'Duelling captains' set tone for Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo used to be on television some time back, on some spiffy set, going through the give-and-take of entertainment, and the whoop-and-holler and the yin-and-yang, making pithy golf comments and yukking it up for the viewers.
Well, those two old broadcast buddies are stage center again, this time as rival Ryder Cup captains -- Zinger for the U.S and Faldo for the Europeans, for those scoring geography at home. They have been chatting a lot before the media, gushing information on and about the Ryder Cup matches, at Valhalla Golf Club, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To this end, they appeared Wednesday, and the following are questions and answers excerpted from their interviews - separate interviews - and put together here for something approaching similarity. This could be called “Duelling Captains.” They aren't really duelling, not like the banjos. This is just “juxtaposing.” That's the right word, but it seemed a bit far out for golf.
At all events, here's the way it went with Azinger and Faldo in their separate Q&A's with the media Wednesday:
Q: Why does Sergio [Garcia] have that incredible 8-0-0 record in foursomes [alternate shot]?
Azinger: “I don't know what it is. It's intangibles. There's something that happens inside him that just fits this format. If you could bottle it, you would probably sell it.”
Faldo: “Passion. Passion. That man's got tons of passion, very much the Spanish thing, along with Seve [Ballesteros] and [Jose Maria] Olazabal.”
Q: Azinger said he's planning to put out [J.B.] Holmes and [Kenny] Perry [Kentucky natives] on Friday morning, just to get the crowd going. Do you believe him?
Faldo: “I think Paul is trying to pull a poker move here. As you know, each captain does his own thing and it's a blind draw and they come together. We will see if that happens.”
Q: Have you already decided your pairings for Friday morning?
Faldo: “I have a very good idea. We pretty much have a clear idea of what we're going to do.”
Q: Are you planning to let all of the European players play on Friday?
Faldo: Well, there's always a plan, and there's a reality, because we've got 12 guys, and who is playing their best? As you know, I pick eight out of 12, so four are going to get left out. Whether they are left out of both morning and afternoon, we will see. I will obviously review it as they go through Friday morning. Long-winded answer. If you can tell me what's going to happen Friday, I'll write it down and do it.”
Q: Is there anyone (U.S.) playing poorly right now?
Azinger: “I don't think there's one guy playing poorly right now. Everyone is playing pretty well. If somebody were playing poorly, you have a format in place where you can hide anybody you want. I mean, four guys don't play the first day. They sit. That's just the way it is. If you had three guys playing poorly, you could wait until Sunday to play them. That's not the case.
Q: Nick Faldo has a sports psychologist … Do you have something similar and can you imagine the stresses of captaincy make that role important?
Azinger: “Are you asking me if I have a sports psychologist hanging with us?”
Q: With you…
Azinger: “I'm going to tell you what - the stress of being a captain is far less than the stress of being a player. I feel no stress as the captain at this point, none whatsoever.”
Q: You said J.B. [Holmes] was playing well. Did you see him hit it on the range this morning when everybody stopped to watch?
Azinger: “No, but everybody stops to watch. It's an anomaly what he can do.”
Faldo: “The guy is impressively long, simple as that. But fortunately, there's more to it [than that] in this game.”
Q: How much do you think about matching your guys up to his, if at all?
Azinger: “I haven't given the European team anything that they might be considering, any consideration whatsoever. I haven't spied on them. I think they've got a couple spies following us around a little bit, but that's OK.”
Q: Paul also said that you've got a couple of spies watching them. Is that the case?
Faldo: “My spies are so secret, I don't even know who my spies are.”
Q: What is it that you see the team responding to from you …?
Azinger: “You know, without being specific - I can't be specific about anything that we're doing at this time. There's no great secrets. But I came in here with a concept. It's a secret.”
Q: What is the biggest difference you feel like things you do make on the impact on the matches?
Faldo: “The biggest thing I can do is keep things secret.”
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