LAURA NEIL: Meg, thank you very much for coming in. Welcome to Sweden. MEG MALLON: Thank you.
LAURA NEIL: Meg is our top points earner for Solheim Cup competition. MEG MALLON: How about that. You stick around long enough and see what happens.
LAURA NEIL: Maybe just give us some comments about the course. MEG MALLON: Actually I was just talking to Nickie Walker about it. I came after the Scandinavian event. Of course the wind was completely opposite coming off the bay there. The thing I notice the most is they cut all the rough out. There’s no rough like there was the Monday that I was here. It was quite when we were here that Monday. The course is quite narrow itself to have the rough that way. It’s interesting how it’s all cut out now. I understand there was quite a heat wave here for a while. So there’s patches of actually it’s brown grass. That’s really the only difference. The greens actually I think are running a little faster than they were the day after the Scandinavian. The greens look really nice and they’re rolling out really well. It’s definitely going to be a challenge especially if the wind stays like this.
LAURA NEIL: Some questions?
Q. About the wind, are you used to the wind? MEG MALLON: Yes. We find the wind quite often actually. It really just challenges what we do anyway. It’s a pretty good solid wind though. It seems to be always side to side. It never seems to be directly into you.
Q. It’s not disturbing the golf. It’s disturbing the press conference. MEG MALLON: Yes. Wait until you see our pictures today. Maybe they’ll do them indoors.
Q. Do you see yourself as the fair to say? MEG MALLON: I don’t know. I think I know we have a strong team, but I also feel like this could possibly be the strongest team the European side has ever had. I think Catrin did an outstanding job of her selections. They are, in my opinion, I think they’re the strongest team they’ve ever had. I think it’s going to be the match is going to be fantastic.
Q. But still you have a record of 5 2 from before. Is that strengthening? Is it strengthening to you in the mind to know you have five to two? MEG MALLON: Five wins historically? There’s always something to the home field advantage. Coming in we feel like we’re the underdogs because we’re not on our home field. I think we’ve won one over here, yes, in Wales. And there was maybe four or five of us on that team. So we remember what that took to do. It’s very difficult to win on the other side of the pond. We’ve got a lot of work to do this week.
Q. Is there anything that is a bit surprising to you with the course here compared to what it’s like in the U.S.? MEG MALLON: Not necessarily. It actually has a lot of feelings, when you play in the trees, it feels a little bit like the Carolinas. When you go out on the bay it feels like California. There’s some similarities, truly. It’s in fantastic condition. The fairways are outstanding. They’re even in better condition than when I was here the Monday after the Scandinavian. They’ve done a wonderful job of getting it ready for us. The greens are going to be quite firm with the wind like this. So it’s going to favor stronger players, I feel, that spin it a little bit more, hitting it into the greens.
Q. Do you think it’s important, you’re one country while the Europeans are a lot of different countries? Do you think that’s important? MEG MALLON: Yeah. Have you ever been to the States? Because we’re kind of similar to Europe where our states are very different. You go from Texas to New York and you’ll find there are very different cultures. We speak the same language, but in very different dialects so to speak. It’s the same situation. We’re all coming together as a team. We try to beat each other all year and then we come together one week and we’re comrades. It’s the same situation on the European side. That’s what makes the experience so great in the Solheim Cup is how we all work together and put our differences aside and become a team. That’s what makes it so special.
Q. Have you prepared any team activities during the week? MEG MALLON: I wish we could. We’re so busy during the week. I know we’re going into town for dinner tonight, which will be nice. Otherwise it’s not our schedule. Certainly the week is just jam packed. That’s part of what the veterans need to teach the younger players is that it’s not their time anymore. They just have to go with the schedule and go with the flow and try and practice whenever you can. I think that’s the hardest part about this week is that you can’t practice a lot. For the younger players, that’s a hard thing to get over.
Q. In your experience what’s your advice to the young players? MEG MALLON: Well, we’ve told them that they need to be very patient; that even though their families are here, they’re not going to get to see them; and that not to worry about it, we told their families that it’s not a social week. It’s all about the team. We’re basically in this cloistered area. It’s a great experience, but it’s also incredibly an incredibly hectic week. Once they tee it up, that’s what it’s all about. It’s really fun to see it through the younger players’ eyes and see them experience the Solheim Cup.
Q. How surprised were you at your captain’s picks and how difficult is it? What pressure is on the player who hasn’t scored yet? MEG MALLON: It will be fun. Heather is so excited. Our part is to get her calmed down by the time she tees it up on Friday. Some of us are very much, were very much a part of this selection process. Patty was there at the last event and asked a lot of questions. So I was not surprised by it at all. She had four or five players that were all playing well to choose from. That was the difficult part. The easy part is they were all playing well. So whoever she picked was going to be a good pick, and I think she made great picks. I know Kelli Kuehne is raring to go. She got her feet wet the last Solheim Cup, and I think she settled down now and is ready to play.
Q. Do you think she could be as tough as Dottie? MEG MALLON: There’s only one Dottie, but she certainly has the fire and very verb. She has the determination. And her match play record is outstanding. Her amateur match play record is outstanding. I notice she wants to get a little bit back from her last year’s experience.
Q. A typical Texan would you say? MEG MALLON: A typical Texan? I guess. It’s a big state. She’s definitely her father’s daughter. I’ll just say that.
Q. The European captain, Catrin, she’s been hospitalized with a bad back. MEG MALLON: Yes.
Q. Will that mean anything for the game, do you think? MEG MALLON: It’s terrible. I saw her yesterday, and she just seems like she’s in so much pain. I hate to see anybody go through that. I know it’s going to be difficult on her through the week. I think she’s going to have a lot of help around her. Hopefully they’ll rally for her and help her out as far as logistically getting around the golf course. That’s what they’ve got to use the walkie talkies for and get those going. I’m sure she’ll get a system down. I feel terrible for her. She’s just in a lot of pain.
Q. If it was your team, how would you tackle it? MEG MALLON: Just that. Just make sure you’re organized before everything gets started so she can have people placing her in the right place. I think it’s important for the captain to be on the par 3’s. But then again we’re all professionals and we know what clubs to hit and all that. She’s got a pretty veteran team playing. And I don’t know how many rookies, maybe 2 for them. It’s not going to be that big of a deal to have a captain’s presence on a par 3. I guess you would just have to logistically figure out what the best place is for her to be and where she can help out the most and try not to have to have her move around as much. It’s got to go difficult though.
Q. You mentioned the rookies. Have you met the European rookies? MEG MALLON: I just Ana Belen yesterday. And the other rookie is Elisabeth. I’ve met Elisabeth at the Evian. I’m excited for her. I think she was an alternate in the last one. It’s great that she made the team. It’s hard being an alternate and not playing.
Q. What are your opinions about the controversies between the team during the competition? MEG MALLON: You mean anticipating any or past ones?
Q. Past. MEG MALLON: Well, there’s always going to be something. When you have that much emotion and that much excitement and people that want something so bad, there’s always going to be a clash here or there. That’s kind of an understanding of competition anyway. Hopefully at the end of the day with golf it’s all about camaraderie and sportsmanship and good spirit. And I know that’s what the Solheims wanted for this competition. I think we’ll behave in that kind of manner. I hope so. I don’t want to give you guys too much food for fodder. It seems to take away from the actual golf, which is always fantastic.
LAURA NEIL: All right, Meg. Thanks a lot.