September 29, 2016
Sergio Garcia Martin Kaymer Rory McIlroy Thomas Pieters Justin Rose Henrik Stenson Andy Sullivan Lee WestwoodMinneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Q. Have you worked out who is going to hit the first tee shot yet?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's going to be me.
Q. So you led the team out two years ago and got the hop or again. What a great honor it is for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. Obviously it's a little different this time. Bubba and Webb Simpson hit the first couple of shots. I'm assuming the away team gets the honor, so it will literally be the first shot of The Ryder Cup will be mine.
Listen, I think it's a moment to try and enjoy the best you can. It's clearly nerve-wracking and it's not a moment you can really prepare for. It's not a moment -- just expect to be nervous, get it airborne and forward and then Henrik and I will build a great round from there.
Q. Why do you think you complement one another so well?
JUSTIN ROSE: We get along really well. We've lived in the same neighborhood for a number of years. Got very similar games statistically and style-wise and we hit the ball similar distances, have similar attributes. When he hits golf shots, they look comfortable to me and vice versa and from that point of view, decision making can be a little easier at times.
Obviously it just comes down tomorrow just to executing and that's what we both need to sleep on and come out and do. So obviously we've got a great pairing tomorrow, and they put a lot of faith in Jordan and Patrick. They are incredibly tenacious competitors. It's a true game No. 1. It's going to be one of our strongest pairings potentially versus one of theirs and just go from there.
Q. After how well you played two years ago, pretty inevitable you were going to be paired together again?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that's what they were looking for. It was probably no surprise to them, and it was certainly though surprise to us that Jordan and Patrick were first. At this level I think you're not going to hide your guys. You're not going to try to trick guys into playing three and two and hide guys.
Rory and Sully are playing Rickie and Phil, so there's huge match-ups everywhere you look. There's no point in trying to hide anybody. It's just about going out and executing and playing well.
I think it's nice once the pairings are over, there's a sense of relief. Once the pairings are matched up, you now know exactly what you're preparing for. Now everyone knows their role tomorrow and what they can do and how they can prepare. It almost becomes a little clear and almost a little bit easier now that everyone knows what their job is tomorrow.
Q. Expecting a pretty hostile atmosphere on the first tee?
JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. I'm expecting it to be loud. I'm expecting it to be fun. I'm expecting it to be nerve-wracking. I'm expecting it to be The Ryder Cup, which is why it's special, so I can't wait for tomorrow.
Q. After the pairing two years ago, fairly inevitable you were going to be paired up with Justin again?
HENRIK STENSON: Doesn't come as any big surprise I guess. You could always try to switch things around in terms of order of play and so on, but we felt pretty happy two years ago to lead off, and we are doing that, got the honor once again. So we are going to be up against pretty much the pairing we expected, as well. Yeah, it will be a fun match in the morning.
Q. Why do you feel you complement one another so well?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, we play, in fact, a very similar game I would say in terms of overall. So I think it's pretty easy in that sense. We're going to look at it the same way and more or less hit it the same off the tee, and strong iron players in general, and keep it pretty tidy.
Yeah, it's a good combo we showed two years ago, and I hope it can be the same outcome this time around.
Q. Did you have an argument about who is going to hit the first tee shot?
HENRIK STENSON: No, not really. We are sticking to what we thought was going to be the best at the start of the week and it's going to continue that way.
Q. You played against Patrick two years ago in the Sunday singles; they are going to make a quite formidable partnership?
HENRIK STENSON: They played great. We didn't play against them two years ago but they played -- how many matches did they play, three I think? Three out of four, and I can't remember if they -- I think they were unbeaten.
So yeah, it's a very strong pairing, and we're going to have to play some good golf tomorrow to beat them for sure.
Q. Not a bad partner for your first Ryder Cup.
ANDY SULLIVAN: Yeah, takes a lot of pressure off you knowing if you miss a fairway, he can always do something special. To have him by your side, it's awesome. That Darren's put the faith in me to send me out as well as in the morning and to have Rory on the side, it's awesome.
Q. Sinking in yet?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Very much so. When the European anthem was playing, the old goosebumps are going and hearing mine and Rory's name get announced, and it's just all pumped up for tomorrow now.
RORY McILROY: Same thing; it never gets old. I mean, obviously Andy's experiencing this for the first time and this is my fourth, but opening ceremony, the buzz that you get, you know that it's really close.
I think it doesn't matter how many Ryder Cups you've played. The way Lee Westwood's feeling playing his 10th or whatever is probably the same way Andy was feeling up there. It's just excitement, anticipation and just whenever your name gets called, you just can't wait to get going in the morning.
Ever since we played the first time in Dubai at the Desert Classic at the start of last season, I was really impressed with Andy's game. He went out there and shot a couple of scores, 66, 67, something like that, and was really impressed with his game and impressed how he could move the ball both ways, and really vary up his ball flight. He had a great short game, a fantastic putter.
I sort of earmarked him from the start as a potential Ryder Cup partner, and especially I knew coming into this one, there was going to be a few first timers on the team and if there was anyone I wanted to try and take under my wing a little bit, it was him.
