EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM
Saturday, January 16, 2016
PAUL SYMES: Thanks for joining us. Another great day for Team Europe.
DARREN CLARKE: Yeah, they did very well. Asia got off to a very strong start; I thought they might do. Europe rallied and things went their way on the back nine.
PAUL SYMES: And tomorrow you have Ian Poulter leading from the front again. An easy decision to make I guess.
DARREN CLARKE: Poults, he likes getting out and playing early, and he plays pretty quick. He’s been very successful in that leading role so far this week, so I didn’t see any reason to change it.
PAUL SYMES: I guess the main message to you is to guard against complacency.
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously, I go back to Brookline 1999 whenever we had a big lead and lost. It’s very easy to — you know, we have a commanding lead obviously right now at the moment, but there’s still a lot of golf to play tomorrow against a very strong Asian team. So under no circumstances will we underestimate the challenge that we still have to do. But obviously to have the lead that we have, I’m very delighted for the team that we are in this position.
Q. Would you agree that one hand is on the trophy already?
DARREN CLARKE: There’s no hands on any trophy in any golf tournament until you finish the last hole on a Sunday afternoon. I have been in the game too long to know that, whether it’s the singles or a team tournament.
There’s still a lot of golf to be played tomorrow, and I think we’re probably in for another exciting day tomorrow again.
Q. Are you surprised at captain, the 6-point lead, or were you in the back of your mind expecting this?
DARREN CLARKE: Am I surprised at a 6-point lead? I’m not so sure. Did I expect a 6-point lead at this stage? No. I think the guys have bonded exceptionally well in the team room. They have enjoyed themselves this week, which was one of my priorities for them to do so. And they have performed fantastic.
Looking at that leaderboard today after maybe — I know the first group after nine holes, there was a lot of red up there, and the guys responded to that and played really well. I’m certainly very pleased for the guys that they have a commanding lead. But in saying that, it’s only a lead. We’ve still got to go and play and play very well tomorrow.
Q. What was your thinking behind the order that you have had in the singles?
DARREN CLARKE: The thinking, well, the team, the order, it’s strong all the way through. Obviously just talking about Ian going out there first, he likes to play quickly, as does Danny. I could have put this team out in any order, but I had my plan in place for the order in which I wanted the pairings to go out. I had made my mind on that up for fourballs and foursomes probably six weeks ago, and I had my mind made up on basically this order around the same sort of time. I don’t see any reason to change from my original plans. That’s why they are in the order in which they are.
Q. Your team spirit — is there anything you would like to improve? I know you have a 6-point lead. I know you would love Europe to win every match. Any areas you would like to see these boys improve on?
DARREN CLARKE: No, from my point of view, I couldn’t ask more from my team than they have given me. I’ve asked them to enjoy themselves. I hope they played well; they have played well. Match-play golf can be a very tricky format. The team so far have played really, really well. They have bonded well as a team. I don’t think I would change anything at all with what they have done. I’d be foolish to; they have got a 6-point lead. I don’t think I need to change anything.
Q. You seem to have unearthed a very good partnership in Shane and Andy Sullivan.
DARREN CLARKE: I spoke to both of them towards the end of last year anyway, and they had sort of indicated, I asked all the players, give me three names of people you want to play with, and Sully and Shane had their names at the top of each other’s lists. It seemed a very natural and normal pairing. They are both very carefree young kids that want to have a bit of fun and they really enjoy each other’s company.
I think if you watch them this week, they have shown that. They really, really do enjoy each other’s company. They have been a very strong pairing. Going forward, they could possibly be a very strong pairing come September.
Q. When you see a 21-year-old like Matt Fitzpatrick —
DARREN CLARKE: He was fantastic today. He had probably, well, he certainly had the most experienced partner he could possibly have today in Lee, and I know he’s learnt an awful lot from Lee today. I’ve already spoken to him about it.
I don’t really want to go through here and pick out individuals because it’s all a team effort. It’s a clichÃ© to say, but today, with all due respect to the guys that won, I’ve got a massive amount of respect for Chris Wood and Kris Broberg, to get their match up the last; and to show that sort of fighting spirit to keep going, keep going, keep going and get the match up the last, that almost inspires the rest of the team as much as winning a point does.
So even those two guys didn’t get the point today, they inspired the rest of the team. Things like that shows what a unit and what a bond the team have developed this week.
Q. Like any Saturday night before the final round, how much satisfaction would you take sitting here tomorrow as the winning captain?
DARREN CLARKE: I haven’t hit a shot, Bernie. It’s the team.
Q. You’ve led the team, and you talk about going forward —
DARREN CLARKE: Well, going forward, yes, if — ask me the question tomorrow night and I’ll probably be in a better state to answer your question, if that’s the case.
But my job was to try to get the guys and enable them to enjoy themselves and perform their best and that’s what they have done this week. And my role is to direct them and to make them feel as comfortable as possible, and I think so far, I’ve been able to do that.
You know, I’ll probably take a look at this along with the backroom team in a few weeks’ time and we’ll go through the positives and the negatives, what could I have done better, what I did well, and then move on from there. And then hopefully I will learn a few things about what I could do better and I’ll put those into play for September.
But I couldn’t ask for anything more from the team. They have been sensational all week, they really have. They came here with quite a few of them having a long break and not playing, and they couldn’t wait to get out in competition and they have given everything. I’m very proud of them.
