US Press Conference (Day 1)


By USGA
September 7, 2013

THE MODERATOR:  We're pleased to have with us in the media center USA Walker Cup Captain Jim Holtgrieve and also players Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett.  Jim, let's begin with you.  The team hung in there during foursomes today and then came back with just an impressive performance during singles.  What made all the difference between the morning round and this afternoon?  What did you tell the team?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  To tell these guys anything, I'd be lying about what I said to them.  I told them to believe in themselves.  I told them to enjoy the moment.  I gave them a big hug on the first tee.  So I just told them to go out and have fun.  And these guys that I've been saying all from the very beginning, they're individuals.  They're really good friends.  They fought for each other and you could just feel it after we were down after the morning that GB & I played well.  I think one group was 5 or 6‑under par.  But these guys are just ‑‑ they're going to fight back, and my gosh, they fought back today and they fought back with really good courage.

THE MODERATOR:  Bobby, Cory, I think you halved your morning match and won your matches this afternoon.  What were the keys to your success today?

CORY WHITSETT:  Well, obviously finishing the morning that way, never leading the match but never being more than one down to get that half on 18 was crucial for us, really put me in a good frame of mind for the afternoon and got me excited to play.

BOBBY WYATT:  Yeah.  Same thing.  Getting that half was big.  We never led, and just to be able to eek that out and make it as close as we possibly could, and then the afternoon I think it was a little bit of boost for the whole team, especially for me to kind of get the pressure off of you and just get out there and play the best you can in the afternoon.  Fortunately we were able to get it done.

THE MODERATOR:  Let's open it up to some questions.

Q.  Jim, you know how important momentum is in team competitions.  Can you just explain to us how important the half point was in the morning to the momentum of the afternoon and to your team going out in the singles?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  It was huge, Allister.  We needed ‑‑ things were obviously not going the right way.  We needed something, and for those guys to make that, to shore it up on the scoreboard and everybody else was asking me what was going on, when we were able to tell them what happened, kind of their eyes changed a little bit.  Their eyes changed, come on, we can do this.

I think also that Justin and Patrick getting us at one point particularly after what happened at 17 with Justin hitting that great shot in there.  So that was huge.  I think between these guys and Patrick and Justin, that was ‑‑ it certainly kept us in the game.

Q.  Bobby, I believe you had a one‑stroke penalty.  Was it on the 6th or the 10th?

BOBBY WYATT:  10th.

Q.  Can you take us through that?  You had just won three holes in a row.  Did that get you more fired up?

BOBBY WYATT:  Yeah, it was a little bit of unfortunate timing.  I felt like I had it a little bit on the ropes, but I went to replace my ball and accidentally dropped it about half an inch above the ground and it forced my ball marker to move about half an inch backwards, and unfortunately that's a penalty.

I was able to make the bogey putt then and half the hole.  So you know, I just told myself that's something that really I can't control and just keep trying to execute my game plan as best I could, and fortunately I got it done.

Q.  For both players, can you just explain the psychological impact of seeing so much red on the board early and kind of if that fires you up or, you know, what it does moving forward?

BOBBY WYATT:  Yeah any time you look up and see the team is doing well, it's certainly encouraging.  For me personally it doesn't really change the way I'm playing, but it definitely gets you a little more excited just to know that everyone's playing well and doing what we want to do which is win matches.

And you know, it was exciting to look up there and see it and hopefully we can keep that going.

Q.  Jim, you're captaining from ahead now here for the first time in a little while.  Does that change your mindset at all about what's going to go into tomorrow or do you kind of just go with the same game plan?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Nothing changes.  It's match play, 8 to 4.  It's still my message tonight when we get together is going to be the match is still even.  We still need five and a half points.

No, we've changed up some things.  I don't know if it's ‑‑ the lineup is going to be coming out, but we have one of our players that is injured, so we've changed up a little bit.  But we did it as a team, and we're even fired up more about it, and the guys that they're going to play together, I think, are great teams.  So no, to me the match is even.  It's match play.  This thing is not nearly over.

Q.  A couple of things, Jim.  First of all, can you give us some more information about the injured player?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Justin Thomas has got a back situation that he feels like he shouldn't be playing tomorrow morning.  So we're going to take him out of foursome play.  He is going to play in the afternoon, but we're going to take him out of foursome play.

