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July 20, 2017

Juli Inkster

Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Q. I'm going to ask you about your picks. I remember last time you said you didn't think a whole lot about it, and you looked down the list and went with the way people were playing. Have you, now that you have some experience at this, have you taken a different tack when it comes to the picks, or are you still just saying, hey, look, this is the way everyone's lining up and that's the way it should go.
JULI INKSTER: You know, I think it's a little different this year because there's a lot of players between that seven, eight, nine, ten, that are playing well right now.

You know, we had a little bit of a shakeup last week in the Rolex Rankings where Mo Martin moved out and Lizette Salas moved in. I mean, that puts Mo Martin back.

But you know, Austin has been playing well. Lizette's been playing well. Nelly Korda has been consistently staying well. Angela Stanford is starting to play better. You know, I think I'm going to have four or five girls to pick from that are playing well.

So you know, hate to disappoint anybody, but I'm going to take the players that are playing hot right now.

Q. To follow up on that, if you have multiple girls who are playing well, that makes that captain pick decision difficult. How much do those intangible factors of team leader, camaraderie, potential match-ups with another person who is already qualified on the team, how much does that go into being a potential tiebreaker or differentiator in making that choice, if you have a tough choice to make?
JULI INKSTER: Oh, it goes in -- it's heavily -- what's the word I'm looking for. It's going to be weighted heavily, because I need people that can pair together. Right now, if I were to take a couple girls that are probably rookies, I need would some veteran leadership on that team.

You know, Austin has never played. Nelly has never played. Mo Martin's never played. Marina Alex has never played. I think it can get a little overwhelming, Solheim Cup, especially in Des Moines, where we're going to have huge crowds -- calm their nerves or be a good fit as far as personalities go.

Q. Last time you also gave personality profile quizzes to everybody. I think you used the Myers-Briggs. Is that something you're doing again?

Q. How important do you think that was to the team chemistry and to your last victory?
JULI INKSTER: I think it was huge. I mean, everybody got a long great. Everybody knew who they were playing with or who they were potentially playing with. There was no question marks. So I have done that with everybody. Everybody has taken a personality test, and probably in the next, you know, week or so, I'll get together with my gal and we'll kind of map out some strategies.

Because it's not just personalities, but it's also golf potential and golf, how they match up golf ball-wise, how they match up player-wise, skill-wise. So there's some intangibles that go in that. But I did a lot, probably 75 percent on personalities last year and 25 percent on golf. And probably maybe do, see if I can do maybe 50/50 this year, because everybody kind of knows the system now, which helps.

Q. Speaking of the golf part, are you relying on that statistics company to try to gather more detailed numbers than what the LPGA offers?
JULI INKSTER: No. No. I'm not a big stats person. I mean, you know, I don't know, I just think in a Solheim Cup, I think you just throw that all out the window. It's all about -- to me, it's trying to fit the two best people together that work well together.

You know, my picks, I'll look at birdies, I'll look at putting, I'll look at fairways hit, I'll look at greens in regulation. I think those are the two biggest stats is really greens in regulation and birdies for me. But I don't really do in-depth stats at all.

Q. So maybe you can talk a little bit about what your strategy will be going into a home game as defending champions of the Solheim Cup? How is it a little bit different than going and trying to prove a point like you did in Europe two years ago?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I think definitely the pressure will be on us because, you know, we are defending. But Europe plays well away. I mean, they play with a little chip on their shoulder, which I try to get my team to do that. They play with fire and passion, and I'm going to try to get my team to play that way to match their intensity and their fire.

But I do think that my team's going to have to really step up to the plate and be able to handle the pressure that comes with playing at home.

Q. You threw out a couple names last week at the U.S. Open. Did that change at all based on what you saw last week with play, any players you're looking at or considering?
JULI INKSTER: You know, Marina Alex played well. Lizette keeps her strong play going. Austin played well. Angela played well, except one day.

So yeah, believe me, I'm watching. I'm looking. It's just we got one more big major that a lot can happen that I'm not necessarily saying that anybody that wins the British, or plays well in the British, that comes up from the back I'm going to take because the British Open course is always a lot different than a Des Moines golf course.

But you've got to look at the people that are playing well right now, and I've got a nice list. I'm pleased where my players are, and how they are fighting to make that team. So I'm pleased. I'm a very happy captain right now.

Q. Question again about it's down to the wire here, Paula and Morgan are not in good positions. I don't think either one is in the British yet, I don't believe. Can you just talk about their situation and do they still have a chance?
JULI INKSTER: I think they kind of know that they are going to have the next couple weeks, because they aren't in the British, they are going to have maybe show a couple top fives, a couple top threes.

They have had a little over two years to get their game together, and it just hasn't come to fruition for them. It's not that they haven't worked hard; they just haven't seem to put it together.

They know that I have to take the best players that for the other 11 or ten girls, I have to take the best players that I think we can win with. And you know, would I like Paula and Morgan on the team? Yeah, because I know what I'm getting with them. I know their passion and I know their games, but they haven't shown me anything. I've got to at least see something from them.

Q. Nelly Korda is not real high on the points list, but you mentioned her. Is there something you see in her besides where she would rank on the points?
JULI INKSTER: Well, yeah, because if you look at her scores, she shoots good scores all the time. She never shoots a real high score. I mean, she'll do like a 71, 72, 73, but she never shoots a 75 or a 76. She shoots a lot of good, low scores. I like her make-up. I like her fire. She's definitely wired different than Jessica, even though they look similar.

You know, Jessica is a little more carefree, outgoing, easy, and Nelly is a little more reserved, a little more inner heat. I like her. I like her make-up. I invited her to all the dinners and practice rounds. She's fit in nicely with the team, so yeah, she's definitely one I'm looking at.

Q. You had mentioned experience before. You've got a player in Danielle Kang who does not have a lot of experience, but she does have some match-play experience. How important is her U.S. Open -- her U.S. Amateur victories going into this and how does it compare to what she's going to experience in Solheim Cup?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, I think match play is definitely a different breed, and if you have any experience at all, you have to draw from that, and I think she will.

I think the thing with Danielle is she's so fiery and she gets a little bit hyper. I think if I can just get her to be in the moment and calm down and just go through the routine and play the shots, I think she'll do well.

But she has those jitters, the first time out, and if I can play her with someone; like her and Michelle are good friends, and Michelle is very good at working with her partner and keeping her partner involved and keeping her -- you know, if I can put those two together, I think that would be a good pairing.

You know, also maybe if I could put Danielle Kang with someone like an Angela Stanford if she makes the team or even a Cristie Kerr, if she makes the team; very involved in helping their partner and getting them to play their best.

I think that's what someone like Danielle is going to need. I don't think I would ever put her with another rookie. I'm going to put her with someone that will keep her on tap.

Q. You mentioned Michelle a minute ago. Have you been in touch with her recently since she had the neck tweak happened? She was posting a lot on Instagram, even just yesterday, hitting some tennis balls yesterday with Genie Bouchard at an event out east. It seems like everything's okay. Has she told that you it seems like everything's okay?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, she told me that the doctor said, I think today, she can start hitting balls and stuff.

You know, she's always hurt. She's a good bounce-backer. I don't really foresee anything in the long term that's going to hold her back. You know, she just needs to -- she's going to play the next two weeks, and then I'm sure she'll get some rest after that. But she's played very well this year. She's had a lot of great scores. So I look for her to be healthy and be on the team.

Q. To what degree have you, if at all, been surprised by the recent surge of people that six weeks ago, you might not have considered as being viable contenders for slots on the team? You talk about Danielle, even Michelle, Lizette and Marina, for example.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, it's amazing how people can rise to the occasion. Especially like Lizette; she did the same thing two years ago where she wasn't playing that well, and then, boom, she pops up. Alison Lee did the same thing the first year.

So Danielle Kang I've been on for four years, just telling her, you're so good; there's no reason why you shouldn't be on that team. I've been telling her that for four years. When she finally won, she texted me and said, "I think I'm on. I think I finally did it."

Some people, you know, they need that last push. They are good at saying, okay, I've only got six weeks left, we'd better get on it, and they go out and do it. It's impressive and it shows me something; like these guys can turn it on when they went to turn it on.

Q. You mentioned earlier that the British Open course, obviously with its links-style layout won't necessarily translate in terms of, boy, this isn't the best litmus test for any girls who might be coming out from the weeds to contend for a captain's pick spot or anything like that. I mean, I know you can't control the schedule, but with The Scottish Open being the week before that --

Q. -- not that this week in Ohio is like the last best chance to get an apples-to-apples comparison for course style but in a perfect world, would you have probably drawn up the end of the qualification schedule a little bit differently? Does it put you at even the slightest bit of a disadvantage in trying to discern all that?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, especially I've got to fly all the way over there to make my picks. That's even worse. It would have been a lot easier to fly to Toledo.

Someone, say, way in the pack comes out and finishes second or third in the British Open, I mean, would I pick them? It just all depends on who it is. But for me, I think this last two months, three months, kind of tells the tale. All these girls have had the same amount of time to make their points and same amount of tournaments to play in.

So it's not like they play well in the Scottish and the British that I'm going to go out and pick them, but you've still got to hit the shots. You've still got to hit the ball. You've still got to get the ball in the hole. So they are doing something right.

Q. As the opposing captain, what's your take on -- it used to not only be U.S. versus Europe but it was a tour against a tour. The LET has really fallen on such hard times. Does that affect the tenor of this event in any way?
JULI INKSTER: I don't think so. I mean, all these European players, they have a lot of pride in their home country. I'm sure if it came down to apples-to-apples, if the LET was as strong as the LPGA, they would play over there. They are just trying to play against the best golfers in the world, and it just happens to be on the LPGA.

All these, you know, the Azas and the Suzann Pettersens, they take pride in their countries and in representing Europe. And truly, the only week in two years that they can really show their colors and show their pride for their country. They take it very seriously, and we take very seriously representing the red, white and blue.

See you guys in about three weeks, a little over three weeks.

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