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September 10, 2003

Helen Alfredsson


JOHAN DAHLQVIST: Welcome to Helen Alfredsson, the victorious captain of the European team at Bokskogens in the nice sunny weather. Helen, what's your impressions of these two competition days.

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I have been very, very impressed with the girls. I don't know the American team, but I've had so much fun. I think I just found my hang. This is going to be my group of people that I hang with because 16 years old fits my mentality quite nicely. It was funny, 7:00 in the morning the thing is lit up as high as possible, Spanish music. And I go, okay, I'm 38 and these are 14 to 16. But it's fun. This is how we used to do it. What I love about them is they have great personalities and love to have fun. And yet when they come out on the golf course, they're very competitive. All these girls continue, if all these girls continue, it will be such a great future for women's golf. They're great people. And obviously our Swedish girls, Louise Stahle is a fantastic player. Super mentality. It's nice to have her on the team because all the girls really trusted her and her game. I think I had more fun. I just don't have anybody to party with now. The 14-year olds, I really can't do it on Diet Coke.

Q. Louise and Emma won both their matches, didn't they?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Very, very impressive team. Mini actually was a great fighter and those two together. It was really a pleasure for me to see them. I think the Solheim family, both Val and I said that it's some of the best memories that we will take with us when we retire are the Solheim Cups and particularly since we've had the opportunity to win, she has won it and I have won it. For them today to get the same feeling as we did I hope they really enjoyed it.

Q. You were able to pull this team together from a lot of different nations. Five girls from Spain, Finland, Norway, Sweden, was it hard to get them together? Did they work as a team when they needed to?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think they have known each other like we used to do when we played the European Team Championship. They know each other. Obviously Sweden and Spain were little bit of enemies after I think it was one of the girls, Belen, that was in the team that she chipped in and beat Sweden in Denmark. I think they were amazing with that. I think we all grow up getting to know people from other countries. They were getting along really well. And obviously I think it helps I speak a little bit of Spanish, so I can get to know the Spanish a little bit better. Marta is obviously she was there with them last year and she was great. We had a lot of fun together.

Q. What do you think about Bokskogens, the course they played?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know if they thought the big girls were coming, it played 6300 yards. They couldn't get there. We wouldn't have been able to play much further back. I thought they were a little tough on them actually. I usually don't think you can be too tough, but I think with the conditions that we had yesterday, it was driver, 3-wood and they couldn't get there. Obviously it took quite a long time yesterday as well. Actually none of them ever complained. I think the captains were the ones that complained more about it. No, very impressive. The golf course was quite tough. The greens were very fast and hard. I think they did very well.

Q. No British girls for the second time running. Why do you think that is? Is that a concern for the European team?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I find that is very sad because obviously that's where golf is coming from. I think hopefully -- I don't know, maybe it's because golf has been in England for so long and they have their traditions. And the traditions is really not with the planning with the women and the juniors as much. Obviously you've had a lot of good men playing. You have a lot of good women. I think with Laura being such a great name, it's kind of sad that they haven't been able to. I remember when I moved to the United States to study and the girls there would come, the English or the British Federation felt like they abandoned Britain. So they never got the same help. In Sweden we kept getting help. They kept keeping in touch with us. We always felt like we still belonged there and we still got all the advantages of everything that they did at home.

Q. Do you have any particular players in either team who you see as potential world beaters?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Well, I didn't really look so much -- I know Paula Creamer, she had played a few LPGA events. I didn't know very many of them. I just know her and I know Morgan Pressel who was previous in the Spanish Open last year and this year. I don't know. It's hard. The Spanish girls were always very good when we grew up as well, but they never really sort of really liked the life on tour, particularly in the States. A lot of them marry. I think they like to be together. For them food and the life is quite important for them to really enjoy it. Most of them have a pretty hard time adjusting to the life in the States. I think as far as a golf game, if they continue on the path that they are, I think we can have a lot of very incredibly good players.

Q. Do you think that any of the girls playing in these two days would play in the Solheim Cup in the future?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Oh, yeah. I think obviously Louise -- I think just with her mentality and her manners and demeanor I think it's probably a little bit ahead of -- she's very organized yardage-wise. I think she was a little bit ahead on those things. I was very impressed with everything. She was the one that helped the whole team getting the yardage book. I knew I could go to a Swede to get that. I think she's the one obviously and then Minea Blomqvist from Finland is also a great, great player. Caroline

estrup was showing some great signs today, very competitive when we needed her. Those are good signs. You don't know what the girls are going to do later. I think there's a lot of potential.

Q. This weather is an advantage for the European team do you think?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't believe so. I think we're a little more used to not the perfect conditions because that's how we grew up. Maybe Texas they grew up in wind, but particularly not a lot of rain. A lot of these girls are from places where you basically play all year round so they're not forced to -- if it's a bad day they don't have to go out. Whereas, in Sweden or Finland or maybe not so much Spain, we have to go out because it's just the way it is.

