J.B. Holmes: “There’s nothing like getting to play for your country”

Ryder Cup fans waited Friday for J.B. Holmes to sign autographs. (Aaron Rowland Photo)

Ryder Cup fans waited Friday for J.B. Holmes to sign autographs. (Aaron Rowland Photo)

Kentuckian J.B. Holmes likely will play in the Ryder Cup matches this afternoon in Minnesota. It will be his second Ryder Cup appearance.

JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. I’m joined by J.B. Holmes. J.B., thank you for stopping by. This is your second Ryder Cup, so I want to ask you, do you see any similarities in the team room perhaps that are comparable between 2008 and what you’re dealing with now?

J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, I feel like a lot of the stuff that Captain Love is doing has a very similar feel to ’08, with my only experience. Team’s coming together really good and supporting each other, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.

JOHN DEVER: Do you think that your length off the tee here at Hazeltine, which is a notoriously long course, is going to make a big difference, or is it something that’s more of a media conjecture and might be a smidge overstated?

J.B. HOLMES: Well, it definitely helps. Whether it’s a major advantage, I don’t know. There are some guys out here that definitely can move the ball. May give me a few more opportunities, but you still have to hit the shots and you’ve still got to make the putts.

Q. How exciting is it for you to be back at a Ryder Cup?
J.B. HOLMES: Man, I’m just ecstatic to be here. ’08 was the best experience in golf I’ve ever had. It was just unbelievable. It’s great to be here again with the team and it’s just an unbelievable feeling. There’s nothing like getting to play for your country, so just so excited to be here.

Q. I wonder, obviously it’s been eight years, you’re in an interesting spot, you’re not a rookie at The Ryder Cup, but does it feel like you’re a rookie? Has it been a long enough gap, or are you used to everything?
J.B. HOLMES: No, I mean, I got here and forgot — not forgot, but realized how big the crowds are and everything, and it’s just awesome. I really love it. It’s been a lot of fun. I played in The Presidents Cup last year. So no, it doesn’t — I don’t feel like I’m a rookie. I feel like I kind of know the format and what’s going on. Just looking forward to it and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Q. Is it clear to you how the division of labor works with all of the assistant captains on the team? Is it all laid out for you guys who does what, or is it kind of fluid?
J.B. HOLMES: Kind of fluid. Yeah, I don’t really know — I mean, in the captain’s meetings and doing all that stuff and helping players throughout the time, but as far as this person does this and this person does that, I’m sure they have exactly what they want to do. But for players, we kind of know what they do for us and what we ask them to do, basically. I mean, I’m not in there every day. Asking them would be a better question than asking me.

Q. We’ve heard a lot this week from the American Team about the presence of Phil Mickelson. Maybe you could draw a couple pictures for us of what Phil means in that room and how he goes about his business and integrates younger players.

J.B. HOLMES: It’s great having Phil. With all the experience and everything he has, and as passionate as he is about The Ryder Cup, it really means a lot to him. It means a lot to all of us. But Phil has taken a big step with the Committee and worked hard to try to get everything and start a program kind of for the future of The Ryder Cup. He’s put a ton of work into it, and he’s having a blast right now. He’s having a lot of fun. It’s nice to have a guy with that much experience and that excited to help guys out.

Q. You’ve got Tiger as an assistant, one of the icons of sport in general, not just golf, and he’s giving you tips and standing, coaching everybody. Is that an odd feeling to have him do that, and do you think if you asked him for a turkey sandwich, he would run off and get it for you like an assistant captain?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, he’s a team player, and if that’s what needed to be done at the time, I’m sure he’d make sure it gets done. It’s great to have him out here, with all the experience that he’s had. Like you said, an icon. It’s amazing to have him in the team room. Everybody here this room is just right around the team atmosphere. It’s been a lot of fun.

Q. From your experience in ’08, what’s your feeling about the right kind of pairings, especially in the foursomes? Is it better to think it really hard, or go with gut and analysis? What’s the right way to go about putting people together?
J.B. HOLMES: Well, I’m not a captain, so I don’t have to worry about that. I think whatever you choose, I think the players have some say, and if they feel good with a guy or whatever. I mean, it’s a little of both. If you’re comfortable with a person, then you go out and play. And if you feel like you connect, then hey, yes, this works. And you can go out and play with somebody sometimes, and you can go, I really like this guy but something doesn’t click.It’s a little of both. You take a little knowledge to get the pairings going, and then you go out and see if they work.

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