Ryder Cup captains Curtis Strange of America and Sam Torrance of Europe held a conference call Tuesday in which they spoke of many issues surrounding the UBS Warburg Cup, of which they are both playing members. Both agreed that the basics of the Ryder Cup ' the United States playing against a continent or against the rest of the world - is an idea whose appeal will never get old.
Everyone loves it, said Torrance. The players love it, the press loves it, the spectators love it, the sponsors love it. They are great events when you are up against another country. You represent country and its international golf. Its very exciting.
Strange said that people enjoy us versus them. Its the patriotism which does it, as much as anything.
This actually will be a little different, but the formats the same, he said. And you know, when you see the players not playing for anything but theyre so into it, and showing their emotions more than they ever do, you know for the fans, they see that and its hard not to enjoy it.
The UBS Warburg Cup, to be played the week of Nov. 12-18, will be a different format in that each side has six players from ages 40-49 and six players that are over 50. Teams are not required to match up the under-50 players with the over-50s, and any two-man team may play against any other two-man (or one-man, as in the case of singles) team, as long as it involves opposing sides.
Torrance says the partnership is the key to the whole thing. Its not just you out there against the golf course and the whole field. Youve got 11 other guys on your side and you have team chats during the night and you all get together during the week. You can make some great friendships out of it, too. You build up a team atmosphere. I think its instilled in every golfer in life, he said.
The Ryder Cup matches were postponed followed the tragedies of Sept. 11, and Strange doesnt think this event serves as a replacement. The UBS Warburg Cup is the UBS Warburg Cup, he says. The fact that it is being held in the year that the Ryder Cup matches were postponed is strictly coincidence.
This being played now, people have moved on, people have gone abroad, people have continued on with the encouragement of the President of the United States to continue their normal way of life, said Strange. This is far enough removed where I guess everyone feels okay about going ahead and playing.
Its original, said Torrance, its a great idea, and they (the captains) get to pick who plays against whom.
But what if, say, Torrance played against Strange? Surely the two Ryder Cup captains playing against each other would be an amazing coincidence. Wouldnt it?
Dont bet against it, said Strange.
Torrance chuckled at the thought. He recalled a Shells Wonderful World of Golf match a couple of months ago which matched himself and Strange. He also remembered who lost.
I definitely want to play Curtis, he said.
Curtis laughed. Why?
I want my revenge, said Torrance. Ive been working hard on my game already for him.
Strange took the bait, at least humorously.
OK ' so basically youre saying you want me, right?
Torrance laughed now. Naw, I didnt say that. Youre too good to say that. Id just like a chance of revenge.