VCI European Ladies Golf Cup
La Sella Golf Resort, Spain 3-6 April 2008
Wednesday 2nd April 2008
Pre-tournament interviews with the following players:

Rebecca Hudson (Team England)
Lotta Wahlin (Team Sweden)
Clare Queen (Team Scotland)
Eleanor Pilgrim (Team Wales)
Stephanie Arricau (Team France)
Paula Marti (Team Spain)
Kris Lindstrom (Team USA)
Rebecca Coakley (Team Ireland)

Rebecca Hudson (Team England)

What do you think about this course and the format of play?
The course is in very nice condition which is nice after being in the UK. It has been wet and raining. It is set up very tough; it is set up very long, some of the par fives and the par fours. With the format I am glad I have Trish (Johnson) with me. I think her length with my straightness on some of the holes will be a good balance. I’m just really looking forward to it.

When was the last time you played team golf?
At the Home Internationals in about 2001. I used to love playing in team golf. I used to love playing for England and Great Britain so to actually be in a team event and not be first reserve for once is great. To play with Trish is, she makes fun of it, but it is great and I hope I can do her credit and play well.

What do you think about the Valencian Cup format?
It’s just like foursomes. It’s foursomes with an advantage because you get to play the two balls and then pick the best, so it’s just like a normal foursomes game. It will be interesting. It will be fun and a little different.

How much preparation have you done in the lead up to this event?
There’s an interesting question. I had six months off with a back injury, went to South Africa in February, and won the first event with not very much practise at all. I had been out in Portugal for a few weeks which was great but didn’t do as much practise as I would normally do. I went out to South Africa and it’s a great little mini tour. I managed to win out there. Went back to the UK and it started to rain again. I have not done as much practise as I would like but I am feeling quite good.

So you were at home for two weeks but you didn’t really play.
No. You’d get up in the morning and its nasty weather. I went and had a couple of lessons with my coach Steve Cooper which was nice but that was on a driving range. That was all I managed to, never played.

This is the start of the European Tour. How are you feeling in terms of your ambitions for the year?
I’m feeling good. I’m hoping that my back holds out. I’m going to have to plan my year better but I’m playing well. I started the year well in South Africa and I’m hoping that I can carry on playing good golf. If I play good golf, you never know.

Lotta Wahlin (Team Sweden)

When was the last time you played in a team event?
This is the first time as a professional. Otherwise we have a national club team championship but that is just a small thing, so this is the first time as a professional.

What do you think about the different format: the Valencian Cup?
I have never played such a thing so it’s really going to be fun. You have to keep in order for who is going to play so it’s going to be fun.

How much preparation have you done in the lead up to this tournament?
I had three weeks rest in Sweden, having a rest and catching up with friends. Then I have been in Spain for three weeks, in Alicante, just one hour from here. I was here with some friends, practicing and playing.

What are your ambitions for the year?
I want to win of course! Top ten on the New Star Money List is my goal as well.

Clare Queen (Team Scotland)

When was the last time you played in a team event and how are you feeling about the week?
The last time would have been when I was still an amateur. It would have been at the Home Internationals in 2005. It’s quite good because it’s a bit different and feels more relaxed this week. I used to play well in foursomes so it’s quite good to get that back again. It should be a bit of fun this week.

How do you feel about the new format, The Valencian Cup?
It’s pretty interesting really. Obviously four-ball better ball is okay but the greensomes format we actually practised on the course yesterday and I’m glad we did because it takes a bit to get your head around it. I think we have decided the important thing is to keep at least one ball in play really. If a ball is out of play it is going to put a lot of pressure on your partner to hit a good shot. If we can keep both balls in play it will make it a bit easier. I don’t think par is going to be a bad score in that format.

Have you been doing much preparation in the lead up to the event?
Yes. I had about six or seven weeks at home after Australia so I have been in the gym quite a lot which has been quite painful but I’ve done some good work there and I feel good going into the season. I did a bit of work with my coach Ian Rae on my swing so I’m ready to go again.

What are you hoping for this year?
I had a good year last year. I finished 39th which was a pretty big improvement on my rookie year so I was pretty happy. I played pretty consistently for the year but apart from a couple of weeks there was nothing really special and I know that there is another level there. I’m hoping this year to build on that consistency a bit more. I’m hoping to challenge for some more tournaments and give myself a chance. If you can do that enough times then maybe you will get a win.

You have a full time caddie now as well.
Yes. It was something that was on my mind last year. Thanks to some help from my sponsors I was able to do it this year and I feel it was a quite important thing just to have a bit of consistency from week to week. Shane (Codd) is a good guy and a good caddie as well so if he can save me one or two shots each week then that’s got to make a difference.

How do you rate your and Lynn’s chances?
Pretty good actually. It’s all about keeping the ball in play because there are some tight holes that are tricky in places. If we can hit the fairways then we’ll have a chance. Like everything else it comes down to who holes a few putts. If we can hole a few putts between us then hopefully we’ll give ourselves a chance.

Eleanor Pilgrim (Team Wales)

How does it feel to be representing Wales?
It’s an honour and a privilege. I’m really excited. I haven’t done it for ages, since I was an amateur. So I guess it’s been seven years, more or less. It’s a great opportunity.

You’re playing with Lydia Hall, who is a rookie. Do you know her well?
No, not really. I met her about three weeks ago and we clicked straight away. She’s great. We’re having a good time.

Did you practise together in Wales?
We met up once and had a little knock about but it’s all very, very new. It’s nice and seems pretty straightforward.

Obviously Becky Brewerton and Becky Morgan have always played well together for Wales. Do you feel that this is a bit of a chance to show your talents?
Potentially, yes. There are not many of us. Both Becky’s are playing in the States at the Kraft Nabisco. I’ve fortunately got the call up. I kind of feel a bit left out at the World Championship. I’ve not had the opportunity to play in that which is a bit unfortunate but as they’ve done great, it would be nice for us to do well in this event as well.

What have you been doing since you last played? You have had some injuries haven’t you?
Yes. I’ve had a few health problems to be honest so it’s not been a nice time.

Could you take me through it?
I’ve had a whole host of stuff really and I had some trouble around the British, end of the English and Welsh. I picked up a virus which turned into pneumonia and I was just stubborn. I thought I was just tired and put it down to that and it turned into pneumonia. I had a load of scans and I have a lung condition as well which they picked up which is permanent now so I’ve got to look after myself. It did knock me and my back was also playing up considerably and there were a few complications there as well. I had to step out of the game and to be honest I didn’t think I would be able to return. So it’s given me a bit of perspective. It’s great to be back and we’ll see how we go.

What was the last tournament you played in?
Well the last tournament where I was healthy was the English Open. I played in the British and wasn’t well there and had to retire. I went to Sweden and wasn’t fit to play. Again, being stubborn, I pursued it. I didn’t do well at all. I went to Scotland but didn’t even get to play. I pulled out of the pro am after six holes and that was it. I hadn’t played through to Christmas. Picked up the sticks in the middle of January and started again really. I haven’t had that much time off from the game before. I would say I had four months off golf. You always usually pick up a club and go to the range but I was told to rest. My body needed to recover so I looked after myself, surrounded myself by my family and friends, got back to all that. I tried to get better really, hence being back. I’m good at the minute, we’re just going to roll with it and see what happens.

What do you think of the new format?
It’s good fun. I’ve played a greensome before. Hopefully we’ll stay focused and remember to switch balls. We have had a couple of tries. It’s pretty much the same as a greensome and it should be quite exciting. Obviously better ball is pretty straight forward and you make your choices based on what your partner is doing but it should be good fun to get away from regular stroke play for a bit. It keeps it interesting to change things sometimes. It’s good.

Stephanie Arricau (Team France)

What do you think about the format?
It’s a fun format. We enjoy it. I am good friends with Ludivine so it’s fun to play with a good partner. I have known her for 15 years. We played in the European Championship together in Finland in 1997 but we didn’t play the foursomes together. I played with Karine Icher.

What are you hoping to achieve this year?
I would like to play shot by shot, day by day, and we’ll see after.

Have you been doing anything different in the lead up to the event?
I have been practicing more than usual and doing a lot of fitness training. I am ready.

Where have you been practicing, at home?
My home course is poor but I practised in Toulouse at a course called Toulouse Palmola.

Paula Marti (Team Spain)

What are your goals this year?
It is my goal to win and I want Izan, (my son), to see me winning. I want him to come to the 18th hole and see me win. That is one of my dreams.

In 2002, you played in The Solheim Cup with Laura Davies.
For me it was one of my best experiences playing with Laura Davies because she is one of the best golfers that the world has seen and being able to play as a team with her was amazing. She was the veteran and had the experience already and I was the young one who didn’t know anything. I was playing as I used to play with fun. That is when you play good golf. When you start stressing, you know, looking out for that water and that bunker, that’s when you are tense and you cannot hit the ball properly. That is one of my goals this year: to play as I used to play: with fun and we’ll see what happens.

Were you disappointed when you didn’t make The Solheim Cup team last year?
I thought I was going to make the team but a month before I wasn’t playing that good so I think that’s why I didn’t get a pick so I totally understand. I think it was very difficult for Helen as well because we have a very good relationship. When she didn’t pick me she decided to call me and she was almost crying on the phone. She said, “I’m so sorry, I couldn’t pick you.” I said, “Listen, you are the captain, you know what you did and don’t worry about me. I will be in the next team. Don’t worry.”

I saw you with Izan yesterday and you look like a great mum.
Well I try to be a good mum. I try to be fun with him but educate him as well. When you are telling him “No!” and he’s laughing at you it’s hard not to laugh but I think you have to be very precise and say the right things. I don’t have that much time to spend with him because when I’m at home I’m practicing so when I have time with him I want to enjoy my time with him, going to the park, going swimming, because he loves swimming, going to play some golf with his little plastic clubs and tennis racket. He loves sports and we are a sporting family so I think he will become a good sportsman.

Has he got more of Ivan’s character or more of yours?
I think he has a little bit of both. I am more impulsive and Ivan is a little more relaxed. I think he is a little bit like me so I am going to have to be strong and not let him get away with things. I think he is starting to get his character and it is fun to see how a person changes.

What things do you do when not playing golf?
I love to see my friends and go to restaurants. I love to play paddle tennis which is a little form of tennis. I think we only play it in Spain and Argentina. It’s really fun. I love to go to soccer games. I am a Barcelona fan and if I cannot go to see them in the stadium then I invite my friends to watch them on TV at my home. I like doing normal things that people my age do. I don’t have the chance to do it all year round but whenever I have the chance I really want to do it and it’s great to have good friends.
My grandparents and parents are from Barcelona so I had to be a Barcelona fan since I was little. I love to go to the stadium and sing. It is so different from golf.

What would you like to achieve from your golf career?
My goal this year is to be more consistent. Last year I had a very good year at the beginning and I put the pressure of The Solheim Cup on myself. That is when I started playing badly. So my goal this year is to be up there, to be on the leader board. When you are there every week suddenly you get the win so that is my goal. To be more consistent, to be up there and I would love to finish top five on the New Star Money List. It’s a big achievement but I think I can do it.

Would you like to have more children?
Yes but not now. Maybe next year or in two years’ time. This year it’s only golf.

Kris Lindstrom (Team USA)

You have come out of retirement just for this event. What brought you over here?
I have never played a team event in my professional career and so it’s something I decided to do. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity as it’s such a great event.

How does it feel to be representing the USA?
It’s wonderful. It’s always an honour to represent your country. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Do you know Laura Terebey well?
We’ve never played together. We know each other but we haven’t played a practise round. I didn’t get my clubs until last night so even Monday, Tuesday we didn’t play a practise round. I did practise in Florida for a week though.

Did you get married recently?
Yes, in January.

What made you retire from golf?
I’m semi-retired so I might play a few events here and there. But as far as coming to Europe, this will probably be my last event.

Why is that?
Kids.

What do you think about the format of this event?
I’ve never heard of greensomes or played this type of format. It’s going to be interesting. Originally I thought with two shots in it will be all about putting but the course isn’t that easy. It will be tough to be on the green in regulation so I think it comes down to chipping and putting. This is the first time I’ve seen Laura’s game and she doesn’t know how I play so we’re just going to have fun. You can’t control what happens.

Rebecca Coakley (Team Ireland)

When was the last time you played in a team event?
At the World Cup two years ago.

How do you feel about the format?
I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’re going to have to stay on our toes and make sure we don’t play the wrong ball. It will be good fun.

How well do you know Martina?
I know Martina quite well. We’ve played some amateur golf together. She was amateur for a bit longer than me. I think we will do well together because we both hit it around the same distance. That helps because you can give each other advice on distances. We also have the same coach in Johnny Young so that helps.

What preparation have you been doing for the season?
I had some time in Australia and did some practise there. Then I had three weeks at home with one week at the Pelz Academy in Florida.

Do you feel like an improved played from last year?
I hope so. I’ve gone past the point of putting pressure on myself. You prepare as well as you can and try to let it happen rather than forcing it.

How are you feeling about your game?
I think its okay. You always want to hit it better. I walked away after going to the Pelz Academy feeling much more confident about my short game. We’ll see how that stands under pressure. It’s going to be a long process but hopefully in six months time I can say I’ve improved. We’ll see.

What did they teach you?
Mainly it’s about getting consistency. Having one shot that you know what height it’s going to come in at and how it’s going to roll rather than guess work. I’ve also got some new Titleist wedges and some new woods.