SOLHEIM CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 22, 2021
Toledo, Ohio, USA
CHRISTINA LANCE: Happy to be joined by Catriona Matthew and Pat Hurst for Team USA. We'll go ahead and just cut right to it.
Pat, I'm going to start with you. If you don't mind giving everyone, we've sent out your nine automatic qualifiers and your three captain's picks as well as the name of your third assistant captain.
PAT HURST: My three captain's picks are Brittany Altomare, Mina Harigae, and Yealimi Noh, and my third assistant captain will be Stacy Lewis.
CHRISTINA LANCE: And that's on top of our nine automatic qualifiers who are: Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang, Ally Ewing, Austin Ernst, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Megan Khang, as well as Lizette Salas and Jennifer Kupcho.
Catriona, I'll ask you to do the same. Walk us through your team, please.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: The two off the LET points are Emily Pedersen and Georgia Hall. World Ranking are Anna Nordqvist, Sophia Popov, Charley Hull, Carlota Ciganda and the picks are Leona Maguire, Madelene Sagstrom, Matilda Castren, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Mel Reid and Celine Boutier.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Pat, you had three captain's picks, things moving around. What were you looking for among those picks and also with naming Stacy as your third captain.
PAT HURST: Yeah, Stacy, I was waiting to see how everything shaked out and I'm glad that Stacy is able to join us as one of my assistants.
The other three, Brittany, Mina and Yealimi have been playing well the last month, month and a half, two months. Brittany also played on the 2019 team and that was great and I saw how much she played and how much she loved representing the United States. So it was pretty straightforward. The writing was on wall.
CHRISTINA LANCE: And Catriona, you had a lot of picks, six to work from and a whole lot of moving parts. What how difficult was it to come together with this team?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It was pretty tricky. I think we had most of our picks set but that last kind of one or two with so many of our players playing well this week, there were so many kind of different scenarios. Last week we were going over them, and had about three or four different teams that could happen depending on what happened today.
Very happy with our picks and how it all turned out today.
Q. Obviously a strong final day for the Europeans here. How encouraging is that for the players on your team?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think that's great. I mean, obviously for Anna to win, that gives any player a huge boost of confident going into Solheim. And then to have Nanna, Madelene, Georgia, all playing well in the last major before it is a real boost of confidence to them.
Q. Nanna will be feeling sore after what happened at the last, but what a great pick-up to get a spot on the team.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It was tough telling her after yards because you could tell she was so disappointed with her finish. Hopefully looking back, I think after a couple hours, she'll realize she had a great finish and it was her first time really up there with a real chance of winning. Yeah, the boost of getting into Solheim will hopefully help.
Q. Mel being on the team this time, she just missed out the last time, didn't she. What's the thinking behind that? Just experience?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I think Mel, just experience. She perhaps hasn't been playing her best the last kind of month, but with the Olympics there's been a lot of travelling and different things and she hasn't been home in a long time with. Her experience and playing in it before, she'll pick up and be ready for Solheim.
Q. Wanted to hear your views on Leona Maguire, very consistent this year, I think that's nine Top 15 finishes. What are you expecting Leona to bring as a rookie in the Solheim Cup?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, Leona has had a fantastic year this year. She's right up there in the race to the CME and probably one of our top two players before this week. Obviously she was world No. 1 amateur for a couple of years, and it's maybe just taken her two or three years longer than perhaps others to settled I think as a pro.
I think she's got that real grittiness. I think she's a really good match player. Has a great record from the Curtis Cup and played well in the match play in Vegas. I think she'll be a solid, one of these never-give-up-type players.
Q. When did Mina first come on your radar and when did you know she was ready for a stage like Solheim?
PAT HURST: Noticed Mina back in the beginning of the year in Arizona playing some Cactus events and playing well, and she was kind of on my radar back then.
