September 26, 2014
PAUL SYMES: Many thanks for joining us and congratulations. Start with you, your first Ryder Cup, couldn't have gotten off to a greater start.
JAMIE DONALDSON: No, it couldn't. It was a long, tough old day. We both played very well. I think we were 4-under par for the round in foursomes, which is very good obviously. Lee said to me down the first, "Right, come on, fairways and greens, let's keep it simple." We had a bit of banter about that the way around after we finished. But yeah, it was a tough day but a great day. Had to play very well, and yeah, very happy.
PAUL SYMES: You've obviously played a fair few of these, and Jamie's first, did you guide him through the process?
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, when you've played a few, it's fun watching somebody who has made their debut play so well and took to it like a duck to water. I had no doubt he would, really. He plays well in the big events. He plays well under pressure. You don't tend to get much more pressure than a Ryder Cup. Especially when you're making your debut, and a format like foursomes, where you don't get going immediately, it's so hard to build a game and get some momentum. We complemented each other well and had out there, and it just shows you what I know, saying fairways and greens and even par usually wins most games. So pay no attention to anything else I say, really (chuckling).
Q. A team game, but must feel you with immense pride that you're within three points of Nick and half a point of Seve.
LEE WESTWOOD: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, it's not really something I pay that much attention to. I'm more proud of the fact that I've been on six winning Ryder Cup teams than my points total. Obviously I'm pleased that I've contributed in some way, but it's all about -- I think that's why Europe is so successful. It's all about the team. That's what we try and make it all about. Obviously the individuals are all coming together, but at the end of the day it's about winning The Ryder Cup for Europe. We've started off well. We got ourselves into a good position. Obviously the States were looking strong this morning, but we came back strong and we had a great session, fantastic achievement this afternoon.
Q. Over the last few years, it's been Europe's ability to win the 17th and 18th, that's done us so well. We lost that little bit this morning. Was anything said in the room --
LEE WESTWOOD: No. It's all going -- we were going down the second hole I think when they were playing their final hole, and it's all moving along so fast that I think what needed to be said was said last night. We're all experienced players and well aware that you have to play the last few holes well. Obviously we didn't do that this morning but did it this afternoon. Garcia and McIlroy winning the last two holes was big.
Q. Given how central you have been to this Ryder Cup Team since 1997, how tough was it for you not to be starting in this morning's session?
LEE WESTWOOD: Not tough at all. Paul has made me very aware of the role I'm going to play and when he wants me to play, and having a lie in was a new thing for me. It was nice, turning the TV on, watching the lads suffer in the cold. We've got a really strong side of 12 people, and you know, somebody's going to have to sit out, and it was just mine and Jamie and Graeme and Victor's turn this morning, and we tried to do our bit when called upon this afternoon.
Q. You're quite demonstrative out there, which is really unlike you, fist-pumping and jumping up and down. Were you surprised what it did to you?
JAMIE DONALDSON: Yeah, a little bit. Obviously you try to keep on a level keel all the time so the emotions don't go too up and down so you are in perfect position to play your next shot to the best of your ability. You're not sort of over-hyping yourself up sort of thing. Yeah, and then to hole that putt on 14, yeah, I was very happy with watching that ball go in. So I suppose it all just came out on that green, as they say. Yeah, and then a few fist-pumps came from nowhere. Obviously this event is going to bring that out in you. It's just you want to hole putts to listen to the crowd roaring, I suppose, it's so exciting. It's just incredible. And to watch that one go in, I was just buzzing.
Q. Darren Clarke on SKY, who you know quite well, he said that you had a point to prove to justify your pick and it made you more determined; was he right?
LEE WESTWOOD: In a way, yeah, I mean, not that I really thought that, but I suppose sitting here now, it is nice -- it's nice for the captain when he picks you to repay him with points, because the captain needs confidence as much as the rest of the players. He needs to know that he's done his work well and put the foundations in there and the picks are a big part of that. So you know, I guess when he was picking me, he was picking experience to play with somebody that had not played before, and it worked out well for him today.
Q. You've seen a lot of team rooms in The Ryder Cup. Is this one different, and if so, how so?
LEE WESTWOOD: Not really any different. We've always been a tight unit and bonded well and been ready for it when the Ryder Cup started on a Friday. I think Paul's doing a good job, and he seems to have cherry-picked and picked a lot of previous captains' brains and things like that. Obviously we had Sir Alex in the other day and he's picked his brain, as well, with regards to pulling people together as a team. It's a good, confident team room. We are emphasizing no complacence and coming out every day and be strong. At the same time, we are trying to have as much fun as possible. I haven't seen any other games, but myself and Jamie proved today that we was pretty much smiling all the way around, and you're playing pretty good golf when you're happy.
PAUL SYMES: Joined by a few more members of the team, if we can start with you, Rory. Went down to the wire today and got a very important half point in the end.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, we did. Sergio and I battled for all 36 holes out there today. It was a long day for both of us, and just glad that we were able to contribute something to the cause today. We had a close match this morning with Phil and Keegan, and didn't quite go our way. Didn't feel like we should have lost the match, but at the same time, we did. Then the halve against Jimmy and Rickie there this afternoon, felt a little bit like a mini-victory to us, and definitely is a huge halve in terms of momentum for The European Team going into tomorrow. So for the team, it was huge, and I think personally for Sergio and I, just nice to be able to walk away from today with at least something. So great way to finish the session this afternoon, and obviously Europe are in a nice position going into Saturday.
PAUL SYMES: Sergio, just talk us through that second shot into the last hole there.
SERGIO GARCГЌA: Yeah, well, after Rory's putt on 17, obviously felt like I needed to do something, find something in me, and obviously we got a little bit lucky, we're not going to deny that. We got a nice lie on 18 in the rough. But yeah, you still have to hit the shot and I was able to hit a really nice 5-wood from 229, I think it was, in the wind off the left, which is always an uncomfortable wind. I was trying to make sure I gave my partner a chance; a chance to make three, try to win the hole, and get a massive halve after how well the team was doing in the afternoon. So I was very pleased to see that.
PAUL SYMES: Victor, your first Ryder Cup, how much did you enjoy yourself today playing with Graeme?
VICTOR DUBUISSON: It was amazing, playing with Graeme, yeah. As I said before, yesterday I was feeling a little nervous, yesterday night. This morning was a long wait for us to play. I think we teed off at 2.35, you wake up at 8.00 and you think about the afternoon all morning. But the fact that I spent a lot of time with Graeme these last few days, it really helped me. This morning when I was walking with him to the tee, he was next to me, and then the stress completely disappeared. I was only feeling positive. I was only feeling positive from the crowd and then I've been able to just play my game, yeah.
PAUL SYMES: Victor described it as an amazing experience. I guess if you summed up his performance, you might use the same word.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, I've always been very fortunate in Ryder Cups to have pretty decent partners. Obviously playing with Rory the last couple years, he turned out okay.
RORY McILROY: (Laughing).
GRAEME McDOWELL: Very fortunate to be playing alongside a player who I think really is Europe's next superstar, I really believe that. He was awesome today. He didn't miss a shot. His iron play was just outstanding in really, really tough conditions. I drove the ball really solid the front nine, just couldn't seem to make a putt. I think everyone kind of struggled out there today on those greens. They were slow and felt like I left everything in the middle of the hole just short. Nice to put one in there on 16. You don't want to give players like Mickelson and Bradley an inch coming in, so it was nice to finish the game. But my playing partner today was really awesome.
Q. I don't think anybody expected the wind today to be quite as strong as it was. Did that mean that a lot of the practise days, the notes that you had made, the thoughts of where you were going to hit it, did that put a lot of that out of the window and you had to just play by feel?
RORY McILROY: I think yesterday was important because we did play a few holes in -- the wind wasn't quite as strong yesterday as it was today but as least it was in the same direction, so we had a fair idea of what we were going to face today. No, I mean, it didn't disrupt our practise or it didn't make what we did in practise irrelevant in any way. We still were trying to hit it to the same spots and we had practised in a similar wind in the practise days previous. So it wasn't like we had to throw that all out the window today.
Q. It's been Europe's boast that you've been able to win those last few holes in important games over the last few years. It didn't happen this morning, but you managed to get it back this afternoon. How crucial is that?
GRAEME McDOWELL: You know, those half-points here and there can be crucial, because they are -- they really are kind of momentum swingers. Obviously Sergio and Rory, finishing the way they did this afternoon really kind of capped off what was a fantastic afternoon for us. Today was about the -- the captain told us last night that he wanted us to go out and really grab the momentum early in this Ryder Cup and that's what today was all about for us. We'll regroup tonight and get back out there tomorrow and see if we can continue. But there's so many matches going up the last today. It speaks volumes about the types of players that we are playing against. Every match is a dogfight, and we'll rest up and get ready for it again tomorrow, and I think we've got 12 really strong players and we've got to keep our heads down and keep doing it.
Q. Lee, I don't mean to wake you.
LEE WESTWOOD: (Leaning back in chair.) Sorry, Alex. I was thinking, Alex.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Typical in these press conferences for us, you and I.
Q. McGinley told you what the plan was for you. Do you foresee that with some of the struggles of your teammates this morning that maybe the plan will change for you and Jamie?
LEE WESTWOOD: I honestly don't know. That's a question for Paul. And I can't tell you how anybody played this morning because I wasn't really watching it. I was --
SERGIO GARCГЌA: Sleeping?
LEE WESTWOOD: I actually had a lie in. It was lovely in bed. I was sitting there watching the TV --
RORY McILROY: Did you have the fire on in your room, as well? Nice, nice.
LEE WESTWOOD: I can't comment on whether we played well or the other team played well. But I'm ready to play whenever Paul wants me to play. I was happy today, you know -- he's got a strong team. He's got 12 good players and you've got to sit four players out on each session. So if I have to sit out, then I'm happy to do that and just be ready when Paul wants me to play.
Q. Nick Faldo has caused a storm today with comments about Sergio Garcia and the 2008 Ryder Cup. He described Sergio as being useless in Valhalla and also of having a bad attitude. I just want to know what Sergio's response to that is, and also if some of his teammates can defend him and how he is with the team (laughter)?
LEE WESTWOOD: That's a great question. Okay. We'll take the euphoria we all have from today and just crush it --
SERGIO GARCГЌA: Sorry, who asked? Sorry. Are you sure you didn't misquote him? That's unfortunate (laughter). I guess he doesn't feel European. That's the only thing I can think of. You know, there's a lot of things I could say about Nick Faldo, but I'm not going to put myself down to his level.
GRAEME McDOWELL: I'll make a comment on that. When I'm playing -- I'm a rookie playing The Ryder Cup in 2008, and was it Saturday afternoon or Saturday morning you guys got sat down?
LEE WESTWOOD: Afternoon.
GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, you've got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday afternoon of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose. I'd say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah, because he wasn't able to play. So, yeah, I agree.
PAUL SYMES: Okay, if we can end on a happier note.
RORY McILROY: (Putting arm around Sergio, consoling) You're not useless (laughter).
SERGIO GARCIA: Thanks, Nick, I love you, too. (Laughter)
Q. (Speaking in French).
LEE WESTWOOD: Victor, this is for you.
VICTOR DUBUISSON: (Answering in French.)
PAUL SYMES: Well said, Victor, I think we'll all agree with that. We'll leave it there. See you again tomorrow.
GRAEME McDOWELL: We concur.
PAUL SYMES: Thank you
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