Featured Golf News
Americans Prevail in Walker Cup
The American team won their third straight Walker Cup, beating the team from Great Britain and Ireland by a wide margin, 16 ½ by 9 ½.
The U.S. held a six-point lead heading into the singles matches Sunday. But, after struggling a bit in the middle of their rounds, the Americans rolled home for the victory at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania.
"I felt quietly confident ... but memories of Royal County Down weren't that far away," said captain Buddy Marucci in reference to the U.S. team's final-hole 12 ½ to 11 ½ victory in 2007.
After their awards ceremony, Marucci and team members Peter Uihlein and Ricky Fowler discussed the victory with reporters.
MODERATOR: We welcome members from the United State Team, Peter Uihlein and Rickie Fowler, and Captain Buddy Marucci. I'd ask you to start off with some comments, how you felt throughout the afternoon and how exciting it was when you realized the U.S. Team had clinched the winning point with Peter's match.
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Thank you. I think it was -- you know, I was finally confident after this morning, because as I looked down the lineup and all ten playing, I knew we had some really strong players, and the memories of County Down were not that far away. I talked with some players at lunch, and Rickie did as well, to try to win every point, and we wanted to get out to an early start and not to get ahead of ourselves and not to get anxious, play the holes and just be patient. So, you know, we got off to a pretty good start. Brian got a little ahead of himself, I think played a little quickly but he played a good opponent and that was a good match. Didn't turn out exactly the way we would have liked. Rickie hung in there and he had Peter back there. And then of course we had all of these other very talented players, including Cameron, and they end up getting kind of forgotten in the mix and Cameron goes out and wins 7 & 6, kind of like Jaime Lovemark in the last match when he was in the middle of the back of the pack and he was 3-up, 4-up, 3-up, 4-up all day and he kind of won a point for us that people weren't really noticing that much.
So, you know, I knew that obviously we needed 2 1/2 points to win outright, as opposed to the two to just retain, which is obviously what we wanted to do. And you know, I had a lot of confidence in this guy over here to the right, and Petey has just -- you know, Petey is Petey. He's performed great and I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Petey, or he wouldn't have been out there. You know, say what you will, but I felt that he belonged out there and that's why we put him out there. You know, and he performed brilliantly in his own way. And you know, so I felt pretty confident but you know, the board starts to change in the middle of the day and you really wondered, goodness, are we going to end up going down to the last hole.
Then, of course, I tried to tell Brendan who had not had a lot of success this week to just kind of go out there and fight. It's the last match but it matter, every point is the same, and of course he came through on his match. You know, I just thought that there was just too much talent in ten people not to be able to get 2 1/2 points. I'm glad it wasn't closer than that. And I thought GB&I played great in the afternoon. I mean, it has to get to a point where both sides get worn out a little bit. But you know, so I was quietly confident but certainly I was aware that things could turn around pretty quickly.
MODERATOR: You were 4-0 this weekend and recorded the winning point for the Walker Cup. Can you talk about how this feels in terms of golfing accomplishments in your career?
PETER UIHLEIN: This is awesome, by far the biggest one. Rickie said winning his Walker Cup last year, that was his biggest moment, and again this year, or two years ago, sorry. Yeah, this is definitely the biggest moment in my golfing career. It's a pretty special two days, spending a lot of time with the team was just awesome. We had a great time together. We all got along great, and yeah, I mean, this is just one of the best moments of my life, so it's pretty special.
MODERATOR: Rickie, could you spend a moment or two and compare 2007 to 2009?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, you know, over there, we had not won in a while, so that was a pretty big thing for us to go out and get the Cup there. And then here, it was -- this is the whole reason I stayed amateur was to come back and play another, and to play it on our home court, we would say, and have our own fans here. Not that we didn't have any over there, but being able to have everyone over here and being here, Buddy's backyard, and you know, to win tops it off.
Q. As you know, foursomes is supposed to be a GB&I forte, but yet in your captaincy, you're 12-4 in foursomes. Anything that you've said to your players or any tactics you told them when it comes to foursomes play? Because you've been brilliant in the last two Walker Cups.
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I think on the teams I played on when we were successful in foursomes, we won, and my success was in foursomes. So you know, I tried to carry that through to County Down and when we got together back then, two years ago, we practiced all the time, all we practiced was foursomes. And again this time, even when we went to Caves Valley kind of to get together. I made sure that everybody played with everybody. I just think that those eight points, even though there are not as many points, the emotion of those early-morning matches and getting ahead is really significant. And we were fortunate the first day, Petey makes that putt on the last hole, looks like it could go either way. We go from 2-2 or maybe 2 1/2 and we are up 3-1.