I kind of went out on a limb and invited her to one of our team bonding deals, and she was all-in for that. It was a lot of fun. She was totally a part of the team and that was great to see. I think once we did that, she kind of took off after that. She played well. And so it was there. I can tell that she wanted to be on the team from then on out.
Q. What was the conversation with Stacy Lewis like and when did you have it?
PAT HURST: Stacy is right here. You might want to ask her. No, I had a conversation with Stacy. We actually talked earlier in the year and then a conversation again with, we've been talking off and on for the last how many months, since Vegas, and she was involved in all of our team bonding stuff and practice. Actually she came late to practice. It was tough coming from Texas. She was involved with all the stuff we were doing with the teams and then I talked to her here for the final say of what we were going to do.
Q. When were you sort of aware that Leona would be the first Irish player to play in a Solheim Cup, how long ago?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think when she first came into consideration and started playing well. I kind of knew an Irish player had not played in it before. I think it's great. I mean, it's the first Irish player, the first Finnish player. I think it's great to see other players from different countries getting on the side. I think it's great for golf in Ireland.
Q. Scotland has been in every Solheim Cup bar two, and on the back of what you just said. What do you think it will mean for women's golf in Scotland, given you've presently got the men's Ryder Cup team, the captain is an Irishman?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, I think for golf in Ireland, obviously the men have been doing well the last few years with Shane and Rory and PÃ¯Â¿Â½draig and obviously Darren. It is nice to see Leona kind of coming to the forefront and climbing those World Rankings, and hopefully that encourage young Irish girls to come up when they have a good role model like Leona to see.
Q. We spoke a couple months ago about the tests you were going to administer to your team. How much were those results a factor in who you did select for your team in making sure they would fit with those different personalities?
PAT HURST: Yeah, like we talked back then, we are doing the pod system. So we are looking at the pods and seeing where they with all fit in. Angela had all the notes on what behavior fit with what and what didn't work. That definitely helped a lot. We went back to her black book quite a bit today and was kind of checking it out and making sure that we are doing the right thing?
Q. Two of the three picks have no tour wins and no Solheim experience. Was that on obstacle in your decision-making process, and if, so how did you overcome those obstacles?
PAT HURST: If you look at how they have played the last month and a half, again, the writing was on the wall who was the hottest players coming into this event.
So in 2019, we had six rookies, so I didn't really have to worry about if we were going to be -- if we had enough experience or not, or if we needed more experience on the team, because everyone's pretty much played.
So with that being said, it made it a lot easier to pick those two.
Q. Quick one for Catriona, if I'm right in thinking, Sanna Nuutinen into the week the last automatic place on the points list. How unlucky is she to have missed out and how close was it between her and Georgia at the end of the day?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: She was unlucky, she was playing well coming into it and played well this week. She just maybe didn't quite finish it off today. I think she had -- Georgia had to finish top seven to get past, and so I think in the end she probably went past by quite a few points. But you could say in a way Sanna was unlucky that so many of the others played well. It was just tough to get that last spot.
I think Georgia ended up, yeah, probably about 20 points ahead, actually.
Q. And how difficult was that conversation to say to her tonight that she had not quite made it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It's always difficult. I mean, I think that it's always difficult. There's one or two who you know are really close to making the team and it is obviously a difficult conversation.
But she was very good about it.
Q. At the last Solheim Cup you had what turned out to be an incredible captain's pick with Suzann. How much more or less stressful were those picks to this year's picks?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it was just as stressful this year to be honest. I don't think it matters how many picks you've got. It's always kind of the last one that's a tricky one. The rest kind of play their way in. Yeah, it was stressful this year and it was stressful last year. Glad it's over.
PAT HURST: We are just looking forward to the week. Inverness is going to be awesome. Toledo, everybody, it's just going to be amazing.
Q. Do you have any idea how many people will be there, fans?
CHRISTINA LANCE: I do not. I will reach out to our operations team and see. Last I heard we were still all systems go. Certainly keeping an eye on things and wanting to be safe but want to celebrate as much as we can. But I'll reach out to our operations team and see what I can find out for you.
I think that's it with the captain's. Thank you both so much.
Angela, this has been a first time for you to see this. What's the last couple days been like and working with pat to plan this team?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's been great. Obviously you go tell Pat has been an assistant three times, so it's been great to learn and watch. She's had a plan and she's stuck to it, and it's been great to learn and to watch, and she's done great.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Stacy, I know you were going to be on the team as the third assistant captain and you're still ready to get out there and play but you had an opportunity to see what this was like two years ago. What are you looking forward to when you get to Toledo?
STACY LEWIS: Actually being able to help a little more. Just felt like I was there watching in Scotland, but did get to see behind the scenes what's goes on and was involved a little bit, like Pat said over the last few months. Obviously still had the goal of playing for a long time.
But I told Pat, I would be there however she wanted me to be there, and I told her that in Vegas, and so that's why I decided today.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Please tell me you got a good red, white and blue outfit for Chesnee to come along?
STACY LEWIS: Yes.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Brittany, you're back; what does it mean to get another pick to join the team?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: It's great. I'm so excited to represent the USA, especially on home soil, so it will be fun and different and I can't wait.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Was the qualification process in your mind this week? I know you were close on a couple of the rankings or to get in as a pick.
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: Yes, all week, all year basically, that's been my goal all year. So I can't wait.
Q. As much as you can share about the black book, how many players were you keeping an eye on?
ANGELA STANFORD: Just the players Pat wanted. I'm kind of old school. I like to write things down. I don't -- I'm not waiting on a computer. Of course I had to wait on a computer for the stats but I like to write it out. It helps me remember things a little bit longer, and just everything we did with the behavioral profiles and just different stuff I like to write it, I like to see it.
And then if Pat needed anything coming down the stretch today, between our communications staff and my little black book, we had all kinds of information.
Q. Are there any other stats that you were keeping track of, and how long have you been keeping track of all of this?
ANGELA STANFORD: I kept track of them from the very first tournament, not Diamond, but Gainbridge. Just basic stats. I wanted to watch testimony throughout year, watch their finishes, see how many birdies they are making, stuff like that. Just so if we got into a situation where you needed some numbers, if Pat needed help one way or the other, there were some numbers, and I always said, numbers don't lie.
But it was also fun to watch all year. It was fun to follow them because you know like Brittany said, everybody is thinking about it. If you're on the radar, you're thinking about it.
Q. Did you get into that situation today where you had to go to the numbers?
ANGELA STANFORD: A little bit. I mean, we did a little bit. Again Christina had some printouts for us. Between the two, I think more just double-checking than anything else.
Q. I know you really wanted to play at home in Toledo. How tough was it at the end of the day when you got the news that you would be an assistant captain?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, it was a little tough but I also didn't play good enough. I mean, if you want to be on the team, you can't rely on a pick. So I knew I didn't play the way I wanted to, but to still just to be a part of it, and it's going to be so cool in Toledo, and just to know I was part of why we're there, I basically got us to that point, so to be a part of it is still going to be a lot of fun. I don't know, I'm really looking forward to the other side of it and working with these girls.
Q. And just real quick, can you just give us a little short story on how you got it there, like what that conversation was like with Marathon, I assume?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, so I was playing with the then-CEO, Gary Heminger, and I was trying to get the Toledo tournament moved to Inverness every year, is what I was trying to do. And he said to me, he's like, how about we get Solheim Cup to Inverness. I said, well, that would be awesome. So he kind of took it and ran from there, and that was I guess close to four years ago now.
So yeah, I mean, it kind of came from him, and he just saw I guess my passion for the Tour and talked about how much I love Solheim Cup and what a cool experience it was. It's really going to fit Toledo great just as far as the crowds, and it's easy for people to get to. I really think it's going to be a great venue for the Solheim Cup.
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