Of his 12-man squad, Team USA captain Corey Pavin said he is confident that "our guys are up for it and they are going to go out and play the best they can." (Getty Images)
'A Quick Nine' with the Captain
In a little more than two weeks, the eyes of the golf world will be on Team USA as it efforts to defend the Ryder Cup in Wales. PGA.com caught up with Team USA captain Corey Pavin recently and posed "A Quick Nine" questions inspired by some of our PGA.com FaceBook fans.
1.) First things first, are you ready?
2 .) As for being Captain, what has surprised you about the role responsibility maybe that you weren't aware of or expecting?
PAVIN: You know, I haven't been surprised about anything. I had a pretty good idea of what being captain is about. Having been an assistant and knowing a few of the captains before me and having talked to them, I felt I was pretty prepared for about anything that was going to happen and so far there hasn't been any surprises.
3.) You said you weren't really concerned with media and industry analysis of your captains picks but your selections have been well received. So would you say that you still don't care or is there some gratification to it?
PAVIN: To me it's always nice when people agree or they think you've done the right thing. But to that point that, if they hadn't agreed or hadn't thought it was the right thing, it wouldn't have bothered me at all. So sure, it's always pleasing when people think you've done the right thing but whether I did the right thing or not -- I guess we'll see in a few weeks. Hopefully the guys will play well and will perform well over there and obviously the objective is to win the Ryder Cup so that's what we're going to try and do. We'll just see how the cards fall.
4.) Was it as difficult, the agony that people speak of, to make these captains picks?
PAVIN: You know, for me it wasn't that hard. I'm a pretty laid-back guy and what I did was I gathered a lot of information and then just made a decision. I'm not the type of guy that goes back and forth about trying to make a decision. I just look at it, get the information and decide and we were all done with the decision pretty early in the evening, Monday night, and I was pretty pleased with how it went and I like the choices.
5.) Many people say that your U.S. squad, as talented as it is, is still the underdog for their defense. How do you feel about that assessment?
PAVIN: You know, I think that's probably true. Europe has a pretty strong team and I think we have a pretty good team, too. But it's going to be hard to go over there, we're playing on European soil, and away games are always difficult. They have a European Tour event there at the Twenty Ten Course, the Wales Open, and obviously the fans are going to be 85 percent on their side. But we'll have some U.S. fans over there and we'll draw on that. But it's always tough to play over there. I think our guys are up for it and they are going to go out and play the best they can and they want to win and we're just going to see what happens.
6.) What about Corey Pavin the golfer? Are you looking forward to being able to concentrate just strictly back on your game instead of worrying about 12 other guys and a nation of support?
PAVIN: Well, this has been fun; this part of the Ryder Cup process for me is a blast. Getting the team together and working on the pairings and talking to guys, hanging out with them. It's a unique opportunity for me to be captain of the Ryder Cup team and certainly a great honor and responsibility. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing so I'm enjoying it right now, and when its over, it'll be over and I'll never be able to do this again so I want to enjoy every minute of being captain.
7.) People say all the time how important experience is at the Ryder Cup. I believe you even referred to it as part of your captains picks. But some veterans don't have great Ryder Cup records while others in their first Ryder Cup do really well. So do you still believe it's important to have a veteran influence?
PAVIN: Well, I think it's always good to have, (but) it's certainly not required. Obviously, I picked Rickie Fowler, who's never played in a Ryder Cup, and it's his first year on tour. To me its more about an attitude, it's about how mentally tough these guys are and that's what I look for in a player. And there are a lot of veterans who are mentally tough that maybe the Ryder Cup record isn't as great but you know the Ryder Cup is not an easy competition. You're playing against great players on the other side and it's pretty hard to win matches. They all seem like they can go either way, so it's a tough competition and it's a close competition so records don't mean everything. I just want guys who are tough and can go out and play in an environment like it is over in Europe.
8.) Have you already started thinking about pairings and strategies?
PAVIN: Yes, of course, I've thought about pairings for a very long time. But I didn't start thinking about them too seriously until after the PGA championship when the eight players were automatically on the team. Obviously, I wanted to be thinking about that because my four picks were related to pairings as well. So, I've got another couple of weeks of thinking about pairings and what I like to do and there is a lot of combinations out there.
9.) In 1991, you were part of the famous "War by the Shore" Ryder Cup. Emotions from the fans and media and everybody there seemed to run pretty high. What are your hopes and expectations about the spirit of the competition this year?
PAVIN: I think it'll be great, I think the fans will be fantastic. In Ireland four years ago, the fans were obviously pro-European but they were very respectful of the U.S. players and I expect the same. There will be a nice contingent of American fans over there and we'll draw off the American fans as well but it'll be fun in a very respectful competition.
PAVIN: [laughter] Well, we still have a couple of weeks to go before, so I'm not quite ready yet. But I'm on track to be ready and I'm doing a lot of things now, working on the pairings now that I've got all 12 players intact, or the team intact. So that's what is going to take up a lot of my time in the next few weeks.