"What will it take for USA to come back? I don't know. And I'm not going to offer any assistance."
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By Paul Mahoney
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

1. Do Ryder Cup captains really matter?

You've gotta believe you will do your bit to create a good atmosphere and prepare the guys. Crumbs, I've got 35 years experience as a pro and 20 years experience of majors and as a Ryder Cupper. You've gotta believe that if they need something right there and then, I can have a really good stab at helping them.

2. Twenty years ago a close defeat for GB&I felt like a victory. Is Team USA at that point now?

Well, Zinger is trying to play that game that we are under pressure and they are not. He's really trying to play up the underdog thing. But I just don't see it like that. The Americans are under pressure to come and perform. It's time to make it happen.

3. Hal Sutton's decision to pair Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in 2004 was widely panned. Would you have paired them?

I don't know. I think the biggest mistake that Hal made was not putting them out together to practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, because the talk would have been unbelievable. There's a psychology to doing that, but Hal wouldn't know about that. He missed that one. Clearly, we could see that they didn't gel on the golf course. Visually, it wasn't happening for them. If Hal had been smart, he would have put them together for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but had another plan for Friday. That would have been quite clever and interesting. We've managed to get some great pairings over the years. Seve and Olazabal was the greatest one. On paper, it can look good. But if they don't gel, it's a real waste of two great players.

4. Seve Ballesteros has said he thinks it would be best for the Ryder Cup if the U.S. wins this year. What's your take?

I have got 12 guys who I am sure would disagree with that. I don't think the guys are worried about ratings. All they want to see is Europe engraved on the trophy. What will it take for the USA to come back? I don't know. And I'm not going to offer any assistance.

5. What was your reaction when you read Azinger's searing assessment of you in the Daily Mail?

Well, I know Zinger and I know what he's like. What he actually did say was: "We spent two years together at ABC and got on so well that I'm pro-Nick." [Smiles] Somehow it just came out wrong.

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