Q. Tough match?
RORY McILROY: Very tough match. You've got the two most popular Americans out there that we're going to be up against but tough match. But it's an important match, and I think that match tomorrow is worth nearly more than one point for Europe, because if we can beat their two most popular players, you know, that's an early blow for them.
So if we can go out there and play the way we've been playing and stick to our game plan and execute the way we know we can, that will be huge.
Q. Who is hitting the first tee shot?
ANDY SULLIVAN: Me. I get to experience the full Ryder Cup experience. Obviously again, I'm pretty excited about it right now. I'm sure that the emotions will change when I get there but again, you know, when you've got someone like Rory McIlroy standing next to you, you feel $1 million. I'll go out there with the utmost confidence that Rory is by my side and I'm ready to go.
Q. Your thoughts on teaming up with Martin tomorrow?
SERGIO GARCIA: Really excited. He's an amazing player, good friend of mine. We get along great. I think I can speak for both of us when I say how excited we are to play, and to give everything we have to get that, at least try to get that point and help our team as much as possible.
Q. Sergio has got a terrific record in the format.
MARTIN KAYMER: I can remember when Sergio played his first Ryder Cup when he was 19 years old. I was watching The Ryder Cup at home and now we are paired together. So it makes me proud to be paired with someone who shares the same passion. I feel like all the Spaniards, they have a lot of passion for The Ryder Cup.
Obviously we all try our best, and I think what Sergio has done in his Ryder Cup appearances, you can see that there's a lot of will and a lot of belief and wanting that point really bad. I'm sure we will put everything we have into the first match tomorrow, and that's all we can do. We will fight, as what the Spanish people are known for; the Germans, too. I think it's a good combo.
Q. Your thoughts on opponents tomorrow?
SERGIO GARCIA: Anybody we play is going to be a good team. You have a combination of Jimmy Walker being fairly long and Zach, we know he's got a really good short game. It's obviously not going to be easy but you know, we know what we can do.
We know if our game is on what we are capable of. I think at the end of the day, we've just got to focus on ourselves and play the best we can, and you know, just get it done. It doesn't matter how, but just get it done.
MARTIN KAYMER: I think it doesn't really matter who you play against in match play. I think sometimes you get distracted too much by focusing on the opponent than just focusing on ourselves. I think especially in the foursomes in the morning, it's about creating chances, just playing our own ball.
It's pretty much if you play for yourself against another guy, I think we need to take care of our own game and just play brave. So that is pretty much what I learned from my first Ryder Cup that I played, I was not brave enough. And I think in order to win match play, you have to go for it and even if you hit a bad shot in there, it's okay.
But in the end of the day for me, it never really mattered who we played against.
Q. And Opening Ceremony there, coming down in the shades, looked pretty smart.
SERGIO GARCГЌA: Yeah, it was a great idea from Darren who has been on top of everything. I think we all looked great, looked exactly the same. It looked like what we are, just an amazing team and we are all thrilled to get started.
Q. Just nice to get started now, isn't it; this is when it really feels like it's going to go.
MARTIN KAYMER: It's one of those things, once you put that stuff on, the clothes, and everybody wears the same thing, creates a very solid powerful unit, and that is what The Ryder Cup is about, especially The European Team that we really fight for each other.
I think it's a very exciting time once you get here on Friday morning. Everybody is really excited about the game. You all wear the same stuff, and no, it's very special.
LEE WESTWOOD: Lucky enough to play with him a couple of times recently and he's got a lot of game. He's very impressive. Best young player in Europe I would say at the moment.
Q. It's a role you've relished before, obviously you had Nicolas Colsaerts two years ago.
LEE WESTWOOD: I like playing with these Belgians that shoot 10-under. No pressure (laughter).
Q. What can you tell me about Thomas's game?
LEE WESTWOOD: There's no weakness to it. No weakness to it. Hits it miles. I'm going to be going in with a few shorter clubs than I normally do, that's for sure, and great short game. Great putter.
Q. Coming up against Dustin and Matt?
LEE WESTWOOD: Obviously two good players. Dustin is a big hitter and Matt is very steady. You know, I guess we fancy our chances.
Q. That first tee excitement, that's obviously still there for you, but nerves not quite as much as the first time?
LEE WESTWOOD: Can't wait. This is a great experience. Thomas is in for a real treat. Nothing quite like that first tee at The Ryder Cup.
Q. Excited to play with Lee in his 10th Ryder Cup appearance?
THOMAS PIETERS: Yeah, as soon as I heard the news, I just thought of Nicolas Colsaerts right away, how good he showed him the ropes, how good a day Nicolas had when he played with Lee. I can't wait to maybe up Nicolas, but that will be tough.
Q. You seem like the guy who doesn't get nervous too easy, but having Lee alongside you is certainly going to help on the first tee?
THOMAS PIETERS: Yeah, that will calm me down for sure. He has been there a million times, literally a million times, and I haven't. Just see what he does and I'll be fine.
Q. How will your game suits each other tomorrow?
THOMAS PIETERS: Just as Lee says, I hit it really long, he hits it close, I make it. Simple.
Q. Can you tell me about your opponents tomorrow, Dustin and Matt?
THOMAS PIETERS: I don't know much. I haven't played with them or anything. I know Matt a little bit. Obviously Dustin has been playing great, and he hits it very far. So it will be kind of a similar pairing I think.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports