Ryder Cup captains Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie with their respective wives, Lisa Pavin (far left) and Gaynor Montgomerie at the Cardiff Airport following Team USA's arrival Monday. (Getty Images)
Corey Pavin, Colin Montgomerie News Conference Transcript
Monday, September 27, 2010, Cardiff Airport, Wales
SCOTT CROCKETT: First Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all here this afternoon to herald the start of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
We are indebted to everyone at Cardiff Airport for their hard work over many weeks, which has helped the arrival of all of our friends from The PGA of America go so smoothly this morning.
I'm delighted that Patrick Duffy, managing director of the airport is with us today. Patrick, please pass on the thanks of everyone from Ryder Cup Europe and The PGA of America to all your staff for the help you've given us today.
The Ryder Cup is an amazing sporting event and I know the First Minister will acknowledge that everyone in Wales is incredibly proud that this wonderful event is being staged in their country.
The Ryder Cup is full of emotion. The Ryder Cup is packed with excitement and drama, but most of all, The Ryder Cup is about passion. Passion for the contest, of course, but also passion for the integrity of the sport of golf. And no two people embody that better than the gentlemen sitting alongside me today, Corey Pavin, Captain of the United States Ryder Cup Team, and Colin Montgomerie, Captain of the European Ryder Cup Team.
Gentlemen, it is great to see you both here today, and everyone in this room wish you and your teams the very best of luck at Celtic Manor over the next week.
Before we take questions from the floor, I'd like to ask you both to start the week with your own word. Corey, as our guest, would you please start us off.
COREY PAVIN: First Minister, and Gaynor, thank you for meeting us at the airport. We had a nice ride over. I think we are all a little tired having an overnight flight. The redeyes are always fun flights. But we'll have a good day today to recover and be ready to go out there tomorrow on the golf course.
We are just glad to be here, and just like to thank all of Wales and all of the hospitality that everybody has shown us. We are very appreciative of that. And we are looking forward to a great competition, and with that, I'll hand it off to Captain Montgomerie.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you, First Minister and Corey, Lisa, welcome. Welcome to Wales, as the hosts here this week, it is an honour and privilege to welcome everyone from the United States, The PGA of America officials and all of the guests, and especially Corey's team.
It's been, what, two years now, since we both were selected as captains, and that was a long time ago. Now it's upon us here, and we just look forward to getting on that course Tuesday morning, I suppose. Tomorrow, our first practise round starts tomorrow morning and we just look forward to getting on the course and getting on with the matches now to start on Friday morning.
But may I just start by welcoming Corey, Lisa, everybody from the United States of America, and we are delighted that you're here and we can't wait for Friday morning.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you for those opening comments.
Q. Were there any celebrations on the plane for Jim Furyk's win last night, and what are you most looking forward to now that you're here in Wales in Ryder Cup week?
COREY PAVIN: Well, obviously Jim played great and winning the FedExCup was pretty impressive. He walked into our team area that we had set up, and he got a nice round of ovation from everybody. Everybody is very happy to see him win, and I'm sure Jim was probably the happiest of all. It's quite a payday for him. What was it, 11.35 (million USD) or something like that; that's a good deal.
He was quite pleased. We had a nice trip over, and we are just going to try to get used to the time here and get going.
Q. In terms of managing the way you both manage your teams, the bookies have had Europe as odds on favourites for a while. One British bookmaker today is already paying out on outright bets for Europe to win The Ryder Cup. What's your reaction to that?
COREY PAVIN: Who did you bet on, Colin? (Laughter).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: It wasn't the ones I put money on. (Laughter).
I would disagree with that statement. I think that these matches will be very, very closely contested, as they all are. And I think on this occasion, I think it will come down to a Sunday putt. And that's the beauty of this Ryder Cup; I think the closeness of the event over the last few years has been its beauty, and this event should be no different.
So I wouldn't go with that statement at all. I just think these matches are extremely, extremely tight and extremely close and that's great for The Ryder Cup.
Q. Have you sorted your pairings out yet and thoughts as to whether Tiger will play all five matches here in Wales?
COREY PAVIN: I've obviously thought about it a lot. I think come Thursday of the opening ceremonies, we'll see who the first pairings are going to be. I have a pretty good idea what direction I'd like to go and we'll just have to wait for the matches to come along and see.
Q. In terms of fitness update, Peter Hanson and Lee Westwood, what's the latest on both of them?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I spoke to Peter yesterday. He's landed here in Britain now from Sweden and he's okay, he's raring to go.
And Lee, I've been following his progress very much over the last month. And I'm so glad that he's played 36 holes over the weekend within a day, so he can cope with that all together. He's been playing a lot of golf, a lot of practise. So there's no worries with our fitness with our team at all.
Q. There were some quotes from you today saying that perhaps you would not have picked Tiger Woods on your team; is there a danger that those quotes might stoke up the Americans a bit more?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: I don't know where that came from. I never spoke to any press yesterday, and I don't know where that came from. I've always said that I've always said that Tiger, the best player in the world, and in my opinion, the best player who has ever played the game. Of course he would be on my team. I said that at the US PGA.
COREY PAVIN: He actually recommended to me.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, I recommended to Corey to pick him.
COREY PAVIN: I was following his recommendation.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Delighted to see him here. Delighted to see him here. We welcome him with open arms in Europe. And this will be the first time Tiger has played golf in Wales as a professional and we just look forward to see him play and we are delighted to see him competing for the American Team here in Wales.
Q. For both of you, after so much talk, so much build up to this event, is it almost a relief to be here now in Ryder Cup week in Wales and actually ready to get on with it?
COREY PAVIN: In some ways, yes. There's been a lot of preparation and a lot of work put into it, and it's amazing that it's here. It seems very quickly that it's here.
But we are very prepared and ready to go, and think it will run very smoothly. I'm just looking forward to it a really nice week, and actually, I think it's going to be quite a relaxing week. I'm going to enjoy it and soak it all in. As I say, some decisions have been made and some will be made. Just looking forward to the process and watching a little bit of golf this weekend.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Colin, are you glad it's started, at last?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Indeed. Yes, the buildup has been gaining momentum, I suppose in the last months. And I'm just glad to welcome the American Team here really and all of the officials and all of the parry. We look forward again to as Corey so rightly says to Friday morning when the matches actually start.
Q. If looks as if we may be in for some traditional Welsh weather over the weekend with heavy rainfall across the Friday; wonder if did that might favour the European Team a little bit?
COREY PAVIN: Everybody has to play in the rain as far as I can tell. We have got a lot of guys on the team that actually enjoy playing in the rain, believe it or not.
So I think our guys are going to embrace any kind of weather that's here, and we are here to play The Ryder Cup. I've played The Ryder Cup in poor weather before, and you don't really notice it when you're playing in The Ryder Cup so much. You're focussed on just trying to play well and win your matches, and that's what Team USA will be doing out there.
Q. The American Team has not won on European soil since 1993. What makes you so confident that this year it will be different and you can put an end to that statistic?
COREY PAVIN: Well, you know, I think we have a pretty good squad. You know, Colin has a very good squad. I think it's going to be very competitive. I think it's going to really just come down to who makes the putts. It may come down to a Sunday match, who knows.
But I expect the matches to be pretty close. It's hard to win over here. Any time you travel overseas and play, there is a home course advantage, home field advantage, and that's what Colin has this week.
So we have to overcome that, and Team USA is going to play hard and play the best they can and try to keep this trophy in our hands.
Q. How excited are you both to be playing in Wales?
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I mean, this is the first time that The Ryder Cup has come to Wales, and we are very, very proud to be here. I must congratulate First Minister for everything that's been organised so far, so fantastically well, and every aspect has been thought about and thought about again.
I congratulate all of Wales on the staging so far of this event. And for everyone that has not been to Celtic Manor yet, and to see the setup down on the golf course there at The Celtic Manor Resort and where we are Wednesday, the welcome to Wales concert, everybody has to be thanked from the First Minister down. I think everything has been superb and we are just glad to be here.
COREY PAVIN: I think it's great to be in Wales. Obviously all of Europe is being represented here and it's nice to see The Ryder Cup move around from place to place. It's Wales' turn this time, and as Colin said, First Minister and Sir Terry Matthews have welcomed Lisa and myself and the whole U.S. Team here.
We are excited for a great week. Wales will put on a wonderful show, and I'm sure Colin has thought of every detail, as well. So every time we have been here, the hospitality has been fantastic and I expect the same this week, as well.
Q. I understand you've said that there will be no Tweeting and social networking and that kind of thing. I just wonder if you can explain your reasons behind that for this week, and also, Colin, whether or not you plan to follow suit?
COREY PAVIN: Well, we talked about it. The team has come to a consensus not to do that. It can be a little bit distracting sometimes. But I think it's important to focus on The Ryder Cup and playing the matches and just enjoying camaraderie with the team itself. So we have decided as a whole to not Tweet this week.
But first thing a week from today, I'm sure Tweeting will be all over the place. (Laughter).
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: In the same boat, not being a Tweeter myself, we feel that Tweeting and FaceBook and all of these social sites that can get one's self into trouble. At the same time, I think it's important, the same as Corey, that we focus on the job at hand this week and we are here to try and regain this lovely trophy that Corey has brought back for us. (Laughter).
At the same time, I think that we have to focus on that job, and as Corey so rightly says, on Monday the 4th of October, yes, you'll find the team probably on social network sites, but not until then.
Q. How important will the role of the vice captains be during the competition, please.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Well, I think it's very important to have a backroom staff that you trust their opinions on and off the course. I think important that both sets of captains here have four vice captains and four very experienced vice captains in both set of camps.
I think we will be using their opinions and their views extensively through the week, and I look forward to hearing my views of my vice captains; they have played in 15 Ryder Cups between them, and they are very experienced vice captains I have and I'm delighted that they have accepted the invitation.
COREY PAVIN: I agree. Well said. (Laughter).
SCOTT CROCKETT: Do you have anything to add, Corey?
COREY PAVIN: I don't. You said that very well. I was very impressed.
Q. Just wondered if the American Team had been sponsored by sunglasses manufacturer as you got off the plane. And secondly, has Tiger been asked to stick to the official practise times so that the fans will get to see him?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think a lot of our eyes are kind of red after coming off of that flight. So I think that was okay for this photo shoot.
Yeah, the guys will all play on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I'll give them the choice on Thursday. I'd like them all to play nine holes and they can play 18 if they would like. So that will be the practise schedule.
Q. This has not been the best of seasons for Tiger Woods; are you hoping that he sees this as an opportunity to make his mark on 2010? And Colin, conversely, is that a concern that Tiger will come out all guns blazing?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I think every time Tiger plays in The Ryder Cup, he wants to win, and so do 11 other players on Team USA.
So I think all of the guys want to come out and play their best golf, and you know, try to retain the trophy here and, that's our goal here this week, so there's not one player here that's different than another on the team.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Yes, a lot's been written on Tiger's performances in The Ryder Cup. It's just that it's poorer than, of course, his individual record, which is extreme.
So we look forward to seeing how Tiger is going to be playing and who he's going to be playing with, and seeing how we can counter act that, I suppose.
But at the same time, as I said earlier, we welcome Tiger with open arms here and I think it's great that he's part of this team, and I congratulate Corey on his selection.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Anymore questions for The Ryder Cup captains? If not, can I thank you all for your attendance and can I wish Corey and Colin the very best of luck.