Q. What are your plans for the rest of the week? Are you going to stay around and watch and support?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: No. I'm actually working for Swedish television tomorrow.

Q. You'll be here anyway?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Well, not right here. I'll be somewhere.

Q. Up in the booth?


Q. Is it going to be hard to stay neutral?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I'm not neutral. What are you crazy? I'm from Sweden. They don't understand what I'm saying. I can say anything I want, which I will. Of course, neutral in the sense of -- everybody knows where my heart is and who I want to win, obviously. You have to describe the things the way they are. If I get a chance to cheer for Europe, I will.

Q. What do you think of Catrin going around on crutches? It's not much of an advantage from the European team, is it?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I really don't know -- from what I heard she's going to give Alison the get-go to do all the things. I don't know. I would think it would be very hard to be in so much pain and still be here. It's raining. It's wet. I don't think she's very good sitting. So I don't know what she's going to end up doing. Maybe that will be a motivating factor for the team to go out and play for her because she's in pain. I don't know.

Q. Solheim Cup captaincy after you've done the Junior, is that one of your goals?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know. I don't know if I'm a good captain with those older girls. I think they're older than I am. When I'm being a little crazy they just go, "Oh, shut up". I think I'll stick with the younger ones, I had a lot of fun with them and they're as crazy as I am. That was good.

Q. Who picked the wild cards? I think the wild cards were already given before the Europeans announced the team captain?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: What do you mean?

Q. For the juniors.

HELEN ALFREDSSON: No, no. I was asked last week, at the end of last week to do the captaincy.

Q. So who picked the wild cards?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think probably Martha, since Martha was the one that was having the team last year. So I didn't even know the names of my players except Louise Stahle. It was all these funny names.

Q. How do you pronounce the name?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Oh, yeah. You're funny. Debbie Dewi-Claire Schreefel. I was practicing. They were great. They were fun.

Q. How do you rank this victory compared to other ones? Has it been big or just a fun thing that happened?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think it's great fun for the Solheim and for these girls. Obviously to be a part of it the twice that I've been part of it in Interlachen and Loch Lomond, to be there and to play yourself. The competition is what drives you, to be able to do that. There's always going to be something special. I think what really -- it was just to see how they were fighting. How they were pulling their trollies. It was raining and they were trying to keep everything together, the umbrellas and the towels. And yet --

Q. No caddies helping them?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: No caddies, nothing. We realize how spoiled we are. I can hardly walk 18 holes without a cart. I think just in my heart it's so strong to be seeing them out there. I love to see them. I love to see the drive with the kids. It's the same thing that I go with Kent to see some hockey players, the drive of these young kids, how much they want it and how good they are with no fear. I think when you get older you end up having a lot of fear, because you know all the things that can happen, which unfortunately are some things you didn't wish you had to.

Q. Who holed the winning putt? Or was it a concession?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think it was the Norwegian girl that ended up holing actually a pretty good putt for our sixth win of the day. And that's when we called it quit sand everybody halved their other games and we ran in to celebrate.

Q. It was 12 and a half against 11 and a half?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Yes. We just needed six and we got six.

Q. What's your prediction for the main event?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know. I think it's hard. I think obviously we've got a lot of Scots which is great for this golf course. You've had some playing pretty well. I think the Americans have actually a pretty good team this year. You have six players that are playing really well. Obviously Meg and Beth have had extraordinary years, particularly Beth. Inkster is always a tough competitor as far as match play. I think we have a pretty solid team. I think they're pretty similar, and I think they do get along really well. And I think that's a lot. It's a lot -- our strength in the teams is that we want good team spirit, to be there for one another. I really hope with all my heart that they win.

Q. (Inaudible.)

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Their kind of game, little bit lower, especially the ones in the wind. There will be a lot of wind. They have a little more experience with that. Catriona, Janice obviously shows some good form in the end. Patricia, she seems like she's coming back. She's had an extraordinary year. Carin shows some extraordinary form. Annika, she's always great. Sophie obviously won two or three times in Europe. I think she really loves being home and playing in Europe. They're playing pretty good.

Q. At Loch Lomond some considered you a controversial pick. So with Kelli Kuehne being a controversial pick on that side, how difficult is it for her not to explode when she hasn't won a single point yet?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: When her game is on, it's really incredible. I think she's one of the best ball strikers. Yeah, her game is very up and down. It might be. I don't know who they would have picked. Maybe Pat Hurst. I was surprised that Pat Hurst was not picked, because I really like Pat Hurst on the golf course. She's another one that plays with no fear and can hit any shot, play anywhere basically. So maybe if I would have been Patty, I would have probably picked Pat in front of Kellie.

Q. How difficult is it for Kellie and how she has to prove herself?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know if she feels that way. Maybe she does.

Q. You didn't feel that way?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: No. Of course I did that because there was so much written about that I should not be there. You do feel that. Because also I feel that it was -- I felt not so much it was the press, but I felt that it was Dale because she trusted me and she wanted -- she took me because she believed in me, and I didn't want her to get more crap than she had gotten already. I didn't ask her. I didn't beg her. She picked me. Inevitably I had nothing to do with it. So I felt more towards her. It was one of the most satisfying wins I think the whole team felt. Because it was not just me though. It was even Catriona I think at that time was a controversial pick, but it turned out good.

Q. Helen, junior golf is getting more and more a boost I would say, if that's the word, in many countries, including the United States, trying to emulate the fine job that's been done in Sweden. That came to a crescendo I guess you'd say at the U.S. Women's Open this year. 14 teenagers in the field, eight made the cut. A lot of notoriety, a lot of press on the teenagers. We finally touched a few buttons. Whether or not we are approaching the changing of the guard or we are at the changing of the guard, it's going to be difficult. How do the teenagers approach it? And how do the veteran players approach that turning point, without the friction that was evident there at Pumpkin Ridge?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: The only thing I can say about that is I think it's very impressive how they hit the ball. No doubt about that. I do believe that they do forget some things. Like even this past week, not week, just days. The rules didn't seem to be -- people were raking the bunker. They were taking the out of bound stakes out. They were picking their bag up. The rules were not -- it seems that all the time and effort is on hitting the golf ball. Golf to me is a lot with the etiquette as well. If you walk in somebody's line, if you're young and you think you're the greatest because everybody around you tells you you're the greatest, still you have to behave when you come out and play tournaments. And I do believe that if they don't do that, I think there's going to be friction. When we came out, we had the utmost respect for people like Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley and you really enjoyed being a part of what they had done. And yet today these girls come out with trainers and coaches and obviously families and parents and everything around them. They just are a part of how great they are. The reality for them stops pretty soon in where they should be. There's nobody there because then you get an agent that thinks this is a money maker so obviously he or she is not going to tell them what's really the story. I think that they cannot just come out and I know that you're probably referring to Michelle Wie and Danielle Ammaccapane as one of the stories at the U.S. Open. If you do walk in someone's line and you have a parent there. That is a part of the game. I don't care if you're 13 or 125. There are certain rules, the etiquette to me is sometimes more important when you come out and play. Yeah, they can play -- take all the shots and do all that, but that's a very integral part of the golf game as well. I think they forget that because they are so into the golf game and they are so into themselves and so into me, me, me, me, it's almost they forgot that they're actually having to play with somebody else. That's actually something that sometimes bothers me as well. I'm not usually someone that walks around being bothered. That's what I truly enjoyed with this week with my team that they were extremely nice. They were very nice to the people. I didn't say anything. They thanked everybody around them for what they had done. This is 14 and 15 years olds and it's pouring down rain, they were very polite. That was one of the things that I was very, very happy to see. I think that is the problem, because they are good, but -- when we first came out, we were by ourselves. We relied on our friends. These girls now are starting to be like the tennis, they have a little entourage, all the parents that are out that we never had. And it's all about them at all times. I think that is a little bit dangerous sometimes.

Q. On the other side of the coin, Helen, when you get there and you're out there and you're in those situations, not particularly Michelle, but others, shouldn't there be someone there to help? There's no one there to help.

HELEN ALFREDSSON: From who? I think humbleness and being humble and hungry and being educated in behavior I don't think is it's anybody else's responsibility but the parents. But the parents get so caught up in the media attention and media people that comes out and everyone asks about their fantastic daughter or whatever, and they want to relive -- they want to continue to live that. My mother was -- I had a -- I always remember that we played a tournament and I missed for the final. I had a 10 on the last one. I was crying. Obviously with my temper I was -- my mom, the first thing she said was, "Behave". It wasn't like she was upset. She said I should behave and I should thank the people. And right now it's not their problem that I had a 10 on the last hole. And I had to live with that. And if I didn't behave I should stay home. Basically even though I have a temper, I try to be nice to the people around. I don't think that they normally get to be told that as much these days.

Q. Helen, on that same line, when you played junior golf, were there as many parents out there?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: No. In Sweden you're not allowed to have parents out there. There was a rule that was made quite a long time ago because they did get a little bit involved. And I think that's good. I think the girls need to organize things themselves because that's how you learn to deal with stuff. If you always have somebody picking up everything, that is the toughest thing sometimes to try to remember everything and have everything. If the parents are there and do everything, and if they start having that really that early, they will never need to learn it at any time, and they become expectant of everybody else around to do the same.

Q. Didn't we have to bring you a towel because you forgot one at Loch Lomond?

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Shh. Shh. Maybe that's the mentality that comes in at that age. I did forget a towel there. But I asked her nicely though.

Q. What was the youngest player on your team?


JOHAN DAHLQVIST: I would like to thank Helen very much for this and congratulations once again for a tremendous victory.


End of FastScripts.

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