The Solheim Cup
Colorado Golf Club
Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
August 14, 2013
Meg Mallon, Captain
Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson
Brittany Lang, Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda
Liselotte Neumann, Captain
Anna Nordqvist, Giula Sergas, Karine Icher
Catriona Matthew, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Beatriz Recari
Gut instincts. For U.S. Solheim Cup Team captain Meg Mallon, selecting her 12-player squad was no easy task. Over a two-year span, Mallon thumbed through pages and pages of statistics and carefully studied the playing habits of players she wanted to consider. While 10 of her players earned their spots through the points system and Rolex Rankings criteria, Mallon’s captain’s picks needed much more deliberation than expected. But when it came down to it, she knew it wasn’t going to be a decision based on statistics.
An eight-time member of the U.S. Team during her playing days, Mallon was able to pick the brains of her past captains when it came to finalizing her squad at the RICOH Women’s British Open. However, the greatest piece of advice she received came from five-time U.S. Ryder Cup member and 2002 captain, Curtis Strange.
“I got a great suggestion from actually Curtis Strange [a few weeks ago] that said, ‘you always trusted your gut and your instincts when you played golf, you should do the same thing as a captain,’” said Mallon. “And that was excellent advice because it was exactly what happened to me on Sunday when I made the picks. I had all these stats in front of me, but it really came down to my instincts.”
Fast forward to Solheim Cup week and Mallon exudes confidence in her selections Gerina Piller and Michelle Wie. But now that the grunt work is done, Mallon hopes to sit back and soak in the Solheim Captain experience.
“This has been a two year process of planning for 12 people,” said Mallon. “And it's been amazing experience but I want everything to slow down this week right now, because you've waited so long for it and I just want to take it all in.”
Why not now? There’s a lot on the line this week, as the reigning European champions seek to retain the Cup and win on American soil for the first time in the tournament’s history. With six returning players from the victorious 2011 team and a group of talented rookies, Captain Liselotte Neumann has no fear that her team will be the first to earn a successful title defense.
“I think that they all sort of have a good feeling about it,” said Neumann. “Some of the players that were on the team in 2011, obviously they have some confidence, they won the last time, why would we not win again? And I think a lot of the rookies on our team, they were there, they were watching it, they were home watching it on TV, so I feel everybody sort of feels like it's time. I mean you got to win in the U.S. at some point and let's just do it this time.”
While Team U.S.A. may have home field advantage, the Euros come to Colorado Golf Club with momentum on their side following their victory in 2011, which makes for an equal playing field this week. With an overwhelming amount of red, white and blue in the gallery this week, Neumann has tried to keep the player’s focused on the ultimate goal.
“I think that just talking about them really trying to stay within themselves, and it's obviously going to be difficult,” said Neumann. “But I think even for the players that have been [in America] before, it's always a little bit of that feeling, walking up on that first tee box with the crowds and being here in America. It's obviously going to be a lot of people cheering for the Americans.”
First tee gitters. Standing on the first tee Friday morning completely engulfed in a sea of red, white and blue with echoes of the national anthem ringing in the air, there’s no denying the pressure that will be felt among the U.S. team. No matter how many times the veterans tell the rookies how nerve wracking the first tee shot will be, they admit there’s no way of feeling completely prepared for that moment.
“We all kind of feel like rookies on the first tee,” said Cristie Kerr, who is competing on her seventh Solheim Cup team this year.
For Paula Creamer, her rookie Solheim Cup appearance came just one year after joining the LPGA Tour in 2005 at age 18.
“I thought I knew what it was like to walk out on the first tee and I was like I got it, everybody's saying you're going to be nervous, you're going to be nervous, and I can't tell you how nervous I really was,” said Creamer. “I thought I felt everything that you could feel at 18 years old, but I was very wrong.”
Lexi Thompson becomes the youngest competitor in the stars and stripes this year, just a few months younger than Creamer was. While the experience may be overwhelming for some rookies, Thompson feels completely at ease and soaking in the atmosphere the Solheim Cup brings.
“I would say I'm pretty calm right now,” said Thompson. “There's a lot going on the last few days. A busy schedule for all of us. But it's great to be here and to see all the fans. It's quite amazing.”
Poignant pick: Michelle Wie remembers the exact reaction that she had when U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon posed this question to her in St. Andrews, Scotland after the finish of the RICOH Women’s British Open.
How would you like to play for U.S.A. at the Solheim Cup?
“I just immediately started crying,” Wie said. “I cried so hard my contacts popped out and everything. I was like, oh my God, yes. And I just like, nodded my head and everything. And she is like, is that a yes? And I was like, yeah, that’s a yes. And I’ve never been so happy.”
Getting chosen as a captain’s pick by Mallon meant that Wie would be making her third appearance on the U.S. Solheim Cup this week at Colorado Golf Club. She had finished 13th in the points race for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team following a difficult two-year stretch that has seen some ups and downs for the former teenage prodigy, but Mallon said that Wie was an easy pick for her to make.
“Michelle Wie for me was a no-brainer in that position,” Mallon said. “Looking at the list that I had, she has Solheim Cup experience. She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays. So walking into this environment is not going to affect her.
“I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. And like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me that was a pretty easy decision to pick Michelle.”
Mallon has likened her pick of Wie to Greg Norman choosing Adam Scott four years ago for the International team in the President’s Cup when Scott had been struggling as a player. The move seemed to give a confidence boost to Scott, who has rebounded in recent years and captured his first major title at the Masters this past April.
Wie certainly is excited about the chance to make good on Mallon’s decision to pick her for the squad.
“I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be here to play under Meg, under Laura, under Dottie, and to play with these girls,” Wie said. “Just to have this opportunity again for the third time, it's a dream come true for me.”
A lot of Lotta. While the U.S. Team stirs up some friendly competition in their team room at the hotel, the European Team had a different idea of entertainment this week. During a team gathering last night, some of the player’s brought out customized facemasks of their beloved captain.
“Some of the caddies put those masks on and then they started dancing to this music,” said Neumann. “So it was pretty funny.”
The masks were even brought to the course today for the team’s practice rounds, all in part of a friendly wager from last night. The losing teammate’s first tee shot of the day had to be done with the mask on. When asked what the bet was, player’s laughed and replied, “whatever happens in the team room will stay in the team room,” said Giulia Sergas.
Pictures of the masks have flooded the Twitter-sphere this morning, and while Neumann finds them humorous, she hopes the joke doesn’t get old by the end of the week.
“I just hope the players won't be sick and tired of my face before the tournament starts,” said Neumann.
Tweet of the Day: “Waiting on the Americans to get done taking pictures of their nail polish;)) #whileweareyoung” - @SuzannPettersen
Quotable: “Hopefully, they will see the love I have for this event. They're going to see a captain that is going to be behind them 100 percent. And I believe in them all of them all 12 of them. And I just really love these players.” – Meg Mallon, U.S. Team Captain
MEG MALLON, U.S. Team Captain
THE MODERATOR: Good morning. Welcome to the 2013 Solheim Cup here at Colorado Golf Club. Pleasure to be joined with Meg Mallon, the captain for the United States. Great to see you.
MEG MALLON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: You're all smiles yet again. Things are good. Maybe that's because it's morning.
MEG MALLON: Yeah, I finally got some sleep last night. I feel good. We got all the groups off and for their practice rounds today and it's a little quiet right now. It's kind of nice.
THE MODERATOR: I know the pairings are difficult when you get playing going Friday, Saturday, Sunday, etc...is it tough to figure these things out earlier in the week when it's just practice rounds?
MEG MALLON: It is, but it isn't as tough as it would have been if I hadn't brought players in before this week. I think we have got a good idea of what our pairings are going to be and who is going to play with who and the biggest challenge for us.
And this is a challenge of being in Colorado is you not only have the altitude and adrenaline, but with the alternate shot you have a golf ball issue. So working through those things the last couple of days and last week, it's been very helpful and so everybody's on board with it right now.
THE MODERATOR: Altitude or golf ball, which one's bigger.
MEG MALLON: Well, you can't separate them. Because you could have a golf ball that's two to three yards difference, add the altitude, Jessica Korda probably is closer to a 12 percent, Morgan Pressel would be about an 8 percent. Stacy Lewis would be a 10 percent. So everyone's different. They have to figure out their altitude. And then you throw a different golf ball in there and their brains are working pretty hard right now.
THE MODERATOR: Remind me to ask you about pace of play in just a little bit; about all those different things. One more question from me, eight appearances as a player and now this. Now this week in particular. So now this over the last year and a half, and now this week. How is it different?
MEG MALLON: It's completely different. It's -- when it's just yourself you're worried about the golf course, your partners, your just playing golf.
For this, this has been a two year process of planning for 12 people. And it's been amazing experience and I want everything to slow down this week right now, because you've waited so long for it and I just want to take it all in.
But everything's going really well so far. Colorado Golf Club has done a great job for us, the staff, so we're ready to go.
THE MODERATOR: You're saying all the right things, come on, there's got to be a little stress here. You're smiling. Either you're putting on a great front or you're the calmest captain I've ever seen.
MEG MALLON: If you talked to me yesterday after no sleep the night before, it would have been different. I think getting some sleep has helped. My players are great. They don't stay up late. They want to get to bed early. So that helps the captain too. So it's a good bunch of kids and they have been really fun to be around.
THE MODERATOR: Let's take some questions.
Q. Two questions, the first is, I know you're a huge sports fan. How much are you into advance statistics, because I was talking to Dottie earlier about how thick the book of stats was that you have been studying. So that's the first question and then the second is, how much of other captain's philosophies and personalities or whatever you tried to incorporate or have you tried to just sort of do completely your own thing?
MEG MALLON: Well, to answer the first question about stats, we definitely had poured over a lot of stats. I think it's very helpful to look at stats. Birdies per round, where they are in putting. Things like that for match play.
Match play is a different deal. You could have a player that makes five, six birdies a round, that's shooting even par whatever. That's a good match play person to have on your team. So just the stats were very helpful.
I got a great suggestion from actually Curtis Strange last week that said, you always trusted your gut and your instincts when you played golf. You should do the same thing as a captain. And that was excellent advice because it was exactly what happened to me on Sunday when I made the picks.
I had all these stats in front of me, but it really came down to my instincts. So there's a little bit of that. As far as the captains I've had, I've had great captains. I have talked to all of them. I've learned from them when I played with them and they have been wonderful in helping me, for sure.
Q. You've got along association with this golf club and when it started. How much does that give you a sort of feel good factor going into this tournament?
MEG MALLON: Yes, I do. My teacher Mike McGetrick was one of the original founders of the Colorado Golf Club. So I was out here with him before there was even a hole put in the ground. He would, we would be -- he was teaching me over at Meridian and he said I'm going to build a golf course on that hill over there and I'm like, yeah, Mike, what's the position in the back?
So he drove me over here and we drove around the property and as you can see, it's a beautiful piece of property. And what Crenshaw and Coore did to this place is exceptional. And really I think it's going to shine in match play. The risk/reward out there is just great.
So it's fun for me to be here and be a part of this place since I've been here since the origins of it. So it's exciting for me. I have Mike back here for the week. He's one of my helpers and so it's going to be good to have him around.
THE MODERATOR: I want to get back to your gut instinct and I want to give you the floor. Obviously there was a lot of chatter about your selections as with any captain making their picks; you're second guess or you're lauded for great selection.
Let's go one by one. Gerina has already been in here, Michelle is going to come in as well. Let's start with Michelle Wie. Because obviously she was kind of a lightning rod for debate or questioning. Why?
MEG MALLON: Well, let me go back. I'm glad I stayed consistent with the comments I made when they asked me about my captain’s picks long ago and I said, if you don't make the team on points, then don't expect to be on the team. And captain’s picks are the captain’s picks, it's who you want to fit in with the 10 players that you have.
And I also had said being a captain's pick --it's tough being a captain's pick. There's a lot of pressure that that player puts on themselves being a pick.
So Michelle Wie for me was a no-brainer in that position. Looking at the list that I had, she has Solheim Cup experience. She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays. So walking into this environment is not going to affect her.
I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. So -- and like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me that was a pretty easy decision to pick Michelle.
Gerina was my instinct. That was, that was -- that came from my gut, really. I watched her play so much this year, she's a super talented player. The only thing I was worried about her was a lack of experience. All the reasons why I picked Michelle, Gerina was that factor of how will she handle it here?
She has a great support network and some of her best friends are on this team. So I knew that she was going to be taken care of for the week. She's having a blast this week by the way. The smile has not left her face.
THE MODERATOR: It showed yesterday here.
MEG MALLON: Yeah. Yeah. And the golf course. She hits the ball a long way and she hits it straight. This golf course is perfect for that.
Her attitude, her game, she -- the way she grinded it out coming in those last few tournaments, the way she grinded it out at the British Open, it just showed me a lot. So that was really a gut instinct move for me on Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: Follow-up on that, team room was brought up by Gerina and also by Lizette and the two players that you picked, it seems like just speculation on my part, you don't have to force anything, they're going to fit right in. Was that also something that went into personality play?
MEG MALLON: First of all, just the fact of the team chemistry. It definitely helped in team chemistry. But performance is big. Gerina, let's hope that she performs the way I think she's going to perform.
She's a late bloomer in the game, she's a great athlete. She played all-state high school volleyball player. She learned the game at 15. But the way she's improved and how she's played I think you guys are going to be really surprised at this game you're going to see.
Q. When you decided to bring Dottie and Laura together as assistants, somewhat risky and bold move. Can you tell us why that was important to you and how it's worked out.
MEG MALLON: Well, when I got the call from Commissioner Mike Whan about being captain, the first thing you start thinking about is who you want to surround you. You have to look at what you're weaknesses are.
I am not the most media, not media savvy, but social media savvy person. As far as being in tune to all of that and organized. The first person I thought of was Dottie Pepper. I mean she is, as anybody that knows her, is just an uber organized human being. So when I started thinking about Dottie and thinking about her being by my side, we spent our whole careers together. We played on Solheim Cups together. We have a great rapport with each other.
So then I had to go kind of backwards and work out how we're going to get her back into the followed in the Solheim Cup.
Really all the phone calls that I made along the way --and I had talked to Dottie pretty soon about it, to feel how she felt about it. Because she also had to step back into that place of what happened in 2007 and whether she wanted to go through that again. And she was on board right away. It was an emotional moment for her, but then it was making some key phone calls to people that I needed to talk to about it.
The best response I got from everyone that I talked to is we trust you, Meg, and we know you'll do the right thing. And I really appreciated that, because it just made it that much easier to go forward with everything else.
Laura Diaz, I needed a player that was playing on tour that was in tune to the players. I wasn't out on tour any more, although I played probably with nine of these players. So I needed someone out there who was playing with them, Laura has been on four Solheim Cups, and she's so passionate about the event. That was a touchy thing because I knew she wanted to make the team.
So I felt like she was a person that could also be a playing assistant captain at that point. And as far as Laura and Dottie coming together -- Laura and Dottie have been friends since Laura was 10 or 12 years old. So that was an easy reunion to make that. The families are close, and it was really kind of a neat thing to see that come back together.
Q. Can you go back and talk about Michelle and what you maybe talked with her about this week and about the course and how to approach it and then also a quick follow-up on that, how will you schedule tomorrow's practice round?
MEG MALLON: Actually today and tomorrow I've got a lot of my players just playing nine holes. This is a hard -- this golf course is a little -- it's a hard walking golf course and with the altitude and everything, and also all the activities that are going on this week.
That was also important for me to have them come for their practice sessions early because I knew that they would be exhausted this week itself would be exhausting.
So most of them are probably only playing nine holes tomorrow, just to go over maybe some things with their partners or some things on the golf course that they want to go over. So it's more important for them to be rested for Friday.
Q. You were talking about the sort of tangible things that Dottie brings. I want to know if it was in your mind at all when you -- that wasn't an easy thing to embark upon, I'm sure, that maybe it was just time to bring somebody with that much history and love for this back into it. Was that part of your thinking to try to get things back on line?
MEG MALLON: Well, I just thought it was important for Dottie to be back involved with the Solheim Cup. Arguably she was the face of the Solheim Cup in the '90s. And I was on all those teams with her. And not being a part of it for her it wasn't right. And for the reasons too. I mean honestly, what happened, it was definitely a mountain out of a molehill.
So -- and it just, people just needed to talk. And that's all I did was just facilitate that. Where they were coming from on either side. It was, for me, seven years later, I thought it was silly that it was still going on. So it just, it was just a matter of getting them to come together and say, you know, listen, that was silly, let's move on. And it's been easy to move on from that.
So I'm happy that's happened. I wasn't surprised that it has, and it's good to have her around.
THE MODERATOR: You've got two capable assistants, obviously, that you're leaning on this week and have been for the last year and a half basically, not to play favorites here, but are there two players on your team that you've really leaned on for counsel, advice, and that you really need this week, not just to step up as competitors but leaders.
MEG MALLON: Absolutely. I, well, Stacy Lewis has come out here and played this course, I don't know, she's come on five or six, six or seven visits, I think, before this week. That leadership in itself is invaluable to me. If your No. 1 player is coming out here to get that prepared, then everyone else is looking at that.
I definitely talked to my players that have been on multiple Solheim Cup teams and I've expect their leadership. The younger players look up to them, not only on tour, but now they're in a team environment and I'm relying on them. Every action they make this week, the younger players are watching that. And I reminded them of that. So they're very aware of it and they're ready to take that leadership role.
THE MODERATOR: Player nerves for sure, right? That's been talked about in here over the last day and a half. What about captain's nerves? In all honesty, you are coming off a loss, not that you were the captain for that Solheim Cup.
MEG MALLON: I was there though.
THE MODERATOR: You were there. And now you've also come into a situation where everybody is going to be talking about the fact that the United States has never lost here. So there's a pressure on two fronts. How do you deal with that and how are you sleeping at night? You said you got good rest last night.
MEG MALLON: I did. I never look at it as pressure. Even in my career I always look at it as an opportunity. And this is an opportunity for this team to shine in front of their home fans. And to get the cup back.
Most of them were on the Ireland team, they didn't like that taste in their mouths and it actually helped me as a captain, because they're going to remember that loss and take care of business this week.
Q. Could you just put in one sentence what each of the three of you brings to the team, your strengths.
MEG MALLON: One sentence?
Q. Well two is fine.
MEG MALLON: Laura Diaz brings a fire and passion to this event. She's played in four of them. She loves this event more than any she's ever played in, nil other event she's ever played. And we had a meeting last night, I'm going to go more than two, and it was at dinner last night and Laura got very, very emotional in front of the team. And for my younger players to see that, I think they can see what this event brings out in people. So Laura, they call her the den mother of the team. She takes care of them like a mom.
Dottie Pepper brings great wisdom, experience, and unbelievable energy and passion to this team.
THE MODERATOR: What about Meg Mallon?
MEG MALLON: Hopefully, they will see the love I have for this event. They're going to see a captain that is going to be behind them 100 percent. And I believe in them all of them all 12 of them. And I just really love these players.
THE MODERATOR: They love you. They talked about it yesterday. They also love their team room. And they love the rooms. We have seen pictures tweeted out of these beds that they have got, with the pillow in front and the name. And then I know about the team room with the corn hole and the basketball. What have you got going in there.
MEG MALLON: Well, I wanted a place for them to be able to kind of let loose in energy. I got some young players on this team and they got a lot of energy in them. And a place for them and their families to be there with them to just kind of let loose a little bit. And it's a great room. I mean, the TV video screen is just huge. We're playing videos on it. And we actually haven't been there enough. I'm looking forward to us spending more time in there Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So that they can really bond as a team.
THE MODERATOR: Formats. 13-9-7 for you in your Solheim Cup. Friday begins with alternate shot or foursomes. Is that a great thing? Do you think that's a great way to start this thing off.
MEG MALLON: It's tough. I know in 2009 we started with best ball. And that helped the captains a lot, because then you could see all four players, or all two players in each group and how they were playing. And then you can make a decision about alternate shot.
With alternate shot, it's tough. If you're not playing, one if one player is not playing well, you may not know who it is that's struggling. So it's definitely a difficult way to start.
The things I talked about earlier that people forget that it's not only altitude, adrenaline, it's, they may be using a different golf ball. So there's so many factors involved with the foursomes lineup. It's going to be pretty exciting to watch that Friday morning.
THE MODERATOR: Two more questions. One, 25 years of experience or 25 cups for the American team, 17 for the European team, so there's a suggestion there if you go by numbers and talk about pouring over stats and all that, that U.S. have the more experienced squad. Does that mean a lick when you get to the first tee?
MEG MALLON: I played on the very first win for the Europeans in 1992. And we were heavy, heavy favorites. We had, maybe, eight Hall of Famers now on that team or something. And we got beat. And we were beaten by a young team that the American media didn't know probably eight of those players on the team. Now they're all very famous players for Europe.
That's the thing I got to remind my team of. Underdog is very scary. The player that doesn't know anything is very scary. So we have to pay attention to that. We have to be aware that in match play it's anyone's day. And so that's going to be my job the next couple of days, to make sure that we take care of our business out there and know that they have a really young team, and they have nothing to lose.
THE MODERATOR: You're an emotional person, you have a love for the Solheim Cup, it's come out over the last couple of years. I don't want to steal anything from your speech tomorrow at the opening ceremonies, but I'm going to leave everybody with this, I know this is a team game, end this sentence for me: This week is a success for me if, blank.
MEG MALLON: You know, the Solheim Cup, the women's golf always wins. And that's what I love about this event is that it show cases our greatest players playing the best golf they have ever played in their life.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN, Team Europe Captain
THE MODERATOR: Good morning and welcome back to the 2013 Solheim Cup. It is my pleasure to have Liselotte Neumann, the captain of the European team here with us. Thank you for joining us this morning.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Thank you. Good to be here.
THE MODERATOR: So I hear the Europeans are playing really well out there on the course.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I think so. I feel like this morning -- I just went out to watch the last group for a couple of holes, but overall, just felt this morning that everyone on our team is a little bit more relaxed.
Yesterday was a little bit of tension, but it's kind of the first time they're out on the golf course and today they seemed quite relaxed and looked like they were enjoying themselves.
THE MODERATOR: So you're looking to lead Team Europe to the first win in America. How are you approaching that task?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Obviously that's why I took this job. I like the challenge and trying to make some history here and being the first European team to win.
Obviously a lot of thought went into picking the team, trying to pick the right players. I tried to pick some young players, some sort of fearless players, some long hitters. This week now we're just obviously looking to trying to find the right combinations, who is going to play with whom, who gets along well, looking at both the four-ball matches and the foursome matches, trying to figure out, do you put two long hitters together, do you put someone that's more accurate with a long hitter and all that.
So we put up quite a lot of different groups and pairings so far, and it's kind of a good time for the girls to see who do I feel like my game compares with best, who do I get along with the best on the golf course. So it's a little bit of testing going on right now out there.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please raise your hand.
Q. How do you convince this team that they're the ones that can break through and win for the first time on American soil?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I think that they all sort of have a good feeling about it. Some of the players that were on the team in 2011, obviously they have some confidence, they won the last time, why would we not win again? And I think a lot of the rookies on our team, they were there, they were watching it, they were home watching it on TV, so I feel everybody sort of feels like it's time. I mean you got to win in the U.S. at some point and let's just do it this time.
Q. Can you just talk about the how much statistics plays into you making decisions, how much do you sort of pour over those, both when you're making the picks and then as you go about this whole competition?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, leading up to, obviously, doing the picks, I did look a lot at the statistics. Even though, I mean, I was out on tour, I watched quite a few tournaments here and there, but it's hard to follow everybody, every week.
So, yeah, you do rely on stats and watching to see who is a good putter and who hits the ball a long way, who hits a lots of fairways and greens. And where are they on the Money List. Do they make a lot of birdies. All those things, obviously, play a role.
Now when we are here practicing we're doing stats on their practice rounds and we're trying to get them really into the Tournament mood. Yesterday we had them in some four-ball matches out there, trying out a couple of pairings to see how that was working out. And we have quite a few helpers here that are helping us out. They're keeping track on their scores and fairways and greens and how they get along and all that.
So we do rely quite a lot on the stats, but obviously it's also a communication with the players. I'm not only going to go on the stats, but I think the stats tells us a little bit at least who will now, after three days, be sort of consistently playing well. But we will also have a lot of communication and talking to the players who they're happy being out there on the golf course with.
Q. Obviously it's a young team, but so how much -- what kind of key roles with Catriona Matthew and Suzann the two most experienced players play?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I think both Suzann and Catriona are stepping in a little bit to the leader role. They do have a lot of experience and I feel like, so far, they have been really great with the other players. We have paired them up with some of the rookies and just to kind of get a feel for how everything is working out.
But I think they're handling the role well. They know that they have the experience and so far they have really stepped into their position and they're doing a good job.
Q. Meg was talking about the different balls and how they're flying through the air. Have you found that with the players and judging the flight and distance?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, that's also one of the -- when we do our stats thing you check who is playing what golf ball, and especially, obviously for the foursome matches that's obviously could be an important thing.
A little bit how the ball is flying, but also I think that -- I just remember from playing myself, just putting on the different golf ball that you're not used to putting on could be a little tricky.
I tell you what, these greens are some of the fastest greens I've seen. We were just down on No. 1 and we did the Stimpmeter test, because they left it on the green down there, and right, at least that green was rolling about 13, 13 and a half this morning. So that's fast. So I don't know if all the greens are like that, but they're quick.
Q. What are you telling the rookies what to expect, the pageantry, the excitement, and maybe particularly on the first hole, the first tee box?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I think that just talking about them really trying to stay within themselves, and it's obviously going to be difficult. But I think even for the players that have been here before, it's always a little bit that feeling, walking up on that first tee box with the crowds and being here in America. It's obviously going to be a lot of people cheering for the Americans.
But I don't know, someone told me this morning we've got about 30,000 Europeans coming over. So I'm pretty happy about that. I don't know if that's true or not, but we just hope that our fans are going to be loud and cheer us on.
I think for the rookies, or any player in the tournament like this, it's just important to really try to just focus on your game and stay the one shot at a time, and don't worry so much about what has happened. Don't know what the future holds, so you just sort of got to stick to your game and stick to your game plan.
Q. Talk about Charley and your thoughts on picking her. How do you think she's coping?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Charley was on my Junior Solheim Cup team two years ago in Ireland in 2011. And already then she was quite impressive at 15.
