An Interview With: JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL
KELLY ELBIN: European Captain José Maria Olazábal joining us at the 39th Ryder Cup.
Captain, you have your team just playing nine holes today. You have three different groups out there. If you would talk a little bit about that on this Wednesday at Medinah.
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, the reason behind it is that the boys had a good look at the golf course yesterday. It took them quite a while to play 18 holes, and I thought because of what I said, that Wednesdays and Thursdays are quite busy apart from the golf.
We have the gala dinner; we have the media interviews; we have the opening ceremony. I wanted the boys to take it easy today and tomorrow, just play nine holes and be ready for Friday.
KELLY ELBIN: It is therefore about pacing your players, correct, in terms of giving them you've got three big days coming up, and why drain them going in; is that the thinking?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Yeah, well, the thing is as I said yesterday they saw the course yesterday, they saw every bit of it yesterday, and now it's just a matter of taking it a little bit easier today and tomorrow because Friday, 36 holes, Saturday, 36 holes, a lot of pressure, a lot of tension, so I want them just to, as I said, take it a little bit easier than usually.
KELLY ELBIN: I know you're not going to reveal any pairings, but do you have a better sense of pairings at least for Friday today than maybe you did yesterday or the day before?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, the boys are playing well. I do have a pretty good idea of what I want on Friday morning. And in that regard, they are confirming that the possibilities are there. Yeah, I do have a few ideas in mind, but obviously, as you said, I'm not going to tell you anything about that.
Q. Rory was saying this morning that he'd welcome the opportunity to play in all five matches should you choose to use him in that fashion. Obviously you're not going to reveal what your plans are to use Rory, but how nice is it to hear that mindset, that he'd welcome that kind of heavy workload?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, to be honest, I expect that. You expect that from your great players. In that regard, in that team, everyone is ready to play five matches. Obviously that's not going to happen, but it is nice to know that the guys are willing to put the extra energy and the extra effort in order to achieve the goal, yeah.
Q. Only 24 hours now to go until the opening ceremony. As you mentioned when you arrived here, you've been building up to this for years. Give us a sense of how much it means to you and what it feels like now to be so close to this moment that you've been waiting so long for?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, it's great. It's great to be at this position getting closer and closer to Friday matches. There is not much more room to maneuver at the moment, so everything is set. Players are ready. We are all eager to see the first match on that first tee. The opening ceremony is just the last piece of it before we battle it out there.
The sooner we get to that point, obviously the more excitement you feel, the more pressure, the more tension. You can see that in the crowds today. They were already just dropping a few "USAs" there and stuff like that. I think everyone is building up for Friday, and we're going to see that on Friday. I think Friday morning is going to be amazing. It's going to be loud. Well, that's the beauty of this event. That's why this event is what it is.
Q. I hate myself for asking this, but do you have a policy in place this week for dealing with the menace that is Twitter?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, I think I've said that before. I'm not banning any member of the team to use it. What I've said to them is that they have to be careful on what they say, how they say it and when they say it. I'm sure that any comments that are made on Twitter are not intended in a bad way, but if you take the sentence out of the context, it might look completely different.
In that regard, the boys need to be a little bit cautious about it.
Q. A follow up with Rory, do you think Rory has a better understanding of the Ryder Cup this time around compared to his rookie experience in Wales? And if so, how?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, I'm pretty sure. It happens to all of us. Once you are a rookie, really you don't know you can expect. You really need to be part of it and to experience it to really know what the Ryder Cup is all about. If you asked me in '87 before I played my first match, I didn't have a clue of what was to come. And it happens to everyone.
This is a very unique event. It's completely different to a regular event, even a major event. And I'm pretty sure that Rory has a much better understanding today than he had in 2010, obviously, without a doubt.
Q. And have you and Rory had a lot of encounters? The last two years has been a big evolution for him, two majors, he's now the No. 1 player in the world, have you spoken to him about his responsibility or role that has obviously changed in the last two years?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Well, I haven't mentioned it to him, but every time I look at his eyes, I think he gets the message.
Q. Have you given your team their captain's gift yet, and if so, what is it? Davis Love said he was going to give his players something like a mountain bike.
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: (Laughing) Okay. I haven't give them yet, but I don't think it's going to be a mountain bike, what we're going to get, so I'm not going to tell you what they're getting.
Q. Do you like the idea of a Woods/McIlroy pairing on Sunday, and if so, what can you do to make that happen?
JOSÉ MARIA OLAZÁBAL: Sunday will be what will be. You know, I'm not expecting nothing at this particular time. I know that all of you are very eager to see that match played, but we will have to wait and see what happens, and first of all, how the matches develop the next few days. Obviously Friday and Saturday are going to be crucial to know what we're going to be doing on Sunday.
We are guessing here, and my guess is as good as yours. And the only thing I can say is that I know you're eager to see that match, but I think the Ryder Cup is more important than that single match.
KELLY ELBIN: Captain Olazábal, thank you very much.
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