And this morning the guys just turned it around, even Brendan and Drew, came back, which I really applauded them for, because you never want to give up. You never want anybody to see you give up, and so you know, I really believe that if the format is going to remain as it is, the foursomes are really important. So we concentrated to, I would say, 70 percent of our effort, because they all know how to play golf. I mean, you know, they all can play, so you know we go and practice and practice and practice that way and I think -- I don't know what these guys think, but I think it made a world of difference to get accustomed to every other shot, getting kind of out of your routine. I know you may not hit a shot for two holes, three holes; you may hit one putt, or you may hit every putt. It was my goal to just get them as comfortable and, you know, I think it worked out.
Q. This has to be something special, not just because of it being in America, but being at Merion, your home club. Just what does that mean to you to win here and what do you think it means to the club? And how long have you been a member out here?
CAPTAIN BUDDY MARUCCI: Well, I've been a member close to just about 20 years. I think it's 19 years now. I lived down the street when I was a young boy so I've been in this neighborhood since I was seven years old, which is 50 years now. I'm not sure what it means to the club. I mean, to me, I mean, I don't know that there's anything greater in golf for a person like myself than to No. 1, captain the team, and to do it at home and to have ten great guys and to win. I just don't know that there's anymore -- I don't know that there's another chapter in the story. It pretty much is over. But, the emotion was certainly -- you know, I've never had a problem sleeping in my life, and I have to tell you that I did not sleep last night. It meant a great deal to me for the club to be as successful as they were with the event.
You know, I've done a lot of work with the club, and then I wanted all of these friends of mine and everybody else to be successful and they just did a brilliant job. And the superintendent and the staff, I mean, it's great. And then, you know, for us to win the match; that's just terrific. So you know, it was something. I'm not sure there's anything quite like it for a person like myself. These guys will win major championships, but for me, this is kind of the whole deal.
Q. You mentioned that you were glad you waited. Could you expand on that? Was there ever any point in the last year that you said, well, maybe I'll pass? And could you talk about next week, starting the next chapter?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, there was never a question whether I was going to leave earlier. You know, I made, I guess, a verbal commitment that I was going to stay around. I knew that I had a good chance of being on the team since I played the 2007 Walker Cup and I was on the World Amateur Team last year. So from the experiences that I had in 2007 with those guys on the team, I knew there was a very good chance that I was going to be a leader, and then that we would have a bit of a younger team and I knew that there was a fairly good chance of having a teammate, if not two, like it worked out, show up on the team. So like I said, there was no question that I was going to wait around. And as for next week, hop on a plane tomorrow morning and fly out to Boise and get things started.
Q. If it works out with your careers in four years, what do you think of Merion as a U.S. Open golf course?
PETER UIHLEIN: If they tighten the fairways, grow the rough, if it's going to be playing firm and fast, it's going to be interesting. If they move some tees up, they move some tees back, they can make this course as hard as you want, maybe, 6,850 tipped out. But you're only hitting driver a few times, especially if the fairways get firm. You can't be coming into these greens outs of the rough. A U.S. Open here, there may be a lot of birdies, but there might be some others around there.
RICKIE FOWLER: It's the longest 6,850 I've ever played, because all of the holes are -- all of the short holes you hit iron off the tee basically and there's three holes that are 500-plus I think and the way the course is designed, you have a couple of those 440, 450 holes are into the wind and that makes it even tougher. It definitely will be a great U.S. Open course with the greens firm and fast, there's no doubt. We kind of got a little taste of it and the greens got really firm and really quick. I mean, it was brutal. It was playing tough. Yeah, it will definitely be a great U.S. Open venue.
Q. Peter, you were one of the last two guys named to the team, you finished 4-0. Was it nerve-wracking waiting for those two or three weeks to get the nod, and how did you feel?
PETER UIHLEIN: Not really. I just tried to do the best I could. I felt like I had a pretty good chance. I was fortunate enough to get picked. There's obviously 20, 25 guys who had great chances of making it. I got lucky to make it, and you know, I just tried to appreciate having Captain Marucci have a lot of trust in me to go out and perform. I just tried to do the best I could and try and win some points for the team and it just so happened I won all four. It was a pretty special week.
Q. How much did Buddy's knowledge of this golf course help you in preparing for the matches?
PETER UIHLEIN: It helped me a lot even though we kind of banged heads in practice rounds. But no, I definitely listened to his advice during the match and I kind of -- I think I was just more needling him to see how far I could get during the practice rounds. But yeah, I listened to him this week and yeah, definitely his advice was awesome. Yeah, it was priceless, it really was. Just having him here, being in his backyard, it makes it even more special.
RICKIE FOWLER: I would have to agree with Peter. He's been around, seen this course and may not help us out so much tee-to-green, but once you get around the greens, he's been in every position and hit every shot from right where we are, just how we are going to play it. And so with that being said, could he tell us where to hit it, where not to hit it. You could tell, and at times, where you can and can't, but you know, if you follow his direction, you'll do all right.
MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and congratulations to all of you.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.