it as they go through Friday morning.
Long-winded answer, if you can tell me what's going to happen Friday, I'll write it down and do it.
Q. What is your impression of Søren Hansen's play so far?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: He's doing fine. Søren's doing very well. He's getting on well with the guys. He's relaxed. The guys all know him well. He's right in there. He's looking good.
Q. Paul also said that you've got a couple of spies watching them. Is that the case?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: My spies are so secret, I don't even know who my spies are.
Really? All right, good. No, actually I've got dozens watching them (laughter).
Q. A TV camera and photographer picked out you holding a piece of paper with some pairings on it. Are you concerned about that?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, fortunately my son is watching my back, and he says, "Dad, they can see you."
So it just had the lunch list. It had sandwich requests for the guys, just making sure who wants the tuna, what wants the beef, who wants the ham. So that's all it was, sandwich list (grinning).
Q. We've seen them --
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: You've seen them? You've seen the pairings? I can't hear you.
Q. This mic is on. What did you want to ask him? Did you want to ask him if you could see the pairings?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Now you've got it, go for it. Go while you're young. Go while you're young.
Q. You had a front row seat for J.B.'s little exhibition on 13. What were your impressions?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Whoever built the podium put it in the wrong place (laughter). He had carpet down there; great, I have to repair this before Thursday, going to cost another $50,000.
The guy is impressively long, simple as that. But fortunately there's more to it in this game.
No, you're out of it. Three strikes and you're out -- next. (Addressing microphone failure.)
Q. Sergio has obviously been frustrated in majors throughout his career but he's been so dominant in this event. Why does this event suit him?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Passion. Passion. That man's got tons of passion, very much the Spanish thing, along with Seve and Olazábal and many champions or many Ryder Cup players from the past, the Pineros, the Riveros, Spain has always made a great contribution to The Ryder Cup.
Q. Presumably your players are sounding you out on who they would like to play with; is there a queue of them waiting to play with Padraig?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, you can imagine, I didn't have to ask him until we got here this week. Sure, he's current Open Champion and current PGA Champion.
Yes and no, to be honest. It's the two stars. Padraig, talked to Padraig a couple of times this week, and most important, he's got to come alive, as well, and he's told me who he wants to go with.
It's hard work because every time I go to a group, they all say their bit, and every time I go to the next group, they go with another one; so I'm like, all right, help me out here. It's been great. I'm loving it. I'm loving every minute.
Q. Padraig said that on his wish list was to play fourballs with Graeme McDowell, and I notice you've got the pair out today. Can we read anything?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: That's a good start. We haven't got that one.
No, it will be something different. Promise you.
Q. Following up on Sergio, can you kind of go through the maturation you've seen of him through the years?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Maturation?
Q. Now becoming much more of a leader in the room?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Maturation? Can I spell that, please, maturation?
That threw me. What's the question?
Q. Has he matured?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: We talked about this yesterday. Were you around? No? Okay.
Have you got it from yesterday? Patience is the No. 1 word. He's discovered that word. When he's more patient, he plays better, simple as that. That's the real bottom line. Sergio when he played poorly, he got hot, we've seen the shoes go flying. And now he's realized the more patience he holds, the knows how good a player he is, and that has really worked. So that's probably the big word.
Q. You mentioned passion; is there also something about the team format that just suits him better?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: He brings passion on and off the golf course, put it that way. He's a great team member.
Q. Fifth time lucky.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Sorry, we have to go (laughing).
Q. When you said when you said it was your sandwich list, we've seen the photographs, we've seen the initials.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, you don't know what order they are in. I've got 12 names.
Q. Well, 11 actually.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: 11 on here?
Q. On the ones we've seen.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Put my name down then.
Q. Well, I'm just pointing out that it is in circulation. These photographs, it's been on SKY Television apparently, photographs of something alleged to be your notes.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: My handwriting. Well, we don't know who with. It's initials. Yeah, I put my team down in initials. And then which way I go, is my choice, yeah.
Q. Some of them do look like pairings.
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Really? That's worrying, isn't it (laughter).
I haven't put numbers next to them yet, have I. We don't know what order they will go out so some are safe. And that was on the 7th tee. And if the photographer was on the 13th or 14th, it all changed, so it's all different now.
Q. You mentioned that everyone wants to play with Padraig and I would imagine he's pretty popular this week in terms of guys picking his head about how do you get three majors. As a guy who has got six, have you seen a change in him, a difference in him, whether it's confidence-wise or anything else that obviously he's had this incredible run and is he a different player now?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, sure, as we again -- we spoke yesterday. I felt that he was able to draw on great experience at Birkdale. Obviously what happened from Carnoustie -- yeah, he believes, obviously there's two things. There's always got to be self-belief, but the other thing, the important thing is that he's got the current, what's the word I'm looking for, his current emotions; what he's been experiencing, I'll get there in the end. I'm lucky I'm not an analyst this week.
He's able to hang onto experiences and he knows how he reacts under these circumstances. You know, when you know how you react or how you respond, it makes a big difference. If you're there and it's, well, what's going on because everything is totally different, your body and your mind is different, then he now knows and he can deal with that and he knows how to perform. Bottom line, he knows how to perform on the back nine of a major, knows the feelings, knows the sensations.
Q. Have you noticed guys on the team trying to pick his brain and maybe spend more time around him?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, not in -- we're in Ryder Cup mode. We're not in Open Championship mode this week.
Q. Just to return to your lunch list one more time, having looked at the pictures, it looks like you've got Garcia and Westwood, and Harrington and Karlsson as two pairings. Can we make the assumption that those are your first two pairings on Friday morning?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Those are tomorrow's pairings, Thursday's pairings, practice round.
Q. They will be practicing together, so that's not Friday morning's pairings?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, Thursday. Tomorrow's Thursday. I'm doing tomorrow's pairings.
Q. And Henrik Stenson is not on the list at all; is he not practicing tomorrow?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: He's on the other side of the piece of paper (laughter). The Swedes do it the other way around.
No, it's tomorrow's pairings, okay, I've been caught. I learned a lesson. You know the pairings and we are going to play foursomes on the front nine.
Any more questions?
Q. In recent years, Europe have done a far better job than America in closing out games on the 18th. Is that something that you've looked at, can work on?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Not yet. We're doing it the other way around. We're starting on the first tee. We worry about the first tee on rather than that one.
Q. What is the biggest difference you feel like things you do make on the impact or the outcome of the tournament, of the matches?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: The biggest thing I can do is keep things secret I feel. That's the biggest impact (laughter).
God love us, the biggest -- I don't know. I'm putting together, I'm the whatever I am, I am the hover-the-ship right now so we're getting all the information together and working on things as a team. As I said before, the team is very tight and we are having a great time. The guys are talking so much, giving their honest opinions, pulling for each other, and we've got a great atmosphere going, which is good.
Q. Paul said earlier today, pretty unambiguously, that he would play all 12 of his players at some point tomorrow; do you feel inclined to do the same thing?
CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, I will be playing all 12 of my players tomorrow, Thursday (laughter).
KELLY ELBIN: Captain Faldo, thank you very much.
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