GB&I Walker Cup Press Conference (Day 1)


By USGA
September 7, 2013

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We're pleased to be joined by Nigel Edwards, captain for Great Britain and Ireland.  A lot of great golf out there today certainly.  The team started the morning foursomes solidly.  The results this afternoon painted a different picture.  Care to comment on the difference between both rounds?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  We got more points in the morning, so this afternoon we didn't get going really.  America was in control most of the way.  We didn't hole putts, shaving the edges a lot.

Having said that, 8‑4, is it 8‑4?  8‑4 is not an insurmountable lead.  We're good at foursomes, we're good players.  We're good at singles, so game on tomorrow.

Q.  What do you tell your team tonight, Nigel?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Hole more putts.  Well, to be fair to them, you know, they haven't played as well as they would have liked to have played.  That's pretty obvious.

Having said that, one afternoon doesn't make them bad players.  They've been good players all year and they've been good players for a number of years.  So we'll just refocus and perhaps this is what we need to kick up our back side to get us moving forward.

Q.  What do you think the difference was this afternoon?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Seemed so me as if we ‑‑ we holed a few more putts this morning, which makes a difference.  It really makes a difference.  But there's a big sway here and there when you don't hole the putt to keep your momentum going or to stay in touch, and that's probably the difference.  We certainly got the momentum this morning, and you know, that was a good lead, two and a half to one and a half.  We're disappointed this afternoon, however, the focus will still be what it's been all week and what the majority of players have been doing all year.

Q.  (Inaudible).

NIGEL EDWARDS:  I'm not sure.  I'll let the USGA answer.  Okay, well, I'm pretty easy with what everybody is going to play in the afternoon.  So just deciding on the order.  Quick think and get it in.

Q.  We saw boutique U. S. Open this year at Merion that showed exactly how great golf course architecture from the classic golden age can be.  Aside from the infrastructure questions, do you think that this would be a good U. S. Open venue as well?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Having never played a U. S. Open, I guess the fairways are a lot wider here than at the U. S. Open.  But those greens today were pretty severe, weren't they?  I stood on the 6th tee.  That was a severe ‑‑ you know, when you think it was 90 yards to the flag.  It's probably one of the tougher shots out there.

So it's probably comparable, I guess, looking at what I've seen on TV of the U. S. Open.

Q.  When Max and that thing, was that a turning point for you to be 3‑1?  Is just seemed to give the Americans that little bit of a spark.

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Yeah.  I guess it gave them some momentum there.  It certainly let them off the hook, and that's what you need in these team events.  You need something to go your way.

And a lot of things went America's way today, but we're looking to turn that around certainly tomorrow morning, first and foremost and then into the afternoon's singles matches.

But yeah, you have ebbs and flows in matches.  We were up a lot throughout the morning foursomes, and yeah, they would have taken a lot from that half a point there.

Q.  And Gavin, young Gavin set the example there of what's needed, didn't he?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Yeah.  I mean he knows how to play match play.  He knows how to get his ball around the golf course.  He's good at that.  This golf course suits him.  He's a lovely putter, and the shot at 17 was quality.

You know, that's why he was in that position, key position, as any other position, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight in the order, they're all important.  And that was what the players were, you know, they were focusing on their games, and to be fair to them, some of them may have known what their situation was, but clearly there was a focus on their game.  So some days it doesn't go your way, or some matches don't go their way, and we've gotta make sure we turn that around tomorrow morning.

Q.  (Inaudible).

NIGEL EDWARDS:  It would have been hard work.  It's going to be hard work tomorrow anyway.  But you know, any time you win a Walker Cup is never going to be easy.  If it was going to be easy, it wouldn't be worth doing.

 

            Q.  Nigel, it seemed like in the afternoon especially a lot of your guys hit some poor shots in going over these greens.  Especially Fitzpatrick really hurt himself a few times.  Do you talk strategy much with these guys about maybe playing a little more of a run‑up shot or just analyzing some of the hole locations and getting into that with the guys?