Q. How much is the environment here helped you have your team in such a good frame of mind? In other words, the surroundings, the atmosphere, being in Malaysia, how much has had that a good effect on your team?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously with the weather we have here, it’s much nicer than it is in parts of the U.K., certainly, at the moment. We’re very fortunate with that.
But for the guys that come out, they are professional golfers that play all over the world, but you get here, for a lot of them, their first of the tournament year to play in the heat, sometimes oppressive. I think this week, the temperature has not been too bad. I think we’ve been fortunate with it. The guys really enjoy being here. They enjoy the golf course.
From a personal point of view, it’s nice to play a golf course that isn’t all about bombing it 330 yards off the tee. This course requires a bit of he strategy, a bit of planning, and all the players have adapted to it this week. I think the quality of the golf again today, it’s pretty easy to see how much the guys have enjoyed it.
PAUL SYMES: Thanks a lot, Darren.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Jeev Milkha Singh
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Thought on the day?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: I think the start was amazing. When I saw red out there, I said the boys are going to get the thing rolling today. But that’s all right.
At least we got 1 1/2 points, and looking back two years ago, we were in a similar situation, and the boys pulled through. And I still believe with the pairings that have come out, my boys are going to do well tomorrow. I think in golf, I believe in the saying, anything is possible until the last putt is not holed out. So I’m hoping and I believe that my boys are going to go out there and give it their best shot.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: S.S.P. and Kiradech got the lone win for Asia today, but the Malaysians produced quite a halve, to give you a nice taste in the mouth at the end of the session.
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Yes, I think S.S.P. and Kiradech, I think they had a perfect combination. I was watching them on the golf course. Whenever they missed the green, I think S.S.P. came in, or Kiradech came in to save par and make birdies. I think it was fantastic to watch them. I think they combined really well.
Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung, amazing. I think it’s great to watch these two. I think when I asked them early rear, I said, “What do you think about playing with each other?”
They said, “We’re brothers.”
I said, “This is it. You’re made for each other,” and I think they have proven it.
They pick each other up at the right moments, and I think the way they handled themselves today was fantastic, especially Danny holing the last hole, 6-footer, to get half a point for Team Asia, I think that was fantastic to watch.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Just talk a little about your singles draw. Any rationale behind the selection that you’ve made?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: I sent Danny Chia out. I think he’s really playing well, and in front of the home crowds, he’s handled himself well. He would be fantastic to go out, because I think the Malaysians are going to cheer him on. I want to get some momentum going for my team.
And after that, I have loaded the team off with the top players. In the end, I’ve loaded with some experienced players if it comes down to the wire, and I have a feeling these boys are going to push themselves to the limit.
Q. How important is man management at this moment?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: It is very important. I just want to build momentum, like I mentioned to Chuah earlier.
Danny Chia being a Malaysian, I think the crowds are going to come out and cheer him on. After that, the top half, if you see the top players from Asia, they have played enough in Europe. They have won in Europe. These boys are playing with the top players, and I think it’s going to be fun to watch.
After that, in the middle, I’ve put Nicholas Fung, he’s playing really well, too, and I think these two pairings are very good for the crowds, also. Ian Poulter and Danny Chia, and Lee Westwood and Nicholas Fung, I think the Malaysian crowds are going to love this.
Q. What are you going to tell the team, especially tomorrow morning, before they go out? What will be your word of advice to them?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: In fact, I just told them, and I’m going to repeat myself. You know, when your back is against the wall, the only way is up, or you’ve just got to push yourself. So I think that’s what they are going to do. I think there’s no other option.
And they said, yes, we are going to give our best, and I believe them. They want to go out there and they want to give their best shot possible.
Q. Looking at the draw, did you know the order of The European Tour before you picked your — is it a coincidence that Nicholas is playing Lee Westwood and Danny is playing Ian Poulter, or was that just by chance?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: It was just by chance, because the way the pairings goes, I put in my 12 players, and Darren puts his. And after that, the envelope just gets opened up and that’s the way the pairings happen. And I’m happy with the pairings.
Q. If you had to look at the first two days, what are the positives that you’ve had in the four-ball or the foursomes?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: I just felt that if you talk about fourballs, I think the Asian players, my team, where the boys have lacked is putting. I think they have hit the ball really well. I’ve been watching them and they have missed a lot of putts. I think to get the momentum going, you have to hold putts in match-play situations.
And like I mentioned to you, like S.S.P. and Kiradech, I watched them today. They holed a lot of 4- or 5-footers, 10-footers. Even that keeps you going.
When you start missing a few early on, it kind of gets a player down, but I’ve been telling them, I said, you’ve got to keep your spirits up. You’ve got to keep going, because it’s a new hole. Like when Nicholas missed the putt on 17, I just told him, it’s a new hole, 18. You don’t need to putt your chin down. Just keep your chin up and you just go out there and do a good job.
I think Danny did a fantastic job with the drive. Unfortunately Nicholas hit it left but no problem, Danny came back and Nicholas made the putt. That’s what we need. That builds momentum. I think that’s where we’ve just had the short fall, I would say.
Q. Even though they have played 12 matches so far, there’s another 12 to go, so just play it like another match?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Yes, and they know that, and they have got the experience. I know they are hungry and they are burning, and they will give it a go tomorrow.
CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Captain Jeev, thanks very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports