CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kevin Kisner, his blue hat turned to its side, and some manner of liquid in a tumbler on the table in front of him, tossed a small bottle of Fireball to a familiar face in the crowd.
And the American Presidents Cup press conference began on Sunday.
You’ll remember the golf this week, a 17.5-12.5 Team USA victory over the Internationals at Quail Hollow. But don’t sleep on the debriefs of these team events afterward. The winning side is happy. After a long week, they’re gassed. And they’re fueled by spirits. In a media tent here, the drinks of choice look to be either Mich Ultra, Tito’s vodka or both.
With that, here are six other funny moments from the U.S. Presidents Cup team press conference.
Smoke ’em if you got ’em
Schauffele is a stogie guy. And nothing beats a victory smoke. He puffed on one after last year’s win at the Ryder Cup. He lit up again on Sunday. And the haze wafted toward Morikawa, seated to his immediate right. He tried to wave it away. But that tossed just another log on the fire.
In these kinds of moments, if you know you’re antagonizing someone, you keep antagonizing someone. So Schauffele sent cloud after cloud toward his teammate, who eventually gave up.
“Apologize for his breathing abilities here,” Schauffele said, as part of an answer to another question.
Earlier, it should also be noted, Scottie Scheffler tried to throw potato chips into Schauffele’s mouth. They were also separated by two chairs.
‘It’s not that hard to beat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff’
Jordan Spieth was asked whether momentum from a successful Presidents Cup, where he went 5-0, would propel him into next year. At last year’s Ryder Cup, Scheffler rode success there to victories this year, winning four events, including the Masters. To set up what comes from his answer, know that Scheffler’s first victory came in a playoff with Patrick Cantlay at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and Spieth won the RBC Heritage — in a playoff with Cantlay.
“To be honest, it’s not that hard to beat Patrick Cantlay in a playoff,” Spieth said.
‘I was pretty pissed off’
On 15, Si Woo Kim rolled in a 7-footer to halve a hole with Justin Thomas, and he raised a finger to his lips to hush the crowd. And that led to this exchange:
“J.T., first of all, congratulations on a great week. Second of all, I’m curious of what you thought of Si Woo shushing the crowd. What do you think of it now?”
“Honestly, at the time, I was pretty pissed off,” Thomas said. “… No, it’s one of those things, I think when you’re in the moment, when you’re on the other side of it, it’s something that gets you motivated, gets you pumped up a little bit.
“I mean, he hit the shots and made the putts better than I did the last three holes or, really, the last four holes when he needed to. So I can say whatever I want about it, but he beat me. So he has the upper hand on me.
“But we won the Cup so that’s all that matters.”
Team ice baths — but NOT two at a time
Davis Love III, the captain, was asked what the identity of the team was. It took a turn.
“We would sit in the team room at 8 at night and go, where is everybody?” he began. “Somebody was in the gym. Somebody was in therapy. We’ve learned that we traded ping-pong tables in for ice baths and recovery, and I went looking for guys last night, and we had two at a time in the ice baths. We had guys on tables. We had …
Schauffele interrupted him.
“One after the other,” he said, in reference to the baths.
Kevin Kisner and the finger
Max Homa, in response to a question of whether the week exceeded his expectations, included this in his answer:
“So to get to bond with these guys, we’ve all played against each other forever, except Kis [Kevin Kisner] because he’s been playing forever.”
Kisner, you see, is the oldest player on the team, by three years.
And he proceeded to extend one finger in Homa’s direction.
‘I have never seen a better display of golfers and a worse display of partiers’
We’ll end things this exchange. No real set-up is needed.
“I saved the best for last. This one’s for Kis. Being one of the more experienced players on the team, you know, can bring its advantages on the course. But do you feel it brings an advantage or disadvantage for tonight’s festivities with these younger guys?”
“It’s hard to hear,” Kisner said. “Can you speak up, please?”
“I just need the last part.”
“OK. Do you think it brings, your experience, do you think it brings an advantage or disadvantage for tonight’s festivities with these younger guys?”
“My experience can ultimately win in this scenario. There is nothing that any of these can do that can hang with me tonight, I promise you.
“I have never seen a better display of golfers and a worse display of partiers, and I am the best partier on this board. Amen.
“That’s why they picked me. I got half a point, but I brought the fun.”