The Solheim Cup
Rich Harvest Farms
Sugar Grove, Ill.
Aug. 19, 2009
Captain Beth Daniel
MIKE SCANLAN: We’d like to welcome U.S. captain Beth Daniel to the interview room. Thanks for coming in. Obviously you have the credentials of a World Golf Hall of Famer and now you’ve moved on after a couple of years of retirement to leading the U.S. Team. If you would, just talk a little bit about being the captain, what this week has been like for you and just some general thoughts on the event.
BETH DANIEL: Well, obviously I’m excited to be here, be the captain that represents these 12 great players for the United States. It’s been a lot of fun so far this week. It’s also been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. I’ve never dealt with so much stuff. I feel like I’m running a golf tournament this week, pretty much, and it’s like Kelly and Meg and I just decided that we can now run the LPGA Tour because we know how to do it.
But it’s yeah, it’s just a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that people don’t realize that you have to deal with, players’ needs, and just arranging press conferences for everyone, and practice rounds and those kind of things. That’s probably been one of the hardest things is to try and because we turn in a practice round roster every day, or every night, and coordinating that, where they’re playing, around when they’re doing their media obligations, so it’s a very different week for the players and for us as captains.
That’s why I think it’s so important that, you know, if you’re going to be a captain or assistant captain, you really need to have some past experience in this, to understand what’s going on, and I have six years and six times, and Kelly has eight times in Meg has eight times and myself, once as an assistant captain. So we’ve been through it. We know what the week is like, and we can kind of help our players through it that way.
Q. Beth, this is the longest course in the Solheim Cup, and with the heavy rain over the weekend, playing even longer the first two practice days. Just wondered if you thought the length suited one team more than the other.
BETH DANIEL: I would say that advantage is almost to Europe. I think Europe is a longer team than the United States. They have been they were in ’07, they were in ’05. So the length of this golf course probably does favor Europe a little bit.
Q. Beth, what concerns you about being heavily favored?
BETH DANIEL: Are we heavily favored?
Q. I think so.
BETH DANIEL: Well, you know, I don’t think any of us have seen today’s the first day I asked for newspapers in our team room.
So we got a national U.S. paper that had nothing on Solheim Cup in it, so we didn’t get to read anything from that paper. It had an article on Fred Couples, who is the captain of the Presidents Cup, but nothing about the Solheim Cup. So that was a little interesting.
But maybe we should get the local papers instead. (Laughs.) That was disappointing, I must say. Sometimes you think you’re bigger than you are.
But you know, none of us really have read much about whether we’re favored or not favored, and you know, the perception in our team room is that we have to play our best golf to beat this team. And we do.
Match play, anything can happen. One putt can swing the momentum one way or the other. If you look back at past Solheim Cups, I think you can go back and pick out a putt on a Friday afternoon or a Saturday that literally turned the entire match around.
And we just have to be on our toes, and we know we have to play our best game. Europe has two major champions to our one. So you know, they have more major championships than our team does this year.
But you know, I can’t really control Europe. I don’t want to control Europe. I can only control what happens in our team room and how our players react to that and try to get them ready to play their best golf this week.
Q. Beth, can you share your philosophy on partnerships?
Do you believe in playing players with similar games together, in best ball, for example, or opposite dissimilar games?
Do you have a thought on what works best?
BETH DANIEL: Yeah, I definitely have a philosophy. I’m not sure I want to share it because it may give away who I potentially could partner. But I mean yeah, I have very strong feelings about how you play foursomes and how you play fourball, and I will implement those strategies. So when you guys hear the pairings tomorrow afternoon, you might figure it out a little bit.
It’s such a combination, though. You can have this philosophy, but then you might have two players that fit that and their personalities don’t fit at all. So it’s a combination of all kinds of things.
I think personality matches are big. You can’t have somebody out there that’s like, you know, likes to sort of lay low with someone that’s like getting the crowd to cheer and pump up because that’s going to fire that person up too much, and then the person who’s, you know, kind of sedate might not let the person who likes to go rah rah do that as much, so personality is a big issue.
Q. Do you like what you’ve seen so far from your team? Even maybe specifically the rookies in terms of how they’ve matched with the veterans and even the way they’re striking the ball?
BETH DANIEL: Yeah. I’ve been very pleased with how the players are playing out there and how they’re playing this golf course. I think the practice round that we had after the British Open was very important to us. It got us right after the team was named, it got us all here together as a team, playing the golf course and bonding, having dinner together.
Quite frankly, I was a little concerned that this team might not bond. It’s been unbelievable. I mean, they it’s just beyond all my expectations of how this team has come together. And it’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun. I mean, we went off campus last night for dinner, and you know, had some players stand up and say some things, some inspirational things, and I mean it was just it’s been fantastic. It really has.
I’ve gotten to know a couple of the players well, for instance, Kristy McPherson is from my native state of South Carolina. She won the Junior Player of the Year award the first two years that I sponsored it and gave it out, in ’97 and ’98. So I’ve known her since she was a teenager, but probably because of that, she’s never really opened up to me, and she is like one of the most fun people I’ve ever met in my life. And the team I mean she’s keeping the team really loose. So she’s been great.
And you know, and all of us on the inside have known Michelle Wie, how she really is. She’s very different from her media perception. And you know, Michelle’s just great. I mean, so there’s a lot of laughter, a lot of ping pong, pool games. You know, we’ve got the Wii game system in our team room. So we got all kinds of competitions going on at night, and it’s just been a lot of fun.
Q. Why were you concerned that the team wasn’t going to bond? And you just mentioned Michelle Wie. How much pressure does it take off of her, knowing, and the other rookies, too, that they don’t have to do everything, that even if they hit a bad shot, somebody else has their back as opposed to just playing on her own?
BETH DANIEL: I’ll answer the last question first. You know, I think for golf is such an individual sport that it’s very difficult sometimes to get into a team mentality, and I stressed to all of them and every one else, it takes 12 players. One player alone can’t do it; two players can’t do it; it takes all 12. And unless I have all 12 on board, we’re not going to win this.
And then I’ve forgotten the first question.
Q. Why were you concerned that they wouldn’t bond?
BETH DANIEL: Oh. Why was I concerned they wouldn’t bond.
Just, you know, I felt like I might potentially have some different personalities, but as it turns out, that was my perception from knowing them. Part of that might be because I’m kind of considered a media person now. So they don’t always open up to me and show me their true personality.
You know, it’s funny, when you’re a player, even if I go to a golf tournament just as me, all the players open up to me, tell me what’s going on in their life, everything else, but if I’m doing TV that week, I don’t hear anything because they’re afraid I’m going to say something on TV, I guess. I don’t know.
So because of the relationship of doing TV and some of the younger players only knowing me through TV, my perception of their personality was very different than how they really are. So it was more coming just my feelings. And I think as a captain, I think you worry about that, at least I do. You want your team to all get along.
Even the caddies, the caddies spend a lot of time with us this week, and so even like who the caddies are and that sort of thing and trying to make sure that everybody gets along really well. And it’s just been phenomenal.
Q. You just described Michelle Wie as being portrayed in a certain way in the media as different from the real personality of Michelle Wie. Can you characterize those two; one, the media image she has; and two, what the actual Michelle Wie is like?
BETH DANIEL: Absolutely. Well, you know, from what I’ve read all these years, I mean first, you know, as a player we always read that, you know, the players didn’t like Michelle, you know, they thought she was given everything, that sort of thing. And then when she plays golf, you know, she’s very controlled. Even her answers in the media are very controlled.
And she’s you know, in the team room and knowing her all these years because I’ve known her since she was 14. I was paired with her when she was 15 years old. When she’s inside the ropes talking to the players and she’s in the locker room, she is one of the funniest individuals I’ve ever been around in my life. She’s got a very quick wit. She’s on her computer all the time watching YouTube and all that other her age kind of stuff. So we’re learning a lot about that sort of thing.
But she’s really, really funny and she’s really a sweet person. You know. I mean I put out a questionnaire to the team at the British Open, and you know, I had questions that we needed to know, like food allergies and what type of golf ball do you play, that sort of thing, for pairings. And at the end I put, “any other comments,” and she wrote in there real big, she goes, “thank you so much for picking me.” I mean, she’s so appreciative of this opportunity. So it’s just great. I mean she’s a very grateful kid.
Q. In picking Michelle Wie, was that a no brainer for you or did you deliberate on that, especially with her being a rookie this year?
BETH DANIEL: Yeah. You always wonder if you should pick a rookie. I always feel like picking a rookie in the United States is a little easier than picking a rookie overseas, you know, because here she’s going to have the fans at her back the whole time.
But I looked at the stats. I looked at her performances. I’ve said from day one of being captain that my picks were going to be the people who were playing the best coming into the event. And if I looked at 11 through 20, by far she was playing the best of any of them. So yeah. It was a bit of a no brainer.
Q. Because of the length of this course, how much does her length help you guys, too, as far as she can hit the ball?
BETH DANIEL: Well, it’ll help us if she keeps it in the fairway. I mean it’s not only long, it’s an extremely tight golf course. And that’s what makes it so difficult. So you know, most people that hit it long have a tendency to hit it a little crooked. So that’ll be a big factor here.
But it’s also a golf course that you have to be able to hit the ball both ways, left to right, right to left, and she has all the shots to do that.
So you know, only time will tell how she reacts, but she’s been playing very well in the practice rounds. She seems to be loose and ready to go, and hopefully that’s the case.
Q. To kind of follow up on that, how is the team playing? Have you liked what you’re seeing in terms of ball striking? I know they’ve had practice rounds so maybe that helps, but just in general do you like what you’re seeing?
BETH DANIEL: I do like what I’m seeing. You know, yesterday I got out there for a little while, and today I was out there for a little while. Monday I didn’t get much chance. I was running around doing stuff, so I really didn’t get out on the golf course too much to see them.
But yeah, I like what I’m seeing. They’re doing all the right things in the practice round. They’re approaching it like it’s a normal event, and that’s how I want them to approach it.
Q. There’s probably very little you don’t know about the Solheim Cup as a player. Just wondered what the most difficult thing you’ve had to do so far as a captain and if there’s anything that has particularly surprised you as a captain this week?
BETH DANIEL: Well, definitely the most difficult thing I’ve had to do as a captain is telling the players who didn’t make the team. And to their credit, we’ve already gotten text messages from two of them, and one of them is here. You know, I think that’s a pretty cool thing, that they’re supporting the team when they were obviously very disappointed to not make it. But that’s without a doubt the hardest thing that any captain has to do. And that was and I’ve said this, for 72 hours at the British Open, I hated being the Solheim Cup captain because of that.
But now that we’re you know, that’s been done, I have to live or die by my captain’s picks, but Ron Sirak agreed with it the week before, so he can’t criticize me. I know that, because he picked them, too.
But now that that’s done and we’re here as a team, you know, we discussed that as a team. When we came here from the British, I talked to the players. I told them how difficult that decision was, and they have all supported me 100 percent in my picks. Even though they may not have agreed with what I did, they support me. And that’s what’s important to me. So we are a team now, and on we go.
Q. Did anything particularly surprise you?
BETH DANIEL: I’m not no, I’m not really surprised. I think, you know, what helped me was being an assistant captain in ’07, and Betsy King, to her credit, involved me in everything that she did, and I’ve done the same thing with my two assistant captains. You know, I’ve had them on all the conference calls. I’ve talked to them about all the decisions that I’ve made. Betsy did the same thing for me, and it was a great learning process.