Q.  Secondly, the half point there we talked about in the morning, how big was the half point at the end of the matches today when you get the half point when obviously it looks like maybe you're going to lose and they're going to get a full point, how big was that half point?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, we were all there.  You mean with Justin?  Yeah.  We were all there, and Justin had just won the 17th hole to get it to go back to even.  So and for him ‑‑ for GB & I to miss that putt, I think we were still obviously looking pretty good, but a half a point, as you know, half a point is everything.  So whether that's going to be the turning point tomorrow, who knows.

But any time you pick up a half a point, it's huge.

Q.  And just one last thing.  The fourth hole was playing very difficult today.  I talked to some of your players, as they're laughing.  You didn't get ‑‑ you got a chance to get to the green, I think, once during the fourth, but didn't get to the tee to give them any kind of advice.  Do you think in hindsight that you wish you'd had the opportunity to be up there to kind of help them with club selection?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Well, Alex, we have a thing called communications today.  And so I was able to tell everybody on the first tee since the second group played that hole about what was going on with that particular hole location, and the way I instructed ‑‑ or not instructed, but the way I told them that they need to be playing that hole.

And even after we had told a number of people, they still were not able to just play it the way that we were telling them, just hit it in the very, very front part of that green.  Maybe not even hit the green.  Hit it short of that green.  And it just ‑‑ the hole was just a very difficult hole and caused a lot of problems.  I think Bobby, you had a little issue with it, too, didn't you?

But no, we tried to tell everybody, and interesting enough, I talked more to players today than I have ever talked to anybody in 2011.  Because of these irons and these tee shots, a lot of times I saw a lot of things, a lot of ‑‑ two utilities and 3‑woods going through the fairway.

So I advised a number of players about those situations.  We advised a number of players about No. 6, how that was playing, after watching some of the players play.  So first time I've really ever talked to players about advice, and I'm sure I'm going to do a little bit more tomorrow.

And I hope ‑‑ and these guys are so good.  What am I going to tell them?  But boy, when you see what goes on at National Golf Links with the wind and the firmness of the greens, it was a big education for me, and I think it helped out a lot with some of our shots today.

Q.  Jim, having watched Justin both rounds today, it did look like he had some tightness, and then was it on 11 that he had that awkward lie on the right side of the fairway?  Did he tweak it there a little bit?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  You know what, I was getting in my cart and I was going to him because I saw that shot from the 12th tee, and I kind of thought he hurt himself.  Todd White who was helping me today thought that maybe he just had a downhill, he just really couldn't hit it.  I watched him hit it on 12.

It seemed like when he was able to hit a pull shot, he was okay.  It was the shorter shots he was having problems with.  When he got done he was hurting.  I think the adrenaline got him going, and I think that he was able to finish.  But he's in some pain.

Q.  He also made a great up‑and‑down to save par on that same hole after tweaking it.  He really gritted it the out the last five or six holes there to get the half.

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  He made a great putt there to half that hole, and I think it was ‑‑ might have been a pretty good turning point for him.

THE MODERATOR:  Any more questions for USA?

Q.  On tour there's always guys that provide treatment to these guys when they have problems.  Is there anybody here that Justin can go to for treatment?

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  We have a trainer that the USGA has brought in.  Actually, Alex, Justin has had some work done on his back, massaging and so forth.  I'm not sure I know exactly what's going on there internally, but I just thought the first time it happened two days ago there was just a little spasm in his back, not certainly something like Tiger Woods has had, but something was bothering him.

So this trainer I thought had kind of worked things out, and then yesterday I was a little surprised that he kind of felt a little bit, and of course, this morning he walked up to the tee and said, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to play tomorrow morning.  And I said, well, does that mean I'm taking you out now?  And he said, no, I'm going to be able to play today.

But as we all know, playing with a back it hurts.  But I think hitting full shots he was okay.  But he's hurting now, so we've got a trainer that's going to be working on him.  He says he's going to be ready for tomorrow for noon.

THE MODERATOR:  Captain Holtgrieve, Bobby, Cory, thank you.

JIM HOLTGRIEVE:  Thank you.