The Solheim Cup
Rich Harvest Farms
Sugar Grove, Ill.
Aug. 20, 2009
Beth Daniel, U.S. Team captain
Alison Nicholas, European Team captain
MIKE SCANLAN: We’re doing this press conference as a favor to the print media so that you’ll have the pairings but they are under a strict embargo until 6:25 central time, at which time they will be exclusively released at the opening ceremonies live on The Golf Channel. So we ask that you do not Tweet, blog, Facebook, whatever else you may do with it, until 6:25.
We’ll get started now with the pairings for tomorrow morning’s fourball matches. The first pairing will be at 8:05 a.m. here at Rich Harvest Farms. Alison, if you would, share your two players with us.
ALISON NICHOLAS: Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson.
BETH DANIEL: They’ll be playing Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr.
MIKE SCANLAN: The 8:20 time.
ALISON NICHOLAS: Helen Alfredsson and Tania Elosegui.
BETH DANIEL: Will be playing Angela Stanford and Juli Inkster.
MIKE SCANLAN: The 8:35 time, Alison?
ALISON NICHOLAS: Laura Davies and Becky Brewerton.
BETH DANIEL: Brittany Lang and Brittany Lincicome.
MIKE SCANLAN: And finally, the 8:50 a.m.
ALISON NICHOLAS: Catriona Matthew and Maria Hjorth.
BETH DANIEL: Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie.
MIKE SCANLAN: If you would, Alison, just talk a little bit about creating tomorrow’s pairings, any stress involved, any special trickery involved.
ALISON NICHOLAS: No, goodness me. (Laughter). I’d never do a thing like that.
No, I mean, basically they expressed a desire to play with one another. They get on very well, and they play similar games. So to me that was the perfect scenario for me.
MIKE SCANLAN: Beth, your thoughts on creating your pairings?
BETH DANIEL: Well, sort of the same thing. A lot of them expressed wanting to play together. The first match out of the box is the top two Americans.
But these players get along. We tried to get the players that make the most birdies on our team, and that’s what we did.
Q. Question for Alison. Last year at the Ryder Cup Paul Azinger got a lot of attention the week after for a system they then deemed the pod system, where all the practice rounds, the same four people played together, and then throughout the three days, the players knew that the only three people they’d be paired with would be the three that they were paired with. It’s just interesting you had a very stacked consistent pairings, and all four of your pairings are the same people they’ve played with. Did you take a page of his book, and if so, were you familiar with his pod system?
ALISON NICHOLAS: He came to see me, really, yeah. (Laughter) And he said, ‘If you want any help, I’ll let you know.’ I said, ‘Fine, that’s good with me.’ (Laughter). No, only kidding.
I knew that he did something like that, and obviously I’ve taken a lot of information on from various Ryder Cup captains, European ones, but obviously I did get some information about how Paul structured his pairings.
But I just did my own thing, really. I take all that information, and then take the good bits out of it and then work the rest out for myself.
But it was basically similar to Beth, that they have a desire to play with one another, and all my players there get a lot of birdies. So that’s what fourball is all about.
Q. Question for Beth. Just your thoughts about getting both your captain’s picks out in the mix right away tomorrow morning.
BETH DANIEL: Gosh, I guess I did. (Laughter). It’s because Ron Sirak told me I should play them early.
You know what, once I made those picks, they became one of the 12. I don’t even think of them as picks anymore. That doesn’t even cross my mind when I’m making the pairings.
We put these together based on a number of things, but mostly because these players have played together, they expressed a desire to play together at one point in time, and we thought that they would be a good pairing.
So you know, I do have two of my rookies going out in the morning, but as far as looking at Juli and Michelle as captain’s picks, we don’t talk that way. They are part of the team.
Q. Beth, what about your first pairing, the top two players together? What was your thinking there? Just want a fast start?
BETH DANIEL: Well, they expressed a desire to play together, and what better way to start The Solheim Cup than have your top two Americans start for you.
Q. I’m curious, did Morgan request to play with Michelle? I know they’re friends. They have very different games. Kind of your thinking there?
BETH DANIEL: It’s not a matter of anyone requesting; some of the players expressed a desire to possibly play with other players. Morgan and Michelle are very good friends. They have been. They happen to be sharing one of the lodges together this week.
And I think my thinking there is that Morgan is very fiery. She knows match play really well, and I just felt like she would be a good first pairing for Michelle.
MIKE SCANLAN: Captains, thanks for coming in, and good luck this week.