            NIGEL EDWARDS:  It's a bit difficult to talk strategy to the U.S. Amateur champion when his game is built around strategy.  He's very good at managing his golf.  The two shots I saw him play that you may have been referring to, pretty difficult to play a pitch‑and‑run on the 6th hole, and difficult to play a pitch‑and‑run up the 12th, up the hill, before the water.

            You know, so it's a difficult golf course when the greens are this firm, you know.  The Americans are hitting over the back as well.  They were holing the putts, and like I said earlier in the week, and as I said for the last four years, you know, if you're going to win the Walker Cup, then you need to putt well, and that's what we need to do tomorrow, which is fine because most of these lads putted well all year and one afternoon isn't going to make them bad putters.

 

            Q.  Two things, Nigel.  First, if Moynihan makes birdie, or wins the hole to win the match at 18 in a way like Ian Poulter did at the Ryder Cup, would that have given your team more kind of a good feeling about going into tomorrow versus Moynihan winning the hole at 17 when nobody's there, your entire team is standing up at 18 watching your guy miss a four‑footer?

            NIGEL EDWARDS:  No.

 

            Q.  Okay.  And then secondly, could you explain why you never made it to the fourth tee today in the afternoon and to try to give any kind of advice to your players because almost everybody had a hard time playing the hole.

NIGEL EDWARDS:  The 4th tee?

Q.  Right.  The par‑3.

NIGEL EDWARDS:  Well, because I'm on the first tee.  I wanted to see everybody tee off just as Jim Holtgrieve did.  I can't be in ten places at once.  Pretty difficult.

I mean the lad ‑‑ I mean we've played this golf course.  They're good players.  And again, that's a tough hole.  The wind would have been off the left and down.  It's a tough hole.  But they know the yardages, they got their yardage book.  They know how far to hit the ball.  Me being on the tee would have been ‑‑ may have helped some of them, it may not have, but I feel that the first tee when you've got eight players going off is the important place to be.

So by the time I finished on the first tee, Neil Raymond was on the seventh.  Max Orrin would have been on the seventh.  So I'd have probably I felt I needed to be at the sixth.  That's a decision you make.

Q.  Just to follow up real quick, the Walker Cup as like the Ryder Cup, the captain is the only one that talk to the players.  In the scenario that you've just explained if you'd had someone else that would have been beneficial, do you not think that's necessary?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  No, they're good players.

Q.  I know you have to sit a couple of guys at each session other than Sunday, but Rhys Pugh was 3 and 0 coming into this match and went again this morning at 4 and 0.  What was the decision this afternoon?  I know you made your lineup last night, but he's been a pretty hot player in this event and he was undefeated NIGEL EDWARDS:  Well, I think the other players deserved to play this afternoon.  Simple as that really.  I mean like I said to them, it's a very difficult decision who not to play in foursomes and who not to play in singles.  Rhys has done very well in the Walker Cup, hasn't he, and I'm sure he'll do well tomorrow morning.

You know, he didn't play the first match at Aberdeen two years ago.  So you gotta make a decision somewhere down the line.  Ian Woosman did it with Luke Donald at the Ryder Cup.  It's easy to say with hindsight, isn't it?

You know, if you could have told me that last evening or 1:00 yesterday afternoon, then I'd have listened to you.  (Laughs).

Q.  We see a lot of country clubs and we see a lot of state organizations putting together Ryder Cup style and Walker Cup style competitions now.  What general advice would you give to coaches of teams when it comes to picking orders for lineups and, you know, pairing players together?  What themes should those coaches think about when, you know, sending their guys out there?

NIGEL EDWARDS:  I think certainly in the foursomes you're looking for a blend of players, people who get on well together.  Can't have people fighting on the same team.

Order of play, well, I think it depends on the situation and where people like to play in the order.  If somebody's not comfortable playing ten, then you don't put them at ten.  Likewise, if somebody's not comfortable playing one, I think it varies from team to team and event to event.  It's a hard one to say because there's a number of factors involved.

THE MODERATOR:  Nigel, thank you.