Walker Cup Q&A Sessions
We bring you the pre-tournament Q&A sessions for the USA and GB&I teams ahead of the 2011 Walker Cup.
LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to introduce to my right the U.S. Captain Jim Holtgrieve, Patrick Cantlay and Peter Uihlein. You’ve been practising here this week for a couple days. Can you tell us how your preparations are going.
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: Well, the preparations have been going great. Fortunately we’ve had a chance to see all the weather conditions of Scotland. We saw rain, we saw the wind, we’ve seen the cross‑winds, we’ve seen the sun a little bit. So I think the team is well prepared now after seeing the various conditions.
The golf course is in extremely great shape, excellent condition, and I think that the team, the players would say that, as well. The greens are putting superbly. We needed to see the wind, we needed to see some of the rain and I think the guys are well prepared.
THE MODERATOR: Patrick, could you give us your thoughts on the course.
PATRICK CANTLAY: Yeah, I think the course is great. It’s obviously in great condition. The greens will probably get a little quicker. They’re absolutely perfect right now, and I think they can take a little off them if they want. Everything is really great. You’ve got to drive your ball really straight and leave yourself in the right spots so you can get up‑and‑down around the greens.
THE MODERATOR: Peter, how is your week going so far? Has it met your expectations?
PETER UIHLEIN: Yeah, like Patrick said, it’s been a great week. It’s been a lot of fun. The course is beautiful. We played nine holes going out and nine coming back in. You don’t see that a lot in the States, so it’s pretty awesome for us to see that. The fairways are definitely narrow, but the rough is not too bad. You should avoid those bunkers for sure, and if the wind blows, it definitely could be real challenging, but like they all said, it’s been great so far, and we’ve been fortunate enough with the weather, so hopefully it holds up.
Q. For the captain, can you tell me have you brought your summer wardrobes or your winter wardrobes?
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: Well, I’ve got to be honest with you. We brought ‑‑ as you can see, I have a summer shirt on, but we have some undergarment wear, as well. We brought a combination of both, not that I thought we would be wearing shirts like this by themselves, but then you look at Mr. Cantlay, who was out there playing this morning, he says he’s fine, he’s not cold. We’ve got a combination. We’re prepared for everything, and I think we’re in good shape.
Q. Do you have long johns, hand warmers, gloves?
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: We have gloves, we do not have hand warmers specifically, and we do not have long johns, but we have some cords, corduroys, that would certainly take care of most of the cold conditions, and we’ve got good rain pants that don’t leak (laughter), so we’re all set with that, as well.
Q. Did you stand in the shower to make sure?
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: I actually did, because I was certainly concerned about ‑‑ Corey Pavin is a very good friend of mine, so I was going to make sure that that was not going to happen. So when I got the suit from Polo, I did stand in the shower, and it does work perfectly. As I said Monday, we had a pretty good rainstorm out there for about an hour, and I just made sure that all the ten players, that they were dry, and they assured me that they were, so we’re in good shape.
Q. You’re aware that in this country we can have four seasons in one day, and I’m wondering how that might affect the play out there in terms of the American team, but also, what have you done in terms of preparation for that event?
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: Obviously until getting to Scotland, there was no preparation. These gentlemen have played in a lot of various conditions. Obviously they haven’t played ‑‑ Peter came over and played obviously in the Open Championship and got some awareness of ‑‑ I know Patrick has been here when he was a youngster. But the other gentlemen certainly have not seen conditions like this.
But when you hear people tell you that they like to play in the rain, when some don’t mind the wind, and then we’ve got three guys from Texas so they know a little bit about the wind; Peter is from Orlando, Florida, he’s learned how to play in the wind. So I think we’re all prepared. Yes, we saw ‑‑ we’ve seen these four conditions that you speak to, but the guys are all prepared for it. They like it. They like the challenge. I feel they’re very well prepared after having been here.
I’m glad that we got here Sunday night and spent Monday and Tuesday and they’re kind of relaxing now. These gentlemen spent a lot of time looking at various hole locations, hitting a lot of different shots around the green, putting and so forth. So I think we’re just very well prepared right now. I feel very, very good about the way my team has assessed the situations and the weather conditions.
Q. Patrick and Peter, can you tell us what you know about James Byrne and Michael Stewart and how much of an advantage you think they might have playing in Scotland?
PATRICK CANTLAY: I haven’t met either, so I really don’t know too much about either one.
PETER UIHLEIN: I know James is at ASU. I’ve never played with him, but we’ve played with ASU a lot. And Michael played pretty good at the Am this year, I think. I know he played match play. I don’t know if he won a match. Obviously I know ‑‑ isn’t James from around here? Isn’t he from Aberdeen? Is Michael, as well?
Obviously being from around here helps, knowing the course and the conditions like that is obviously helpful.
Q. Obviously Sunday is a special day in the history of the United States with the ten‑year anniversary of 9/11. Do you have anything planned to commemorate? Do you have anything special you might do?
JIM HOLTGRIEVE: Well, yes, I do. It’s obviously a very special day for the United States of America. I’ve had a special hat designed for that day that we’re only going to wear on that day. I’m hoping, and I think what I’ve been told by the R&A that there is going to be a moment of silence starting the ceremony, not that I could get them to shut down the tournament during that specific time. But yes, and I have a special letter that I received from President 43 that I’m going to read to the team on Sunday morning.
So it’s a big day for me because I have ‑‑ quite honestly the hat was designed with a few of my golfing friends from the United States who lost two sons and lost several employees, and so I sent it out to them, a number of designs that I had, and it’s ironic that they all picked the same one that we’re going to use. So it’s a special day, and the team is obviously aware of it. We’re going to go out and try to play hard.
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