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.