The Road to The 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle
Wednesday July 9th 2008

Morgan Pressel (USA)

Morgan, what are your first impressions of Ireland?
The weather was a lot better yesterday. It’s beautiful. I had a lot of fun on the golf course and spent some time in Dublin last night and spent too much money so it’s been a good trip.

You’ve played one Solheim Cup, in Sweden. What are your first impressions of Killeen Castle?
It looks beautiful. It looks like a really first class spot. I think it will be a great host to the 2011 Solheim Cup. When we played in Sweden we had a lot of fun and even though it’s overseas we still had a great time. Hopefully we can come back overseas and win again.

What is the strength of the team?
We all get along really well. We had a great team last year and it’s a week where you get to know all the people you play with every week on tour. You get to bond and it’s a different experience to any other week that we play.

Are you pleased to be here in Ireland?
Yes. It’s my first trip to Ireland and I’m definitely pleased to be playing in this event. I hope it’s a good week. It should be a lot of fun.
I think it’s a great golf course. It’s a links and I’ve only played a few like that, I think Royal Lytham and St Andrews are the only two like that I’ve played. It seems pretty straight forward. There aren’t as many tricks to it. You’ve got to hit good shots and play the wind properly.

It is a links course… how do you prepare for this?
I’m excited to be here playing in the ladies’ Irish Open and it’s a different style of golf to what I’ve been used to at home. I’m ready for the challenge, especially with the weather like this today.

How are you with playing under the wind?
We will see! I guess I will learn.

Are you working on any particular shots?
It’s just you have to make more of an effort to control the ball, hold more shots against the wind or play them with the wind, hit some punches and things like that. Just a little bit different in that sense. The golf course didn’t seem to be that firm whereas last year at St Andrews was really firm. The greens were holding pretty well and you can putt from just about anywhere from off those greens. The fairway is very similar to the greens in that they are a similar grass and it’s very thin as most links courses are. It’s a pretty straight forward golf course; there are not too many tricks to it which is why I like the golf course. I thought St Andrews had a few too many tricks. You relied on so many lucky bounces. It doesn’t seem to be quite that much here.

How has your form been over the season?
It’s been up and down. I played okay last week. I was in there and gave myself enough opportunities, just didn’t hit it quite close enough and make enough putts. That’s what it usually comes down to: who can make the most putts. Hopefully this week I can make them all. I’ve had tournaments this year where I’ve putted well. I’ve gone three and a half tournaments now without a three-putt. I worked really hard on my putting this off season and it’s come around and been a lot better. I had a rough stretch where I didn’t putt well so it’s been a lot better.

How difficult was it to be such an achiever at such a young age?
I didn’t really think about it like that when I was young. I think that what really gave me an opportunity to look back was looking at Alexis Thompson who qualified for the women’s open last year at 12. She broke my record by a few months or by however much it was. I thought “That was me!” I was that age. Not that I’m any old veteran now but I definitely had plenty of experience.

Do you value that now?
For me, it was never a question. It wasn’t so much a dream that it was a reality that I would some day play on the LPGA Tour. Just from having my uncle coming from a tennis back ground. He was a professional tennis player so seeing a professional athlete who was sixth in the world at one point, that close, I said: “It’s not that far-fetched,” whereas a lot of kids watch professional athletes on TV and that’s all they see. They don’t see how to become one and what to do. It was so close to me that it was: “Of course I can be on the LPGA Tour.” I knew that I just had to work really hard.

You could have been a tennis star…
I could have been. Now the girls are so big. They’re tall. I’m still a tennis fan and I have some friends out there.

How did it affect you?
I was so young that I didn’t pay any attention to it. I seem to be doing okay.

How happy are you with your first two seasons as a pro?
I’ve had two decent years. I had one spectacular event last year. I had a second this year and a second last year. I’ve had some great events and I’m just waiting for another. On Tour the girls are so good that you really have to be on your game for two or three rounds and you’ve got to have a lot of luck too. There is luck involved.

How do you start thinking about a target, in terms of x number of majors?
I only have one so I’m waiting for number two and after number two we can talk about number three.
I think that you do even whether consciously or subconsciously build your game around the majors. When you build your schedule you do look at the stretch of tournaments around the majors. You don’t want the major to be on the end of a six week stretch. You want the major to be in the middle. You want to play into the major and peak away from the major. Some players will even take weeks off after majors because they are so grinding. With the way that our season is set up, this last week was the first week I’ve played after a major I think since I’ve been a pro. We don’t usually play the week after a major. But when you’re playing well you might as well continue to play.
You try to play around the majors, definitely. You play around the biggest events on the schedule, whether they are Evian or the British. They are some of the biggest tournaments on tour that players want to be well prepared for.

What is your schedule now?
I’m here until the British. I don’t like being a tourist. I hate being a tourist but I’m going to go to London, play a couple of days in Sunningdale and probably shop. Grandma want so do all the tourist things but I’ll probably see the castle from a distance. She’ll probably drag me but I hate being in the middle of the touristy areas. I like pretending I belong even though I have no clue what I’m doing.

On The 2011 Solheim Cup venue…
From what I’ve seen in terms of the clubhouse and a little bit of the golf course. There is a lot that goes into a Solheim Cup, with the players, the sponsors and PING and Solheim, and all of their corporate sponsors, then we have our families and all of our support team, this place is going to be able to host all that. It looks like the golf course is great which is probably number one most important thing. You’ve always got to worry about the amenities. The clubhouse is beautiful and there is plenty of space for all of that. I’m sure building the hotel will give us even more space in terms of ballroom space and things like that for events that they have.

You had a great start to your Solheim Cup career.
It’s fun. It’s the best. I love The Solheim Cup. Regardless of what happened it was a fantastic week and when you think about it, I think of the week and the time that we spent in the team room, the putts that I made that were important. When I mention it to anybody else they say the weather was so bad, and it was but I don’t even remember that because it was such a great event. There are so many things that overshadow the horrible weather that we didn’t care that it was the worst weather that we have ever played in. It was so bad; one morning they had to postpone it because of the wind; it was so windy and rainy. One morning I woke up and it sounded like there was a hurricane outside: just howling wind. One of the caddies went out the glass doors of the common room and we couldn’t get the doors back open.

This is a good time to be a young American golfer, isn’t it?
Well Paula and I are good friends. We all get along very well and a lot of that is from Solheim. They are the type of events where you really can bond with your team and you get to find a lot out about the people you compete with.

Is there any pressure?
I don’t want to lose any matches. The biggest thing that they told us last time, they had Joanne Carner and Judy Rankin and Nancy Lopez and Joanne Carner told us to put Chap Stick on our teeth because our mouth was going to be so dry. Granted Natalie hit the first shot and I didn’t hit it, but even on Sunday I just wasn’t as nervous as everybody told me I was going to be. Juli and I talked about that later and she said when we used to play years ago we would talk about how nervous we were going to be on the first tee and you young guys are like: “Get me to the first tee and let’s go play.” It’s like horses out of the gate. I had so much energy on Monday that Betsy was like: “You have to calm down.” I was so excited. Representing your country is just awesome.
We are all just playing now and trying to make the team.

What do the Europeans need to do to beat the US next time?
I think a big part of it will depend on Annika. I think that what will happen there, I am assuming that she will not play as she is moving on from competitive play, I won’t say retiring because she doesn’t like that word. I was talking about that with Suzann and she said Annika won’t play next year. I am sure there are plenty of young European women who wish more than anything else to be on that team. We will see some changes in terms of the players on the European team in the next few years. I hope that they can play well. We are going to give it our best and I’m sure they will put up a good fight.

How many tournaments do you play in a year?
About 25. I am on the road for seven weeks. This is my fourth of seven/ I go home for one day and then I’m on the road again. I’ve got all my appointments booked. I’m going to get my facial, my nails, my hair cut. Normally when I am home I am busier then when I’m on the road. I do all the stuff that I don’t do on the road.

Who is your coach?
Martin Hall. He is English. We have been working together for 11 years.

Do you have a psychologist?
No, we’re working on it. A lot is probably from my grandfather who raised my uncle in professional tennis and from my mother who was very competitive.