Spain wins the Inaugural International Crown

Team Spain
Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

From left: Azahara Munoz, Belen Mozo, Carlota Ciganda, and Beatriz Recari of Spain pose with the trophy after winning the International Crown at Cave Valley Golf Club on July 27, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland.

International Crown 
Final Day Notes & Interviews
Sunday, July 27
Caves Valley Golf Club, Owings Mills, Maryland

Interviews With

Spain: Azahara Munoz, Carlota Ciganda, Belen Mozo, Beatriz Recari

 

The emotion and thrill of representing one’s country was apparent all week in Owings Mill, Md. at the inaugural International Crown. But it was pure elation on the faces of the Spanish team when they earned the title of best golfing nation in the world. The squad consisting of Azahara Munoz, Beatriz Recari, Carlota Ciganda and Belen Mozo donned their own silver crowns at Caves Valley Golf Club finishing the week with 15 total points.

“I can't even tell you how I feel right now.  It's been such an amazing week for us,” said Azahara Munoz.  “We have had such a good time.  When we knew we won on the 15th green, I almost lost it.  I don't know how I could keep playing because I was going to get a heart attack. So it's just super exciting that we won the first ever International Crown and I'm so proud to be from where I am and it's just awesome.”

Sweden finished second with 11 total points, followed by The Republic of Korea and Japan who tied for third with 10 points each. Thailand rounded out the final five teams on Sunday with 9 points for solo fifth.

After getting blanked by the Americans on day two in both of their matches, the Spaniards had a resurgence on the weekend that no team could top.  They closed out the week on an absolute tear, earning all 12 possible points on the final two days. They shut out Chinese Taipei on Saturday and won all four singles matches on Sunday.

The quartet of players, who all played junior and amateur golf together in Spain, knew that their camaraderie and chemistry on the course gave them the upper hand on the rest of the field.

“I think that coming in, we knew we had that advantage over the other teams,” said Belen Mozo. “Even though we were maybe the underdogs because of the seedings and the way we came into this tournament, not seeded very well, I knew deep inside that what you need in team championships is what we have, not the rest.”

Ciganda put the first points up on the board for the Spaniards, dominating Korea’s Na Yeon Choi 8&6.

“I love match play.  I love playing for my country, playing for my friends,” said Ciganda. “My goal was just to get the point, but just play my game.  It doesn't really matter if you hit a bad shot or a bad hole in match play, you just go and play.”

Beatriz Recari followed up with a 3&2 victory against Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid. Recari and Ciganda shuttled their way over to the 16th green to watch the final of the Mozo/M. Jutanugarn match.  Mozo said as she walked up to the 16th green, she took a little help from her teammates to sink her birdie putt.

“And I sacrificed and I hit my third shot, and you can't see where the ball lands because you cannot see the pin,” said Mozo. “But as soon as I saw Carlota, that she was like she gave me a fist pump and I fist pumped and I'm like, That's all I need.  I'm going to make that putt for sure.”

Munoz faced off with Ai Miyazato of Japan in the final group of the day and halved the 17th hole to seal the deal.

“I think tournaments like this as a team is where it brings countries together and some people together.  So I think it's going to be huge for us to have won this.  Everybody in Spain is going to pay attention to us,” said Munoz. “When you win as an individual, it's just one of you.  But now it's four of us.  We are named now the best country in the world and that is huge.  So hopefully golf in Spain is getting more and more popular, but I think this is really, really, really going to help.”

Recari tried to put into words what the victory means to her and her teammates and on a larger level, the rest of their country.

“It means so much to us for our country, we feel the flag, I said in the press conference, our blood boils when we hear the anthem and when we see the flag,” said Recari. “That's for you to have an idea of what it means for us.  We're just so stoked that we did it and that we can take this trophy back home.”

TALK THE TALK AND WALK THE WALK
The firey nature of the Spanish contingent was on display from the very start of the week and they backed up every bit of confident chatter that went on along the way. Both Beatriz Recari and Belen Mozo guaranteed wins at the event’s Gala on Tuesday night. Mozo chimed to staff members that they “better be polishing our crowns” throughout the week. But Mozo said it wasn’t even a sense of confidence and definitely not cockiness but rather all in good fun.

“I don't think we were confident.  We just like to trash talk,” said Mozo. “It's how we are.  We accept trash talk back.  It's not like we get pissed off if they say comments like that, we like it, we embrace it, and that's how competitive we are and that's what we want.”