So she's had a great year on the European Tour. She has those five runner-up finishes, she obviously hasn't won yet. She was in some of the tournaments in Europe where, got shortened because of rain delay and so on, but she does shoot in the 60s about 30 percent of the time, which is sort of a good stat to look at. So it will be good for match play. She obviously can go low. She makes quite a lot of birdies when you lack at those stats.
She has that kind of good attitude. She doesn't seem like she's very scared. She sort of plays that fearless golf, she's a great ball-striker. I think this golf course fits her game quite well. She's quite a long hitter. And I think she will do fine. She has really good energy. I know she's young, but so far she's been handling herself great and she's really enjoying it and having a good time.
Q. How important is nationalities when you're making your pairings, do you think?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: To be honest, I look more at their games than their nationalities, actually. Even though I know it is, obviously, a little bit of a tricky part with the European team that so many players come from all these different countries and were brought up different and all that, but I think the one good thing is that a lot of the girls now they do play on the U.S. tour, a lot of them know each other. They do go back to European play, so they know the girls that come from Europe and so on.
So I think that we'll do fine as a team. It is a little challenging, but the key is to just sort of bring everybody together and we'll have a good time together.
Q. Talk about you and your advise captains, all Swedes, and you guys really represent the best of your country's golf history. Maybe talk a little bit about the friendships, how far they go back, and how you guys communicate and relate to each other and how that's going to help this kind of young team.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, both Annika and Karin have obviously played on a lot of Solheim Cup teams together in the past. It's been good for us to being able to speak in Swedish here. We sneak off in a corner and we can chat. We don't have to leave the room, we can have our little conversations together.
Just from all of us have a lot of experience. Annika is really into her stats and all that and it's been really helpful. She sort of is keeping track on things and just kind of double checking on things so we make sure we don't forget anything.
I think we're all three have pretty relaxed and pretty calm personalities and just sort of trying to get that out to the rest of the team. Just trying to be really supportive of them. But yeah, I just feel that the three of us are really working well together. It's been really good week so far.
Q. What nationalities merge best? If you had to sort of, looking at Europe as a whole, which nationalities usually get on with others better than some?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: So far it's been pretty easy. Sometimes I guess just when it comes to the language, it's the Spanish, Italian, French, are a little bit closer and then obviously maybe the Swedes, I think, Norwegian, so maybe tends to be a little closer when it comes to a language, when you're talking about speaking to each other and so on.
Q. And it's also different in terms of passion, isn't it. The Mediterranean countries are probably more excitable than Swedes, are they not?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I don't know if you can just throw everybody over there.
We got some good Spanish blood on our team, put it that way, but we got some feisty Norwegians in there too, so I don't know, I think we got a little bit of both. It's good.
THE MODERATOR: I understand you've had some video messages from Olazabal, McGinley, Monty, G-Mac, can you share a few?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, they're all wishing us good luck and talking about how it's a great feeling for them when they're picked for the Ryder Cup, and what it means to represent your country and your continent. And they're all just really wishing us the best of luck, and I think it's really nice for the girls.
We put together some videos with some great clips and putting these messages in between. So I think it's important for the girls, they know that all the players over in Europe, both on the women's side and the men's side are cheering for us and pulling for us to pull this off.
THE MODERATOR: Did you get any special advice from Ollie or any other captains?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: We got some advice, I don't know if I can say that on air here.
THE MODERATOR: Also you have very experienced team around you. Obviously with your advise captains, but obviously your helpers and Sophie Gustafson, I understand is a helper. So that must be brilliant to have someone so close to the players.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, Sophie is here and obviously she would obviously have loved to be on the team, but just hasn't played that great the last two years. But she just insisted. She called me up and asked if, do you need any help, do you need anything from me, and I would love to be a part of it, even though I'm not playing. And I think that just tells you what the Solheim Cup is all about, that we have a player that actually doesn't qualify for the team, but they still want to be here and just be part of it and help the other players.
I think it's great for our players. They also see that a former Solheim Cup player is there bending backwards and forwards for them and helping them out in any way. So it's just great support. And actually a lot of our helpers, Pam Wright, Kathyrn Imrie, they have been on the team, obviously played on the team before, they're here to help, so a lot of experience there.
Even all the other helpers, they have been part of being helpers before. So we try to get all different nationalities, too. We got a French girl, we got the Spanish, we got the Scots, the English, so we got it all covered, I think.
Q. How much do you or have you been in communication with past captains in terms of them maybe giving you some advice or things that worked for them or do you communicate very much with them or have you?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I talked to Helen a little bit and she was also at the British. We had quite a lot of discussions when it came to the picks. The same with Alison Nicholas and Pia was also out there, so I think the three of them were really helpful during the British Open when it came down to making those picks. It obviously, I mean, I always had a gut feeling about what I wanted to do, but sometimes you just need someone to sort of bounce your ideas off and hear their opinions about it. And all the three of them were very helpful to me. I really appreciate that.
THE MODERATOR: Slightly different, we hear there are a lot of Liselotte Neumanns walking around the course this morning. Can you tell us about that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Last night we had a little party in our team room and then all of a sudden these little facemasks of my face showed up and I'm sure you heard about that song the Gangnam Style, so we got, some of the caddies put those masks on and then they started dancing to this music. So it was pretty funny.
And they were actually on the first tee box this morning too. So I got lots of pictures with them. So I just hope the players won't be sick and tired of my face before the tournament starts.
THE MODERATOR: And they also got a lot of gifts in the team room and from you personally. What's the reasoning behind that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, we tried to just put a little gift on their bed every evening when they come back to their room they get a little something. So we had a nice little bracelet the other day that we picked out it says Europe on there. It has the little blue thing with little yellow gold or stones on there. It says Colorado on there. Just like things that will be a good memory for them. And obviously more gifts to come this week.
But it's kind of fun for them to know that we want to treat them special and I think that it means a lot to them. So it's fun to be able to give them a little something extra this week.
Q. Several of you live full-time or mostly full-time in the United States. Does Solheim Cup sort of make you harken back or kind of go back to your roots a little bit and have some pride both in country and Europe that maybe it's just sort of a special feeling for this weekend?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I love being in America and I will probably never move back to Sweden. I lived longer in America than I have in Sweden, actually. I love this country.
Actually, Colorado is probably one of my favorite states. I've been here many times skiing and hiking and playing golf and so on. So in that way it's great to be here.
But when it comes to the Solheim Cup, I'm so European that you probably would have a hard time finding someone more Euro than me. I just love this event, being part of the first one in 1990 and just to see how this event has grown into what it is today, it's quite amazing.
I think that the Solheim family and Ping and everybody behind it, Rolex, they have just done a really wonderful job of growing this event. And I look at this tournament as one of the best women's sporting events in the world. Just the excitement behind it and everything, it's really an amazing week.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously the European team hasn't yet won in America, what would it mean to you to be the first European captain to achieve that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: For me it will be just a topping of the cake, I think. Just being, obviously, playing on the team six times, being a vice captain, doing the Junior Solheim Cup and then finally get to be here as a captain, I mean some people have a hard time convincing me of being the captain, but then the more I started thinking about it, it's kind of a one-time opportunity and to actually be able to come to America and try to make some history.
And I think that's how I talked Annika and Karin into it as well, I said, we need to go to America, we need to make history. No team has ever won here before, let's do this. So that's our goal and that's why I took on the job and here we are.
Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to the 2013 Solheim Cup here at Colorado Golf Club. We are joined by Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, and Lexi Thompson. Lexi, let's start with you first. Get the rookie impressions, kind of put you on the spot. Is your mind running wild? Are you calm, having fun, what's going on?
LEXI THOMPSON: I would say I'm pretty calm right now. There's a lot going on the last few days. A busy schedule for all of us. But it's great to be here and to see all the fans. It's quite amazing.
THE MODERATOR: You've known for quite some time you were going to be here as a part of this team. How have you prepared for it, not only with your play, but also between the ears?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, last two years this has been one of my goals, to make the Solheim Cup team. To represent my country. There's no higher honor than that. And to be part of such an amazing team it's even better. So I'm grateful to be here and that I've gotten this opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: Get some comments from everybody. I'm going to get a couple from each player. Cristie, most experienced player on the team, part of four winning teams. We asked a couple players about this yesterday. Can you give us a sense, or do you get a sense for how a team might compete on Friday based on kind of the lead up camaraderie and all that sort of stuff?
CRISTIE KERR: I think so. I think we're all pretty comfortable with ourselves. We have had a lot of time to do team bonding. And we have had so much fun leading up to this Solheim Cup. I don't think I've ever been apart of a team where we have laughed more. I think that really shows that we're comfortable with one another and I think everybody will be ready come Friday to play. We're excited to play this golf course, it's in spectacular shape, and we're looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: I have to ask you about what's on your elbow. You're all wrapped up and are you okay?
CRISTIE KERR: Honestly my arm's not, has not been this good since the early part of the year. I have been struggling with tendonitis, but it's really started to turn the corner. I played at the British with no pain and I felt nothing this week. So I feel great and I am ready to go.
THE MODERATOR: Paula, 11-3-5 in Solheim Cup competition. I heard it many times, I'm going to let you take the stage and tell them. You talk about what this thing means to you and you wait two years and then you come out. What's this week been like and what's it like to go back into the team room and all that sort of stuff?
PAULA CREAMER: This is -- you can't compare it to anything. This week is just so special. There's just so many wonderful memories that you have. And in coming into it, I've always been on very lucky I've been on some great teams. And I've had a lot of really good veterans kind of look out for me when I was -- the first couple ones that I played in.
I can't tell you how much bonding we have done this week and I think we're all as a team, just really one. Everybody says you have to become united and all this, but we really have. And Cristie is right, I don't think I've ever laughed this much and have felt just so much at ease in a sense. I think that's because of Meg, and Meg's doing a really good job of kind of just letting us do our own thing at the same time as, obviously we have things also going on in the background that we have to do. But we're really just doing what we normally do at tournaments. I think that we are stepping in the right direction with that.
There's nothing better than this week. Whenever you get to represent your country, we are here just to do that. And be -- have patriotism and do it with class, is something that I think is very important for all of us.
THE MODERATOR: We had four players in here yesterday from Team U.S.A and the minute Meg's name came up everybody put a smile on their faces, and I just saw you Cristie, you started nodding your head the minute she said Meg. So share your thoughts on the captain. Because you played with her for quite a few.
CRISTIE KERR: Meg was always one of those players I idolized growing up. She just had such a beautiful golf swing and a beautiful way about her around the golf course and off the golf course. Just really have always admired her.
I think that everybody on this team really admires her and respects her, and when she speaks you listen. So I think we have learned a lot from her and as Paula said, it really has united us as a team. So it's going to be great.
THE MODERATOR: What's she done for you, Lexi?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well she's just really inspiring. Just the way she is, not for what she's done for the game of golf, just the way she is as a person. I've gotten to know her since I played in her and Beth Daniel's event down in South Florida. So it's been quite an honor to get to know her and especially have her pretty much as our mom for the week.
THE MODERATOR: Take some questions.
Q. First question, Paula, were you 18 or 19 when you first played? You were a teenager when you first played.
PAULA CREAMER: 18.
Q: So as it relates to two teenagers we have playing this week there's a little bit of naivete when you're young. Curious how your nerves or your feelings were different your first year compared with your second year.
PAULA CREAMER: Well my first year I only had just one year to make the team. And that was my No. 1 goal was I'm going to make this team on my only. I didn't want to be a captain's pick. I wanted to make it. And if I did that, I kind of felt like, okay, I have a little bit behind me. I can go out and play good match play and an event.
But I thought I knew what it was like to walk out on the first tee and I was like I got it, everybody's saying you're going to be nervous, you're going to be nervous, and I can't tell you how nervous I really was. I thought I felt everything that you could feel at 18 years old, but I was very wrong.
My second year was obviously over in Europe. I didn't know what to expect going over there either. That's just a whole other ball game. Being here, Lexi's really lucky to be this is her first one here in the States. There's nothing better than having the home field advantage. You really understand that when you do go over to Europe. So it's kind of a whole new experience for my second one.
Q. Second one, sticking on the youth team, so I'll go to Cristie on this one?
CHRISTIE KERR: Sticking on the youth theme you're going to go to me?
Q. Since all of you turned pro at 18 or younger, and we have had so many young people coming through, Lydia Ko coming in at whatever age she is. The way golf is now, at what point does someone, at what age does someone have to be where you go wow, she's young?
CRISTIE KERR: I think that we have seen that with Lydia when Michelle came on the scene she was an amateur and competing and almost winning tournaments, we're pushing the limits. We definitely are.
Starting not even in high school is pretty young. So I would say that's pretty young.
PAULA CREAMER: Wasn't there a 10 year old at the U.S. Amateur that qualified?
CRISTIE KERR: 10 year old? Wow.
Q. Is she playing this week?
THE MODERATOR: But yet out here this week, let's talk about Lexi and I'll get you guys -- you can't expect her to be young out there and she probably doesn't feel that young out there I'm guessing. You probably would love to have Lexi out there as your partner each of you.
PAULA CREAMER: Age is obviously just a number in a sense. She has so much maturity and I think that Lexi -- there's a reason why she's here, it's her golf game, it's not because of how old she is. She's deserved it, she's won, she's ready to play.
I think that golf, in general, has given so many young players the opportunity now to come out and play and show your stuff and she's proved it. And there's no reason why she can't come out and she's going to show it again. Starting Friday.
CRISTIE KERR: Definitely. I think not only her game, but Lexi has that element of mental toughness that you need to play in a Solheim Cup, and she has us if she has questions or needs to come and talk to us or whatever it is.
But she has got it. She's here. She's sitting in the seat the next to us and we all kind of feel like rookies on the first tee, so she's not alone.
Q. We heard chants of USA, USA, as you walked off the 18th green. And I wonder, how big a deal is home course advantage? Is that kind of energy from the crowd something you all can feed off of?
PAULA CREAMER: For sure. I think that's why we have always done so well here. It's just the fans are -- they're the reason behind us, why we come back from two down and have a match. That's just pure adrenaline from them and supporting us. And there's nothing better than having that behind you. Why not?
And we're lucky that they are so boisterous, because you can hear the USA chants, this is a big place and you can hear it all over. And that's going to be -- it's already started yesterday, on Tuesday. I don't know of a place before where you could -- it was pretty going on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. And it's only going to get bigger come the weekend.
CRISTIE KERR: And the autographs. I don't think we ever signed this many autographs in the practice rounds. I've already gone through -- I played two nine hole practice rounds because I came here a couple weeks ago. And I went through three Sharpies in two nine hole practice rounds. So I think everybody has.
So it's been pretty amazing, the response that we have had and the crowds that we have had. And it's not an easy walk out there for them, so it's great that they're sticking through it with us.
Q. Cristie, playing on the stars and stripes each time may be different, but does it get more exciting each time that you put on the stars and stripes, knowing that you represent the USA?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it does. There really is no higher honor than to be able to play for your country. And play for your teammates and yourself. And your captain. There really is no higher honor than that. I think that that's why we work so hard for two years to make the team and it's just really exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Both Cristie and Paula, because you were there two years ago, having lost the last Solheim Cup. It's 8-4 right now and then coming to the United States to play at home you talked about the Sharpies and the signing and all the chants of USA, you never lost at home. Is that a huge advantage having never lost at home or something that adds a little bit of pressure?
PAULA CREAMER: Like I said, it's one of the reasons why I feel like we never lost at home because we have such a big advantage with the crowds. And just coming together after the last Solheim Cup, that was by far one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. I wanted to play Monday. I was ready to go. I didn't care if it was pouring sideways or windy, anything, I wanted to get back out there and play. It was a tough loss for me on Sunday.
You win, you lose all the time, but I just didn't have my A game that day and Beanie played awesome and I felt like I let my team down. Being first out in singles you have the lead job and that's to get that point up there as soon as you can.
And I'm ready to do that this week, but at the same time I think as a team it was actually kind of a good thing, because we all got to kind of got to lose together at that moment. We were all just sitting there and all of a sudden we lost. When we thought we won, but we lost. And I think that kind of has united us even more coming into this week.
CRISTIE KERR: I think so. It happened the last time, it was very difficult the last time. Especially with what happened to me on Sunday in the singles.
The last time when I was not able to play. Nobody knows but me how much I gave that week and how much I played through, but yet again, you got to play singles. So it was very disappointing and nobody has -- I don't think, everybody has incredible motivation, but I have a little extra. So I am looking for some special stuff out there this week and I am going to be there for my team. So I'm looking forward to it.
Q. As you know, you are the favorites this week, is there any one of your opponents you would like to put some extra pressure on like the two most experienced girls, for instance?
THE MODERATOR: What was the question?
Q. Because obviously you have the biggest pressure as U.S. team never lost on home soil. But if you would like to put some pressure on one of your opponents this weekend, like one of the most experienced girls, Suzann Pettersen, for instance.
CRISTIE KERR: Honestly, I think that we're going to try and put pressure on everybody that we play. We're not discriminatory.
Q. A follow-up to that, as the favorites to win this event here this year, how do you assess the strength of the challenge that the European team will put up against you here this week?
PAULA CREAMER: Going in we're not necessarily the favorites. They have the cup right now. So I think that if we all go in with just the mentality of here we go, we're on an equal playing field and may the best team win.
LEXI THOMPSON: Exactly. We're just going in and playing our own game and obviously trying to win every match, but mainly just trying to do our best. That's all we can do. It's match play, anything can really happen, so you just have to take one shot at a time.
Q. Lexi, what kind of advice, what pieces of advice have Paula and Cristie given you about how to handle the pressure, the inexperience and how to play well on this golf course even?
LEXI THOMPSON: They have helped me out a lot in the last few days and the other practice sessions that we had. So just telling me what to expect walking to the first tee and the first tee shot, pretty much how nervous I'm going to be. But other than that, just how to take the matches. Everything's going to speed up, the tempo of yourself and just the pace, so you just have to slow things down and just really focus on doing your routine on every shot and not get ahead of yourself.
Q. Paula, you talked about the incredible feeling that you get when you walk up to the first tee at the Solheim Cup each time. It's so different from an individual event, obviously. Can you compare the feeling of doing that versus walking up to that first tee on the final day of a Major and how the emotions may differ and how will you just feel differently, if you do.
PAULA CREAMER: It's a little louder when you walk up here to the first tee. It's a long walk here. It's hard enough getting there and then we got to go up-and-down all these stairs I'm thinking, oh boy, my legs are going to be like this when we get there.
But it's just, when you put this hat on, when you put your shirt on, and have you this feeling of representing your country, wearing the red and blue, it's not our normally goes, it's not, this isn't Paula Creamer going out representing California, it's representing our country. And when you're on a team and you have your partner there, you have your other girls that are behind you and waiting to tee off and they're out there on that first tee with you, it's just so exciting. It's just, as an athlete, like Cristie said, it is your highest honor here is wearing red, white and blue and playing for your country and you cannot compare it to anything else. I don't care what Major it is, you really can't.
THE MODERATOR: Team Europe's out there waiting. Last thing from me and we're going to cut this off. Lexi, the one thing and same question to all of you, the one thing you feel most positive about, about Team USA after a few days here?
LEXI THOMPSON: The most positive thing? I would just say obviously we're all playing really well right now, but I would say just how much we get along with each other and just what kind of personalities we have. We're all very positive, just on and off the golf course, and I think that really overall we bring out the best in each other I think that's the most important thing on a team.
CRISTIE KERR: And once the rookies play that first hole they're in the battle, they're in the heat and they know what to do.
PAULA CREAMER: Just with Meg. It's really, it really feels good to have a great captain knowing what to do with us all. Taking care of 12 girls has got to be a tough job. I'm glad I'm not sitting there right now with the captain hat on, but I think that with what she's doing with us is the most positive.
THE MODERATOR: Some day.
PAULA CREAMER: Some day. Not any time soon.
Team Europe, Anna Nordqvist, Giulia Sergas, Karine Icher
THE MODERATOR: Anna Nordqvist, Giulia Sergas, Karine Icher, thank you very much for joining us. First of all, like to pose a question to Giulia, who is a rookie on the team this year. So do you feel like a rookie?
GIULIA SERGAS: Yeah, in a way, I do. I am. So I definitely do feel like a rookie. But I have great teammates that give me their support. Anna has been really helpful and I think it's just exciting. It's very exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Anna and Karine, you both played on teams before. So, Anna, what does it feel like to return after winning in Ireland two years ago?
ANNA NORDQVIST: It definitely feels special. This will be my third Solheim Cup and I think we have a great team. We have a very young team here and it's just so exciting when you get to play as a team and everyone comes together and just the team spirit has been really great this week.
THE MODERATOR: Karine, you played in 2002, so how different does it feel now 11 years later to be back on the team again?
KARINE ICHER: I feel like a rookie again.
But, no, it's fun to have this kind of team. Everybody plays on the LPGA, except Charley, but she's going to adapt very well. And everybody's friends and compared to the other years that we had players from Europe, LET, and players from LPGA, it was like we were able to make a team like that.
This year everybody plays together, so it makes it easier.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. For the two girls who played before and especially for Anna, I guess, what you can bring from the experience at Killeen Castle that could help you here to try and achieve a first victory on American soil.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think that Killeen Castle showed, not only us, but just never ever give up and you never know what's going to happen and just fight until the last point or into the last match.
I think Suzann stepped up there really making the last couple groups believe in themselves and believe they could win their points and that we could win as a team. So I think that just believing we can win and obviously coming off with that win in Ireland means a lot to the team.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously Mile High City here in Colorado. Does that make a difference? Can you talk about the difficulties or the differences playing here compared to.
GIULIA SERGAS: I live in the mountains so for me it's a big advantage. It's the same altitude. So because I train in high altitude and it does make a difference on your body at the beginning, but I like it. I love it.
THE MODERATOR: Whereabouts do you live?
GIULIA SERGAS: In the Alps. In Cortina.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have any differences compared to playing?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, maybe one club difference on the flight.
THE MODERATOR: The fitness? Any difference on the physical fitness?
KARINE ICHER: I definitely think the more fit you are, the better it's going to be. This course is pretty hilly, so if you are going to end up playing a lot of matches, it's going to be a lot of walking, not only for you, but for your caddie.
Q. For Anna, Liselotte has sort of looked to you as one of the great Swedes who really broke through on the LPGA tour. I just wonder how much of an inspiration she was to you and what it's like to have her as a captain.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I obviously looked up to Lotta, she was my assistant captain when I came out as a rookie in 2009. And I played my first Solheim Cup and she's always been a huge support.
But she's always in a good mood, she's always positive. She makes you believe in yourself. And this week she's really stepped up and make us believe in ourself and make us believe in us as a team.
Q. You have quite an experienced team coming to the Solheim Cup, six rookies, how much of an influence will the more experienced player on the team have on you. I guess that's a question for you.
GIULIA SERGAS: Yeah, it's, you know, it's six rookies, but six really good rookies. So let's remember that.
I think it's how you take it. I don't know how I'm going to feel, but I guess it's just going to be really great. It's just going to be fun. And just live the moment and see what happens.
You know your game, you know how you play, so we have been playing in America, all of us, for a long time. So it's a big advantage, you know, maybe it's a good thing because you are more excited, you have more energy, sometimes you give your best then.
Q. Thinking about the altitude and the hilly course and maybe some heat in the weekend. Can you see anyone playing five matches?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well definitely I think you could play five matches, but you're going to be pretty tired coming Sunday. But whatever Lotta decides is best for the team, I think anyone is willing to do it.
But match play takes a lot out of you. It's going to be a lot of tough matches out there. So sometimes it's actually good to get a match off somewhere during this week just to get energized and be pumped up and ready to go for your next match.
Q. Lotta was talking about how she has stats for even your practice rounds here and that you guys were out with four-ball matches. Can you talk about how the practice sessions, is the intensity even up for that and how does that prepare you?
KARINE ICHER: It's important to play like -- to try some pairings during practice rounds. We tried yesterday today different possibilities, it gave us more ideas of what the strategy and what we're going to decide for the foursome and four-balls.
Nothing is decided yet, so we still have to try maybe again tomorrow and try a different possibilities, try different teams. But it's very strategic. It's a strategic week. The main thing is to pair the good players together. So this is Lotta's job, best job to do this week.
Q. We saw in practice this morning some Lotta masks on some of the staff and some of your bags. Whose idea was that and what the team bond behind the captain's like right now?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well we had this little quiz last night and whoever lost had to wear the mask showing up to the first tee today.
THE MODERATOR: Anything you can expand on that. What was the quiz about?
GIULIA SERGAS: Well, whatever happens in the team room will stay in the team room.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Amen.
Team U.S.A., Brittany Lang, Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We're joined today by Brittany Lang, Michelle Wie, and Jessica Korda. Thank you, ladies, for joining us here at the 2013 Solheim Cup. So Jessica, let's let you start the tone. You came in, you just did your happy dance out there. Not everybody got it see that. First appearance. What's it been like?
JESSICA KORDA: It's a lot of fun being with the team and you're used to being on a team in junior golf and amateur golf, but I've never been on a professional golf team. And to play with these girls week in and week out and being on a team together, it's something really special and like they say, you'll cherish this forever.
THE MODERATOR: I'm sure have you a few stories, I know they already have them, so give me.
JESSICA KORDA: I'm accumulating my stories. I'll tell them maybe at the end of the week.
THE MODERATOR: Give me the best one so far. Start with when you walked into your room in your hotel or the team room or whatever. Your impressions of all that.
JESSICA KORDA: Well, I've been here all week, so I've been in the room since Friday. So they kicked me out of my room and they're like you need to go do something so we can decorate your room. And I said oh that's new. Okay. So I left and I came in and I saw it was like Christmas.
And I was like oh my gosh, let's open that, no, let's open that. So it was great. I love this whole thing and this whole experience, it's been a fun thing for me right now.
THE MODERATOR: Michelle, let's talk about your captain selection and you being on this team. You've been on teams before, this one's kind of felt a little bit different from the get-go. I know you were working so hard to play your way on to this team and in the end a captain selection, which has been frankly a lightning rod of conversation, period. But you were really emotional. So take us all back to when you were told you were on the team. Can you take us through that?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I worked really hard the last two years, obviously, I didn't have the best two years, didn't make the team, so I was at the mercy of a captain's pick. And I have never felt so sick of my entire life on Sunday of the British. I didn't eat or drink all day. I had to play like 24 holes, so that, I was just so nervous. Because I really wanted this.
I remember getting an e-mail from LPGA saying that the captains want to talk to you. I'm like oh my God, this is like dooms day right now. So I went to the room and they, I sat down and I was preparing myself for anything. Anything that could happen. And Meg looked at me straight in the face and she asked me how would you like to play for USA at the Solheim Cup?
And I just immediately just started crying. I cried so hard my contacts popped out and everything. I just was like, oh my God, yes. And I just like, nodded my head and everything. And she is like, is that a yes? And I was like, yeah, that's a yes. And I've never been so happy the. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be here to play under Meg, under Laura, under Dottie, and to play with these girls. Just to have this opportunity again for the third time, it's a dream come true for me.
THE MODERATOR: You've embraced this whole thing, you're very good at dealing with the spotlight being on you. At least externally. How have you handled it internally where some have questioned the selection?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, I haven't read anything. Meg told me to stay away from it. I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding it, there's always controversy surrounding Solheim Cup picks. But I'm just so happy to be here that I frankly don't really care. I'm just so happy to be here.
But Meg immediately told me after she picked me that, don't think of myself as a captain's pick any more, that we're just a team of 12 and I think all the girls on the team have really opened their arms up to me, which made me feel just even better. Critics can say whatever they want, but I know that the girls on my team, I hope they want me here.
(Laughter.) No, but just open arms, Stanford coming up to me and just giving me a hug and just saying everyone just is happy to see me here. It just makes me feel really good and feel very welcome.
THE MODERATOR: Brittany, let's get your thoughts. This isn't your first rodeo if you will, playing on the Solheim Cup. How is this one perhaps better for you, different for you, based on past experience and how are you different?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, there's a few things. I think that this is one of the most talented teams I've ever played on. I only played on two and I think this is the most talented one. They're young, which is great for America and the U.S., that we have a lot of young, great talent.
They're young, but they're accomplished. Lexi and Jessica, they have won 18, 20 years old, they have won tournaments. So that's probably the biggest thing is it's probably one of the best teams, we have great team chemistry.
The other thing is I'm probably playing the best golf I've played coming into a Solheim Cup, with Chicago and Ireland, so that's exciting too that I'm playing as well as I am. I've never really been playing that great coming into a Solheim Cup, so that's exciting for me.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah, you had eight top-10s though the last time 2009 or not the last time, but leading into 2009 but now you come in as a winner. Take some questions, please.
Q. For Michelle, both Dottie and Meg have talked about they crunched a lot of stats and they really liked the improvement that you've made in your putting, especially from last year to this year. I know a lot of people have talked about your putting stance, but I'm just wondering how confident you feel about your putting right now or are you still feeling like you're tinkering?
MICHELLE WIE: No, I feel comfortable. A lot of people have talked about my putting stance or whatnot, but I honestly don't care how I look as long as I make putts.
And I think that you walk up to any professional golfer and you tell them -- give them a choice between looking cool and making putts, and I'm pretty sure everyone's going to say making putts. So for me right now it's, if you look at my stats, it has gotten a lot better.
And kind of seeing those stats gave me confidence. I remember my dad coming up to me a couple weeks ago and he said do you know how much you improved from last year? And I looked at those numbers and I was like oh, hey, I did. And it made me feel good.
Q. Two questions. One just for the uneducated, which would be me, could you tell us how exactly you came up with that putting stance?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I've always wanted to be short.
THE MODERATOR: We'll get Steve a microphone in just a moment.
Q. Were you that size at age five, but go ahead.
MICHELLE WIE: I always felt a little bit uncomfortable being tall putting. And I just in seeing me in the middle of the round. I wasn't putting very well that day or that year, but like why not. And I just was like okay I'll just go down lower to the ground and I made every single putt coming in and I was like, okay.
And then I went to Dubai and I did the same thing there, I putted a lot better, and I didn't really see myself in the mirror, I didn't see pictures of me at that point.
Q. Did your back immediately do this when you started going short?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it did, actually of the I mean a lot of people have asked me how my back is, if my back hurts, but it actually feels a lot better doing that for me. Because I'm flexible it's easier, I don't know.
Q. And secondly, if you could look back at your last two teams, what was the difference between earning your spot and being a pick? How did you feel both weeks going into it?
MICHELLE WIE: I was nervous for both. I think when it comes to the tournament, when it comes on game day, it really doesn't matter. It really doesn't -- the difference that I felt in 2009 and 2011, it really didn't make a difference. It felt as much a part of the team as I did in 2009 as I did in 2011. And I felt as nervous as I did both times. It just, Solheim Cup means the world to me. When I walk up on that first tee, it's, to me, I'm representing my country, I'm representing my girls on my team, I'm representing playing for my captains, my co-captains and everything it means to be American.
So it's a great feeling to walk on that first tee and I don't think on the first tee, whether I was a captain's or not, I just know I want to win. That's the only thing I'm thinking about come game day. So I really think that it isn't, doesn't really make a difference.
Q. Michelle, you talked about the last two years, are you working your way back after concentrating on studies, I mean Stanford takes a lot of focus, so are you working your way back? Do you feel like you're a little, became a little rusty for not playing as much? What's been the deal?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that the hardest thing would be oh like what happened, what this, what that, I just didn't have a good year. And I worked really hard this off season. I worked really hard this year. I'm feeling more and more comfortable, I'm feeling more and more confident and I'm having fun out there playing.
It's just that golf is weird, it's not as black and white as people think. There's a lot going on. I think that I'm just having fun out there, I'm working really hard, I'm giving my all every week, and I'm just waiting for the week that it all comes together.
THE MODERATOR: Question for you Jess, you might be a rookie, but you hardly played like one. If you look at results you played as well as most anybody on the team this year in the time you played on the LPGA. So you're actually like a seasoned pro. Six top-10s. Do you feel like, hey, coach, captain, play me all five sessions, do you feel like you're ready to do something like that? What are they talking to you about, about what you need to do this week?
JESSICA KORDA: We haven't really talked about who is going to be playing what or when you're going to be playing, That's going to be up to Meg and how she sees us fit, how she sees the team coming together and what she wants to do.
Each captain, co-captain has a game plan. And right now I don't really know their game plan, to be honest. But I've had a great year, I've been having fun out on the golf course, and I think it's showing. I'm just growing as a person, each year, and I'm 20 years old, but I'm kind of living the life.
THE MODERATOR: Brittany, can you share some perspective on -- back when you were a rookie and now what might be expected of today's rookie that might be perhaps different? When you talk about Lexi or Jessica specifically.
BRITTANY LANG: Well I think they're more prepared than I was and I did great in Chicago, but they -- you've won tournaments and like you said, they have played as good as anybody on the team. So I would hardly consider them rookies. I have a lot of confidence that they're going to handle it well. They play well in Major, they play well, they win, so I was extremely nervous in Chicago and like I said, I hadn't won and I hadn't played as well as Jessica had, but they know, we have talked to them, it's just golf. Getting back to what got you there and we talked all about it. So I have a lot of confidence in them.
Q. It's said that athletes, when they put on that stars and stripes, you have a little different feeling when you put that on. For all of you, especially you, Michelle, with the colorful socks. What's a little bit different about putting on the stars and stripes this time that maybe you felt before, and maybe you are all feeling for the first time to represent your country.
MICHELLE WIE: When you put on those colors, the red, white, and blue, like I said before, it just, it takes golf to a whole another level for me. Seeing all the fans and in red, white, and blue and the stickers.
It just, I'm just so proud to be an American this week and I think it comes out more this week. Just so proud to be American, to play for my country, and it's just, it's great. This is, it's just awesome.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your socks?
MICHELLE WIE: My socks. I think it's a bit patriotic, but I don't know, I just kind of accumulate things over the year, I see things I'm like oh that would be great for Solheim Cup, oh, that would be great for Solheim and I just brought them out, I guess.
THE MODERATOR: You guys got some cool gifts. You said it was like Christmas. What did you get, I heard cowboy boots even stuff.
JESSICA KORDA: We got some great gifts. First off a bunch of clothes, who doesn't like clothes. And then we all got our shoes, we got our cowboy boots, we got some electronics here and there and then we got the great golf bags. Everything Solheim Cup. Everything you can imagine Solheim Cup. Shirts, flags, hats, you just name it, we got it.
THE MODERATOR: Brittany, your favorite gift is?
BRITTANY LANG: Definitely the red, white, and blue cowboy boots. Jessica went with the black, which I didn't like that idea, but at least she has a pair of cowboy boots now.
JESSICA KORDA: It is my first boot. I've got to go conservative. Next one is going to be outrageous. It's the first boot. It's got to be neutral.
Q. Michelle, I had the opportunity to talk to Meg Mallon a few months ago before the team was announced, before the captain's picks were announced and we talked about you. She certainly had some very nice things to say. She also said she didn't think that she had ever seen anybody who was under a microscope like you have been during your time on the tour.
Can you just talk about maybe being under that microscope, how you handle it and if there's certain things that you do to deal with kind of that pressure and that stress that gets you through at still a young age of 23.
MICHELLE WIE: I'm still trying to figure it out I think. Just still like anyone who is young, who is -- like Jessica on tour. I'm still trying to figure out even though I have played for a really long time, it's kind of weird to say that, actually, but I guess I have played for a long time.
But the one thing that I do religiously is just stay away from everything. I don't read anything, I don't watch anything. But when I do come across something, it's hard sometimes. It's not easy. I'm not going to lie and say that it's rainbows and sunshine every day. It's tough being a professional golfer, but it comes with the territory. I kind of knew what I signed up for. And I just love the game, I love playing and that's what I really focus on. Weeks like this, it's just, it makes me really, it reminds me how much I love playing golf.
Q. This is a home course advantage for you all. We're back in the United States. How much on Sunday can you really feed off the crowd when they're chanting USA, USA?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it's huge. I've only played on one -- I played on one Solheim Cup in the U.S. and one in Europe. And it's unbelievable the difference, like how many people are out here supporting us and I mean it's night and day. Even though a lot of Americans go over to Europe to support us, the pull that you get when you come to the U.S. is huge. It's great. It's great for us and it only helps, even out during the practice rounds and everything, it's a big difference. So it's -- it will definitely be an advantage for us.
THE MODERATOR: Michelle you were on the team that last time that didn't win and now you're back here where you've never lost.
MICHELLE WIE: Thanks for reminding us. But like Brittany said, the crowds were already amazing today and they came out with stickers and chanting our names. And I think it was good just for the rookies to kind of experience that before not to get too shocked. These crowds, they're as big as I've ever seen. It's exciting.
I hope everyone in Denver Colorado or anyone near Colorado comes to this event, because it's great. I think we're going to get some really great showings this week.
THE MODERATOR: Jessica I'm sure you're probably leading the USA chants out there. Just a speculation on my part.
JESSICA KORDA: No I'm kind of still learning when to start the chants and when not to start the chants.
MICHELLE WIE: We taught her.
JESSICA KORDA: We're walking down nine and they're like Korda, Korda, come here and they start waving their hands and I'm like, okay, let's go.
And playing on the Junior Solheim Cup or Curtis Cup you don't have crowds like this or even people showing up to the practice rounds. I'm impressed with how many people are out here. I got a roar yesterday, like making a long putt and I'm not used to that during practice rounds. And just to see the support that we get back in the states is --
MICHELLE WIE: Well, she did lead some chants in 2009. I remember I was like, okay, Jessica, just to warn you, people are going to make songs with your name and they're going to chant make all these different kind of songs, and she was like, yeah, that was me. That was me.
JESSICA KORDA: I was one of them. I was one of those girls being like, oh, I want to be there one day. And I was like yup, that was me in the crowd saying, hey Michelle, you're so fine, you're so fine, you blow my mind.
And then today we had the same thing happen on the course and it was just really cool to be on the opposite side of the rope.
THE MODERATOR: We got stories here. Last question.
Q. Brittany, I'm curious how long ago the 2005 Open feels to you and do you have good vibes coming back to Denver based on that?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it does feel like forever, what was it nine years ago? Something like that. Yeah. It does seem forever ago, but I do have good memories here playing at Cherry Hills and the Broadmoor, I played well in those venues and, yeah, I like Colorado a lot. I like these courses, it's very similar to Cherry Hills, just a great layout, great courses with some tricky greens. So, yeah, it does bring back a lot of memories, good memories.
THE MODERATOR: Last thing before I let you go. To each of you, the best thing about this week and I know this is your first shot at it, that has nothing to do with the golf. You first Brittany.
BRITTANY LANG: The cowboy boots we got.
(Laughter.) Or the smoothie right there. They're so good.
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, so good. It's key.
THE MODERATOR: Michelle?
MICHELLE WIE: My favorite part about this, this week is the team videos. I love, at night we sit down and on the couch in our team room and we get to watch one team video every night and then the next night we get to watch the night before and the night of, so it's a team video, they're awesome, past highlights of past Solheim Cup, people saying good luck to us. I remember in 2009 Justin Timberlake sent us a video saying good luck and we all maybe we kind of we squealed a little bit when that happened.
JESSICA KORDA: Well so far I would say my favorite are the team dinners where we all get to bond and kind of share stories and you learn from the veterans on the team. They tell you their cool stories that they have experienced and also just the team bonding, it's you don't get to do that week in, week out and you just enjoy it this one week.
Team Europe, Catriona Matthew, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Beatriz Recari
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Catriona Matthew, Jodi Ewart, and Beatriz Recari. Thank you, ladies, for joining us today. Now, Catriona, you're one of the most experienced players on the European team, six Solheim Cup appearances. Seven? Sorry. According to the media, LPGA media guide. Are you comfortable in this leadership role?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't really see myself as a leader. Lotta is the captain, she's the leader of the team. I think we're just 12 players, we're all a team. Obviously I played in a few more, so maybe just a little bit more experience.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. And you're both rookies, do you feel like rookies this week, is this anything surprised you or is it totally as you expected?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, definitely there's been a lot of things that there's no way you can imagine them like that. Just starting with the team spirit, all the staff helping us, the European team throughout the week. I mean it's been amazing and there's been a lot of new things, obviously, because this is totally different from what we do on a regular basis week in, week out here in the LPGA.
So I mean it's definitely been some new stuff and some great new presents every day, it's like Christmas every day and just the spirit and everybody just encouraging us and so, yeah, just trying to help you out as much as they can and we're looking forward to the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Jodi, take us back to St. Andrews and you were a pick and what it felt like to be picked to play for Europe.
JODI EWART SHADOFF: It was a total honor. Just the feeling when I got told that I was on the team, I've been working, this is my No. 1 goal the past couple of years and to finally achieve it was, it was really special and now that I'm here, it's quite surreal and it's pretty amazing and I just can't wait until Friday.
THE MODERATOR: Catriona, does it feel any different in this team compared to last time in Ireland?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously it's different players on the team, but I think we have got a really good team spirit going. Obviously every one's slightly different in its own way, but we're all having great fun this week and I think we're all just getting excited and wanting to get started. Looking forward to Friday.
Q. For Catriona, in the time you've been playing golf, the sort of the makeup of the European Solheim Cup team has changed. It was sort of dominated at some points by different countries and it's spread out it seems, does that reflect the growth of women's golf in Europe or can you maybe put that into perspective of how many different people are or how many different countries are represented?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Absolutely. I suppose the first few it was probably mostly Brits and Swedes that played in it. But now it's all the Spanish, Germany, there's lots of different nationalities. I think golf in general is really growing in the whole world and Europe especially. The continental Europe girls are playing really good golf and they got some really good programs and got a lot of good juniors coming up. So I think we'll see this real variety of nationalities on the team from now on.
Q. For all three, just in terms of your own personal games and how this course sets up obviously the factors of altitude, very, very fast greens and wide fairways to drive into. How do you sort of feel about how that helps or what?
JODI EWART SHADOFF: I think overall our team is very long off the tee and that definitely helps with the altitude. I played golf at New Mexico, which was similar altitude, so I'm kind of have that experience of playing at hitting an 8-iron like 155. It's something to get used to, definitely, but you really have to hit the ball in the right spots on the greens, so I think it suits the ball strikers, so.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think the course is obviously long, is playing pretty long. Even at the altitude. We're not getting a whole lot of run. But like she said, it's all going to come down to the greens. You can hit good shots in and not have much of a putt, so it's all going to just depend on where you put the ball on the green. But I think the matches in general, I think it's going to be really exciting, I think it's going to be a thriller.
Q. Pace of the greens?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I'm just going to repeat what they said. It's all going to come down to the greens, even more than normal. And they're so fast, I think faster than what we normally play, and it's playing long for everybody too, so it will be a good test. It will be, I think it's going to be really tight and you're going to see matches going all the way to 18.
THE MODERATOR: What do you think you need to do to make history this week? To be the first European team to win in America?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: We need to beat the Americans.
We need to be bad. Yeah. I think, like all Solheim Cups, it comes down to the end, usually which team putts the best. It's just who holes just a crucial putt at the right time. It seems to always come down to just a few putts here or there. So I definitely think it's just going to come down to that in the end.
Q. Beatriz, I'm not sure if you're old enough, do you remember the big breakthrough in '97 in the Ryder Cup when Europe would be won? Were you old enough to know that was going on?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Well, I saw that the biggest comeback I ever witnessed in my life last year in Chicago, so that's, if you're not inspired after that, I don't know what is going to get you inspired. That was everybody -- and I was watching on TV, everybody was saying, there's no way they're going to come back, even the European commentators were like, well, this is really tough. And they did it.
So if they can do it, so can we. But I'm confident that we're going to start really strong from the beginning and we're just going to be fearless out there and be aggressive, because everybody is reminding us how many times that we haven't won in the United States so there is nothing we have to lose, I don't think, and we have to just be fearless from the beginning.
Q. How important would that be in terms of how much more attention do you think that would bring European women's golf to actually win it here? You've won it in Europe, would it make a big difference to win it over here?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I think if it was on ESPN after Sunday that would mean we have done a pretty good job.