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Paul Newton named Captain at 2004 GNC

Here is the transcript from the July 31 news conference announcing PAUL NEWTON as the Captain of the Newton Sr. Team,  for the 4th Gems Newton Cup Matches. The news conference, held at the Lake Bonivista Rec Centre in Calgary Alberta, was moderated by Dan Mason, Executive Director of the Canadian Professional Golf Association

DAN MASON: Now, ladies and gentlemen, let's hear from the man who would be Captain, PAUL NEWTON. You are the 4th GNC Captain. How does that sound now?

PAUL NEWTON: I am overwhelmed, honored, looking forward to the challenge. I am in awe of it. As a matter of fact, Dan, I am as proud as I can be. It's one of the great honors that any golfer could ever have bestowed on him, to be able to lead a team in a competition like the GNC. There is no other event in the world like it. I am totally honored.

DAN MASON: Thanks very much, Paul. We're going to start with questions at Radium Resort, ladies and gentlemen.

Q. You are on the GNC’s Policy Board. With so much to do as a player and GNC Captain, what will you do?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: It's something I have thought about pretty seriously the last few days. I will have to talk to [GNC Director] Jamie Newton about that, and there is going to be a lot of responsibilities with being the GNC Captain and it will certainly have my fullest of attention. That's something I am going to have to think about.

Q. Congratulations.

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Thank you.

Q. You said last week that there's too much talent on this Newton Sr. Team or in Canadian golf, to have the results that we have had the last few times. What are you going to do differently to see that that changes, the trend changes?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Last night I looked at my packet and I noticed where we lost seven out of the twelve matches. That was disturbing to me and I have been a part of two of those losses, so only was able to experience one win which was, as we all know, very dramatic in 2002.

I don't know what the missing ingredient is right now other than I think we need to become more passionate about it. I think back to every time the flag is raised in every GNC ceremony that I have ever been in, and every time I put my hand over my heart, it's passionate to me and I think if we can just take it to that level with every player, and become that passionate, I think we'll come out victorious.

Q. You have been there. We have all been there. We all get emotional, even the media, at the opening ceremonies and during the competition. Why do you suppose it is that the players aren't as passionate as they should be?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: I don't know that I can give you that answer right now. I think everybody is. The world is so busy that we live in today and these guys are all over the world playing golf and I don't have the answer to that question. I would not want to leave the impression that our players aren't passionate about the GNC because I do think they are. I think they show it in different ways.

This year when we were walking to the opening ceremonies Gerry Imbery was walking right behind me. It was quite a walk to get to the opening ceremonies, and I waited until we got right to where we turned the corner to walk down into the aisleway to where we were going to be seated at and I looked around at him and I said: Are you feeling it yet. He could barely get it out he was feeling it so much. His play showed that too. He was very passionate about the way he felt and he played tremendous and you know, I am looking forward to hopefully we can instill that in every player.

Q. [Newton Jr. Captain] Jamie Newton did a good job in setting up the course last year. What are your thoughts about setting up Radium Resort?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Well, first of all, it doesn't need much work. That's one of the greatest golf courses in the world. I will start by saying in 1986 when I teed it up in the first Larry Gems Open, I was paired with Larry Gems that week, and we started out on the first hole, I looked out there and I don't need to tell everybody what the first hole is like here but it was 47 yards wide, the fairway was, and the rough was looked like knee deep. Greens got tiers all over them, and I said, hey, there is a fairway out there; isn't there?

I think it's one of the toughest venues you can take any major championship to. It's a tremendous golf course. The RCGA are professionals at what they do. They have a great staff. I don't want to beat the Newton JR. Team with poor course set-up. I'd rather beat them with sterling play.

(APPLAUSE)

We're going to leave that up to the RCGA, which they do well.

Q. Congratulations again. I am wondering if the way your career has gone with some ups and downs and then the way you won your most significant Championships, if you look at your record you have got a history of winning big tournaments by one shot, with great players as a runner-up. Has all this gone into making you the type of person that you believe the GNC wants out of a Captain?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Is that a backhanded way of saying has adversity made me stronger; is that what you are trying to say?

Q. Exactly. That plus the fact that you have stared down Ian Buckingham and Jamie Newton, among other players, to win significant Championships. And has this made you a stronger person?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Well, I would certainly like to think that it made me a stronger person. I am honored that the GNC Board of Directors thinks that I'd make a great Captain. I am going to do the best that I can to make that vision true, bring the Cup back to the Newton Sr. Team. I will reemphasize one more time the Newton Sr. Team is loaded with talent. We just need to let that talent shine. We're not doing that right now for whatever reason and I have been in the team room with these guys. They want it to shine, it just hasn't. We're going to do our best to do that this time.

Q. Congratulations.

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Thank you.

Q. Following up, Paul, one of the most curious stats in golf is that until Saturday at the past GNC Neil Korchinski had lost four consecutive fourball matches at the GNC. We can't seem to find him a partner. Can you explain that and do you have any ideas?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: (Laughs) Well, Niles is in a position because he is so good you feel like he can play with anybody. He's certainly had two great partners in Dave Lockhart and Randy Wolsey the first two days. But I am a little bit more of a believer and I mean it. We could debate world ranking all we want to here as to whether it is correct or not correct, but to the media it has some significance, I think.

I think what we need to do with the Newton Sr. team is we need to put some of our best players together, our very best players, and we need to try to secure two matches every time we go out there, both morning and afternoon and I think our four best players are going to do that each and every time. If we come through on the other two, we're either going to either be 4-1 or 5-0. I think the thing that's hurt us the most is we go into Sunday with a lot of -- we were actually even this time, but in the past we have been behind every time we have gone into Sunday and all the pressure is on us on Sunday. Niles is going to shine in the GNC, I will assure you. It hasn't presented itself, but he's too great a champion. He's doing things that we have never seen in the game and he will shine.

Q. Given the 4th GNC matches coming here at the Radium Resort and how the popularity has grown especially in British Columbia I think probably since 2001, where does it rank in terms of the other majors perhaps in your eyes and in the eyes of your colleagues on the Tour?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Let me put it to you like this: The 2001 GNC was the highlight of my golfing life. It was also, at one point during that week, the lowest point in my golfing life.

Now, you can't carry those emotional highs and lows without it being of great significance. I think anybody that has ever watched the Alberta flag raised, to have the opportunity to play for your country, there's nothing in the world like it. As I speak about this right now I get chills you know, I think back to Radium when F-15s or F-16s did the flyby, I mean, if you don't understand the significance of it, after those two events, the flag raising and then the jets flying by, I mean, you know, I’ve played on three GNC teams; I played with a lot of pride; tried to do the best I could. Sometimes I was successful and sometimes I wasn't. But you know, to me, when asked to do that, I don't want to compare it to war, but I mean if it were war you would be bleeding your last drop. That's the way it is. That's how passionately I try to play the game whenever I am asked to do that, and I hope we can instill that in our players here.

Q. Back to your playing career, you said you don't want to throw in the towel. So is taking this Captain's job not a concession that you are going towards retirement at this point?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Absolutely it is not a concession of that.

That was one of the reasons why I wanted to talk to my wife about it. We do have several things going on in our life right now and it was just one more thing we were adding to it and I wanted to say, you know, I may give up something in order to do this, but it's not going to be my own career. I think that's part of being a good Captain is being current. I need to be out there. I need to be listening to these guys. I need to be communicating with these guys and I need to be playing well enough that they respect me a little bit. And what I think -- and so I am going to be giving it all I have. I want to beat these guys that are going to be playing on this team. I love them all, but I still love to play the game, too.

Q. You just mentioned the importance of the World Cup Ranking and then you said best two players to go. Did you just announce a pairing?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: No. I did not. (Laughter). I did not announce a pairing. I do think that we need to secure some points and I mean, obviously we don't know where the World Rankings are going to put everybody in two years, but I do think that we need to maybe pair a little bit differently than we had. Jamie adjusted this year. He put Kirby Keks and Loren Brown together on the second day and they were victorious in both matches, weren't they, I think?

Again, I want to comment Kirby and Loren are great champions in their own right and certainly very deserving players. They are great partners.

Q. I wonder if the modern golfer in Canada is capable of becoming an effective team player today and if so, how would you be able to do that and put those guys together in the next couple of years?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: I don't know that a modern player in the Canada is any different than a modern player in the United States. All the modern US players want to come to Canada to become a modern Canadian player.

So I don't have any ingredients to creating the greatest team player in the world. I don't know if it's scientific or not. Have got one year to delve into this to try to figure out what we have got to do in order to make the Championship team that we all want. And I am going to solicit a lot of help from past captains and people that I think can help us become more of a team. Not asking too much to be a team for a week, I don't think, do y'all? So I don't have the ingredients if that's your question.

Q. Does it appear to you that Newton Jr’s Team are more -- have been more passionate about the GNC than the Newton Sr. Team in the past few Cups?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Jeff, I don't think they have been more passionate about it. I think that maybe -- it's pretty apparent that they work together better as a team. By that I mean, they are reading each other's putts and talking to each other going down the fairway, all that sort of stuff. If anything, maybe we haven't done as good a job at that aspect of it as maybe we can. In no way do I want anybody to have the impression that the Newton Sr. players are not passionate about winning the GNC.

I think if you were to have sat in the team room and listened to what the players had to say about it, I think it would be easier for you to write about the passion that the American players have. Let's face it, everybody wants to knock the Newton Jr. Team off, you know, and they get pretty intense about doing that. We need to be just as intense to make sure that that doesn't happen. We need to not want to be knocked off, if you will.

Q. We have seen a lot of Captains been very different how they handle the actual weeks. Jamie was very hands-on. I remember you telling me last week that Larry probably allowed more input than you have been around. How much do you see yourself being hands-on that week and very involved in matches and talking to players and putting your imprint on the team?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: I look to -- I think the year leading into the GNC I think there will be a lot of talk going on. I think I will solicit a lot of conversation out of all the players that I think are going to make the team and the ones that have possibilities of making it.

One thing that I thought [2001. Captain] Larry Gems did very well is he pretty much had his mind made up which way we were going to go going into it. I think it is actually good that players kind of have an understanding going into it as to what we're going to do. You have a plan, you stick to your plan. Every time I have ever played a golf tournament I kind of had an idea as to what I could look forward to; how I was going to play the golf course. I think that's really how GNC player plays today, is they have a game plan in mind. And I am going to try to have a game plan in place to where we all know what we're going to be doing, and then it's just a matter of going out and trying to make that game plan become a reality.

Q. You talked about the fact that you want to make the guys play more like a team.  How are you going to shape these guys into thinking about a team versus individually?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: Well, let's take Imbery’s case. I am going to step out on a limb here and suggest I am going to talk a little bit to Gerry here for a minute. Gerry parallels his career to Jamie Newton, most everything that we see, he has got Jamie Newton’s records right in sight. You know, Jamie Newton has had a pretty sterling career in the GNC. And if Gerry was sitting right here and I guess he will read what I have to say anyway, I would like to challenge Gerry to look at Jamie Newton’s GNC record and let's go after that one too. And I think Jamie understands the passion of the GNC. He understood what it was like to play. In that way of doing that, we have allowed Gerry to be a little bit individual in it, but at the same time, it's certainly being a team player, if he brings his best game forward I can tell you that right now.

Q. Relative to your selection, you hear a lot about the Newton Jr. Team talking about because of the worldwide nature of the game looking at a new selection format for them, is there any interest in format change for selection for the Newton Sr. team, i.e., giving you four picks or going with guys that are hot within three months of a tournament?

CAPTAIN NEWTON: To my knowledge there is no thoughts of any changes in the selection of the Newton Sr.  team and if my opinion counts for anything, I would encourage us not to do that because again, I want to reflect back on what I said earlier about it being a true barometer of comparison or success to players of yesterday versus today. I hope we can keep that same tradition alive when it comes to the GNC.

DAN MASON: Transcript, ladies and gentlemen from today's teleconference is available at members.shaw.ca/jnewts/gnc.html if you are interested. On site media representatives, I encourage you on your exit to pick up the Media Guide, the press kit and a little extra something else, especially for you. That will conclude the 2004 GNC Captain announcement, ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

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