NOW A LEAP FORWARD?
With her win on the 16th hole in her singles match to beat Moriya Jutanugarn 3&2, Belen Mozo let out a euphoric fist pump and looked to the greenside where teammates Beatriz Recari and Carlota Ciganda jumped for joy. Mozo’s win mathematical clinched the victory for Team Spain and the 25-year old deferred any compliments when referred to as the “breakthrough player” of the week.

“Myself?  Well, I don't believe in being a superstar once you play in a team championship,” said Mozo. “I think we all are huge roles for each other and without Bea, without Azahara, without Carlota, maybe I wouldn't have clinched so many points for the team.  So I don't think it's fair to say that.  We all are superstars and we all did our roles and we are all No. 1.”

Mozo had a hand in 5 of the 15 total points for Spain and could possibly ride the wave of stellar play for the rest of the LPGA Tour season. Mozo is winless in 73 starts in four seasons on the LPGA and will try to make her first Solheim Cup team in 2015. Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin believed the huge week for Mozo could be exactly what she needed.

“Belen is very much a player that might just rocket forward after this,” said Rankin.

KNACK FOR MATCH PLAY
As of now Carlota Ciganda isn’t in the eight spots guaranteeing participation on the 2015 European Solheim Cup team, but she can almost assuredly write herself in for one of Carin Koch’s four captain’s picks regardless. Whatever it is that makes a player special in match play, she has it. After going 3-0 at the 2013 Solheim Cup, Ciganda went 3-1 at the International Crown including perhaps the round of the tournament on Sunday in a dominant 8 & 6 win Sunday over Na Yeon Choi.

Ciganda never gave Choi a chance from the start with birdies on four of her first six holes. She piled on three more over the first three holes of the back nine and closed the match in 12 holes at 7-under-par.

“I love match play. I love playing for my country, playing for my friends.  My goal was just to get the point, but just play my game,” Ciganda said. “It doesn't really matter if you hit a bad shot or a bad hole in match play, you just go and play.”

Ciganda and Azaharo Munoz won 3 & 2 in their opening round on Thursday but got her only loss as a professional in match play to Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer. It was a temporary blip, though, as Ciganda and Munoz coasted to a 6 & 5 victory on Saturday and then Ciganda finished with the largest victory of the tournament.

“I think I play much more aggressive here in match play than when you play medal play,” she said. “If you make a double or something, you just move on.  It's only one hole.”

HEAD HELD HIGH IN DEFEAT
Disappointed but not defeated.

Ai Miyazato couldn’t be more proud of her team. Finishing tied for third with Korea, they fell just short of Spain and Sweden on the final day.

“Well, we tried our best, but it just didn’t happen,” said Miyazato. “Obviously, it’s so disappointing and this is not what I expected for the results. But overall this week, we played really solid and the teamwork was fantastic. I’m so proud of my team and I’m really happy that I’m part of this team, too.”

Miyazato added that she felt pressure this week.

“Representing my country is an amazing feeling, and also at the same time, it’s so much pressure. We like to play under pressure and we know we can do it. It just didn’t happen.”

Team Japan started the day at the top of the leaderboard, but lost three of their four singles matches. They ended the tournament with 10 points, five behind the championship team Spain. The Japanese will be using this loss as motivation for the next event they play in, and are holding their heads high in defeat.

SECOND COUNTS FOR SOMETHING
Team Sweden came up four points short of Spain to finish runner-up at the inaugural International Crown. They entered the final day ranked fourth with 7 points and saw a spirited effort from Pernilla Lindberg on Sunday who defeated Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn 6&5. Lindberg, who is winless on the LPGA Tour in her five seasons on Tour, was happy to be able to perform well on such a big stage.

“I think for me, personally, it just feels like I have gotten to show myself on the biggest stage so far that I've been on and it feels like I've really taken advantage of that and it's been so much fun,” said Lindberg. “The event has just been over expectations, I think, for everyone.”

THE CLOSER
Saturday, So Yeon Ryu sent the top-seeded Americans home with a birdie on the 16th hole in a playoff. Sunday, for an encore, she delivered the death knell to rival Japan’s chances at an International Crown title with a 1-up win over Sakura Yokomine. Although her country won’t take home the title, it was quite the two days for the No. 9 player in the world.

For a while Sunday it looked like the two points might actually go in Japan’s favor after Ryu three-putted the second and third holes. Ryu was two down after a bogey on the ninth but won the next two holes until Yokomine eagled the 12th hole to go 1-up. Ryu squared the match with a par on the next hole and took the lead with a birdie on 16. She left the door open on No. 17 by hitting it in the water but made a fabulous pitch and putt to save bogey, which Yokomine couldn’t best.

“I'm really proud of myself, especially at hole 17. It's awkward to say fantastic bogey, but it was a fantastic bogey,” Ryu said. “This is is such a memorable moment for me.”

Ryu’s par on 18 ensured the victory, killed Japan’s shot and set the table for Belen Mozo to close out the International Crown with a win. Although her Republic of Korea team didn’t win, she couldn’t rave about the week enough after and already has her sights set on Rich Harvest Farms in 2016.

“This is really a fantastic week. This is really on my bucket list,” she said. “I really want to play in another International Crown in 2016.”

Going forward, Ryu hasn’t won in 2014 yet but has come close with nine top-10s this year. After going 3-1 this week, that win may be coming soon.

“I was close, but when I was in contention [this year] I missed a lot of putts. But this week I had a lot of great putts,” Ryu said. “And especially when I was pressure, I handled it pretty well.  So this kind of thing just brings really great energy to my game.”

DÉJÀ VU ON 16 FOR INBEE PARK
Last night, with her team’s tournament hopes on the line, Inbee Park sent a 70 yard pitch to four feet on the par-5 16th to help seal South Korea’s spot in the final day. Today, in the first match out, Park faced a similar shot at 16 and again stuffed it close to win the hole and close out her match against Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall.

“The first match is very important because if we lose the first match, it kind of gives everybody else kind of know what to play for,” Park explained. “So I think it was important to win the first match and it kind of gives everyone hope and some energy to play well.”

Park won four of the first six holes to go three up early and didn’t look back en route to the 4&2 victory.
The victory was especially impressive considering Hedwall’s team event prowess, as the Swede had not lost a team event match since the second day of the 2011 Solheim Cup going 8-0-1 in the process.

While Korea may not have come home with the Crown, Park was grateful for the opportunity to represent her country.    

“I think it was something very new and special. I love this format and I think it was a lot of fun this week.”   

TEAM SPAIN
AZAHARA MUNOZ

BEATRIZ RECARI
CARLOTA CIGANDA
BELEN MOZO

KRAIG KANN:  Good evening, everyone.  Thank you for being here.  This is the victorious locker room with Team Spain.  To my far left is Beatriz Recari, Belen Mozo, Carlota Ciganda, and Azahara Munoz to my immediate left.

First off, ladies, congratulations.  I'm looking at the numbers here and I'm going to start with this: 15 points, you all are in first pace by four points, and one of the days did not go your way at all.  That says a lot.
Tell me what it says about the team this week for y'all to have this trophy and these crowns.  Beatriz, I'll start with you.

BEATRIZ RECARI:  Well, I don't think I can come up with words that come close to what it means to us.

We started strong, and then we had a tough day on Friday.  I think that worked in our favor because we were so upset that we were so determined that we were going to win every single point left for the rest of the tournament.

We did a great job yesterday.  And even though we were absolutely exhausted, we came today and said like, okay, we were with seven points and we said, Okay, two points each, let's get it to 15.
It means so much to us for our country, we feel the flag, I said in the press conference, our blood boils when we hear the anthem and when we see the flag.  That's for you to have an idea of what it means for us.  We're just so stoked that we did it and that we can take this trophy back home.

KRAIG KANN:  Azahara, same question I asked out there, because on most of the players that competed this week, you've spent quite a bit of time doing some promotional efforts for this event.  You were there when this announcement was made back in January of 2013.  You didn't know this was going your way, probably because you hadn't talked to Beatriz, who told everybody it was going to happen.  But what does it mean now that it's right there in front of you?  I mean it's sitting so close.

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  It's amazing.  It's been a year and a half of building up to this event.  So the more and more you guys talked about it and we did things with media, the more I really wanted it.  Everybody back home is so supportive of us and they were all excited that we were going to the last five teams.

I'm just so happy to get it.  Playing for Spain, playing for your country is something super special, but especially us.  We are so proud to be Spanish and it's just something amazing.

We don't get to play as a team anymore, for your country.  Thank you for the opportunity, because this week has been so much better than all of us expected.

KRAIG KANN:  We'll get some questions, but I want to get one comment each from the other two competitors and then we'll go around the room.  Carlota, 8‑6.  Now each and everyone of you won your matches today.  Some fairly decisively, but especially you.  8 and 6 over Na Yeon Choi.  What happened today and why this for Team Spain, in your opinion?
CARLOTA CIGANDA:  I just love to play in match play and just we were talking and they were asking me like, What do you like to play?
And I was like, I just want to play first, win the point, and then go support my teammates.

And in my mind, that was it.  So I was saying, We have to win, yes, we have to enjoy and have fun and then go out there and support the teammates.

I knew that we could do it and I believe in this team more than anyone.  I know these girls very well and that we really feel the flag, the Spain.  We play a lot together.

So I'm super proud and thank you girls for such an amazing week.

KRAIG KANN:  Belen, you were part of the clinch out there for Team Spain.  What was going through your mind?  I know this is a mighty big stage for you and you and you delivered this week big time for your teamWhat was it like for you out there?
BELEN MOZO:  Well, I had absolutely no idea that was going to be it.  I just wanted to make that putt, you don't understand how much.  It was a little bit not the way I wanted to, because I had no opportunity to get on two on par‑5, which it was set in stone I thought I was going to reach in two.  That was the way I was going to make birdie.  And it wasn't.

It was more like Korean style.  It was more like laying up and hitting a wedge, which is not my style at all.  But I said, You know what?  If this is the way you have to do it, you go do it, girl.

And I sacrificed and I hit my third shot, and you can't see where the ball lands because you cannot see the pin.  But as soon as I saw Carlota, that she was like she gave me a fist pump and I fist pumped and I'm like, That's all I need.  I'm going to make that putt for sure.

And when I made it, Carlota grabbed me and she's like, That's it, that's it.

And I said, What do you mean that's it?

I still didn't get it.

She said, That's it, we won.

And I was like, Really?

And I don't remember the rest.

(Laughter.)

KRAIG KANN:  Let's take some questions.

Q.  Belen, your teammates here did all play on the Solheim Cup.  They have all won on big stages.  While we all know you, I heard some reports on television this week where they couldn't pronounce your name.  So this was really an introduction to you for a lot of people in the golf world.  Has it sunk in yet the splash that you made and what do you think it means?  What does it mean to you personally and what do you think it's going to mean to your career?

BELEN MOZO:  Well, this is just one little step towards my dreams and who I want to become.  It is true, I haven't had my best start as a professional.  It is really sad that I didn't play in the two Solheim Cups since I turned pro.  I do have experience playing match play as a team, because I played several junior Solheim Cups as well.

I just think this is only the beginning.  I'm young and I have very many to play and I cannot wait to get up there with Team Europe and be with these girls.  It's going to be a dream.

Q.  For any of the players, golf fans are very familiar with the history of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.  Do you think an event like this will put how good women's golf in Spain is right now and can be?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  Yeah, absolutely.  It's only going to help.  Like you said, we had a great leading Spanish golfer with Seve and with Jose and Miguel Angel and then Sergio.  So it was always men that were referenced.  And I believe it's going to happen.  I hope that with what we did today that more girls are going to watch and say, Okay, I want to be there, I want to be with them, too, and raising this trophy for my country.
So I think it's only going to help for sure.

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I think so.  I think tournaments like this as a team is where it brings countries together and some people together.  So I think it's going to be huge for us to have won this.  Everybody in Spain is going to pay attention to us.

When you win as an individual, it's just one of you.  But now it's four of us.  We are named now the best country in the world and that is huge.

So hopefully golf in Spain is getting more and more popular, but I think this is really, really, really going to help.

Q.  To follow‑up, you guys are all roughly the same age between 24 and 27.  We always, as he said, thought of golf as something you had these male golfers from Spain.  How did it happen that all four of you, roughly the same age, have developed like this?  Is this a specific program in Spain that helped you guys or is it just great fortunate that all of you have come around at about the same time at this level?
BELEN MOZO:  Well, I think that I have the answer for you.  I think the reason why we're so good is because we have the Spanish Federation that has supported us since day one.  We have an amazing program and we have been raised playing together training camps, tournaments around Europe, and that was our thing.

We have one of the best coaches, one of the best weather.  So it's not a surprise that we're so good, and not only us, but people ahead of us and people behind us.  There's so many young girls that they're going to come out here and they're going to be a splash.  I mean, we have a lot of young golfers that are also really, really good golfers.

We're going to keep producing great players, because I think Spain is one of the key countries where pretty much all the other teams in Europe try to come and practice down in our facilities because of the weather, the facilities, the coaching, and so on.

Q.  Azahara, Carlota, both of you have played Solheim Cup, you're playing for a continent.  Beatriz, you, too.  How is this different playing for Spain as opposed to playing for a continent?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  It's amazing.  Obviously, Solheim Cup, so far it's been probably the best two weeks of my life because it's just something else, you know.  But playing for your country is so special.  At Solheim Cup, you play for Europe.  I'm really not used to playing for the European flag, but I'm definitely used to playing for the Spanish flag.

We played so many European Team Championships.  I played European team championships since I was 13 until I turned pro when I was 21, so nine of them, and it's something so special for us.  I think that's why we have done so good together.  We just couldn't wait to get out here and play for Spain.

CARLOTA CIGANDA:  Yeah, I think the same as I said, we play a lot as amateur.  We play so many team championships together, so we knew it was going to be a great week for all of us, because we believe in the team event and they're fun.  So we're having a really good playing team championships.

So I think we have had a blast out there just playing golf, having fun, laughing, playing ping pong, and I think that that was the key.  We were really a team and that's it.

Q.  When did you all meet?  Do you remember like the age when you all started playing golf together and when did you first win together?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I first met Belen, she was eight and I was nine.  Since then, we were super close.  And then I remember meeting Carlota when she was probably like seven or eight and I was 11.  We have been super close since then, too.  Beatriz came a little later.  We were probably 12.

BEATRIZ RECARI:  10, 11.  I would say 11, yeah.

Q.  When did you first win?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  In the Spanish team?

BEATRIZ RECARI:  We won so many times.

(Laughter.)

BELEN MOZO:  I think I was 13 and Azahara was 14.

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  14, yeah.

BELEN MOZO:  And then Carlota came a little later.

When was your first time?

CARLOTA CIGANDA:  I remember I won with Bea when I was 13.

Q.  Is that a European Team Championship?
CARLOTA CIGANDA:  Yeah, European Team Championship, yeah.

Q.  For those who played on the Solheim Cup, a number of players and former players said that this course would setup well for a Solheim Cup.  What do you think about that?

KRAIG KANN:  Let's go Azahara, because it seems to me you've had some success here, right?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I love this golf course.  Carlota does, too.  We both won NCAA here.  Obviously when we came here already, we were already had really good memories about this venue.  This golf course is amazing.  I think for sure you could have a Solheim Cup.  It's long, it's pretty challenging around the greens.  The greens are challenging.  So, I mean, it's a tough course.  So it's really good.

Q.  You said there's a lot of young players coming up in Spain right now.  How hard will it be for all four of you to all make the team in 2016 at the next International Crown event?
BELEN MOZO:  For us to make the team for?

KRAIG KANN:  In 2016.  How tough will it be for you all to make the team again?
BELEN MOZO:  I thought it was set in stone we were going to win again.

Q.  You say there are many young players coming after you now that are very good.  Will it make it hard for all of you to be back on the team in two years?
BELEN MOZO:  Well, yeah, you know, the younger, the better, they say.  So I don't knowWe'll try to keep playing.

BEATRIZ RECARI:  As long as we win, who cares?  It's for our country.  It's not about individuals, I don't think.  So we're just one this week and it doesn't really matter.

KRAIG KANN:  Do you feel like it will be difficult to qualify for this team moving forward?  Given maybe what you accomplished this week, that perhaps more young girls will try to become the next Beatriz, Belen, Carlota, or Azahara?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I'll be honest, I don't think it's going to be very difficult for us to qualify again in two years.  There are a couple other professionals that could maybe make it, but I don't think so.

The girls that Belen are talking about, they are in college.  Right now, two girls, they play an eight‑hole playoff to win the European championship.  So I think she's referring more to those, but they're still not going to come right away.

BELEN MOZO:  They're still young.

Q.  Two questions for you, a follow‑up for Azahara, you guys select your order, your batting order, so to speak, who went out first and when.  I know how much confidence you have in Carlota, but tell me, the three of you, if you don't mind, what went into the order in sending Carlota out first?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  You know, that's a team question.

KRAIG KANN:  It's over now though.
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I think what happens in the team room, you know, the reasoning behind it, I mean, you know, I think that Carlota wanted to go first because exactly what she said, she wanted to get the two points and get them quick and go out and support.

And then the rest of us, we kind of sat down and it was like, Okay, who is going to face who?

You never know because you're just assuming or guessing.  But we kind of set it up in a way that we were comfortable and it definitely worked.  So we did really good thinking last night.

Q.  It worked very well.  Azahara, as you were playing and watching the scoreboards around the various parts of the course, what kind of inspiration did you draw by how well your teammates were playing, especially the trouncing by Carlota?

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  Yeah, I think the first time I looked at the leaderboard was on the 5th and she was already 5‑up, so that was definitely a plus.  Then Bea got it going pretty well, too, from the beginning.

Then Belen was all square and I was all square, so anything could happen.  But then all of a sudden, Belen was 2‑up and I actually thought that my caddie said, you know, If Belen wins, we're done, like we won this thing.
           
And he said, Azahara, just focus, because anything could happen, you know.  It doesn't mean that she's already won.

But she did.  She played amazing this week and she did it.  So when I was on the 15 green, I already knew we won and it was incredible.

BELEN MOZO:  I think one of the things, the beauty of this format is that you still don't know what's going to happen.  Even if like you still have to play, you still have to finish, like Azahara had to finish her match.  That's, I think, the beauty of playing golf, is everyone have to finish their game.  So I think it's pretty cool.

KRAIG KANN:  Question I want for you guys.  Let me go back to the day that you played the United States.  We talked about this a little bit outside out there.  When you were riding on the golf course.  You all were visibly upset about that day that didn't go that well.  I remember on the tee the next day when we announced where the standings were and the position of each team in their pool, and you all were fourth.  You went first to fourth because two were tied for second.  I remember, I'm not going to say which player, the look on your face when I read that and it wasn't exactly the most pleasing.  I want to know what you all did, what you told yourselves after the United States day?  Start with you, Azahara.

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  We just learned from it.  Actually, a friend of ours back home, she was commentating on the Golf Channel and she told us that we weren't ourselves out there, we were a little down.  I'm talking for us, but I'm sure the same thing happened to them.

You know, I think Carlota and I, especially, we just really wanted to win.  Sometimes when you want it so bad, it just doesn't go your way.  Every time we missed a putt, I mean, we made a mistake, it looked like the world was ending.  And you just can't play golf like that.
           
So we just learned from it.  We talked about it that night and we said, You know what?  Tomorrow it doesn't matter we're four down.  We're going to keep our head high and we're just going to fight until we lose.

I think that's what we have been doing all week after that.  I'm not going to say I'm happy we lost the four points against the United States, but I think it was a wake‑up call for us.  Obviously it worked out after that.  We won every single point.  So I wouldn't change it.

KRAIG KANN:  Belen, you said keep shining up my crown.  So you were still pretty confident.  What was your take?
BELEN MOZO:  Oh, all I can say is that I woke up that day and I was still pissed.  I was very grumpy.  I told myself, Listen, you have two decisions here: either you keep being grumpy or you change your mindset and you go for it.

Like Azahara said, I truly believe I wasn't the same.  I mean, Bea played really good, but I was just getting very down on myself.  I think that Azahara is right when she said that we wanted it so bad that sometimes you just get ahead of the game and that's not the way you play the game.

Honestly, we didn't even play bad.  I went to bed and I felt like, Man, I played nasty.  I didn't like it.

But then I woke up and the sun was shining.  So I was like, This is our day.

I actually liked the fact that we lost, I have to admit, because I was able to bring it back, to come more positive and bring my fears and my, I don't know how you say it, but like I don't know, my game on fairways.

KRAIG KANN:  If you were pissed I'm afraid to ask Beatriz, based on what we just went through out on the green, what you were thinking?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I truly couldn't describe it.

KRAIG KANN:  What were your thoughts about that?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  I was just so upset because we had such a good start and we were playing great and it all went so fast.  I mean, all of a sudden it was like we went from, like you said, from first to last.  And it was like, What happened?

Probably we didn't get in the rhythm or, I mean, like Belen said, and Carlota said the same thing, we played well, it's just we didn't get it going.

I think it only worked in our favor or to our advantage.  We turned it around, and, obviously, now we're holding this crown.

We said, Let's do this and let's not allow it to happen again.

And we won all, every single point left.  We said like, Okay, we're just going for it.

And we did it.

Q.  I think you said earlier what impact this would have in Spain.  Can you give us a sense of how big this will be played on television and newspapers in Spain?  How big of a deal is it for you guys to win this back home?
AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I think it's really big.  It was already really big that the three of us made the Solheim Cup team.  Everybody at home was talking about it.  I think it was really the first time ever that pretty much every newspaper and stuff mentioned it.  They were talking about it a lot, especially because we won.

The three of us played really well, too.  But now it's four of us and it's just Spain and we won.  We beat countries like America, Korea, everybody, Japan.  It was the top eight and we won the tournament.

So I can't tell what's going to happen, but I'm pretty confident that people at home are going to start being more and more supportive of us.

KRAIG KANN:  You all now get to walk away with four crowns and atrophy from Tiffany.  And everybody will be asking you about your experience this week.  If you were going to write a short blog or post some things for people to know, what would you say to people about this experience and your thoughts on the International Crown?
BEATRIZ RECARI:  It was awesome.  It really was.  Azahara said it before, and I'm going to talk about myself, it was way beyond what I expected.  I truly believed in my team, that we could hold this trophy, but just the experience and the feel of it, you know.  I was fortunate to be a part of Solheim Cup, and it was exactly the same.  It's just that feeling when you win as a team.  It is way beyond anything you can imagine.  If I have to put it in 120 characters, I'm just going to say, AWESOME in capital letters and a smiley face.

KRAIG KANN:  Belen.
BELEN MOZO:  I agree.  It was a magnificent event, starting from the golf course you guys chose, the people helping out, the sponsors, and every single person that helped with this to happen.

I actually like the format that you guys chose for the tournament.  I know some countries like the United States didn't like it.  I think it was great.  I think it's something that is different.

I mean, it's hard because everything is so close.  That's why it's so important to be focused in each single match.  I just think you guys did a great job.  We cannot wait for 2016.

KRAIG KANN:  Carlota.
CARLOTA CIGANDA:  Yeah, for me, as they said, very special week.  Playing for my team and, yeah, I think the format was really good, too, because until the last day, any team could win.  I think that's really nice because in other formats, it's always a final and you have only two teams, but today there was five teams that could win the tournament.  So every point was really important.

I think the LPGA did a great job.  The course was, what am I going to say, I mean, unbelievable.  I'm so happy about everything.

I also want to thank all the families here.  I think it's really important that they were supportive because when you are a long way from home, I think it's really nice to have them here.  When they were walking inside the ropes and cheering us on, I think it was very, very nice.

So a big thank you to everyone, but specifically all the Spanish supporters.

KRAIG KANN:  Azahara, what will you tell fellow players and others?

AZAHARA MUNOZ:  I'm going to say that the week was amazing.  Starting from the golf course, from how everything you guys did, the uniforms, the bags, the same thing we said at the beginning of the week.
But I actually really enjoyed it, too, because at Solheim Cup, there is really no interactions between the teams.  During the week and this week was totally different.  There was 32 of us and some players we don't even know because they play in Japan or in Europe or whatever.  But everybody was so nice to each other.  It was just fun.  Like going to the team room all together, it was just incredible.

The golf course was amazing.  Obviously I have really good memories from it, but it is.  It is an incredible golf course.

I think this tournament is only going to get better and I really like the format, so I hope that doesn't change.  I think it's really nice that you got to play as a team to qualify to play singles.  I think that's why it's a team event.  So I really enjoy that, too.

I'm just really excited, and hopefully I can play many more of these.

KRAIG KANN:  Azahara Munoz, 2& 1 over Ai Miyazato, Beatriz Recari, the other end, 3 & 2 over Mikaela Parmlid, Carlota Ciganda 8 & 6 over Na Yeon Choi, and Belen Mozo 3 & 2 over Moriya

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Ciganda, Carlota, Mozo, Belen, Munoz, Azahara, Recari, Beatriz [+]

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