Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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Post Fourball Interview With: SCOTT VERPLANK

September 23, 2006

GORDON SIMPSON: Scott Verplank has joined us now. Scott, a great 2&1 victory for you today, and I think you had a partner who seemed to be absolutely on fire today in Zach. Tell us about how he did it.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, he hit every shot solid and made a lot of putts (laughing).

He did, he played super. But we had talked about playing and we were both very comfortable and, you know, he called and woke me up last night, "Dude, we're playing." He told me all the ground rules, so I just said, "Hey, whatever you want to do." He wanted to hit first.

GORDON SIMPSON: This wasn't the middle of the night, was it?

SCOTT VERPLANK: Well, it was for me. I had asked him again this morning, I said, "Now what did you say when you called me last night? I was asleep."

Yeah, it must have been very important for him to hit first, because he wanted to hit first. You know, he woke me up to tell me that. And you know what, after the first two or three holes, I was all over that. I said, "You just keep hitting first. You're doing great." All I did was rub massage oil on his back and give him water and pat his forehead.

I didn't play very well, but it's not an individual tournament. He and I won a point, which I think unfortunately we've only had one other team win a full point. So as poorly as I felt like I did individually, it wasn't an individual match. My team won, so I'm pretty happy about that.

GORDON SIMPSON: A lot of people talk about the youthful exuberance of Garcia, but he seems to have that same sort of thing.

SCOTT VERPLANK: We laughed, we had fun, we smiled, we told jokes. We were pumping each other up, encouraging. I kept telling him, "I'm going to play a little bit better here pretty quick," and he kept believing me. It never happened until the last two or three holes. But he played so good, and we were on the same wavelength. There was a lot of positive energy between him and myself.

Q. You were a rookie pick, which was controversial, and you had a great record at that Ryder Cup. Can you speak to the rookies here or things that you said or maybe things that you see out of them?

SCOTT VERPLANK: You know, I just told them, every single one of them, that it doesn't get any better than playing in this event. So, you can stress out, you can be nervous, uptight, all that, and I told every one of them, I said, you know, you'll be nervous, but when you get on the first tee, take a deep breath and take a good look around you. Look around you 360 degrees. And it doesn't get any better than that.

We walked on the first tee, and obviously we're playing homeboy, Paddy, and I guess all of the other groups, they had let all of the European groups go on the tee before us, but we couldn't wait any longer for Padraig and Henrik. So Zach and I just said, let's walk up there, we walk up there, there's a smattering of applause. And here comes the Irishman, which everybody knows, it was a loud, raucous roar and cheers. I said, "Zach, this is like the Hawkeyes and we're going to the big house." This is it right here; it doesn't get any better than this, and he was right. You know, he had the little twinkle in his eye and I did, too. There's nothing like going to somebody else's house and giving them a fight.

So we had a ball, and like I said, after he birdied the first 12 holes, I just was riding him. Yeah, he played good; he played awesome. You know, I did win a hole with a par, so I got that going for me.

But you know what we won that hole as a team with a par, and we matched up pretty well. We were a nice two man team today.

Q. After saying that, you weren't surprised that, in fact, the captain changed his mind; I gather you were supposed to be going out this afternoon and he put Zach out instead of you. Were you disappointed at that or even upset?

SCOTT VERPLANK: You know, I didn't know. If he was choosing between me and Zach, Zach played good, but I didn't know it was coming down to that. I don't know, I'm sitting in here, but I sat in here all day yesterday, too, and I did win one point today the only chance I got. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't disappointed and feel like I shouldn't have another chance or two. But, I'll have another chance tomorrow and hopefully these guys this afternoon will turn things around and we'll still have a chance as a group to win. That's what we're all here for.

If we win this, the Ryder Cup, Captain Lehman is going to look pretty much like a genius, and that's what I'm hoping, I'm hoping he's a genius.

Q. What was the mood like in the team room last night, for starters? And secondly, could you describe what it's like when you see the supposed top two teams getting trounced in the middle of the morning?

SCOTT VERPLANK: The attitude's fine. We get along great. You know, everybody

Q. Monty made a big putt to end the day; that's kind of what I was it just seemed like everything swung.

SCOTT VERPLANK: Yeah, it did swing their way. You know, like it or not, that happens a lot recently. It's been happening a lot, things have been swinging their way.

But, you know, we're not going to give up. Yeah, you don't like looking up there and seeing your superstar teams getting it handed to them. I don't know how to explain it other than these games that you play here for the first four matches are quite a bit different than playing the PGA TOUR or The European Tour or any individual stuff. They are just a lot different.

It's just like Zach and I, like I said, today was a great example. I didn't play very good, and Zach did. But we were a pretty damned good team together. You know, he did all the great stuff physically, but if he would have had if we would have been out there all glum and grinding and all that, we probably wouldn't have done as good.

But we had a great time. You know, every time he hit a good shot, I didn't really care where I hit mine, because he was hitting it so good and putting so good. I'm just, let me get you some water, keep going. If you need me at the end, I'll be there. As it turns out, he really didn't even need me. But he knew he had me. I think that's what makes a good team in these formats.

Q. Did Tom talk to you at all and give you any reason for breaking you up, seeing as you did get the point today with Zach, and Stewart is also a captain's pick and he's been out there four times now; is that surprising?

SCOTT VERPLANK: You know what, he came up and said I don't know what it was, 13, I guess he told Zach he was playing with so and so. And I said, "Well, am I playing this afternoon," and he said no. And I said, "We're going to win this match." I said, you know, "We're going to win this match. I'd like to play." But he already had it set. And fortunately, we won the match. Zach won, but we both won.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

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