Print News

September 19, 2008

KELLY ELBIN: European Ryder Cup Captain Nick Faldo joining us, ladies and gentlemen, here at the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla golf club at the conclusion of the first day of play. The United States holds a 5 1/2 to 2 1/2 lead; the first time since 1995 that the United States has had the lead after the first day of the Ryder Cup.

Nick, thoughts on the first day? Certainly very loud out there, a lot going on.

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, firstly, I'm obviously very proud of my team. That was a great, great last hour of golf, and to get a point ... or a half a point in the very last match was really great for the team morale, so obviously we are down in points but we are up in spirit.

Q. Your feeling about a team that loses nine birdies to eight birdies at a major event. Do you think the course is set up too easy for such an important event?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, I remember shooting 9 under par with Ian Woosnam and being beaten at the Belfry. So no, this ... no.

I mean, this event, especially match play, but especially the Ryder Cup, this produces spectacular golf. This takes golfers to levels where they've only dreamed before. You produce exceptional golf, simple as that. You just go for everything. It's amazing what you can do when you've got that goal, to get the golf ball in the hole as quickly as possible.

Q. That said, how do you explain a pairing like Hunter Mahan as a rookie, who hardly anyone knows, and Justin Leonard, who hasn't been out there since 1999, going ahead and taking two points, particularly one from Sergio, who can't be beat. How do you explain a pairing like that?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, they played exceptional golf, all American ... all the guys played exceptional golf. At the end of the day, that's just the facts of where the score is.

Q. I wonder how hard it was for you to have all that responsibility today in something that you've always been involved in in a practical way? Was that a real tough experience for you seeing things going not as well as you would have hoped, but not having any active role to play, other than trying to be a guide or a help in that way? Was that a pretty tough experience?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, no, I think it was a great experience. I know every single man is giving 100 percent on every single shot. And I've been there before. This is the way it turned out on this particular day. Tomorrow will be a different day.

The guys are still extremely up, played some awesome golf. Proud of so many of them who stepped in for the first time. The way S�ren played; that was a great moment on 16. I managed to stand there and think, well, that's the putt that Harrington had, and I'm thinking, I've got to call into the clubhouse. And I went to Paul Casey and he said he was right there.

So I ran around to Padraig and said, which way does it go? He said it went right to left and then left to right, but it's got to be right edge with six feet to go; and I literally ran on the back of S�ren and said exactly that, and he holes it.

And the shots they played up 18 to get that valuable halve; so everybody is giving everything. You'll probably see from the pairings, a few changes, because we need some fresh legs for tomorrow.

Q. Boo Weekley was kind of riling the crowd up a little bit during his match and drew a couple of long stares from Lee. I wonder do you think anything was over the top at all, or is that part of this competition?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, he's such a nice guy. He walked up there, and he said, "Is it like this over there," meaning over in Europe?

I said, "it sure is."

He said, "Wow, you sure get some ... what did he say? I can't think of the ... I can't think, story. Ruins the story when you can't think of the word. It sure gets some enthusiasm, excitement, whatever, out of this. And then he adds another word to it, of course.

I said, "Even more than deer hunting?"

He said, "Well, nearly as much as dear hunting."

I said: "Well, there's an awful lot of deer out here, isn't there? This is America, you're rallying your troops. As last night, we heard that you're out in the streets of Louisville running up the 13th man." So that's fine.

Q. Just a question again about the course. Do you think the course has an advantage for either team the way it's been set up?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Not really. Not really. I mean, I think I've got ... obviously J.B. is exceptional with his length, but crumbs, I've got ... the next six guys probably on each team are extremely long hitters as you saw today, so I don't think anybody ... I think the players are so evenly matched.

Q. A word about Lee Westwood. In his two matches today he's dormie in both of them, and it came out with two halves that could be crucial, and he's not been beaten since Sunday of 2002. A word about how he performed.

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Well, Lee is a very strong character here. He produces great tee shots when they're needed, great shots, great putts. I mean, he thrives on it, and like all the guys, he's done a grand day's work.

Q. Two questions: One, kind of a logistical question. They first made an announcement saying that several of your players would be coming down, and then they said you would be coming down in their place. Did you pull them back and decide to come down and speak instead?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, I heard that Lee would help me. They're on their way. Yeah, we were planning to eat here and then we changed our mind. We're going to go back to the hotel. The other guys are on the way. I've already put my team in, so I got an opportunity to be here and then get in the car and get back to the hotel.

Q. Second question: You've obviously seen from the broadcast booth or seen from being on the course a lot of teams and duos and guys of kind of clicked together, and I wonder what your thoughts were today of seeing Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson kind of high fiving each other all day out there. They seemed of kind of click.

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, exactly. They clicked. Anthony is a young, enthusiastic, fine, fine player. We've seen the way he's played this year, and under Phil's wing, that's a very good partnership. They're a strong pair.

Q. Do you find it quite right that you have to decide the afternoon pairings when there's so much of the morning actually to go? Do you think that needs to be looked at?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: True, true. Yeah, very difficult moment that, obviously, because you're out on the course, and Rosey and Poulter are up, and then you see what happened to them right at the end of it.

So yeah, there was a bit of to ing and fro ing. And yeah, to put it in an hour before play ... well, we're both in the same boat. Paul and I both commented on that yesterday. There's so many tough decisions to make for the captains, so maybe that one could be reviewed to make things a little bit easier.

Q. Your teams were ahead, got their nose in front in six out of the eight matches, and yet only two and a half points. If there were any surprises today, might that be one?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Not really. It's never a surprise. I mean, this is a serious event. The guys here are keen, and both sides are here to win. That is part of the Ryder Cup is that determination; that when you're down, you never give in. You just play as hard as you can until you run out of holes, simple as that. And America did a great job today, and I'm sure my team will rally tomorrow.

Q. Speaking of the pairings, was it always your plan to not put Sergio and Lee together in the afternoon? And from your standpoint in the years you've done this, how difficult is it to play with someone else after working so hard to even get a halve in the morning?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: No, there was a plan. Yeah, in speaking to S�ren, obviously this being his first Ryder Cup, he wanted to play with Lee, very comfortable with that one. And then when Jim�nez started playing so well in the week, that became another good option for Sergio. So by breaking them up, you know, the Westwood side of it; it all clicked. Very happy with everything.

Q. After meeting Muhammad Ali, you came in here and said your emotions were up to here. How have they been today?

CAPTAIN NICK FALDO: Yeah, well, they're great today. I was fine. Paul Casey on that first tee, he came over that, and he said, I ripped that one. Then he put his hand on his heart, and his heart was just pounding. I was standing there, fine, well, here's a player ... I could see the guys change on that first tee, and they all handled it so well.

But my heart has been fine. I'm ticking along. Yeah, I'm a lot more even today, stronger, or whatever.

KELLY ELBIN: European Team Captain Nick Faldo, thank you very much.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports