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April 1, 2015
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. It's great to have two Solheim Cup captains here this afternoon to take some questions and give us an update on where things stand and what's going on in their minds with the competition set for September 18 through the 20th in Germany. I've got Carin Koch, the captain for Team Europe, and I've got Juli Inkster, the captain for Team USA. You were very serious there, Juli.
JULI INKSTER: Sorry. I was just listening to your very well-thought-out delivery.
THE MODERATOR: Well, you're a broadcaster now so you need to start working on these things. Let's start with Team USA. Juli, what can you tell us?
JULI INKSTER: Well, my team is rounding into form. The last couple weeks they've played well. Not much movement as far as last year -- last Solheim Cup compared to this Solheim Cup. We have a couple girls that are playing well, Austin Ernst is playing well, Kim Kaufman is playing pretty good, Alison Lee played well last week. You know, we've got four majors coming up. It's going to be a lot of movement going on, so I'm just kind of sitting back and watching them play.
THE MODERATOR: Carin, you've won the last two, not specifically you as captain but Team Europe has won the last two, and now you're on home soil. How are things progressing in your mind for Team Europe?
CARIN KOCH: It's been a great time. It's very busy, a little busier than I thought, but we got the momentum going with our two wins. We're the champions right now, so it's been a good start to start off like that as the captain. But you know, it's just very interesting and very fun to do this.
THE MODERATOR: Would you say that given the last two wins for Team Europe and how this thing has become a little bit tighter and certainly the spectacle that is the Solheim Cup that this event is probably as big as it's ever been and certainly one of the great events not just in golf but in sport in general?
CARIN KOCH: Oh, definitely. I think the greatest opportunity to really showcase women's golf is the Solheim Cup. It's a fun week. You see the girls play their best golf. You get some great sponsors involved. We're going to play at a golf course that's amazing. You know, I do see it as a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase what our sport really is all about.
THE MODERATOR: Juli, what perspective do you come at this from knowing the results of the last two?
JULI INKSTER: Well, we are definitely coming in as the underdogs. We've lost the last two, we're playing on their home soil. I think from the first time I ever played in a Solheim Cup until now, I've always thought of it as being huge, and I've thought of it as the best way to showcase women's golf. Match play just brings out a whole different dynamic to golf, and I think it's one of the greatest women's sports championships, challenges that we have. Every year it gets better and better. The crowds get better. I don't have to say I'm the captain of the Solheim Cup team. It's kind of like the guys' Ryder Cup team. Now everyone kind of knows what the Solheim Cup is, and that's fun.
THE MODERATOR: Juli, what's the toughest thing about being a captain that you've found out thus far? Is it kind of lowering expectations to perhaps take pressure away from Team USA, or is it trying to motivate? I don't feel like you would need to motivate necessarily.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I don't think motivation. I think we have lost the last two, and we've got to find a way to maybe dig a little deeper and play a little harder. For me so far, as Carin says, it's the day-to-day stuff, the little piddly stuff, like menus. Just give them some food and let them go out there and play, or outfits or gifts, all that little stuff. That was really never huge on my list. I just couldn't wait to get my bag and get out there and play. Maybe we need to get back to just playing golf and see where that takes us.
THE MODERATOR: What about your thoughts on that, Carin, because you've won the last two? Does that add a whole lot of pressure, or do you feel like given that you're playing in Germany, in Europe, you come in perhaps a little bit more relaxed knowing that you're on home soil?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, in my eyes it's Team USA that's under pressure, but we also want it all. We want to win three in a row. That's our big goal. It's another tournament. It has nothing to do with what happened in Colorado or what happened the time before then. We start over, and it's the Solheim Cup 2015 at St. Leon Rot, and this is the event. We're there to win, but we're also there to have a great match and to just have a lot of fun. Yep.
THE MODERATOR: Charley Hull is leading for Team Europe. She's top of the points, and right now Stacy Lewis. I think it's interesting that Charley Hull is at the top right now. Great player. If you could pick one player off your team right now that you said, I'm really going to rely on this player for leadership and I hope she brings the best of her game because it'll make that big of a difference for my team, who would that be?
CARIN KOCH: I would go with Suzann Pettersen.
THE MODERATOR: Tell me why.
CARIN KOCH: Well, she's played a lot of Solheim Cups. She's been very high on the World Rankings for a long time, and I think going back to Colorado, she was a very good leader of the group. You know, she's kind of fast, gone from being one of the youngers to all of a sudden being one of the experienced ones on the team. We had a little bit of a generation shift with six rookies being in Colorado, and I think she did that really well there.
THE MODERATOR: Juli, who do you think has that ability for you to be that one difference maker that you think could help you?
JULI INKSTER: Well, that's a good question. I mean, I would like to see Stacy Lewis maybe take a little more of a leadership role. I know she's very quiet and it's very hard to do, but I think everybody really looks up to the way she plays and how she goes about her business and how dedicated she is to it. You know, I kind of look for Stacy to kind of maybe step up and maybe say a few more things in the locker room and maybe be a little more of a leader.
Q. Since you brought it up, have you had that conversation with Stacy, and how have those conversations, if you've had them, gone?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I haven't had that conversation. I said I would like. I haven't talked to her about it.
Q. Are you relying on us to do it for you?
JULI INKSTER: No, but it's March, and I don't really necessarily need her to step up right now. You know, I've talked to -- Stacy and I have talked a lot about the Solheim Cup, but I haven't really said I need you, because really I need all 12 of them. But I think you need one voice in there, and maybe she could be the one.
Q. To my original question, since Craig brought up Charley and how well she played in the last go-around, you mentioned Alison Lee, also a rookie, in the Curtis Cup last year. What are your thoughts on having someone that young in a pressure cooked situation were it to happen?
JULI INKSTER: Well, sometimes, it's like last year, Charley came in and she just said, all right, it's just golf, let's go out there and have fun, and she had fun. She played great, she didn't make it bigger than it was, and it's kind of nice to have one or maybe two rookies on the team that can bring a new dimension to the team, that aspect of wide eyes and not really knowing what's going on. They're looking for some help out there. But basically it comes down to if they've made that team, they're good enough to be on it, especially when you see someone like Charley who really believes in her game and who she is and how she goes about it. I'd love to have a rookie like that on my team. I think it would be great.
Q. Juli, the last U.S. loss was stunning in how one-sided it was. As a captain now, is that a memory that you just kind of crumple and throw away or do you go back and look at it to see what happened to maybe avoid repeating something?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I wasn't there, so I don't -- I think it's like that NFL game where you get blown out 57-0, you just throw the film away and you start fresh. It's like Carin said, 2015 is a whole new ballgame, a whole new golf course. We'll probably each have a few different players on our team. My team knows that they've lost the last two. I mean, every -- it's out there. I think they're ready to try to turn it around. It's not going to be easy. We're on their soil, their golf course, even though the golf course we're playing is pretty Americanized. It's not a links, it's a pretty straightforward golf course, great golf course. So I mean, the bottom line is to go out there and play golf and try not to let the outside agencies mess with your game.
Q. Carin, are you tossing 18-10 out and not thinking about that at all or are you bringing that up to your team and players as you talk to them about it?
CARIN KOCH: Well, I don't talk to them much about it. Like Juli said, it's March. I'm busy with picking things off the gift list and working with the sponsors. I've had a lot of fun working with Rolex and Allianz and SAP and the Golf Club St. Leon Rot just to make it I great event. I was saying to some players at lunch today, it's so nice to actually be on a golf course and see the players because I've seen a lot of computers and emails, and they just add up so much quicker than they normally do, which is -- that's all new for me, but it's been fun, and it's been a learning process. But I really haven't even started thinking about what I'm going to talk to them about, but same for us, we know what the numbers were last night. We know what we can do, and I know that I'm going to have a great team out there playing. I don't know that I have to mention that too much.
Q. On that very topic, this is for both of you, Juli, you mentioning how the events become an extravaganza so to speak rather than just a golf tournament, what can be done about that? It seems like it's bothersome for some players that play on the Ryder Cup, also. Is there anything that can be done about that? There's sponsors putting up big money, of course.
JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, I think it starts with your captains. I think Carin and I are really on the same page, just trying to get this thing back to a little more fun, a little more -- we're still very competitive. We still really want to win, but I think there's a way you can be competitive and also not be catty and not be vindictive. I think we're both kind of on that same page, that if Carin chips in on me you give them a high five and you move on, and you try to do the same thing to them. The bottom line is come Monday, we're going to be right back at the LPGA and we're going to be right back at seeing each other and going out to dinner. Personally myself, I've really made sure a golf match never got in the way of a friendship, and I think that's kind of what we're trying to bring to the tournament.
CARIN KOCH: Definitely.
Q. Same thing on that, Carin?
CARIN KOCH: Yes, definitely, and again, I think it's about showcasing the Solheim Cup and women's golf and showing everyone what a great sport it is and how good these girls are. We want it to be fun for everyone that's involved, and we want people watching it all over the world to only have good memories from watching it.
JULI INKSTER: I mean, they want to win. They want to win bad and we want to win bad, but I think there's a way that you can do it that really showcases women's golf and really showcases the camaraderie and sportsmanship. I think that's what we're both trying to deliver to our team.
Q. At the same time, and his word was extravaganza, that's what you want this event to be and provide the biggest stage in women's golf, right?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, you can chip in, and that's big as it is. But you don't have to do all the other little stuff.
Q. Carin, for most of your playing time in the Solheim Cup, it was Europe chasing the United States. How does it make you feel that the situation has been reversed the last couple of years, that now it seems like the United States is trying to get the Cup back after a couple years?
CARIN KOCH: We're definitely chasing.
Q. Are you excited about that? Are you over the moon about that?
CARIN KOCH: Well, I'm excited. I'm extremely proud of the European players. We have so many good players from Europe and from different countries, and I'm just excited and proud that we can come back, and now they're chasing up where we used to chase them. But again, it's a new match in '15 and it's all about who makes the putts, and if it goes in or if it goes out, it's always going to be close.
Q. Have you had any conversations together via on the phone or here on the golf course talking about the event, goals, et cetera, what you want this event to be?
JULI INKSTER: We talked a little bit when we were together in Germany, but no, we haven't really -- Facebook a little bit.
CARIN KOCH: We just talk about our kids, how big our kids are, how we don't get older but they do. No, but I think the conversation we had in Germany was let's make this a friendly game. We know we want to win, we know we're going to have competitive teams, we're competitive. But we're also friends, and we want to keep that and we want to make it just a great match.
Q. Juli, because you are the captain of this team, did you find yourself watching what happened at the Ryder Cup last fall with a different perspective? What was your reaction, and what, if anything, could you learn from what happened over there?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I did. I've watched every Ryder Cup. I think watching, you learn a lot. And I had my team watch it, too. I sent out a little email saying, hey, watch the Ryder Cup, there's a lot of stuff you can learn as far as strategy and playing and your demeanor out there and how you look and how you react. I learned a lot. I probably learned not to set Phil and Keegan out. I probably would have played them. But everybody has their own agenda, their own style. But my style is probably pretty -- a little more loose, a little more laid back. I'm going to rely a lot on my team for input because I just thought as a player, when a captain came up and asked me my input, whether she took it or not, I thought that was pretty cool. I'll probably be a little more that way instead of a little more of a dictator. That's just kind of the way I roll.
Q. Have you contacted any of the American Ryder Cup captains for advice?
JULI INKSTER: I have.
Q. And to you, after she answers, have you talked to McGinley or any of the others?
JULI INKSTER: I have, I've talked to a few of them and got a lot of good input. It's fascinating just to talk to them and to listen to their little philosophies on it. But the bottom line, it's my team, and I've got to run it the way I want to run it. But I love listening to their stories and their little takes on things.
Q. Is there one theme you got from any of those conversations that's really stuck with you?
JULI INKSTER: You know, I think just trying to -- not trying to really get all 12 together at once, just trying to -- because it's really hard for one week just to get everybody to be in love with everybody, even though our team, we all get along great, but it's different. We travel separately, we play practice rounds separately, and I think the one thing I learned is maybe don't try too hard to do that, maybe just let it come to you. So I've talked a lot to the players about that, and we'll just see how that works.
Q. Conversation with McGinley?
CARIN KOCH: Well, I was at the Ryder Cup, very lucky, and it was so nice to be there and be part of that atmosphere. I had never been before, and I got to speak with him quite a bit there actually and see some of the things he did during the week, and I also have -- I used to play quite a bit of golf with his wife Alison, so I have a dinner date with them in a few weeks, so I'll talk with them some more.
JULI INKSTER: Can I come?
CARIN KOCH: Do you want me to ask him?
Q. Speaking of food, since you brought it up several times, throughout the years in sports there are traditions and there are superstitions, and somewhere in my past following this I had heard that you eat ice cream religiously every day, and if that's true are you going to pass that tradition along to the team?
JULI INKSTER: We'll definitely have a sundae bar, no doubt about it. Wiener schnitzel, too, no doubt about that. I don't eat it every day, but I do eat it a lot.
Q. I think your mom told me that.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I like it.
Q. I guess both of you could answer this question: It's kind of a two-part question. Does being captain change your approach or your mindset, and what does the term captain mean to you, not what comes with the title but to you personally what does it mean?
CARIN KOCH: I'll start with the last one. To be captain, you know, I'm very proud and honored that I've been asked to be captain. I played in four Solheim Cups and I played some of my best golf in Solheim Cups, and I love the event, and to be able to be the captain for the team, it's amazing to me. It's really fun. What was the first question?
Q. Does being captain change your mindset?
CARIN KOCH: I think being vice captain two years ago changed my mindset. You just learn about everything that goes on behind the scenes at the event and how much that goes into it, so it just changed my mindset a little bit compared to being -- you're a player, it's quite easy, you just show up and you play golf.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, as Carin said, being named captain is a true honor. I played on a lot of them, and really when I first started out, I never thought I'd ever be a captain of one. In fact, I still can't believe I'm a captain of one. But it definitely -- playing and being captain are two different things. There's just a lot to go in with being a captain. Playing, you just have to worry about you. As a captain, you have to worry about everybody. There's a lot more detail to go into it, which is really not one of my main strengths. But hopefully I'll learn a little bit.
Q. Juli, if I look at your roster right now, if we played tomorrow, Mo Martin is No. 12, she would be the only player different on the squad for Team USA from the last go-around. You made a comment at the coats championship earlier this year when we first sat down talking about it that you almost don't like having captain's picks, you'd rather just somebody give you your 12 and away you go and let's just play golf and you don't want to stress about it. Has your philosophy on that changed at all?
JULI INKSTER: No. Give us 12 and we'll go.
Q. Sure about that, and why?
JULI INKSTER: Well, it's kind of a wimpy way out because then I don't have to make anybody mad or anything, I just take the 12 and I go play. As Carin and I were talking, that's the toughest part is telling somebody they're not on the team. Yeah, I hate doing that. So that's why if you just give me 12, you tell me those 12 right there are my team, I'd be all right. I'm good with that. That's kind of how I feel.
Q. Which is interesting, given that the United States has lost the last two and you're not into shaping the team necessarily, you're taking what's given to you.
JULI INKSTER: I mean, really being they've had over two years to make the team, if they're not in the top 12 then it's really not my fault. They've had that chance. These 12 had that chance and they made it, so that's my team.
Q. What about you, Carin? You get four captain's picks. Is that a daunting thing, overwhelming, or do you like that ability?
CARIN KOCH: A little bit of both, but you only get two. I get to pick twice as many, so it's a harder job for me. No, I do like to be able to shape the team, but I don't look forward to the day where I have to actually pick the team and tell the people -- as fun as it is to tell the people that are on the team, it's heartbreaking to tell the people that didn't make it. I've been on both sides myself, having captains tell me both things, and it's not fun, but it is, I think, important for us having players play on two tours and being very split in that way, it's important that we do get some picks that we can make the team the team we really want and need.
Q. The pod concept has been discussed a lot, at least on the Ryder Cup side. Have you thought much about that idea, the chemistry of the players and grouping the players in such a way that, quote-unquote, they get along the best, so to speak?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, of course I've thought about it a little bit. I think it's a great idea. You know, it pretty much is what we do anyway. I kind of have to see how the team shapes out in order to do that.
CARIN KOCH: I don't really know what it is.
Q. I think the best I could probably highlight it, maybe you could highlight it better, is the grouping of some of the players in specific times that they play in the events kind of based on how those players get along interpersonally, similar attitudes, maybe complementary behaviors, that kind of thing.
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, a lot goes into it, and with the four picks, you also get a chance to pick people that you know -- pick someone that you know is going to work with a lot of the players, and they're going to be able to play with a lot of the players. It's not only stats and who makes more birdies and who plays well, it's also a lot of personality that goes into the picks. The others, they've played their way on the team, but the four that I get, I look a lot on that, as well.
Q. If you had a meeting tonight with your players, 12 on the team, we'll just use the 12 that are on it for you and you don't have to make any picks this afternoon, what's your message to them tonight? We're months away from the competition. What are you telling them?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I'm telling them, you know what, you guys are the 12 best American players. We're going to go over there and represent the United States the best we can. We're going to play hard, we're going to play to the finish and see what happens.
CARIN KOCH: Well, I actually do have a team meeting tomorrow night. We're going to go to dinner together.
JULI INKSTER: Can we go?
CARIN KOCH: You know the answer to that. You'll have your own meeting. We'll have a few messages there. Annika is going to be there, Liselotte is going to be there, as well. We'll have some messages. But I just want them to know I'm here if they need me and I'm open to talk to and communicate with and open to suggestions and everything and just to go out and play their best and show me what they're all about.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports