The Solheim Cup
Colorado Golf Club
Pre-Tournaments Notes and Interviews
August 13, 2013
Azahara Munoz, Caroline Hedwall, Caroline Masson
Since 1990, the Solheim Cup has united rich traditions and immense prestige for golfers from both the United States and Europe. It’s a tournament where a player’s passion for their sport and their country is ignited on the largest stage. There’s no other event in women’s golf history that produces high pressure, strong emotions and intense competition like the Solheim Cup.
Twenty-four of the world’s best female golfers will travel to the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. this week to compete for their teammates, their captain and their country in the 13th staging of the Solheim Cup.
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.
“Obviously it’s very difficult, we’ve never won in America and that’s something we want to change,” said Alison Nicholas, captain of the victorious 2011 European Solheim Cup team. “But it’s always tough because we all know how tough [the Americans] are and how their fans operate over there. I’m sure that won’t detract from what the girls want to do because I know they’ll play hard too.”
The 2011 Solheim Cup was held at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland in late September. The U.S.
Team entered the week as favorites on paper, having won three consecutive titles, but Europe was determined to regain control of the Cup on their home soil. Tied 8-8 entering Sunday’s singles play, the European Team played flawless golf in the midst of torrential downpours and wind to steal a 15-13 victory in the final two matches.
Needless to say, the devastating loss has the American Team more prepared and motivated than ever before.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to get our Cup back,” said Paula Creamer, who is competing on her fifth U.S. Solheim Cup team this year. “We’ve never lost on home soil and we’re all very aware of that. It’s little bit of added pressure but I still think we can use our crowds to be great motivators for us and I think we’ll all feed off of that.”
Captained by 18-time LPGA Tour winner Meg Mallon, this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup squad consists of eight veterans and four rookies. Led by the RICOH Women’s British Open winner and runaway U.S. points leader Stacy Lewis, the young team will also seek guidance in Solheim veterans Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie.
Four dynamic rookies who are eager to play as contributing factors on Team U.S.A. include Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller.
The U.S. Team currently leads the Europeans with an 8-4 record in Solheim Cup history. While the Euros have given the Americans a run for their money during foursomes and four-ball matches, the tournament tends to end in dramatic fashion with Sunday’s singles event, which has historically been dominated by the U.S. Team.
“It is always so close on a Sunday,” said Pettersen. “I mean it’s like two or three points either side. The Americans have always been really good at getting those points and flipping it to their side and their victories. You can look at the final numbers and think it’s a walk in the park but it usually comes down to certain matches.”
The European Solheim Cup Team, led by Captain Liselotte Neumann, also features a contingent of seasoned veterans and zealous rookies. Spearheaded by seven-time European Team member Suzann Pettersen, the squad also consists of four of her teammates from the victories 2011 team including Caroline Hedwall, Catriona Matthew, Anna Nordqvist and Azahara Munoz. Karine Icher also joins the veteran contingent, although she is making her first appearance since 2002.
Six rookies will represent Team Europe in Colorado this week which includes Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Giulia Sergas, Carlota Ciganda, Carolina Masson, Beatriz Recari and Charley Hull, who is the youngest player to make a Solheim Cup Team at age 17.
Despite the separation of experience on the European Team, Pettersen believes their young, wild and fearless attitudes will be huge contributing factors in their quest to retain the Solheim Cup.
“I think it’s healthy for us to kind of have new players coming up,” said Pettersen. “I don’t think it’s a disadvantage to have a lot of Solheim Cup rookies. They’re all out there, and they’re fearless and have nothing to lose. I think it’s much better to have that kind of player rather than the experienced ones who puts a lot of pressure on themselves and has everything to prove to the rests of the world that they deserved this spot on the team.”
While the European Team comes into the week with heavy momentum following their dramatic win in 2011, the American Team exudes confidence in regaining the Cup on home soil.
“You can’t win them all, but we’re sure going to try,” said Creamer.
Looking back on 2011: Azahara Munoz and Caroline Hedwall are very aware of what it takes to defeat the Americans in the Solheim Cup. Despite being rookies on the European Solheim Cup Team two years ago, Munoz and Hedwall played critical roles in Europe’s stunning upset of Team USA in Ireland.
Hedwall and Munoz were in the final two singles matches sent out on Sunday at Killeen Castle. Hedwall battled back from two down with two holes to play and ended up halving her match with American Ryann O’Toole to earn a critical half point for Europe. With Hedwall’s half point and Munoz guaranteed to earn at least a half point in her match against Angela Stanford as they walked up the 18th, the Europeans had the points needed to clinch their first Solheim Cup victory since 2003.
Now those two players will be looked at as “veterans” on a young European squad who is looking to capture a victory on American soil for the first time in the history of the event.
“It's amazing,” Munoz said of being back with her European teammates. “ I think this is all we want to play for, every two years. So it's gone by pretty quick, but I think we are all really happy to be back and I love playing in a team environment and we only get to do it over two years, so I'm just going to enjoy this week as much as I can and so far it's been great.
“We're all getting along really well. I think we all can't wait to get started on Friday.”
Gifts Galore: Upon Team U.S.A.’s arrival at their hotel in Parker, Colo., the players were overwhelmed with the amount of gifts and surprises that Solheim week has to offer. Among many presents the player’s receive this week include their team uniforms, cowboy boots, a new golf bag and all things red, white and blue.
For Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Gerina Piller, who are all U.S. Solheim Cup Team rookies this year, their eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas Day. Ask Piller what her favorite gift has been so far and she’ll say it’s no tangible thing.
“The best present I've been given so far is the invitation to come to this event,” said Piller. “Everything after that is just icing on the cake. So I'm just -- I couldn't be more proud to wear the red, white and blue.”
Piller was selected as one of Meg Mallon’s Captain’s Picks following a stellar performance at the RICOH Women’s British Open where she tied for 36th. Moments before the team was announced following the tournament’s conclusion, Mallon had called her into a meeting with her assistant captains to delivere the exciting news.
“I don't really know what I looked like when my response but they said I looked like I was in a pageant,” said Piller. “I think I just put my hands over my eyes and face and started bawling and I don't think I've stopped smiling since.”
The Rookie Experience: A total of 10 players will be making their first appearance at the Solheim Cup this week at the Colorado Golf Club. While they all may not be rookies on the LPGA and Ladies European Tours, Solheim week offers an experience unlike any women’s golf event that is sure the leave them feeling like a beginner.
Four players who are making their debut on Team U.S.A. include Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller. The experience in the biennial events can get overwhelming, however the eight returning players have made sure to take the rookies under their wings and give them valuable advice and encouragement before Friday’s foursomes matches.
“Don't try so hard,” said Salas of the advice she’s received so far this week. “You're on the team for a reason and you just got to do your thing and play the golf you know how to play and don't make dramatic changes just to please your teammates. You’re here, if you're good enough to be on this team, then you just keep doing what you're doing.”
While half of this year’s European Team were contributing factors in the victorious 2011 team, the other half are joining the squad for the first time, hoping to play a part in their quest to retain the Cup and win on American soil for the first time in the tournament's history. Despite the separation of experience on the Euro’s side, the veterans have full confidence in their rookies as they all have plenty of experience in team competition.
“We have played Junior Solheim together and a lot of European team championships together,” said Azahara Munoz of Team Europe. “We all know each other, and something good about it I think that's why we play really well in the foursomes and four-balls because we are used to playing foursomes all the time. So we know how to play as teammates.”
All about the gamesmanship: The competition during Solheim Cup week isn’t just limited to golf. No surprise that when you put 12 competitive golfers together for a week that there are more than a few competitions that take place.
For the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, the friendly wagers have already started to take place in the team room at the hotel this week. With a ping pong table, a Pop-A-Shot, a Solheim-branded cornhole game, and a Nintendo Wii providing plenty of opportunity for friendly competition, the Americans are finding many ways to entertain themselves outside of the golf course.
“There's a running contest of who is going to make the longest shot,” Stacy Lewis said of the Pop-A-Shot basketball game. “I think Angela's got it right now. It's over halfway across this room, so it's a pretty good ot.”
When asked just how long the basketball shot was that put her in the lead, Angela Stanford couldn’t give an exact estimate but joked that it was definitely measured in yards – not feet.
“It’s pretty far,” Stanford said with a laugh. “Well the caddies started [the game]. Of course we’ve got to beat the caddies.
Tweet of the Day: “Even the bar is decked out in Solheim Cup memories.” - @Steve_Dimeglio
Use #SolheimCup in all your social media posts this week and see them on LPGA’s Solheim Cup Social Hub at http://www.lpga.com/golf/features/social-hub.aspx
Quotable: “The best present I've been given so far is the invitation to come to this event.” – Gerina Piller, a rookie on this year’s U.S. Team.
Team Europe, Azahara Munoz, Caroline Masson, Caroline Hedwall
THE MODERATOR: We will go ahead and get started with Team Europe. We have on the podium today AZAHARA MUNOZ, CAROLINE HEDWALL, and CAROLINE MASSON with us. Caroline, just want to start with you because obviously being a rookie, you must be super excited to be here. Can you just explain what it feels like to be in your first Solheim Cup?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, it's just great so far. I was so excited last week when I was at home practicing. And I couldn't wait until it started. So I got here on Sunday and had a great time so far. It was nice meeting all the players. Getting into my room, seeing all the presents like all the stuff we get, my bag. So I'm super happy and just trying to enjoy every moment.
THE MODERATOR: Azahara, what's it like to be back with your old teammates again and obviously with a chance to retain the cup over here in America?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It's amazing. I think this is all we want to play for, every two years. So it's gone by pretty quick, but I think we are all really happy to be back and I love playing in a team environment and we only get to do it over two years, so I'm just going to enjoy this week as much as I can and so far it's been great.
We're all getting along really well. I think we all can't wait to get started on Friday.
THE MODERATOR: And Caroline you were also a key member of the team that won last time. So talk about how it feels to be back with your teammates and on this team in 2013.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well it's just great being back. I think we have a great team with nice and fun people. So I think we're going to have a lot of fun and hopefully we can beat the Americans this time too.
THE MODERATOR: If anyone has any questions, please raise your hand and use the microphone.
Q. What are you going to tell the six rookies, you have six newbies on your team, what are you going to tell them when they come to you and say what's it going to be like on that first tee? How do you get them ready for that first tee on Friday?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Well we have two really experienced players on the team. So since we have been here, the leaders of the team, they're doing a great job. But I think it's nice for them for the new rookies, we are actually the same age, so it's really nice for them to have people that feel close to them. We have played junior Solheim together and a lot of European team championships together.
So I think that they feel really comfortable with us and all I'm going to say is I'm going to be honest. I'm going to say I was really nervous on the first tee, but you just hit it and get it going. So whatever they feel they need to know, I'm just going to be here for them.
Q. How did you handle your first time, your first shot in the Solheim Cup and what will you tell the six rookies when they come to you?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: You are going to be really nervous on the first tee, but at the same time that's what you practice for and you just have to enjoy the moment and have fun. That's how I try to handle it.
Q. To any of the girls, could you just give us your first impressions of the course.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It's in really good shape. It's playing pretty long, so I think it's going to be tough to make birdies out there because the greens are pretty tricky. They move a lot. They are really quick too. You're hitting a lot of long irons into pretty tiny greens.
So it's going to be a good test. I think it's going to be up to making a lot of up-and-downs out there and just scrambling around. But it's a really good course.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I think that putting will be key this week. Obviously the greens are really quick and quite undulated, so being on the right side of the pin and just having a hot putter will definitely be a key this week.
Q. Caroline you played here in July with some of the contingent. How does it differ from when you were here then to now, and what did you learn then to make you a little more comfortable this week?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well just seeing the course was good. Coming here and knowing what it looked like. For me it's the first time playing in this altitude, so I'm not used to hitting it this far.
So like yesterday it was just about getting my yardages right. So that's what I have to commit to. Sometimes it's hard to commit to hitting a 7-iron 165, 170 yards. I'm not used to that. So that's why I think that coming here in July was really important to get a feel for it.
Q. For any of you three, it's been said that the Europeans have an advantage in match play because you grew up playing that a lot more than Americans. Do you kind of feel that and do you think that's an advantage?
CAROLINE MASSON: Yeah, definitely. We play so much match play as juniors and amateurs back in Europe. On the other hand, I think that the big amateur tournaments in the States are match play as well. U.S. women's amateur, so I think it's just great for us to play match play again.
This year we don't have one match play event, so it's just a lot of fun and just a good time to actually play match play again. So we're looking forward to it and getting back into that kind of competition. Because it's definitely different from stroke play. It's always nice to have that one opponent and it's really, really different from what we do all year long pretty much, so we're just all looking forward to it.
Q. Your first Solheim, what surprised you most so far?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well I was pretty surprised to see so many people out there on a Tuesday. It's only Tuesday. And we had to sign so many flags and give so many autographs. So that was fun to see.
I didn't have any expectations, so I'm just looking around and trying to enjoy it and, yeah, so it's been great so far.
Q. Caroline, just to follow-up on that, how much difference does the altitude make in shots say on a driver?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: For me about a little bit more than 10 percent. I would say 10 percent.
THE MODERATOR: Talking about the change in yardages, how important is a good caddie this week would you say?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: It's always important with a good caddie and for me it actually, I have a friend on the bag and I think we found out that he, when he's home playing in Sweden, he basically hits clubs as far as I do here. So that could help. I'll just go off his feelings.
THE MODERATOR: What's his name?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Henrik.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I think it's really important, especially obviously the course is very tricky and you got to trust that the ball is going farther and all that. But also this week you get more nervous than normal. It's pretty overwhelming with people screaming and sinking and go USA, go Europe, so I think it's important to have someone you feel comfortable with on the bag and at least you have someone to talk to and feel comfortable out there with.
CAROLINE MASSON: Absolutely. You think that's just very important. For me as a rookie especially. I have Shane on the bag and his first time as well. But he's an experienced caddie as well. But he can talk and distract me maybe from golf sometimes which is good on the course. So I'm just looking forward to spending some time with him and it's good fun.
THE MODERATOR: With the Solheim Cup going to Germany in 2015 you obviously have a large amount of support here. How does had a that make you feel?
CAROLINE MASSON: Well they're not just supporting me, they're supporting all of us, but it's great to see some familiar year faces and speak some German as well. It always makes you feel comfortable. So I'm looking forward to seeing them out there and cheering for us. I think they can be pretty loud. So those Germans, they have to show what they can do for when we play there in two years. So I'm very excited that they're here and it's great to have some more supporters out there.
THE MODERATOR: What's it like to see all that blue and yellow out there on the tee when you're playing? Does it make you feel good?
CAROLINE MASSON: Definitely. It's a dream come true and it's great to see those colors and the excitement and, yeah, as I said, I'm just really happy and I'm just enjoying it and it's so much fun.
THE MODERATOR: Caroline, it's a very young team this time. Do you think that's an advantage or a disadvantage?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I never liked looking at it that way. I think if you play good, it doesn't matter how old you are or how young you are. So I think for us it's, you think it's good because we all know each other as I said, we play so many European events together and something good about it I think that's why we play really well in the foursomes and four-balls because we are used to playing foursomes all the time.
So we know how to play as teammates and like the three of us, we play so many European championships together, so I think it makes us feel comfortable. Like Caroline, she's a rookie, but we are all so young, so there's no way she's going to feel less than us or anything like that.
So I think it's going to be good for us that we're all the same age and we like to do the same things and we feel comfortable around each other.
THE MODERATOR: You all played Ping Junior Solheim together does that mean that you already have a special bond?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: We want to think so. I think. So as I said we play so much together it's like we have never been teammates only in Solheim, because obviously in Europe we play against each other in junior Solheim I mean, but we have been around each other for seven or eight years, so we have known each other for so long. It's really nice to be here together.
Q. Do you notice a difference when playing at altitude? Have you noticed a difference? All of you, your stamina and how tired you feel afterwards?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I haven't really noticed a difference. I think it's basically the same. It's just that you hit it further. That's the only difference I've seen.
CAROLINE MASSON: It's hard to say, right. If it's jet lag or altitude. So, no, it's not too bad yet but we have only played like nine or 11 holes yesterday. So it's hard to tell.
Once the Tournament starts it might be different, a little different with maybe playing two rounds a day, but I think we're all -- we prepared well, we're fit, so we'll be all right
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, thank you so much for being here the 2013 Solheim Cup from Colorado Golf Club. Great to have a couple of team us a competitors here. To my immediate left is Lizette Salas, a rookie member of Team USA and on her left is Stacy Lewis, recent winner of the RICO women's British Open. Second time at the Solheim Cup.
Let's start with the rookie. Let's talk about your emotions. From the time that you realized you were going to make this team, all the way until now, what's it been like, how have you kept your emotions in check?
LIZETTE SALAS: I've had a big huge smile on my face and to finally get rewarded for all the hard work I have been putting in this past couple of months, it's just amazing.
When I stepped into my hotel room it was just like Christmas. It was, I mean all I saw was my huge pillow had say the Lizette on it and I was just stoked. Just being here with my competitors all year round and now they're my teammates, it's just a great feeling.
To be wearing your country's colors, I mean it just doesn't get any better than this.
THE MODERATOR: Truth be told, tears, has emotion ever overcome you or are you able to keep it in check this week?
LIZETTE SALAS: I'm very emotional so I'm sure you'll see a couple of happy tears from me this week. So, yeah, I was getting a little nervous on the first tee, so I can't imagine how it's going to be on Friday, but I'm ready.
I feel like I have put myself in this position for a reason and I can definitely handle it.
THE MODERATOR: Stacy, big Major Championship last week. You flew right here and then you flew home and now you're back here. Are you exhausted, are you fresh, you're smiling at least. Are you faking it?
STACY LEWIS: No, I'm feeling good. Last week was a long week. If we were coming straight here to playing it would have been different, but I had a great -- I only got four days at home, but I had a great four days at home.
I feel really rested and if you can't get excited, if you can't get your energy level up for this, then you've got a problem. So I think everybody's just pumped up and ready to go. It's cool getting the rookies out. The rookies they're getting a feel for what it's going to be like and it's good that they get a couple days to get a feel for it.
THE MODERATOR: Have you pulled any of them aside?
STACY LEWIS: I think we have all kind of mentioned little things to them, of just trying to prepare them for what it's going to feel like. If they kind of know what to expect it's easier.
So we're trying to tell them what to expect, give them what the first tee, what it's going to feel like and then hopefully it's going to be a little bit easier.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions.
Q. Your first impressions of the golf course and does it favor any team?
STACY LEWIS: I've made three or four visits out here. I played the golf course a lot. It's the kind of course that I think you need to play a lot to learn the little humps and bumps in the greens and learn things about it.
So I think length, it definitely helps on this golf course, but I think both teams are fairly equal with that.
Really it's going to come down to the greens. They're so tricky, you get above the hole you're just praying to get it inside 10 feet sometimes. So at the end of the day it comes down to who makes -- who leaves it on the right side of the hole and who makes those putts.
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on the golf course Lizette?
LIZETTE SALAS: It's a beautiful golf course. When I set foot on it, I knew it was going to come down to putting. And I like to play from the green back and have a really good angle coming in.
I'm not as long as the other gals, but I rely on my short game. I think that's where the key on this golf course is, is to get it within 10 feet and that's my cup of tea right there.
So I feel good about this golf course, and I've seen it plenty of times. I came in June and the more you play it the more you get comfortable and know where you're more comfortable.
THE MODERATOR: You jumped in front of the media this year in a big way. Contention in the year's first Major. It didn't work out the way you wanted to, but that experience had to be something very valuable and then that opportunity at the tournament in Hawaii. Suzann Pettersen went on to win that. What can you take from those that can perhaps help you this week? Disappointment or a lot of positive?
LIZETTE SALAS: Definitely lots of positive. During those two events a lot of ups and downs, lots of emotion. But I learned a lot about myself and how to really control my emotions and control my game too, to my advantage.
Shooting that 62 in Hawaii, that showed me a lot and gave me a lot of confidence and just coming in this week I just have to remember that you can pull off certain shots and that mentality, that confidence, is really going to help me, especially down the stretch on Sunday with singles.
THE MODERATOR: So unfortunately battle tested almost like a veteran or do you still feel like a rookie?
LIZETTE SALAS: Well kind of a little bit of both. I tell my teammates to call me rookie. I'm going to ask some really dumb questions, but this is a great experience, a great opportunity for me, and I'm just honored to be here and to play for my teammates and my country.
Q. Are there any key holes that are going to be great match play holes that can swing momentum either way?
STACY LEWIS: I think that you look at- I think 12 on in, 12, that's where it's going to be decided. If you can get out early, get a good lead early, I think that's going to be huge, but 12's reachable par-5. 13's a pretty tough par-4, and then 14 is a drivable hole, 15's a par-5, 16, anything can happen on 16.
It's just the matches that, or the excitement of the matches is going to be on the back nine. From 12 on in. So I think that if you can just hang in there and hopefully get a little bit of a lead going into there, that's ideal.
Q. Lizette do you remember how old you were when you first watched the Solheim Cup on television and when did you start thinking about this as a goal in your career?
LIZETTE SALAS: I remember watching it when I was 12, 13, 14, years old. And watching Cristie and Paula and wanting to feel what it, what that feeling is like. It was one of my goals early this year when I got off to such a good start.
But I really thought about it. If I just accomplish my little goals, I will get to Solheim Cup. And if I just did the right things and played the game that I know how to play, that I was going to earn a spot on this team and so when I got the news that I was in, I was just extremely happy.
THE MODERATOR: Lizette how much are you leaning on Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr? Have you said hey, I need five minutes, maybe over the last months or maybe over the last couple days?
LIZETTE SALAS: They have been doing -- the veterans have been doing such a good job with us, and I don't even have to ask. Cristie has come up to me and gave me a couple words and so has Stacy today with the alternate shot format. Paula, all the veterans are just stepping up and really helping, taking us rookies under our wing and showing us the ropes.
THE MODERATOR: Best thing they have said to you so far?
LIZETTE SALAS: Don't try so hard. You're on the team for a reason and you just got to do your thing and play the golf you know how to play and don't make dramatic changes just to please your teammates. You came, if you're good enough to be on this team, then you just keep doing what you're doing.
Q. Stacy, the selection of Michelle as a captain's pick, seemed to surprise some people. Did you see it that way and do you think -- why do you think she was a good pick?
STACY LEWIS: I wasn't surprised at all. I think you look -- there are a few people that were in there for the picks. And I think you look at Michelle's experience and her ability to handle the big stage and the big situation and to answer the questions and I think it's really hard to play as a captain's pick.
I think that part of your decision is, who can play as a captain's pick. Because there's pressure there. I think that Michelle can handle that. I think that went into a lot of Meg's decision and she's great around us. She's great at having her on the team. So I think from our perspective it wasn't surprising at all.
Q. Stacy, you played in Ireland and did you notice any difference in the U.S. already being at home?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it's much different. We have a lot more red, white and blue out there, a lot more of our fans on our side early. Which is great. It's fun coming out here and having so many people on the first tee on a Tuesday. So it's a lot better being at home. I do know that.
But this is my first international team competition in the U.S. so I'm just taking in all the moments too. People don't realize this is only my second Solheim Cup. I'm still kind of a newbie, but I have to act like I'm a veteran, I guess.
THE MODERATOR: You were No. 1 in points, Stacy, for the United States Team. The last time around you were 1-3-0 in competition. What did you learn the last time that you think will help serve you well this time around?
STACY LEWIS: That Solheim Cup doesn't happen, if that doesn't happen, I don't think I would have done anything I've done the last two years. It changed me as a golfer and as a person.
I learned so much about myself and how to handle adversity, handle a tough situation and on and off the golf course. It's not just about how you play on the course, it's about how you carry yourself and how you affect other people around you.
So that stuff -- that Solheim Cup doesn't happen, I'm not in this position that I am today.
Q. Stacy, is there a difference in the kind of pressure between trying to put away a Major and trying to win the Solheim Cup?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it's very different. I don't want to scare Lizette, but I kind of -- it feels like you're walking up 18 of a Major with the lead, that's what every hole feels like at the Solheim Cup.
And it's hard because you get -- you can feel the momentum shifts in the crowds and the way that the roars around the course. And you try to just stay in the moment and stay in what you're doing, but it's so hard, you kind of get caught up in the theater of it and what's going on.
But that's what we play for. We play for having that lead up the 18th hole in a Major. That's what we play for these moments. So you just have to embrace it and it's a learning process. You got to see how you respond.
THE MODERATOR: The leadership of the team, Meg, Dottie, and also Laura Diaz. The United States has never lost on home soil. How much is that being discussed and what's your take on what you've seen over the last year from the captains?
STACY LEWIS: Well the fact that we haven't lost here is -- it's not really talked about that much among us. I think we get asked about it more, but we don't really think about it that much.
We're out there, we're trying to win, whether we're at home or whether we're away. And as far as the leadership, Meg and I think it's been cool to see how Meg's brought this team together. She's kind of dealt with some controversy and made everybody kind of talk it out and mend the fences. So it's just really cool how Meg has brought the team together and she deserves a lot of that credit, because we needed Dottie.
Dottie needed to get back around our TOUR again. She kind of was forced away from the LPGA for a little while and we need her back around our TOUR. So I think it's great that Dottie's here, Laura is fun. She's kind of our mom out on TOUR. She's taking care of us and Meg's just Meg. Meg's the best. She's, gosh, she's taken care of us this week. She's made it relaxed and easy and she's been very clear about she's given us an idea of who we're going to play with so we have some, we can prepare a little bit, and overall it's just been really good.
Q. Can you talk about this sort of the feeling of team as something you experienced in college and not everybody does that any more, but is that, is it kind of nostalgic a little bit in a way to be on a team again?
STACY LEWIS: For me, I love it. Because that was part of why I went to college, was to play on a team. I think it's unfortunate some of the other girls didn't get to do that, but Lizette's got that team experience, which I think has helped her a lot this week and just handling 12 girls all together at the same time.
So it's just so cool. It's amazing to me really. You think about how individual our sport is, how you're out there, you're fighting for your own money, your own place on the Money List every week, and then all of a sudden we get together for one week and we're friends, we're hanging out, we're cheering for each other, and it's cool that we can be competitors, but also be friends at the same time. This week we're all cheering for each other.
LIZETTE SALAS: Today and the past couple of weeks when we came out to practice it took me back to my college days and I just really love it. You have six, seven, eight other pairs of eyes that could help you see something that could be helpful for you in the long run. You kind of just pick up stuff that might help you from your teammates.
Stacy's a great putter, so I try to watch her stroke as much as possible, but it's so different from the rest of the season where you're all by yourself. It's all about you, and your goals and now your goals are also 11 other people's goals. So it's a lot different, but I'm loving every single moment of it.
Q. Following up, you mentioned being impressed with how Meg handled controversy. Are you speaking specifically of the Dottie pick as an assistant captain and how has that worked out?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, that whole pick surrounding that, Meg kind of struggled with making that decision, I think. But in the end she was the only person I think that could bring everybody together and Dottie's been great. She's got so much knowledge of the game and so much experience you can just kind of, you can rub off of her and you can learn a lot from her.
Everybody seemed to warm-up to her really quick and it's just nice to have her back around again.
THE MODERATOR: One final thing before you go. You mentioned the big pillow in your room when you walked in, the team room, I've heard rumors of a monster TV screen and some other gadgets and games and whatnot, start with you, what's the best thing the coolest thing in the team room?
STACY LEWIS: The team room has everything.
LIZETTE SALAS: We have a big huge video screen. We have ping pong, corn hole, a basketball hoop.
THE MODERATOR: A basketball hoop?
LIZETTE SALAS: It's a small one.
STACY LEWIS: But there's a running contest of who is going to make the longest shot and I think Angela's got it right now. So it's pretty -- it's over halfway across this room, so it's pretty good.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, it's huge and it it's all decked out in red, white and blue. And it's just a huge huge team locker room and you can just go out and relax and hang out and that's our little get away. It's where we kind of just let loose and have fun and then the next day we're back at work.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We'll go ahead and get started with Angela Stanford, joining us, as well as Gerina Piller. Thank you, ladies for joining us. She's a rookie. A captain's pick. All smiles ever since. Gerina Piller is here as well.
Angela, I'm going to start with you. Last night the reception for both teams together, you all had a team bonding experience here prior earlier in the week, then flew home, then came back. And you've also been out here a couple of other times. You've been around other teams, can you give us a sense of the camaraderie or how this team feels from a leadership perspective and a team chemistry perspective.
ANGELA STANFORD: I think it's been great so far. I think that this team seems to be a lot younger, they seem to be getting along great. I think the course is going to be great for this group. A bunch of young bombers is what it seems like. I'm just trying to keep up with them. So far they have just everybody's been great.
Seemed to be a little more low key than years past, which I think's pretty good. They seem to be a little more mellow. Some of the younger ones. So I think just having a couple Solheim's under their belts maybe they're starting to mellow out a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: You know sometimes you see rookies and they don't have the smile, they're very deadpanned and very serious and can't open up.
We had Lizette Salas who was all smiles in here and Gerina hasn't stopped smiling since she was at St. Andrews. That's a different thing. Do you feel that, do you sense that?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, maybe I'm not phrasing that properly, but you're kind of hitting on it, they're just a care- free bunch. I think that says two things. One, they're very confident and two, a lot of that is contributed or is because of Meg.
I think Meg, every time you see Meg, she has a smile on her face and I think the younger ones feel that, the rookies feel that, and they have -- they're just very light hearted and confident and they're just a great group.
THE MODERATOR: Let's talk to the rookie. Take us back to the conversation you had with her when you got the call with Meg. Tell us how it happened, what it was like.
GERINA PILLER: After I saw her walking up to the 18th green and my heart just sank. And she wanted to talk to me after my round, and there was a couple of media people that I needed to address and they pulled me aside and they told me it's not a no. And so I was like, I think that's a good thing.
And so they're just like there's so many scenarios, so just wait around we got your number we'll call you when we make the decision. I said okay, thanks.
So I went back to the house, and I was just going to go back with Angela when she was going back at 7 o'clock and I got a text message, where's your location? Meg wants to talk to you. So I'm like action oh, geez, we're in route right now.
So we get there, and we go into the room and I'm trying to read their facial expressions and they're giving me nothing. I mean just nothing. And I'm like, oh, this could be bad. So I sit down and I'm just trying to smile and act like everything's okay. She's like, you're a great player, I watched you all year, you've played great, fortunately you're going with us to Denver for the Solheim Cup. And they, I don't really know what I looked like when my response but they said I looked like I was in a pageant.
I think I just put my hands over my eyes and fairways and started bawling and I don't think I've stopped smiling since.
THE MODERATOR: You were on a piggyback ride with Angela Stanford walking down at St. Andrews. You guys are really good pals. How much does that help you to have somebody that you're as close to as Angela?
GERINA PILLER: It's huge. Two years ago in Ireland I was blessed enough for Angela to take me to Ireland and she said, rookie, if you're going to play on these one of these days you better come see what it's all about. So little did I know it was going to be the next year. But went to go see Killeen in Ireland and it was an experience that was -- I can't thank her enough for giving me that opportunity. And that just made me want it even more. She's been an amazing role model and just I just learned so much from her.
THE MODERATOR: You're a third year TOUR pro on the LPGA, you haven't won yet, you're known for your length which everybody seems to think is an advantage here. What else are you known for? What do people need to know about you and what you'll bring to this team?
GERINA PILLER: I'm pretty easygoing, I think. I like to just kind of relax and have a good time, joke around, and keep it light. My main thing is we're blessed to be where we are and there's more to life than golf. So if the worst thing that happens to you today is you hit it in the native, then you're doing pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: She's probably under selling herself. What she's going to bring to this team. You can run her up there five times.
ANGELA STANFORD: First her maturity. She's a little bit older. If you consider upper 20s old, which on this team is -- so but I think she played on a lot of high school state championship teams.
I think any time you bring a team player into this team atmosphere it helps. She's great. She's all about the team. She is laid back. It is just her third year. People keep talking about this win and it's just a matter of time and people don't really know when it comes to golf, but she brings a lot to the table this week.
THE MODERATOR: Is the loss from Killeen Castle, something that's really burned inside of you and the rest of your teammates or something you tried to put past you and say forget about it?
ANGELA STANFORD: I don't think you can say forget about it because if you don't use it for motivation then I think you're kind of missing that.
I remember the feeling waking up Monday morning in Ireland and thinking, man, I'm going to have to listen to the Europeans for two years. So we hear it and we see them every week when we play against them, and so I think that our team has used it as motivation.
Q. Angela, are the Americans at a disadvantage playing match play since Europeans kind of grew up playing that and just as kids?
ANGELA STANFORD: I don't think so. That's hard to say as a general idea. I think -- I don't know. I think all 24 players that are here this week are pretty darn good. So I think it's going to be a birdiefest out there and I would say that's a very general concept now.
Q. I meant in match play portion, not who would be favored as a team.
ANGELA STANFORD: I don't think so. Maybe I'm just not aware of it. But I know quite a few girls on our team played Junior Solheim Cup, and they have played amateurs and they have played juniors and they have played a fair amount of match play also. So I don't even think about that.
GERINA PILLER: Well, for me, I didn't grow up playing match play, so -- but I think back home when you practice or play you're always kind of playing a match.
We play on TOUR, we play teams or we go back to our club back home, so it's kind of the same thing. You don't really think about it like that. Until you get out here and you're like, oh, I really have played matches a lot just back home betting and playing with the guys back home.
Q. What's the best present you've been given so far?
GERINA PILLER: The best present I've been given so far is the invitation to come to this event.
ANGELA STANFORD: That's a pretty good one.
GERINA PILLER: Everything after that is just icing on the cake. So I'm just -- I couldn't be more proud to wear the red, white and blue.
Q. But what you got in the room. I heard you got a lot of cool stuff. We have already had that brought up here.
GERINA PILLER: I think my favorite thing is our stars and stripes cowboy boots. Those are probably my favorite.
Q. Who your favorite baseball team is, both of you guys?
GERINA PILLER: Texas Rangers.
THE MODERATOR: So that might be a little bit of a tie in, yeah. Lizette Salas and Stacy Lewis were up here talking, giving us a sense of what's in the team room and we heard basketball, we heard corn hole. What are some things that get you guys fired up. I know you're big baseball fans.
ANGELA STANFORD: The big screen had a baseball game on so I thought that was kind of cool. I like the basketball. It seemed like everybody was having a good time last night except we weren't really playing the basketball game like we were supposed to.
THE MODERATOR: I'm bating you because everybody says you were it. You're the one. The best shot so far, is that accurate.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, the tape on the ground I have the farthest tape back from the --
Q. 25 feet? 30 feet? Koby Bryant in trouble?
ANGELA STANFORD: We got to go yards. Its pretty far. Well the caddies started it. Of course we got to beat the caddies.
THE MODERATOR: Altitude helpful?
ANGELA STANFORD: It does hang in the air a little bit longer.
Q. Angela you talked about Meg's personality rubbing off on the team. In general does that happen because you've played under some different personality captains, do they have -- does their personality impacts the team?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think for sure. I think more than people know. And I hopefully one day, if I get to be a captain, I'm going to be very aware of that.
I could go down the line and of all the captains I've had and tell you how they affected our teams and Meg just from day one has just had a smile on her face. That's very relaxing. People say, oh, well, whoever, I don't know, are we the favorites here? I don't even know.
People want to tell us that we're the favorites, but it's still golf. You still have to get the ball in the hole, it's still stressful, they're an amazing team over there -- it's still golf.
Meg has just done a great job of just relaxing everybody and making sure that we're ready to go play. She's just-- the way that she makes you feel at ease and she's rooting for you and she's just been great about it.
THE MODERATOR: Last thing, ticket sales have been incredible here in the Parker Colorado, Denver area. There's also a rumor that many many many Europeans are making this a destination for vacation this week. Do you have a message, both of you, for the American fans who might be out there in support? I'll let you go first Gerina.
GERINA PILLER: A message? This is hard, because this is my first time. I don't really know what to say.
ANGELA STANFORD: We should do what our buddy Kristy McPherson says, y'all got to get loud out there.
GERINA PILLER: Loud is good. I think the more the chanting and just supporting us and giving us that confidence out there to just know that they're behind us and no matter what happens, I think that's probably huge.
THE MODERATOR: You get the last word.
ANGELA STANFORD: They just got to show up. I mean fans got to get out there in the red, white, and blue and just go crazy and just yell because we know the European fans can get loud. So we need the red, white, and blue to show up this week.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, thank you very much. With two players on Team USA who are making their fourth trip here. Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel. You're surprised by that Morgan?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Way to make us feel old. I said I finally feel old because this is the first time that I don't really know anybody on junior team.
(Laughter.) The first year I haven't known anybody. So-- but I mean because this is my eighth year on TOUR and we're at Solheim Cup so it's great to be here.
THE MODERATOR: There was a little bit of jumbling out there of the pairs in the practice round today. Can you give us a sense of how the course is playing and who is playing with who and how it's all working out right now?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Wouldn't you like to know. We can't spill our secrets.
MORGAN PRESSEL: This is great. This is the first chance I got to play the course. The course looks great. It's really a great golf course. Especially it's all about the second shots on this course. The fairways are fairly generous, but it just get it most of the time in the middle of the green and you keep it below the hole and you got an uphill putt because they're very quick and you can get short sided and have a straight downhill chip pretty quickly.
So it's a lot about placement and I think it will be exceptionally exciting in match play.
THE MODERATOR: Morgan, you made a big, big charge to make this team. 4th at the British Open. Give us a sense of what that was like for you internally battling for a position to come play here yet again.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I wanted to be here, I didn't want to miss it. It's nice to be healthy, to be able to feel like I can hit the ball where I want to and can hit shots that I'm comfortable with and I've just been gradually playing better and more confident and I think it's a good timing.
THE MODERATOR: Brittany, did you and the rest of your teammates not named Morgan silently root, saying, she went 4-0 was unbeaten the last time and say we need her?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. I told Meg, she needs to be a pick, Solheim would not be the same without Morgan here. We wouldn't have ribbons, any team spirit whatsoever. So regardless of where she was on the list, I think everybody on the team was going to root her in or get her in.
THE MODERATOR: How much a part of all that is Solheim Cup week? In other words, the rah rah, the team camaraderie, the ribbons and all that stuff is just as big as what happens on the course?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. I don't normally wear ribbons or face paints and stuff like that, so when it comes, this week, this week, every two years, I mean it's, there's nothing like it. It's an honor to put on the red, white and blue and kind of the crazier you get the better and it's just, I love this week. This is, if I wasn't on this team, I would be at home right now crying myself asleep because it's, I never want to miss it.
THE MODERATOR: Glad that's not happening. Let's take some questions right here.
Q. Morgan, Meg said last week that your clubs didn't make it from Scotland to here. How did that all play out?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Clubs, clothes, I didn't really get much. So we were here for a couple days and I had actually left to go back home before my clubs made it. And Callaway was incredible. I got a backup set the day I got home. And I actually left my clubs here so I didn't have to worry about them flying again. I knew they were here and that I could get them when I got here. So I am playing with my set that I've been playing with all year, but I was able to practice with a backup set that Callaway made overnight last week.
Q. The clubs stayed here all week?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Right. And one of the girls who works with the event put it in my room with a bow on it.
(Laughter.) That was the best present I've ever got, so.
Q. Morgan, kind of a Denver question that may or may not bring back some memories, but Cherry Hills, how long did it take to get over that? When did you learn from it? And even now can you believe that happened?
MORGAN PRESSEL: It was such a great week. I think I've, after eight or I guess almost nine years past it, I don't really feel the same emotions that I did the week of. And I just, it was a special week as an amateur to really have a chance to win a U.S. Open.
And Cherry Hills is such a great golf course. I was excited to many come back and play in Denver and the crowds were fantastic at Cherry Hills and I'm sure they will be even louder and stronger out here.
Q. And then as a follow-up, beating Annika at the Solheim Cup, which I think was your first one, how big a moment in your career was that?
MORGAN PRESSEL: That was a crazy match. It was, to play Annika in Sweden in the singles of the Solheim Cup was and to play as well as I did was quite a treat. Arguably one of the best, arguably the best woman to ever play the game and to take her on in Sweden and I remember I was so excited on Saturday evening when I saw that pairing and nervous at the same time, but excited. There weren't, nobody had many expectations for me, so I was able to just go out there and play my game and was able to come out on top.
Q. Could you guys both talk about what was the thing as a rookie Solheim Cup player that most overwhelmed you?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: The feeling on the No. 1 tee that I was going to be physically sick. I think that was probably a good one. Sherri Steinhauer told me that and she was dead on. That first tee shot, even to this day, I mean even come Friday it will be, there's nothing like it. It's different than a U.S. Open, different than a Kraft Nabisco, there's just so many fans and you want to do so good for your team and for your country and there's nothing like it.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I didn't have to hit the first tee shot. I was playing alternate shot with Natalie and she hit it. So I escaped that in my rookie year, but it was playing over in Europe as Brittany and I both did on our first team it's so different than playing here so you're almost a rookie again when you come back to the states. And you feel the rush of the crowd and everything else. It's just, it's just a lot of fun.
It's golf. We all know how to play golf and we all know how to hit the fairways and make putts, but it's different because it's a team and you're cheering for each other and you study the golf course together and think about how you want to play the golf course and it's kind of like you've got 12 players who are the best in the country, all trying to get together and have the best game plan.
Sometimes it's overwhelming, but we really feel like we have had a great time so far this week and I think that the rookies are adjusting well and it was funny because today on nine we were walking up I said, let's get the crowd going, and Jessica goes, okay, show me how to do it. And I was just like, just ask them to get loud and they do it. And it was a lot of fun.
So that was kind of a cute moment as a rookie Jessica asking us, so how do I get the crowd into it? But it was so mild out there today and she thought it was great. The crowds were awesome, but it will be a hundred times better come the weekend.
Q. Talking about, you talk about it's a different experience playing in the United States. What do you think both of you what do you think are the primary reasons why you've never lost on U.S. soil, the U.S. has never lost this event on U.S. soil?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Our fans? I remember my first time and there was a handful of people cheering for us and then obviously when you come to the states and you have every single person in the crowd cheering for you I think it just gives you that little bit of extra push that you need and obviously we have a great team, every year we do and we just bring it and obviously the fans backing us, I think that really helps.
THE MODERATOR: Does the fact that you haven't lost on home soil add pressure or provide comfort?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: We lost last time, so that's going to be our motivation. We want to get that cup back pretty bad. Obviously being in the States it's just going to help us give us that little bit of edge that we need to kind of pull it through come Sunday.
THE MODERATOR: You talked about the youth. I want to throw out the experience conversation briefly. 25 years experience in the Solheim Cup for the United States, 17 for Team Europe. Does it matter at all? Over rated? More experience. You guys are more experienced on paper in number of Solheim Cup appearances.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know that it really matters. It sounded pretty when you say 15 to 17.
THE MODERATOR: 25 to 17.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well we have got rookies on our team too and sometimes the youthful fire is even more important than the veterans who have played out here.
Cristie, I think this is her seventh cup, so sometimes the ones who are itching to get out there and who haven't experienced it before sometimes just hit shots that they have never hit before and it's fun.
Q. You don't get to play a team event or events very often, what adjustments do you have to make, to remember the rhythms of playing with a partner, the strategy, those kind of things.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I think it's great because obviously a lot of us girls are really close friends and we kind of know what makes each other tick and we know how the games that we play with them week in and week out.
So we know what their, the shots that they like are, we know weaknesses and so we can help them out on the golf course. Me on the golf course the more I talk the better I play. So they know that. So they will be chatting with me a lot, which will be good.
We know each other's games good and we can give that extra motivation to say, hey, we're 1-down, but we can still do it. We're not giving up and just kind of give them that extra kick if we need it, I guess.
Q. Obviously Laura's not in the European team and Juli is not on your team and you got Lexi and Charley. Does it feel almost like a new year that golf's women's golf's maybe getting younger?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I thought we were very young walking the fairway today. I don't know about you. But I know this is our eighth and ninth years on tour, but I swear it felt like just yesterday when I joined the tour. So when I'm going off and fans are just asking for our autographs, I'm like, I remember just being a Junior Solheim Cupper a couple years ago and asking for people's autographs.
So it is a bummer that both Laura and Juli are not here and I was hoping that the captains would do the whole pick both of them on their team. That would have been really neat. But I definitely feel like our teams are way younger each year that goes by they're getting younger and younger.
THE MODERATOR: Final question for each of you. This is your opportunity to maybe look within and see what you have. Let's start with you Morgan 7-2-2-over all and I mentioned the 4-0-0 at Killeen. Now that you're on this team what's the biggest thing you add to this team in your mind?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Hair ribbons, I guess.
(Laughter.) Hair ribbons and tatoos. I don't know.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Sparkle.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think I'm an easygoing person. I feel like I can play with anybody. I have a versatile game in that sense where I hit it down the middle and it's not going to go as far as some of the other girls, but I can keep it in play and sometimes that's important in both alternate shot and best ball. You need that.
So, I don't know, I love match play. I love playing out here. I love the Solheim Cup. I love playing for my country and I think all that plays a part in why I've played so well in the Solheim Cup in the past and I'm looking forward to hopefully a great three days.
THE MODERATOR: A lot of people will want to play with you, partner with you. Bam Bam?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Love playing with people that make a lot of birdies. It's kind of the same. I love match play as well. My first win was a match play event and being a longer hitter obviously some of the par-5s out there I would love to try go for in two. Couple of them are pretty long, but still, if my partner's kind of down there safe I would love to be able to try to knock it up there and do something crazy. Match play's so great, if you make a big number on the hole you're still 1-down you go to the next hole and try to get it back. I think that just, like Morgan said, we're both kind of go with the flow, easy to kind of get along with and I think that will kind of help us going into the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in. We hear there's ping pong and corn hole.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Oh, I love ping pong.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I'm a photographer, I don't play.