USA Team Sunday Press Conference


By The R&A
September 11, 2011

THE MODERATOR:  Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.  I have with me Jim Holtgrieve, U.S. captain, Jordan Spieth and Peter Uihlein.

Commiserations, Jim.  If you could just tell us how you're feeling right now and how you felt for this week.

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, I've said it before.  This week has been just one of the greatest experiences of my life.  Certainly it's been the biggest honour in the USGA that I've had and to be around these ten young guys and obviously the ten young guys from GB&I; to come to Scotland to play golf and to watch golf and to play golf.  It's been an incredible week for me.

Certainly today was a tough day.  I kind of thought that my guys would fight back, which they did.  They did courageously.  Even when we were down at lunch, they kept saying that, which I would never give up on, so that comment was never even in my vocabulary.

But I knew it would be hard, particularly with the conditions.  But these guys fought real hard.  Peter Uihlein said to me when he was 2‑down, he said to me, "Don't worry, I got it." And he did.  It's just that I'm 63.  I wish it would be a little easier on my heart.

It was ‑‑ you know, sure you want to win, but it's been an incredible journey.

THE MODERATOR:  Jordan, head player on the U.S. Team, are there mixed emotions at that, now that you find yourself here?

JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I'd say so.  Our whole team would agree, we had an unbelievable time this week.  Felt like we were here for a month, which was a great thing.  We enjoyed our time.  We were treated unbelievably well.  You know, it's unfortunate it ended this way, but you know, the individual stuff doesn't matter in this kind of event.

You know, there's a few of us that are going to be eligible for the one in two years and I'm going to work hard to try to make that team, because I've had an unbelievable time this week and I would love to be a part of another one.

THE MODERATOR:  Peter, when you walked off 17 with a win, after being down, felt like the momentum was with the Americans at that point; did you feel that, too?  Did you think you were in with a chance?

PETER UIHLEIN:  Yeah, I thought so.  I started thinking about it in my head.  I saw Nate, I guess he tied, who, did he play, Senior?  Senior dropped a bomb on him on 18, and I thought he had that match.  I was thinking Blayne or Kelly could turn it around and Blayne was able to until he lost the last.

I never would have expected ‑‑ I expected Cantlay to win, I know he brought it back to even, but when I walked off I felt like we were in pretty good shape honestly.

Hats off to GB&I.  They played great.  That's all you really can say.

Q.  You brought the trophy over with you, how painful is it to be going back without it and what do you feel the difference was between the two teams in the end?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  I didn't personally carry the trophy over.  So it might have hurt a little bit more.

I think really the difference was, I think the conditions, even though my guys have played in windy conditions, I'm just not sure that on the conditions like they were today, that ‑‑ I think it does take some time to get used to those conditions.  My guys may disagree with me.  I just know that's how I would play.

And the conditions, they were tough for GB&I.  I think just being around these conditions as much as they are, I think, you know, might have given them a little edge.  Some of the shots that we hit, I think we should have probably run a little bit more.  But that's experience.

Peter knows how to play in the wind.  Certainly Jordan does.  I think they are probably stronger than some of the other guys in significant wind like we had this morning and early this afternoon.

So I think condition‑wise, you know, I think that it would certainly create a little bit of an advantage for them.

Q.  On that point, is it also fair to say that putting is harder, and lag putting, particularly, might be harder in a stronger wind?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, he just whispered, sure, but these guys know how to putt.  They know how to lag putt.  I think the wind that ‑‑ I don't think that the wind affected their putting.  I mean, GB&I, let me tell you, just putted tremendously for two days ‑‑ I'm sorry?

Q.  The wind ‑‑ 

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  I guess.  I mean, I don't know.  Today they didn't make as many putts as certainly they made yesterday.  So I think that they just got real hot with the putters.  They putted extremely well.  My guys putted well, too.  When they are making 20‑ and 30‑ and 40‑footers, and hitting some of the shots that they had with those guys getting up‑and‑down on 8; there's a lot of things ‑‑ there's a lot of shots hit today that I think my players, I don't want to use the word more consistent, I don't know what I would say here, but as far as attacking the golf course, I thought we were closer.

So lag putting, I think my guys were just as good as theirs are.

Q.  Now that you've gone through one of these Walker Cups and the presumption is that you'll be back in the same position at National ‑‑ I know it's early but what would you like to see done differently that might help you in two years?  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, first of all, I can't really comment on that because I'm not going to make ‑‑ until I get the official captaincy, that just wouldn't be I think right for me to comment about that.  I certainly hope that I can get the captaincy in the United States and have another opportunity.

It's been history the last few years, that both captains have got it here as well as over there, or the United States versus Great Britain, Ireland and Scotland.  I just hope that I'll get the opportunity and then I'll start judging from there.

Q.  Even if you weren't, you must have some recommendations after this experience.  

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  The recommendations are ‑‑ I mean, I don't know what recommendations.  I've got to think about it.  We just got off the golf course and those are things that I have to put into my memory.  If it happens, if I get the nod, we'll hook up, and by that time I'll probably have some recommendations.

Q.  Just for the two players, just talk about maybe the mood after the morning foursomes and maybe the determination and the talk among the players and with the captain about what you needed to do this afternoon.  

PETER UIHLEIN:  It was fine.  It was pretty light in the locker room.  We still thought we had a great chance.  I thought singles played into our hands in my opinion.  I think singles matches historically play to our favour.  And I felt like we still had ‑‑ we had a great team.

You know, I felt like we still had a chance to get it done.  I didn't think ‑‑ what did we win, seven‑‑ I didn't think it was going to be that difficult at all.

JORDAN SPIETH:  In the locker room, very calm.  I mean, we pretty much told each other that we were very confident that individually, one‑on‑one, we can beat every single person on that team.  Each of us can beat every person on their team, so why can't it happen.

You know, we weren't really looking at scores as much as we were focussed on the individual matches, and we came out, what was it, 7 1/2 to 3 1/2 in the afternoon.  Pretty close in the end, which given how far back we were, was a great fight.

But as far as in between the matches, it was ‑‑ there was no stress or anything.  Captain was keeping us calm.  He was keeping us positive.

Q.  What will you guys take out of this week that you'll be able to use in your future, in your careers?  

JORDAN SPIETH:  I mean, any time you can represent your country, for me, it's the biggest honour I've ever had.  Being on this team is the biggest honour I've ever had playing golf.  So taking it forward, first of all, I got a lot closer to a lot of the guys on the team.  It's a lot of off the course stuff more than on the course I think as far as this tournament goes.  You know, created a lot of friendships, along with their team, too.

But then also being able to play in front of your country in front a lot more people than say when you're representing them in a Junior tournament.  The crowds, the emotions are higher.  The format is different.  Peter and I both hope that we can play on a Ryder Cup some day or multiple.  I think it's a great step towards it.

Q.  If you could, could you speak to the performance of the boys this afternoon, obviously a big hole to try to climb out of but they certainly made you proud? 

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Oh, gosh, these guys, they played so hard, and with so much heart.  To see Harris English and watch him play and be so calm and to watch everybody else in this group be so calm, I mean, Russell and Jordan went out and got two points on the board real quick and everybody got pretty pumped up about that and I passed that along.

Peter obviously made a great come back on his match.  No, these guys, they got so much heart.  They never gave up.  And the mood in our team room was, hey, let's go attack this afternoon.  And they all did that.  They all did that with complete respect for each other and respect for the other players, and they did what ‑‑ they did what ‑‑ they went out and did exactly why they got on this team; because they know exactly how to play in competition and that's what they showed this afternoon.

THE THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Jim, thanks, guys.