The Walker Cup

Press Conference

Sunday September 13, 2015

Nigel Edwards

and GB&I Team

MIKE WOODCOCK: We'll make a start. Like to welcome the Great Britain Ireland winning Walker Cup Team. Guys, congratulations, fantastic performance. Nigel, we can start with you. Can you sum up your thoughts on what's been a great week and a tremendous performance by your team.

NIGEL EDWARDS: I think you just said it, great week, tremendous performance in every session. There were some matches where the players had to dig really deep and they proved crucial.

This morning, Paul and Gary were down most of the way, but boy, did they dig deep there to get a win over that match. That was big I felt, because the four-point advantage going into the singles, that was a big cushion.

And then the performance of the leading players won us the match. When it came over the radio that Jimmy had won on 16 and I knew that Paul had that putt to seal it. Unfortunately it drifted by. But I think it was Maverick just missed and that was it.

They are a great bunch of lads and they deserve the success.

Q. Can you put your finger on any other reason or what was the difference between the two teams?
NIGEL EDWARDS: Well, I think through the team, we have got fantastic short games. I've always said it: If you can chip and putt, then you're a match for anyone. This is a particularly difficult golf course, as you've probably all seen, because you're not going to be hitting 15 greens around here, especially in the breeze. So a short game comes to the fore on this golf course.

Play, as well. I think through the game, they have played pretty darned well. I guess the short games gave us the edge. There was some absolutely stunning bunker shots, but it comes down to the putting. They were crucial putts holed at the right time, which didn't happen two years ago. And therefore, I was confident coming into this week, despite the World Rankings saying what they said about our positions.

You know, this is a great team of competitors who play lots of foursomes and singles match-play and European Team championships and home internationals. That came to the fore. We know how to gel. We know how to dig in. When things aren't going well, they know how to perform, but likewise, they know how to get over the line.

Q. Earlier the Americans were in here talking about foursomes. Do you consider that -- and you mentioned it, as well, about the fact that World Rankings, your team is not ranked nearly as high as the American Team. Do you think foursomes is a great equaliser?
NIGEL EDWARDS: I just think we don't get as many points in some events in the World Rankings. Whether that's right or wrong, I don't know. It's very difficult to have the World Rankings absolutely perfect because not all top players in the world are playing in the same events. You'd probably say that the Top-25, 30 are about right. But we are used to playing foursomes and I guess that does give us an edge, especially this team.

There were five natural pairings: Jimmy and Ashley had played consistently well for England. Paul and Gary, I think they have won 9 1/2 out of 11 foursomes matches in the last two years. Ewen and Grant, although they didn't play foursomes, they had done well for Scotland winning European Team Championships. Cormac and Jack have played a lot of golf together at Stirling University. And obviously you have Gavin and Jack who play regularly for Ireland.

I would say the foursomes clearly gives us an advantage when you win six points out of eight.

Q. You've obviously been captain three times. Presumably you can't pack this in --
NIGEL EDWARDS: That's not my decision. It is what it is. We'll celebrate this now and enjoy it, and let those who make those decisions decide what they want to do.

Q. I presume this team could be keen to have you back. Would you be keen?
NIGEL EDWARDS: I don't know, would you be? (Laughter) (applause) They will be playing in The Ryder Cup in two years.

Q. Can you just talk us through your singles draw, because Miller was in here and said the players had kind of decided the singles draw. I wonder how you went about doing your final singles draw today.
NIGEL EDWARDS: Well, I had a strategy for it, as in -- well, I had thought about the strategy for it. I had put lots of people in different places down my order, but I also asked the players where they are comfortable playing in the order. Not everyone can play 1; not everybody can play 10; not everyone is comfortable playing 1 or 10.

You know, just watching the other players play, I felt confident with Ashley at 1. He's played in that position for England, so that was kind of an easy decision. I suspect America thought I might have gone with Paul at 1 because all the talk was about Paul prior to this.

But I think we've also got a lot of strength and depth that perhaps we had not been given credit for through the order. And the majority always say, I'll play where you want me to play. I made those decisions, but in consultation with the players.

Q. Seven points is a record-winning margin for GB&I in the end. What does that tell you about the quality of the guys behind you?
NIGEL EDWARDS: Well, you know, when we spoke at the beginning of the week, we wanted to do something very special. But clearly, you can't always control the outcome, and certainly you can't control what the other team does.

I just kept reminding the players that it would have to be about them, about them as individuals. At times they had to be very selfish, but at times they had to be part of the team. When I was telling Grant and Ewen they weren't playing in the foursomes, that wasn't an easy conversation for me because they are both class players.

Likewise, yesterday afternoon, Jack and Cormac, that wasn't an easy discussion to have. But I wanted everybody to play on day one, and I told them that at the beginning of the week so that they could prepare for that.

We said no matter what, it wasn't a decision about me and it wasn't a decision about them personally. It was what I felt needed to be done with the team's best interests at heart.

Q. Jimmy, I'm sure you're probably aware by now that you're the first person since Donald and Casey in '99 to go 4-0. How does that feel, first of all, and just to join that sort of company?
JIMMY MULLEN: Yeah, I felt -- (laughter) -- it's obviously great, but it's hard to win -- just to have the feeling with the team and winning the Walker Cup. If I won or if I lost four -- doesn't really mean anything -- (laughter) (applause).

Q. Nigel, do you have any words on just what Jimmy achieved this week?
NIGEL EDWARDS: Well, it's great to have Jimmy on the team. He's been on the England team for the last three years, so I know him through that. He's a great competitor and he's proven that over the last three years. He loves the match play, the cut and thrust of match play. He forms a great partnership with Ashley. Ashley keeps him under control and holds the reins, does a good job of that. I think Jimmy would have learned an awful lot from playing the foursomes with Ashley in a controlled way.

Q. How important is it that everybody actually contributed a point to the victory?
NIGEL EDWARDS: Well, I'm sure that was important for them personally, and it's nice that they all did that. Yeah, I'm delighted for everyone who was part of this team and also the fact that they were able to score points.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Nigel, guys, congratulations again, wonderful performance.

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