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August 18, 2015

Juli Inkster

Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome this year's Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster into the interview room. You've had lots of weeks where you've been playing so far this year and watching the other Americans play, but how different will this week be now that we're down to the final one.

JULI INKSTER: It's going to be hard. There's a lot of girls playing well right now, and I only have two picks. It's going to be tough. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm already stressing out about it.

You know, I've got to go with my gut and go with who I think is going to fit in best with the team and what we need in the team. It's never fun to disappoint anybody, so it is going to be a tough week for me.

THE MODERATOR: There's tough things that you go through throughout your career, but is that the hardest thing that you think you're going to have to do is telling some players that they didn't make the team?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, definitely, by far. You know, it's something -- I've always got along great with everybody and always have a good time out here, and I know I'm going to disappoint a few girls that have played great. But they've had two years to get into the points, so it's not all on me. But on the other hand we've had these practices and we've had these dinners. You get used to being on a team, and then I tell you you're not on the team, it's going to be tough.

THE MODERATOR: Watching last week, one of the players who made a big jump now is in the Rolex Rankings currently if it were to have ended last week, Alison Lee. Rookie this year out on the LPGA Tour. How impressed have you been by her play and how she's been able to move up?

JULI INKSTER: I've been very impressed with her play. I've been watching her the last half of this year, and you know, the good thing about it is she has played well and she's only had this year to do it, so her rankings, when she plays well, she moves up a lot. But point-wise, you put those points the same amount of points she would have won this year, she would have been on the team. I'm very happy that she's in. Well, right now. I think she'll complement a lot of good players. I think you can really put her pretty much with anybody, chipping she's good, putting she's good, and she's got a little bit of an inner fire, which I like.

Q. We've seen the last few years a lot of young players win. Is this just an anomaly, or is there something bigger going on right now on the LPGA Tour?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I think it's something bigger. I've commentated last week on the U.S. Amateur, and two 17-year-olds were in the final there, and I was very impressed with their games, with not only how they handled their golf games, but the media, the fans, their course management. They play in such big tournaments now at such an early age that when they get onto a stage like the LPGA, it's not much bigger than some of the big AJGA tournaments.

They're coming out here ready to go.

Q. Does the fact there's so many good teenagers and 20-something players, has that compressed the window to win on Tour? Is it a lot harder for a 30- or a 35- or a 40-year-old player to win now?
JULI INKSTER: I don't think so. I just think you've got to have the game to win out here. I think when you're 30 or 40 years old, you have a lot of other interests that are going on in your life, whether you're married, whether you have kids, whether you do different stuff. These girls, their only focus right now is golf. That's the way they've been brought up. Their parents pretty much take care of everything else, and all they do is play golf.

I think as you get older and realize there's other things out there besides golf, I think maybe their priorities might change a little bit, but right now that's their main focus.

THE MODERATOR: We had the news today that Brooke Henderson has been granted membership on the LPGA Tour. As someone who's been around this game for a while, watching what she's been able to do at her young age, we've seen it with Lexi, Lydia, now Brooke, how impressive is what they're doing at such a young age, performing so well consistently?

JULI INKSTER: It's amazing. I didn't even start until I was 15, so it's incredible how their games have developed so quickly. But they've had all the tools. They've had the video, they've had expert teaching, they've been able to play against the best competition in the world and travel around and play against the best competition in the world.

You know, it's not easy to do, but they've got to -- their attitude is they want to win. They want to come out here. This is what they want to do, and they're succeeding.

THE MODERATOR: I think your assistant captains were in here a little bit earlier today. I know they're busy at work this week. One thing they were joking about is they were going to try and figure out if Brooke was somehow an American citizen, not Canadian. With those captains, having Wendy and Pat here this week to kind of really oversee things while you're playing, how important is that.

JULI INKSTER: It's important. They're doing all the little things. I've delegated them to tell the players that didn't make it -- no, I'm kidding. I wish I could.

But yeah, they've helped out a lot. I can bounce any idea off of them. We're really pretty much all on the same page about what we want to do, and I think the players are all on the same page.

I think we're going to be ready to go. I'm really looking forward to it. Everybody seems to be in a really good frame of mind, and I think we're ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: I don't know if you talk to your players throughout this week, but you know there's a lot of players who are kind of right on that edge, looking to be captain's picks, might not have been able to put together the amount of points that they want. How do you get it across to them to not put so much pressure on yourself that you're stressing this last week.

JULI INKSTER: That's hard to do. I've been in both scenarios where I've made the team easy and then I've been in scenarios where I've had to be the captain's pick. You are who you are, and you're going to try as much as you can. I've been really just trying to stay out of their way. I haven't gone out and watched any players play. I've called them a little bit and talked to them on the phone, get that perspective, but I know they're trying, and I know golf is not easy. That's for sure. I know it's a tough game, and you're going to have ebbs and flows with your golf game.

You know, it's about golf, but it's all about other things, too: Team player, how you get along in the locker room, what kind of partner you're going to be, where you fit in with what we're trying to do. So there's some other intangibles that go into picking.

THE MODERATOR: In less than a week you'll be sitting in that Golf Channel studio announcing live on-air in a one-hour special on Monday night your team. Is there anything in particular this week that you're going to be looking for last-minute?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I think I've got to just really see how the whole Rolex Rankings shake out and how the points shake out, and then we'll go from there, what we need to do. There's probably five players on the bubble right now. You can look at the points and you can look at -- it's Austin Ernst, Mo Martin, Paula, Brittany Lang, Christina Kim, and Jessica Korda. They all know it. It's out there for everybody to see. You know, I'm looking for them to see a little bit of light, how they're playing. Austin and Mo had two great weeks last week. They both played great. So we'll see what happens.

Q. How is your German?
JULI INKSTER: Not good. Not good. Hopefully I don't need to do any German because if we do, we will lose.

THE MODERATOR: Juli, we wish you the best of luck this week. I know it won't be easy. A lot of good play right now by some of the Americans --

JULI INKSTER: That's the main thing, good play. We're playing good. I think everybody is in a really good frame of mind. It should be fun.

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