USA Team Press Conference (Saturday)


By The R&A
September 10, 2011

LYNN WALLACE:  Ladies and gentlemen, we are joined by U.S. Captain Jim Holtgrieve, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay.

Jim, some great golf out there but you found yourself still behind.  Can you give us your thoughts on that.

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  There was ‑‑ you're exactly right, Lynn.  There was great golf.  And yeah, it's 7‑5, but I don't think that's certainly a position that is going to create a problem for us not sleeping tonight.

There was ‑‑ obviously there's a lot of different weather conditions out there, and I think everybody played real hard, played real strong.  Nobody gave up on either side.  It's obvious to me out there watching the match, a lot of matches, that the putting of GB&I was ‑‑ let's see, they made 300 yards of putts and our guys made maybe 150 yards.  I'm just putting a number to it.

But obviously they putted really strongly today and made a lot of putts.  So putting is the name of the game.  I think our guys will, sleep well tonight, come fired up for tomorrow.

So we are not ‑‑ we had a little team meeting and we are okay.  We are at peace with everything that happened today.  We had some matches that we were done; they fired, came back, and some other matches where we were up that went the other way.  But you know, that's what Walker Cup golf's all about.

LYNN WALLACE:  Jordan, you didn't play this morning did that keep you fresh for this afternoon?

JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, we got in a week ago and we were all very, very anxious just to get started in general.  And then you know, I got to watch this morning, which made me even more anxious.  But at the same time I knew that I could help my teammates from the sideline and I knew that was going to happen coming into the round.

So I was actually very, very excited to see what I could do to help in the morning and then you know stepped on the first tee and it's a very, very cool experience to hit a first tee shot in a Walker Cup.  You know, just had a very, very wonderful day today.  I really enjoyed it, my first day of Walker Cup experience.  You know, we are calm.  We are ready to go.  There's no stress.  There's nothing in the team room.  We are all very pumped up for tomorrow.

LYNN WALLACE:  Patrick, you won both your matches today.  Was there any difference between the foursomes and the singles?

PATRICK CANTLAY:  Yeah, who I was playing, but other than that, I was just trying to get in my own bubble.  And Chris and I played well this morning.  I was just going out and trying to do my best in the afternoon.

Q.  Nigel was just in praising how you accepted the caddie thing this morning.  Can you just say what your feelings were about it?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Why do you guys go there right off the bat?

Q.  Just to get it out of the way.  It's not a negative thing.  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  It's always controversy.  It's amazing how things go on.

You know, when they approached me and told me about it, it was not an issue for me at all.  That gentleman did not hit any golf shots.  He did not affect the outcome of the match.  Common sense says that it was the right thing for us to do.

I would not have changed my mind any way with any situation with the fact that if he had influenced the game, I guess that's something different.  But he didn't.  And these young guys went out and played hard, and so that's what it's all about.

Q.  What about your stuff that you've got to commemorate, if that's the right word tomorrow; have you had your meeting?  Have you read it or done what you were going to do about that or is that going to happen in the morning? 

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  No, sir, I have not.  That will be done tomorrow morning.  I have a little gift for the guys tonight.  But as far as that situation, the letter that I had to read, that will be done tomorrow morning.

I think we'll have some conversation about it.  One of the players in the team room said, you know, and actually it was Russell Henley that said, "What about tomorrow?  Tomorrow will be a special day and we'll fight hard because it's 9/11."  

That's really ‑‑ that speaks to the respect and the honour of all of these young guys on my team, and so I think they will ‑‑ not that they didn't fight hard today.  They did fight hard.  But it will be a great situation tomorrow.

Q.  Assuming with the results that came today, did you adjust in your own mind how you would put out the players for tomorrow?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  We did not.  My team manager and I ‑‑ the team, we all talked about it just a few minutes ago to see if anybody wanted to change anything up.  This is the team from the very beginning.  We have been very open about it.

So, no, the play that I have set up for tomorrow is the same.  We have changed up a couple of single matches only because of guys going out and maybe try to give them a little bit more rest between the matches.  But there was a 12‑person decision, and everybody ‑‑ it's a 12 ‑‑ it's unanimous the way they have got it selected.

Q.  Just to follow up on one other thing.  Have you as a captain read the Conditions of Competition?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  The Conditions of Competition.  I've got to be honest with you, I have not.

Q.  Obviously you were speaking yesterday about the weather.  Have you ever changed in changing conditions like that?  It was the four seasons in one day, wasn't it.  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Yeah, I was watching.  It was up to these guys to play.

Q.  Have these guys ever played in changing weather so quickly like that at all?  

JORDAN SPIETH:  No.  This afternoon was wild.  I was wearing this on one hole, and the next hole I was bundled in a sweater and rain jacket and rain pants trying to figure out how to get them on and off and then it was sunny again the hole after.  Even my caddie said, "That's not normal here.  I don't know what's going on."    So you know that that's pretty crazy when a caddie out here says that.  It was fun, though, it really was.

Q.  (Inaudible.)  

JORDAN SPIETH:  It was ‑‑ hey, I enjoyed the experience.  I enjoyed the experience.  Something different.

Q.  Wonder if you can just talk briefly about Peter Uihlein going out first twice, maybe trying to set a pace, didn't quite work out in the morning but he came back and rallied in the afternoon and got a point for you.  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, Peter has been there before.  He's had experience.  I thought maybe I would utilise and go based upon what he's learned at Merion.

Yeah, certainly it was tough matches this morning.  From what I heard, they were 2‑under.  GB&I played great.

So I just thought that, you know, this thing about putting a point on the board first and all that kind of stuff, I just want to put guys that are strong, maybe that have been there that have some experience and who feel really strongly about their games, and the conditions did change, which they did.  Peter is a very good wind player, so I heard it was going to be windy, so, you know, those are some of the things went in my mind.  But it was mainly the experience.  I wanted him to get off to that start.

We never talked about watching the scoreboard.  I'm sure some guys do.  I didn't tell them to do it or not to do it.  It's up to them whether they want to do it or not but hopefully Peter was going to be up there and if he was going to be winning maybe the guys would get even a little more fired up.  That was kind of my thought process.

Q.  With the change in the format and 10 singles, do you feel your depth might help in that situation or do you feel they are just as deep on their side? 

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  After watching the play today, I think both teams are deep.  For one, I'm glad that we do play ten.  Everybody comes a long way to play in this competition.  I wish we would have played ten today.  Because everybody deserves to play.  I mean, they have been nominated to represent their country and they are the ten best players from their country.  So why come here and sit.  We came here for the GB&I guys and USA guys.  It's great they are out there rooting for our guys.  But they want to play and so I know how I feel about that.

Q.  So are you pleased that there are ten matches ‑‑ would you recommend that ‑‑ 

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  I've already spoken with some people about it.  It's higher powers than me that discuss it and what other avenues.  As a player, I want to play.  And so therefore, if that's something that they could consider, the USGA and the R&A and make that change, I would vote yes, because I'm a player and I want to be out there.

All of the other things that go on, I don't know anything about.

LYNN WALLACE:  Thanks very much for joining us.