What do you think your role will be next week? Obviously, I have been in all of them as has Alfie, everyone is going to be nervous, especially some of the younger players and I feel that it is my duty to help try and make them more relaxed, gee them up a bit. It’s going to be nerve wracking for all of us and if you have been there before, it can only help. At least if you have been there before, you can pass on a bit of knowledge.
|Rookies with attitude|
Do you think Dale will ask you to chaperone some of the quieter players perhaps during the first two days? I really don’t know what Dale has in mind, but if she asks me to play with Karine or Raquel, then I’ll happily play with them as they are quality golfers. I’ve never missed a series of matches once, so it will be interesting to see what Dale has in mind for me.
Do you think we have a slight advantage with our rookies being an unknown quantity? Not really, the American girls aren’t frightened of anyone and if someone they don’t recognize turns up on the tee, it might give them a bit of confidence. But I don’t think it helps and I don’t think it hinders either.
What is your most endearing moment from Solheim Cup’s past? It’s got to be the win at Dalmahoy in 1992 – it was an absolutely absurd result and we had no right to win that event. We had the weakest team by quite some way and with what Meg Mallon said, she was right, she said that only Lotte Neumann and myself would improve the American team and on paper, she was right – but we don’t play on paper do we?
Going in as defending champions, Dale has not gone over the top with the pre event publicity, but she did say recently that she is coming over with pure talent, would you agree? Definitely, I think for the first time ever, we have the stronger of the two teams, certainly ball striking wise and it’s yet to be seen if that can translate into points on the board. But there is some excellent talent in Europe now and all of our younger players have proved themselves beyond doubt. We don’t have a weak link in the team and we have never been able to say that before. Karine and Raquel have proved themselves over the last two years and I think Paula is going to be one of the stars of next week and Suzann is going to be brilliant too. If it clicks then it’s going to be awesome. But if we don’t play well, we won’t win and you know that the Americans are going to play well. But I think if we play our best and they play their best, then we have the better team. But with pressure and everything thrown into the mix, sometimes it’s hard to play your best.
How important is the USA’s home advantage? It’s massive for them, but I think if it were in Europe this year, I would have us as clear favourites as our team is very strong. But because it’s in America, the US has a little advantage mainly because our younger girls don’t have the experience of playing in America all the time. It’s not necessarily the partisan galleries, as I understand that there will be a lot of Swedes and Scots who live around Minnesota. I think the style of golf course should suit us too, it’s a shot makers course and with the variety of course we play in Europe, our young girls have proven that they are top ten golfers each week so that should be no problem for them to adapt quickly.
Finally, if you can remember earlier on in the year when I asked you who you would like to play in the singles, you said that you would “like to give Dottie a good dusting.” But now she is not here, who would be your ideal opponent come next Sunday? Yes, that was fun, but to be honest, saying that about Dottie was in jest, I really admire her golf so much and while we don’t get along personally I think she is a wonderful player and that would have been a mouth watering match to try and put the record straight for Europe. That would have been the ultimate. It’s difficult to say who I would like to play now, I mean anyone on Sunday, it’s going to be a big match. But I’ll tell you who I wouldn’t really want to meet and that’s Juli Inkster. She’s America’s most dynamic player now and also a good friend of mine, so I would find it hard to get the killer instinct going. The same applies with Meg Mallon, but I am sure when it comes down to it, we would both feel an obligation to get the point, so it would be a fun match played in a friendly spirit – and I hope they are all played like that.