BETHAN CUTLER: Welcome to the announcement of the 2009 U.S. and European Solheim Cup Teams. On the top able I’d like to introduce Beth Daniel, the United States Team captain, and Alison Nicholas, The European Team captain. And I would like to acknowledge John Solheim, CEO and chairman of Karsten Manufacturing Corporations, the founding sponsor and partner of the Solheim Cup, Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour; and Marty Evans, the Acting Commissioner of the LPGA Tour.
First of all, the captains will announce both players that qualified automatically for the team, followed by their captain’s picks. So I would like to hand it over to Beth to announce the Top 10 players who earned places on your Solheim Cup team.
BETH DANIEL: Thank you Bethan. It’s a privilege to be here with the team from the United States of America.
First we have from California, she’ll be making her third appearance playing for the U.S. on the Solheim Cup team and the leading U.S. points earner, Paula Creamer.
From Florida, making her fifth appearance on the U.S. Team, currently the leading money winner on the 2009 LPGA Tour, Cristie Kerr.
From Texas, three time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, Angela Stanford.
From my home state of South Carolina, a rookie on this year’s team, Kristy McPherson.
From California making her second appearance on the U.S. Team, Nicole Castrale.
Also from California, making her second appearance on the U.S. Team, Christina Kim.
Making her first appearance on the U.S. Team, from Texas, Brittany Lang.
From Florida, making her second appearance, Morgan Pressel.
Also from Florida, second time she will be on the team, the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Champion, Brittany Lincicome.
And from Nevada, making her third appearance on the team, Natalie Gulbis.
BETHAN CUTLER: Now, Alison will announce the nine players who qualified for her European Team. First up will be the five players from the European points list, followed by the next four from the Rolex World Rankings. So over to you.
ALISON NICHOLAS: Thank you very much. It’s a privilege to be the European captain, and I will announce my first five from the LET Order of Merit, or the European rankings.
So first up is Gwladys Nocera from France with her third Solheim Cup appearance.
From Spain, her first rookie appearance, Ms. Tania Elosegui.
Another rookie from Italy, Diana Luna.
An incredible 11th Solheim Cup, the legend, Laura Davies.
And her seventh appearance in the Solheim Cup, from Sweden, Sophie Gustafson.
My four players from the Rolex World Rankings, from Norway, her fifth Solheim Cup, Suzann Pettersen.
From Sweden, her eighth Solheim Cup, first one as captain, Helen Alfredsson.
In third position, RICOH Women’s British Open Champion, her third Solheim Cup appearance, Catriona Matthew.
And from Sweden, her fourth Solheim Cup, Maria Hjorth.
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you, Alison. The moment we have all been waiting for, the picks, I would like to pass it over to Beth to announce the players you have selected for the United States.
BETH DANIEL: Thank you. Rounding out our team from the United States, this player will be making her eighth appearance, a member of the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame, Juli Inkster.
This player will be a rookie on the U.S. Team, from the State of Hawaii, Michelle Wie.
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you very much. And now over to Alison to announce her three selections that she has chosen to represent Europe.
ALISON NICHOLAS: My three captains picks who will represent Europe in the Solheim Cup in alphabetical order: Her second Solheim Cup, from Wales, Becky Brewerton.
Her first Solheim Cup, from Scotland, Janice Moodie.
And from Sweden, the LPGA champion in her rookie appearance, Anna Nordqvist.
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you, Captains.
Q. How difficult was it making those two picks?
ALISON NICHOLAS: That’s the toughest day that I can imagine that I’ve ever had right now. It really gutted a lot of players in the mix. A lot of things happened today in the European rankings and the World Rankings, and so it was a tough decision. But I felt this was from my heart and I know the players well, and I’m confident in what I’ve chosen, and I’m delighted in my 12 players.
Q. Did you have your team in mind or did it fluctuate over the course of these few days?
ALISON NICHOLAS: It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and basically I probably fluctuated a little bit because there were several scenarios that could happen and some players would have gone into the World Rankings and some would have gone into the European rankings. I had my mind changed on Wednesday and probably changed it on Thursday to be honest with you. I made the decision fairly early today. I know there are a lot of disappointed ladies out there and that was a very tough thing that I had to do. I think for me, I’m delighted with these players, I’m so proud of them.
Q. How do you feel the balance and the strength of your team is?
ALISON NICHOLAS: I think we have a balance of youth and experience, and a lot of great personalities, and Anna’s experience. Yeah, I think that balance is very important because the Americans are a very strong team, and I have the utmost respect for Beth and her players, and I’ve done what I think will make for a great match.
Q. In terms of your two picks, Michelle and Juli, was it a tough decision?
BETH DANIEL: Well, I think any time you’re faced with a decision to basically leave some people out is very difficult. So I can relate to what Alison is saying. It’s been a very tough four days.
And I’m delighted to have the two picks that I have to add to this team that is so talented. You know, I think we have a very strong team, but we have to watch out for these guys because they are going to be coming to get us.
Q. In terms of your team, how do you feel the balance of your team is?
ALISON NICHOLAS: When we played at Crooked Stick, the perception was that the Americans were too old. (Laughter) Now I think that’s changed completely. (Laughter) You know, we have a veteran right here in Juli Inkster.
We have some experience in the Solheim Cup on this team, but in terms of age, we have a very young team. And to me, that’s really exciting, because this is the future of American golf sitting to my right, and it’s a pretty exciting future.
Q. Michelle, your rookie year, what does a pick to make the Solheim Cup mean?
MICHELLE WIE: I am so honoured and so thrilled. It was one of my biggest goals this year and I’m just so excited to be wearing this jacket and this hat and to be representing my country; it’s such a thrill for me. I’m just so honoured and so thankful that Beth picked me and I’ll do my best not to let her down.
BETHAN CUTLER: How do you feel about being name to the European Team?
BECKY BREWERTON: Completely relieved. It was a long week. I actually went home to get away from all this, and when she called me, I was just thrilled. And remembering what my first experience was like, I was desperate to be on the team again and I’m happy she gave me the chance.
JANICE MOODIE: I would like to thank Alison for having the faith in me. I think my game is good enough. That golf course out there, I didn’t play my best, but I’m just happy to be here and I’ll start the ride home right now, I’ve been on two, and I’ve won two. [ ]
BETH DANIEL: There’s always a first. (Laughter).
ANNA NORDQVIST: It’s a great honour to represent The European Team here and I’m very happy, very thrilled, and this is something that everyone worked hard for and I’m happy to be on the team. I think I think it’s an honour to be picked.
You know, I was disappointed I didn’t play my way on, but I’m happy that Beth has enough confidence in me and my teammates have enough confidence in me that we can go out and play well as a team, and as Beth said, have some fun at it.
BETHAN CUTLER: How about Paula, I understand you are the top point scorer for the United States for the second consecutive Solheim Cup; how does that feel?
PAULA CREAMER: It’s a great honour seeing these players here. The highlight of my career has always been Solheim Cup and I’ve said that several times to have a partner now be a captain is pretty cool. I’m excited to represent the United States. And I’ve been on two and won two, also. (Laughter).
BETHAN CUTLER: Laura, you’re the only player that’s played in every single Solheim Cup and so this will be your 11th appearance; would you like to say a few words?
LAURA DAVIES: I’m the only one that’s old enough. Actually I’m very pleased I just got enough points to be on the team but we have a great team and they have a great team over there. I would say the golf course will be a big test for everybody.
Q. How does it feel to be a player now after being a captain?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: It’s going to be so nice that I can ask to have a banana for lunch instead of delivering the banana for the whole team (laughter).
No, obviously it’s something that it’s been extremely exciting. I was happy to be able to do this, you know, one more time and some of the best memories in my golfing career were being captain of the Solheim Cup.
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you all for joining us, and look forward to welcoming you to Rich Harvest Farms to the Solheim Cup August 17 to 23. Thank you very much.