And they’ve also Meg and Kelly have been extremely helpful in helping me put out fires this week, and you know, handle some of the situations that we’ve had come up. So I give them both a lot of credit. As a matter of fact, I don’t think Meg slept last night at all. And she when I woke up this morning, she had been in the team trailer for a good portion of the night doing pairings.
So I don’t have to worry about it now. So she comes, she’s got these big wads of paper. She goes, “I have the pairings right here, Beth. I’ve got it all figured out.” So I said, “All right, we’ll take a look at them.” (Laughs.)
Q. That almost answers the question I was going to ask. How much of what happens here, yesterday, today, a little bit tomorrow, will impact your pairings, and how much of a notion did you have going in?
I think last year Paul Azinger said he knew weeks before exactly who he was going to put with whom. How much of a determining factor is this week do you think?
BETH DANIEL: Well, this week would be a determining factor only if somebody just can’t find it, you know. And that hasn’t happened. And we’ve you know, since the British, because the cutoff was so late, and I did that because I wanted to include the last major. I didn’t want to go with just three majors in the second year.
But since the cutoff, you know, Meg and Kelly and I have been talking about that and putting potential pairings and rotations for the two days even. I mean we’ve gone that far, you know, what we’ll do for the two days.
Now, of course, you can prepare all you want, but then you have to go on the fly a little bit; if something happens, and somebody is, just say they get injured, they’re not playing well. To this point that hasn’t happened. So we have and have had for a little while pretty good clue as to what we’re going to do the first day.
Q. Can you speak to how Juli Inkster is fitting into the bonding process and then also just what kind of opportunity is there for Michelle Wie to spend a week with a player like Juli?
BETH DANIEL: Juli has been so good. She’s one of the players that stood up at the dinner last night, and everybody was in tears, including Juli, who doesn’t cry that much. But you know, what she said to those younger players was just, it couldn’t have been more perfect.
And you know, when I picked Juli, I picked her and I said, “This is a tribute to you, Juli, that these players want you on this team.” I don’t think there’s a greater tribute to a player than to have the rest of your team want you on the team.
And you know, that’s got to be like a highlight for her in her career, I would think, that they all want her. I wanted her, too. She’s very steady. She’s been there. They go to her. I’ve told them to lean on her, ask her questions.
But you know, Juli is so young at heart that she’s right in there with them in that team room, playing with them, ribbing them back and forth. I mean Angela Stanford’s doing the same thing. She was on Michelle Wie the first day that we practiced here after the British, you know, she’s just digging at her, and Michelle’s just going right back, just toe to toe. And Michelle is like, “Why you picking on me?” And she said, “Because you gotta be tough for this event. I’m going to make you tough.”
So Angela Stanford gets it, and you need that veteran leadership like that to help those players along. Juli is just priceless to have in that team room that way.
And then you know, on the golf course, she’s 100 percent all the time, and but we flew in Monday after the British, and I was doing a media thing. We had one of the local TV stations came out here, and so I had the, what, 5:37. It was still dark. It’s foggy. We’re fogged in, and who walks out on the practice putting green out of her room with her putter and golf balls but Juli Inkster. It’s dark.
So three other younger players see her. They walk right out of their rooms with their putters and they’re all putting on the green. So you can’t be a better leader than that. And they’ve been putting at night. You know, when they go out of their rooms like after dinner, right before dark, like five of them have been putting like every night. And you know, they’re following Juli’s lead.
And you know, to them, it’s like, this is why she’s a Hall of Famer, because she practices like this. So it’s a great learning experience for all of them, too.
Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Morgan Pressel
MIKE SCANLAN: All right, everyone. Thanks for coming in. On my left here is Christina Kim, playing in her second Solheim Cup. On her left, Morgan Pressel, also playing in her second, and Cristie Kerr, playing in her fifth, also the leading money winner so far on the 2009 LPGA Tour. Cristie, if you would, just some thoughts on being here at Rich Harvest Farms and also on being here at your fifth Solheim Cup.
CRISTIE KERR: I’ll start off by saying, I said thank you to Beth Daniel because if she hadn’t picked Juli Inkster, I would have been the oldest on the team. (Laughs.) So you know, we’re kind of tight now.
Rich Harvest Farms is an amazing facility. It’s a terrific golf course, some very unique characteristics to the course, which are going to make it I think pretty exciting for match play. The practice facilities too where we’re staying and everything about the facility is terrific.
MIKE SCANLAN: Morgan, some thoughts on playing for the USA again.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I’m very excited to be here. I’m honored to be here. There’s no greater honor than representing your country in sports, and we’re lucky enough to do it on a stage like the Solheim Cup. And I can thank my teammates for helping me and giving the U.S. a chance to put up a good fight, and I think that we will, and I think we’ll have a great week.
I’m excited to be here on U.S. soil, and being a part of two junior teams on home soil was a different experience, but I certainly had that opportunity to see what it’s like, and I was out there cheering for these two girls in ’05 at Crooked Stick on the first tee, and it’ll be interesting to be standing on the tee this time, and it’ll be a little different.
Always in Europe you go out there and try to quiet the crowd.
CRISTIE KERR: That’s right. This is your first on home soil.
MORGAN PRESSEL: It is, and I’m so excited for it.
MIKE SCANLAN: And Christina is probably considered one of the more vocal players on the team. Can you just talk about your second Solheim Cup?
CHRISTINA KIM: It’s good. (Laughs.) No. It’s hard to go third after everything that these two girls have said. It’s such an honor to be part of the top-12 U.S. players to represent our country. It’s like, you know, it’s not unlike going to war, minus the bloodshed and violence (laughs), and it’s just a remarkable week. The electricity out there is palpable, and it’s only Wednesday. It’s Wednesday, right?
It’s only Wednesday, and it’s just an indescribable feeling that you have.
And to be one of a select few to be able to say that you’ve done this in your life, it’s pretty damn exciting. And you know, I was not there in Sweden in ’07, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, where I’m at right now. I have nothing but being there on home soil, and it’s such a thrill.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don’t know about you, but I got some USA chants going out there today, and it’s only Wednesday. I was pretty excited.
CHRISTINA KIM: Yeah. We were a little off today. It was like, “Yeah. Hey.” We’re doing good, though. We’re doing good.
MORGAN PRESSEL: It’s our practice round, but the crowd’s gotta practice, too.
CHRISTINA KIM: Yeah, we tried doing the Mexican move, but I guess it is America versus Europe. They weren’t going for it.
CRISTIE KERR: I would have to say, you know, pretty emotional, you know, when captains have to make their picks, and you know, I was there in Portland when Christina, who had an amazing year and had been playing amazing, didn’t get picked, and we’re just so glad to have her back on the team and playing amazing.
MORGAN PRESSEL: You’re going to make her cry. You guys are both going to cry. That would be the first; I would be the one to cry.
CRISTIE KERR: So it’s amazing to have her back on the team, and you know, she wound up the crowd pretty good at Crooked Stick, and we’ve all seen the amazing pictures she had, pumping her fist and going like that to the crowd, and I can tell you it’s going to be rocking out there.
CHRISTINA KIM: You guys so did not need me. You guys were so stacked, trust me, and that’s what I kept telling everybody.
CRISTIE KERR: We needed your low ball out there, though.
MORGAN PRESSEL: The screaming inches after impact.
CRISTIE KERR: We’re going to call that one the screaming eagle.
CHRISTINA KIM: I like that.
Q. How does your captain get a word in edgewise?
CRISTIE KERR: Not very well.
CHRISTINA KIM: She leaves notes on our bed every night, little key points. That’s all.
CRISTIE KERR: She says, “Everybody shut up,” and then she talks.
CHRISTINA KIM: No, I say shut up. I holler at the top of my lungs and then everyone is quiet.
No, Beth’s been a phenomenal captain. She’s got so much experience, and she’s just been we all idolized her growing up, and she has this remarkable presence about her that when she steps into the room she takes your breath away in so many ways, and you stand there in awe. I shut up whatever she’s around. I shut up like that.
CRISTIE KERR: She’s a very intense competitor and she’s kind of put that, you know, message into us that we can’t take anything for granted. We have to go out there and play phenomenal golf to win, and that’s what we’re going to do.
CHRISTINA KIM: Yeah. That’s what it takes.
Q. Does she have a particular look when she wants you to be a bit serious and pay attention?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. We know what that is and we do.
CHRISTINA KIM: We shut our mouth and look to the ground.
MORGAN PRESSEL: We all know each other well enough, and we all know Beth and Meg and Kelly pretty well that we know when they really want us to pay attention and when they’re saying something important.
CRISTIE KERR: And that’s part of the team, too, is the camaraderie and all the joking back and forth and rooting each other on. That’s a big part of the team, and sometimes you gotta just kind of let us do it, which is kind of hard to stop anyways.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Especially when we’ve got her.
Q. Can you guys talk about how Juli Inkster fares on this team? She’s kind of a mom figure, but she’s also a big little kid. Can you talk a little bit about what she brings to this team?
CHRISTINA KIM: Well, she is the oldest player on the team.
MORGAN PRESSEL: She keeps joking that she’s staying in the adult room and we’re all in the kids’ room.
CHRISTINA KIM: No. She’s been able to provide so much to this team. She’s given us some pretty inspirational speeches, stories as to what she’s done in previous Solheim Cups, and she also, like Meg, Beth, Kelly, has this great presence about her that she instills a lot of calm into us, and she’s got so much belief in us, it’s as if we’ve got a third parent with us, and she’s there for all of us.
It’s pretty inspirational having her there for us, and just knowing that she believes in us because she’s seen it all and she’s one of the greatest of all time, and for her to be able to say things like that makes me really want to go out and prove that hopefully we can do this.
CRISTIE KERR: And she’s got a ton of experience, too, and she’s a fierce competitor. She wouldn’t be doing what she’s doing, especially at her age now, which I’ll tell you, she’s not like that at heart. She’s as young as us, if not younger, and ready like, “hey, let’s go putt on the putting green. Let’s play for 20 bucks.”
MORGAN PRESSEL: She was out there putting till dark the other night.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, and she’s amazing. And you know, when push comes to shove, if she had a six foot putt to win the Solheim Cup, I wouldn’t myself included, I would welcome that, because she’s that fierce of a competitor.
MORGAN PRESSEL: It was great. We were watching some video recaps of previous Solheim Cups, and it just seems like just about every U.S. clip is of Juli Inkster making some sort of putt or dancing. And that in itself can be intimidating to the Europeans.
Q. Cristie, while it’s still fairly early in the week, could you talk about how the team atmosphere compares to other Solheim teams you’ve been on and how quickly the rookies have settled in?
CRISTIE KERR: I think the rookies are very comfortable. It’ll be a different experience for them on the first tee. We’ve told them what it’s like, kind of clued them in. We’ve told them what to expect. So I think they’re going to be very well prepared. The team chemistry is a little different from all the other years but not in a bad way. I think we’re all very comfortable with each other and we’re all hanging out together.
You know, in years past, Solheim Cups past, it’s been amazing team chemistry, but this year, I think, surpasses that. You know, having Michelle Wie on the team, getting to know her as a person and seeing how she interacts with all of us, this is a very good experience for her, not only as a golfer, but as a person. And I think this team chemistry is pretty special.
There’s just something special about it this time, not like the other four I’ve played on haven’t been special, but there’s just something really special about this team this year.
MORGAN PRESSEL: You’ve played on four?
CRISTIE KERR: This is my fifth. I’m going to play more Solheim Cups than the two of you combined. That’s scary.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think it’s interesting with the rookies, and I played nine holes with Michelle today, and when we were doing the USA chants, she was like, what do you mean, what are we going to do, and those were her first chants.
CHRISTINA KIM: Oh, you were there for her first chants?
MORGAN PRESSEL: And I was like, just watch. I was like, I’ll get it started. And then we had a great time with it.
CRISTIE KERR: You know what’s really funny is first thing you do when you come to Solheim Cup is you see your red, white and blue bag, and you’re like, I gotta switch my clubs over immediately.
MORGAN PRESSEL: That was the first thing I did.
CRISTIE KERR: And I think Michelle might have been the last person to do that because she’s like, I’ve never had to do this before. I’ve never had to switch my clubs and my bags. She’s never had to do it herself. She always had people to do it for her.
So that’s just one of those things that’s just really funny and she’s like oh, my God. Well, do I need this club, where do I put that club. It was really funny.
CHRISTINA KIM: That is great. That is great.
Q. I hesitate to interrupt.
MORGAN PRESSEL: We could go on all afternoon.
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, but there is a storm coming.
Q. I just wondered, Christina, how many pairs of earrings have you got with you?
CHRISTINA KIM: I don’t know. You have to wait and see. I don’t divulge my secrets.
Q. But they’ll be different every day I take it?
CHRISTINA KIM: Maybe not. Never know.
CRISTIE KERR: I don’t think she knows.
MORGAN PRESSEL: She’s playing by the seat of her pants.
CHRISTINA KIM: Dude, that’s like so tomorrow for me. I have no idea. I’m all about the now. It’s all about the zen, baby.
Q. You guys have spent a few days with Michelle Wie in a different setting this week as a team. How do you think Michelle will change the public’s perception of her, how we think she is, the media thinks she is? What will we see this week in Michelle that might be a really good thing for her?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think the public perception will change depending on what you guys write.
CHRISTINA KIM: It’s what you guys say about her.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think as teammates, I think that we’ve all gotten to know her in a different setting, in a different way. She’s made a lot of new friends this week, and like Cristie said earlier, I think it’ll be a really good experience for her. I think it already has been.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. I think it’s definitely changing her as a person, and you know, she’s an amazing golfer, but what people don’t realize is she’s still just a teenager, you know, and we’re getting to know her as a person. And you know, what people don’t know about her is that she’s got quite the fashion edge. She makes her own clothing. You know, she designs clothing. She does a lot of interesting things.
MORGAN PRESSEL: She’s a talented artist.
CRISTIE KERR: She’s a very talented artist. She’s very funny. She’s quirky.
MORGAN PRESSEL: She’s a college kid.
CRISTIE KERR: I think people are going to see the real her this week, not like they didn’t see the real her before, but it’s sometimes so everything is so planned out and she’s around her teammates, and that’s not a bad thing necessarily, but she’s around her teammates, and she’s an American, she’s a Korean American, just like Christina is, and you know, the crowd, you know, is the crowd is amazing with her and they love her, and you know what, people are going to get to see the real her this week.
Q. With Asian golf so strong at the moment, the US winning three in a row, can you really see the Solheim Cup keeping going on and on and on in its current format?
CHRISTINA KIM: Absolutely, yes.
CRISTIE KERR: How I would answer that question is I think the Solheim Cup needs to stay the way it is in my opinion, Europe versus USA. The Ryder Cup is that way. I think the formulation of a new event needs to happen, just like the Presidents Cup. Why not call it the First Ladies Cup, where we have like the Lexus Cup where Asia plays against the world, but it would be just like the Presidents Cup, a new event.
I think that needs to happen, and these are the kinds of new events that the LPGA can own and have market share with and move forward with, so I think that’s what we need to do, you know, because the Solheim Cup, just like the Ryder Cup, you know, that needs to stay the way it is, in my opinion.
CHRISTINA KIM: Tradition and integrity of the sport, and the spirit of what the entire Solheim Cup is about is, you know, USA versus Europe. It’s how it’s always been, and I could never see it any other way. You know, there’s been a lot of Asian influence dominant on our Tour. Now it’s eking into the men’s Tour a little bit more, but you know, that’s neither here nor there. Like Cristie said, we could have First Ladies Cup. Why not?
It’s so important and it’s special event.
CRISTIE KERR: And in Korea they have a tournament called the Pinx Cup.
CHRISTINA KIM: It’s Korea versus Japan.
CRISTIE KERR: Right. Korea versus Japan, and they’re not going to let us go play in that, so we need to create a new event so we can match up with a Presidents Cup style event.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah. I think that Europe has a very strong team this week, and I don’t think we should get ahead of ourselves in any sense and start already thinking about changing a format. I mean, they have a very strong team. We have a very strong team, and we’re going to fight it out till the end.
I think the last few matches on Sunday could be very important, and even for the future of European golf. I mean, a few years ago it looked like American golf was very old, and we had quite an old team on the Solheim Cup, and now it’s younger than ever, younger than it’s ever been, and we joke with Juli that she’s bringing the average up.
CHRISTINA KIM: Only by two years, though.
MORGAN PRESSEL: We did the math.
Q. I don’t know that I heard correctly, but did you say Japan versus Korea, P i n x?
CHRISTINA KIM: Pinx Cup, P i n x. Pinx is it started at Pinx Country Club. It’s just how it’s pronounced. Pinx Country Club based in I believe it’s Jeju Island in Korea. So they play one year there, another year they play in Japan, and they rotate back and forth similar to how we do our Solheim Cup.
MORGAN PRESSEL: It’s a very big event for them.
CHRISTINA KIM: Yeah. I’ve played in it before and it’s amazing the camaraderie you gain playing in an event like that, too. It’s a matter of one team versus another. It doesn’t matter where you come from. The European team, they have so much experience and they’re so hungry right now that there’s no reason to say that we need to include anybody else right now. Anything can happen come Sunday. Anything can happen. It’s match play.
Becky Brewerton, Laura Davies
BETHAN CUTLER: I’d like to welcome Laura Davies from England, the only player to have played in all 11 Solheim Cups, and Becky Brewerton from Wales, playing her second Solheim Cup. Perhaps Laura, can we start with you and how the week is shaping up for you so far.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, very nice. We’ve had a couple practices this week, and the course it’s a little different to when I played earlier in the year. But yeah, I think all the girls like it. Nice generous fairways, greens are really good, really getting quick. I think they’ll be very quick by the weekend. It’s just a really nice venue.
BETHAN CUTLER: How’s your form coming into the week?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah. I’m hitting it better. Had that bad run in the middle of the year but that’s all behind me now.
BETHAN CUTLER: Becky, you’ve been playing really well in recent weeks. Have you continued that form coming into the first few days of the week.
BECKY BREWERTON: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I’m enjoying the course. As Laura said, it’s a little quite like getting used to it before the start of the tournament. It’s in great condition. It’s quite wet, so it’s playing long, which is good for us.
Q. Becky, why is the course playing long good for you?
BECKY BREWERTON: Because we’ve got lots of very long hitters.
Q. Yeah, but you had lots of very long hitters in the last two Solheim Cups?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, but the last time the course was because the weather was so bad, it was playing so ridiculously long it didn’t really suit anyone because no one could get up on anywhere.
Q. Laura, Juli Inkster was in here yesterday and said this is possibly the strongest European team she’s seen. You’ve played in every single one of these things. Would you concur with that?
LAURA DAVIES: I think it’s a very strong team, yes. It’s as strong as it could be at the moment. Whether it stacks up against some of the teams in the ’90s when Annika was involved, it’s hard to see a stronger team than when Annika is in there, but I do agree at the moment this is absolutely the best of European golf, and luckily we’re playing well, so yeah, I think she’s got a good point.
Q. Becky, I think anybody would say that Laura Davies has been the heart and soul of the European Solheim Cup team since its inception. What can you learn from someone like your teammate here?
LAURA DAVIES: This should be interesting.
BECKY BREWERTON: So much. I mean, for me it was unbelievable, my first Solheim, and if I could have had any dream, it would have been to have played with Laura, just because she’s all about what the whole tournament’s about, the way she plays especially in match play, with an aggressive game. Yeah, the way she plays with an aggressive game; there’s so many Solheim Cup moments and so many of the best tournaments that I remember from watching on TV and playing last time seem to have had her involved from some point.
That says it all really, but to get to play with her in the first one was fantastic, and although she took Mickey over me quite a lot, it did help. So it was good.
Q. Laura, as you said, you’ve played in every Solheim Cup. There have been a lot of suggestions in various parts of the media that with Asian golf so strong now, that maybe the Solheim Cup needs to change or diversify. Not something Alison Nicholas agreed with at all. I wonder what your view on it was?
LAURA DAVIES: I’d just be interested in what flag you’d play it under because there’s a European flag, but to this point I haven’t seen the rest of the world flag, so all the people running around with flags wouldn’t have much to wave, would they. That would be the biggest problem I see, just having an identity with the rest of the world. We are confident in Europe, and if you take that away, the Solheim Cup is no longer as far as I’m concerned.
BETHAN CUTLER: What do you feel about it, Becky?
BECKY BREWERTON: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. It wouldn’t be the event it is. It wouldn’t be the Solheim Cup anymore. It would have to be a completely different tournament.
Q. Laura, could you speak to how important it is for you before you retire to win a Solheim Cup on American soil? Does that matter?
LAURA DAVIES: Oh, it matters a lot, yeah. At the moment as far as I’m concerned, we’re 7 3 down, and I’d love to play in at least four more and try and make it 7 all. That would be my dream, and obviously that would constitute a couple of wins in America, which is the ultimate as far as I’m concerned. To overcome the crowds and the American team, which is always first class and they always come in playing really well, which they’ve done again, and just to beat them over here, I think the sense of satisfaction Sunday night would be beyond anything I’ve achieved.
If we don’t do it in my time playing in the Solheim then it would be a huge hole in my career.
Q. That said, would you agree that in the past, with Europe winning in the stakes, in the Ryder Cup, it changed the public’s interest in the event? How do you see something like that affecting this event, the Solheim Cup?
LAURA DAVIES: I don’t think it can be any bigger than it is now. If we win it, that’s obviously great personally for us, but I think the Solheim Cup is set in stone now, and it is our equivalent to the Ryder Cup, which is probably the biggest tournament in men’s golf, and this is by far the biggest tournament in women’s golf, from coverage, excitement, galleries. So it would add to it, but it wouldn’t make a difference.
Like you said, back in the ’80s when we finally won in America, it was a huge thing because everyone started believing well, at the time I think it might have been Great Britain and Ireland still. People started to think the Europeans were worthy opponents.
But I think everyone thinks we are worthy opponents already, and if they don’t, then they probably shouldn’t be here.
Q. What did Ollie say in the video yesterday?
LAURA DAVIES: It was just, you know, what you’d expect. It was just lovely to see it from a Ryder Cupper and probably a future Ryder Cup captain. I think he’s almost nailed in to be the captain pretty soon, and I’ve been lucky enough to play with him over the years. It was just a nice everything was positive. It was whatever happens, keep pushing forward. It was just Ollie being Ollie, and it was just absolutely fantastic. I think everybody was pretty shocked. I was shocked that he would take the time out to make us that video. It was really nice.
Q. So many of us remember the great play, you and Alison Nicholas as teammates. Now she’s your captain. How’s that going?
LAURA DAVIES: Good. I’ve known her since 1980. I think we very first met in the amateur scene. And yeah, the memories of us playing those first few matches at Lake Nona together and over the next sort of probably 12 years we played together as teammates. She’s no different as a captain. She excited about it. She loves the Solheim Cup. That’s one of her favorite tournaments, like the same as myself, and her enthusiasm just rubs off on everybody, and it’s nice to see her getting the job she’s been the vice captain two or three times. So I think she very much deserved to be the captain because her record stands out.
Q. Are you taking notes?
LAURA DAVIES: No. I really would never want to be the captain. I’d rather be playing or watching or being involved in another way, but I just don’t see myself as a captain figure, and motivational speaking is not my strong point.
Q. Would you turn it down if it was offered?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah. I’ve already turned it down.
Q. You’ve already turned it down?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, it’s been suggested, what do you think? I said no, I don’t want to do it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing not to want to do it. I don’t think I would be a particularly good captain, and for that reason and I probably wouldn’t if I couldn’t give it my total commitment, then I wouldn’t want to do it anyway, but it’s not something that’s interested me.
Q. Why wouldn’t you want to be a captain?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah. I’m just not the person to stand up in front of a room of people and try and cheer them all up. That’s just never been my way, and I think as a captain, you have to command the audience, and I don’t think that’s the sort of thing I can do.
Ali, she’s very softly spoken but she’s very good in front of the players and caddies and helpers. She’s very good, and I’ve never been big on that side of it, and I don’t know, I love playing. That’s what I love doing. I’d love to be a vice captain maybe and sort of loiter in the background if I can’t play anymore. But no, it’s not something that I fancy.
Q. Laura, what’s your secret for staying at the top of the game for so long?
LAURA DAVIES: I don’t practice as much as the rest; it’s as simple as that. I honestly believe it’s as simple as that. They’re all out there again today smashing golf balls. And I’ve been doing my laundry and got some things for the team room. It’s been a nice afternoon. And I genuinely believe that’s why I’m here longer than most, because I don’t play golf 24 hours a day. I do have time off, and some people have said if I’d been more dedicated on the range, I might have won more tournaments. We’ll never know that. But that’s why I’m still going at 45 and looking to go another five or ten years, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Q. How do you explain Liverpool’s dire start to the season at White Hart Lane?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, we played Ryan Babel, and he’s rubbish. Sorry to get off the track. But yeah, I haven’t seen the team yet, but I guarantee he’s not in it today. But we’ll be there at the end of the year.
Q. Laura, obviously you and Helen Alfredsson and Juli Inkster are the veterans of this event. What’s your take when you look around at these guys, your colleagues for all these years, the fact that you guys are still hanging with the kids?
LAURA DAVIES: I think it’s great. I think people like seeing it. The biggest story in sport, let alone golf, would have been if Tom Watson won. I know he’s a lot older than we are, but even so, he proved that golf is one of the very few sports where it doesn’t really matter how old you are; if you’re good, you’re good. You can’t run out of steam, really, because all you’re doing is walking. It’s not all that strenuous to be honest.
Everyone is going on about, we play 36 in a day; it’s too much. We’re walking; we’re not running around. But we’re lucky. Golf is a sport that goes through the ages, and I’m very pleased to still be going strong.
Q. Do you see yourself still playing golf at 45 or 50?
BECKY BREWERTON: I don’t know. Because I’d be one of those that would be out there hitting balls, so by Laura’s account I probably won’t be.
LAURA DAVIES: She’ll be done in five years.
Q. Are you tempted maybe to take Laura’s approach and see what would happen?
BECKY BREWERTON: I’m not sure. I’m not as naturally gifted as her, so I don’t think I’ll be able to do that anyway.
Q. I believe there’s a casino somewhere in the area. Have you been to go to that?
LAURA DAVIES: We’re barely allowed off the compound. How I nicked the captain’s call for a bit of laundry this afternoon, I’ll never know, but apparently all the caddies and helpers are going tonight. So if I can dodge the banquet dinner, I’ll be with them, but I don’t think that’s happening.
Catriona Matthew, Janice Moodie
BETHAN CUTLER: Welcome, Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie from Scotland. Janice, you’re making your third Solheim Cup appearance and you had a hole in one at 16 today, which was very exciting.
JANICE MOODIE: I did. I didn’t even see it go in.
BETHAN CUTLER: Congratulations. And Catriona is making her fifth Solheim Cup appearance, and obviously won the RICOH Women’s British Open a few weeks ago. Thank you for coming in today. Janice, do you want to start off with saying how the week’s panning out for you so far.
JANICE MOODIE: It’s just been great. It’s great to be back on the team so far.
I think the last time was 2003, and you know, time flies so fast when you’re out here and you really don’t know what you’re doing, and then all of a sudden 2009 comes around. And so just bringing back a lot of great memories, and the team spirit, and it’s just been a lot of fun.
BETHAN CUTLER: Great. And Catriona, you must have been very busy over the last couple of weeks. How are you feeling? Are you fatigued or are you ready to go?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No. I’m ready for it. Just played nine today, so rest a little bit this afternoon, but yeah, really feel ready for it. It’s kind of a relaxing week away from the two children. So I’ve got more time.
Q. Catriona, first congratulations on your victory and the young one. How manic was it the week after the British Open, and were you pleased to get back out here and get down to golf again?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah. Probably the first three days were nonstop. I never had a moment for myself. So I sat down for three days. Last week went back to normal, so I got some practice in, and nice to be back out and playing again.
BETHAN CUTLER: Catriona, I think, said you had some people camped outside your house. Was that true or was she just exaggerating?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No. For a couple of days the doorbell was kind of constant and the fun was going nonstop, so it was nice to calm down.
Q. How many interviews do you reckon you did in that week, and did you find anywhere to hide at any point?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don’t know how many I did, actually. But I’d say probably after about Friday it kind of really calmed down, but before then it was just kind of one after the other. It was nice, nice to have that problem.
Q. Excuse the question coming from a man who knows nothing about these sorts of things, but what is it so soon after the birth of a child that gives you almost superhuman powers?
You played very well, didn’t you, at the Kraft Nabisco Championship after the birth of Katie. And then so soon after this you’ve done it again?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don’t know. Maybe the break does me good. I think when you’re out here year in and year out, it’s tough to sometimes get away from golf. You’re kind of forced to take about six months off and you come back refreshed and ready to go. You’re back hitting again and happy to be back out there.
Q. How do you get yourself back into shape so quickly?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, this time, I think running after Katie. When I had my first child, I kind of got back into the gym quite quickly, but this time really struggled to find any time to do that. So I think just generally, you know, just running after Katie the whole time and got back into playing.
I keep meaning to get to the gym but haven’t quite found the time yet. In the winter, now that they’re sleeping I’ll do it.
Q. Janice, you have a great record at the Solheim Cup. Is it match play? Is it the competition of this particular format? What is it that this brings out the best in you?
JANICE MOODIE: It’s kind of funny you say that. My coach has been out here this week, and we were talking about why I haven’t really performed as well as I really think I should be, and I think it’s because I’m probably more of a match player as well. If my group’s doing well, I’ll do well. If my group’s not doing that well, and unfortunately I’ve been of those tee times this year, then I tend to get down a little bit with it, too, which is kind of weird but I think how sometimes how threesomes work.
I don’t know. I love match play. We don’t get any of it anymore, just these events. And Catriona and I played together in South Africa, as well, and it was more of stroke play but still more or less match play because there was so few teams.
I don’t know, it’s just a different game, and you know, you’ve got to concentrate on every hole. It’s fun.
Q. You guys have been big partners together. Might we see more of that?
JANICE MOODIE: I don’t know. That’s for Alison to let you know.
Q. Janice, when you look at the team, two things. One, do you think this is a team that really does have a good chance; and two, do you see natural pairings within the 12 players?
JANICE MOODIE: Yeah, I think there are natural pairs within the 12, and I think obviously everybody’s writing us off as the underdogs. Thanks, Ron. (Laughs.) And you know what, I think we’re just going out there, and Suzann said it very well yesterday, we’re just going to play one hole at a time and see how it goes. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves or beat ourselves up. We’re just going to go out there and play golf.
Q. For both of you, can you talk a little about where you are respectively. You’re both moms now and you’re both veteran players, and now you’re in a position of leadership on this team, sort of how you view this year’s role on the Solheim Cup team.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously I’ve been lucky enough to play. This is my fifth one now, so yeah, I think obviously you’re trying to help the rookies. I think you just need to think back to what your first one was like, and kind of what feelings you had and the experience you had, so yeah, I think just try and help them in that way just from what you’ve kind of experienced before.
JANICE MOODIE: Yeah, I mean, there’s a couple of the girls from the European Tour that obviously we’ll get to know them now because I’ve played so much European Tour golf, as well, and they’ve also come over to the States, and there’s just a couple of girls that I’ve made the effort to try and get to know a bit better because we don’t really know each other well enough.
Q. With Asian golf being so strong, there have been questions about future formats of the Solheim Cup raised in the media. This got a fairly frisky response from Alison Nicholas and Laura Davies, and I wondered what your thoughts, both of you, was on it.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah. I think the Solheim Cup is really just a tournament between Europe and America. That’s the way it was started, and I think that’s the way it should stay.
JANICE MOODIE: I agree. I think if you want to have another tournament and do those formats, then fine, but I don’t think it’s a Solheim Cup.
Q. What kind of characters are your rookies? Are they quiet or outgoing? You know, do they bring a lot to the team room?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think obviously that it’s difficult playing in your first one. I think you probably are a bit quieter playing in your first one. Obviously it’s tough to get a word in when Helen’s around, but yeah, I mean, I think they’re very confident in their games, and they’re really nice people, so I mean, yeah, we’re all getting on really well.
JANICE MOODIE: I think we have a mature team. I mean, this is my third. I think everybody’s older. Our rookies, I think we have one real young girl on the team and that’s about it. Tania’s the youngest, so I mean, I think we really only have one real young girl, you know, so a lot of experience.
Q. Catriona, did it give you a real boost of confidence to win the Women’s British right before this event? Can you talk a little bit about is that a shot in the arm you needed or were you already there?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No. I think obviously when you come back and you haven’t played tournament golf for five or six months, you never know how you’re going to come back and play. So to come back and obviously win was obviously well above my expectations, but yeah, it’s definitely given me a lot of confidence.
I mean, it’s just naturally you’re a bit weary of how you might come back and play, so yeah, I was just delighted to come back and kind of coming back better than I left.
Q. Was it surprising for you that it took you that long to win a major championship?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I mean I don’t know if it’s I mean, obviously I always hoped I was going to win a major, but you just never know whether you’re ever going to win one. So I wouldn’t say I was surprised it took me that long. I’m just very pleased to have won one, and hopefully I can go in and do some more now.