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September 15, 2015
St. Leon-Rot, Germany
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Solheim Cup 2015. Great pleasure to bring in a couple of the members of Team USA. Welcoming Brittany Lang to my immediate right, and to my far right is Gerina Piller. Thanks so much for being here. Hope your morning was good.
You both played this morning, right, you were out there on the golf course. Just want to get your early opinions on the course and what it feels like to get that first experience out of the way, even though it's not in competition.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, it's always pretty awesome and nerve-wracking teeing off, even though it is practice round day.
But the course is pure. It couldn't be in better shape. The rough is pretty thick. It's going to give us a good test. But other than that, it couldn't be more perfect.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it's a great course. It's a great layout. It is in fantastic shape. It was fun playing with the girls today. It's always fun to see the course. The fairways are pretty generous. It should be a great match play course. It's very long, definitely had to hit a lot of 5-woods, 3-woods, hybrids. But I think it's fantastic, I really like it.
MODERATOR: Even though today is not the first day of competition, but it is your first walk out there, you had the reception last night, was there a real cool vibe and cool feeling even though today is not a competition day to go out for the first time?
BRITTANY LANG: Well, I'll just say this, from the time you get from your hotel room, here, and see all your stuff, the whole week is unbelievable. It's always the most fun week you have of the year. Yeah, it really is, you still get a little nervous playing the games, and knowing you're going to be there for the week.
MODERATOR: You walk into your hotel room this week and what?
GERINA PILLER: Stars and stripes, baby (laughter).
Yeah, I loved seeing that red, white and blue. But I think the coolest thing for me personally is the golf bag, just because it has my home state of New Mexico on there and United States of America. But they do an awesome job of welcoming us with awesome gifts. It's like Christmas in September. It's awesome.
MODERATOR: Let's go back a couple of years. I know that's not the greatest experience for you guys. You're both veterans now of Team USA. Take us back to that feeling on Sunday night and what you walked away with, the positive, perhaps, if there was some, and the negative feelings that you might have carried with you. Start with you, Brittany.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, I've been on one winning and two losing and it's very difficult. Chicago, it's an amazing feeling to win. It was really hard in Colorado, because you have your best friends sitting next to you and you know they're playing their hearts out and you get beat. It's just a game, but it's really tough. You see girls crying. It's very tough. We try our best.
I think a lot of the girls played some good golf in Colorado. It was a good, positive takeaway. I know it was Gerina's first Solheim Cup. I know she played great. I didn't play with her, but Angela told me she was really confident and played good. Definitely positives for her.
I know I got some points, so there's always positives. But thinking about losing, it's pretty tough.
MODERATOR: A two-year burn?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah.
MODERATOR: Never let it go. Gerina?
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, I don't think losing is ever fun. But it's just like any bump in the road, you take from it and learn.
For me, personally, it definitely helped my golf game and my confidence to be on that kind of stage and play the golf that we did that week. You have the 24 best players, obviously representing our country, 12 ours, 12 on theirs, but you're going to see great golf. And to hang with those girls, it was definitely a confidence boost for us, or for me.
As far as a team, I think it was just positive, a little more motivation. It just kind of -- it stings a little more, but once you -- it just makes you want it even more.
MODERATOR: You've basically got the same team this go around, take away one player, Alison Lee, the rookie. Can that be a good thing? The fact that you all kind of went through this together, what are your thoughts?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, absolutely. Alison, she's a great asset. I didn't know her very well, but she has a great personality and it's been great getting to know her. She's super easy to be around, relaxed, obviously playing really well. Yeah, we've all been through some wins and some losses, but since it's basically the same team, like Gerina said, we remember what it felt like, so you play harder.
MODERATOR: Is it a positive that the same group is intact?
GERINA PILLER: I think so, you kind of know what to expect. With me, two years ago being a rookie, you didn't really know -- you just kind of -- they didn't really tell you what it was going to be like. Because you can't put that into words. So to experience it altogether, I think it's definitely in our advantage just because it brings us closer together, I believe.
Q. Brittany, just curious if you feel like Team USA, if you're the underdogs or not?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, well, I mean, it doesn't matter what you feel like. We've lost the last two, so we're definitely the underdogs.
They played some great golf the last two Solheim Cups, it's been really impressive to watch. Gerina and I were just talking about that. We have to play some really good golf to contend with them. They have some great players, and watching what they've done on the big stage the last two sole Solheims is pretty impressive. The answer would be, yes, absolutely, we are. And we're going to have to play really good.
Q. Just curious which stays with you longer, losing a competition individually or losing the Solheim Cup, coming close?
BRITTANY LANG: I think it's definitely the Solheim Cup just because the stage is the biggest that we play on. It's not even close. Like US Open, the fans and the crowd and the media, it's so much bigger here for us than anywhere else. I would definitely say here.
Q. For both, can you share with us already kind of what Juli's special touch or distinctive influence has been on the team?
GERINA PILLER: I think just keep it simple. Plain and simple. Get out there and get to work. She's not one to do crazy things to prepare for a tournament. To me, I see Juli as very black and white, just keep it simple, play good golf and get that ball in the hole.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, I love Juli's personality and the way she looks at things. I've said it before, she has a very old school way of looking at things, which is a lot of what my dad kind of taught me. She's work hard, practice, don't over-celebrate, don't be flashy, simple, like Gerina said. And I really like it. We're not doing anything special, just working on our games individually. It's refreshing. She's always laughing and joking. With her, Wendy and Pat, it's hard not to be relaxed.
MODERATOR: When Juli was in here, she said she's enjoyed all aspects of the captaincy thus far, and she's learned a lot about herself and each of you all. What has she spent time sharing with you? What's that experience been like? Obviously it's positive for her. Have you guys spent some time together talking about it? Did she really get to know you over the last two years?
BRITTANY LANG: I know Gerina has spent a lot of time with her recently, way more than I have. I think the bus rides and certain things like that that you wouldn't normally do, because you'd all hop on your flight and be done with it.
I know Gerina has spent quite a bit of time.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, I've played a lot of practice rounds with her at the tournament in San Francisco. I stayed at her house. Just getting to know her even away from the golf course. I'm just trying to take it all in and be a little sponge. She's just -- I just look up to her in so many ways. It's been really cool to get to know her and play with her. It's just amazing. That lady can still golf her balls, it's awesome.
Q. Juli had spoken to us before all of this about how she kind of wanted to maybe tone down some of the things that go around the Solheim Cup. And I just was curious, has she actually spoken to you guys? Are there any restrictions? How has she communicated that to you?
BRITTANY LANG: She hasn't really said you can't do this, you can't do that. But she's simple, not a lot of flash. She wants us to be very courteous to them, be polite and respectful and play as good as we can play. And not have a lot of flash, I'll say that. She just wants things to be simple.
Q. That being said, has the tone of the team changed this year than two years ago?
GERINA PILLER: I'd say absolutely not. I feel like maybe the focus is more on golf and I just feel like it's very light. The mood on the bus, you know, everyone is laughing, having a great time. It's not so serious. I'm not sure if that even has anything to do with the flashy or not, but I think just putting more of our time and energy in preparation for this week and doing what we can control and that's obviously the golf shots that we hit and how we prepare. And I feel like it's just so much more relaxed, I feel.
Q. Juli hasn't divulged the pods with us. Curious what you think of her system and how it's working?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, she's just -- you know, she's doing her thing, telling us who she thinks will play well together. And she's the captain. I think she has a nice plan. Yeah, I've enjoyed playing with the girls.
GERINA PILLER: It's just been fun to get to play around with different girls.
The last Solheim I played with Angela in both of my two matches that I played best ball with. It's been a lot of fun just to kind of match up with different girls and see how they play. For me, obviously, I haven't been playing golf very long, since 2000. This is my 15th year. I'm still learning. So it's still pretty cool to me to almost pick their brains and learn something from them.
MODERATOR: Gerina, you were a rookie the last go around. What did it mean for you personally to be a part of Team USA? How has it changed you, perhaps, as a professional Tour player?
GERINA PILLER: Well, the first time, when I got a captain's pick, that was a dream come true. Obviously I didn't make it on points or Rolex Rankings, but that was an honor in itself.
After that, that stress and what I went to get through to get a pick, it was one of my main goals to be on this team and earn my spot as far as points or Rolex Rankings. So it means a ton to me to be on this team and represent my country. I feel like as a person it has really not only helped me on the golf course but off the golf course, just with confidence, mainly. I didn't think I could get more patriotic, but I think I am.
MODERATOR: Do you walk around a tournament, maybe a couple weeks after, a completely different kind of player? Do you carry yourself differently because of that honor that was given to you?
GERINA PILLER: It's definitely one of those medals that you wear proudly on your neck and something that you'll always be proud of. I think that -- it's almost kind of surreal.
I remember in Ireland, Angela, she -- I was a rookie that year, and she was like, hey, if you're going to be on these teams one of these days, you've got to come see what it's all about. I flew out there and watched them. I just got goose bumps just watching. And to actually be here and be a member of the team, it's pretty cool.
MODERATOR: For you, this is a little different this go around. You didn't qualify via the points. But it almost seems, and validated, perhaps, by what Gerina said, that it could almost be a bigger honor to be chosen for the team in a way, than to earn your way on. The captain is basically suggesting I need her. Is that the way you're kind of going into this week with that mindset? Or how do you feel about the whole pick?
BRITTANY LANG: Well, I haven't really even thought I'm a pick now. Obviously, when she picked me, I was very honored and excited. I was working on things all year, trying to play well. I've been playing really good golf. Probably having one of the better years I've ever had. I made the most points I've ever made in a Solheim year, and didn't make the team on it, so that tells you the quality of golf that these girls are playing. I haven't really thought about it since -- I was very honored when she told me, really excited, just trying to be a team member now.
Q. Paula Creamer, she's a star, she built a reputation in the Solheim Cup, but she hasn't been on her normal form. What are you seeing in her and what do you guys expect from Paula this week?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, you know, I actually played some with her in France and she was hitting the ball great, rolling it great. Because I had seen some of the scores. When I played with her, I was very impressed. She was hitting it good, playing good, confident as ever.
I think Paula will rise to the occasion. I think all players, even great players, have bad streaks, good streaks, ups and downs, it happens. But I was really impressed when I played with her. I think she'll rise to the occasion and she'll be just fine.
GERINA PILLER: I have to agree. I think she has the ability to turn it on when the time comes. And obviously she's a great player. She's been on many Solheims.
And for me, in a way I look up to her in that she just -- when she's over the ball, I get the sense that she is just going to hit it in the hole every time, just because the way she carries herself. And I think that goes a long way.
MODERATOR: The term pressure, you deal with it on the first tee, you deal with it on shots. The closer it gets to Sunday, perhaps there's more pressure. You all have been on the losing end two times in a row. Is that a big part of the week for you? How do you get pressure away from you?
BRITTANY LANG: You know, it is the same as every other week. You really have to just get in your little bubble and work with your caddie and work on your shots. It's no different than any other week. It's just hard to get there because you have so much pulling you out of where you want to be.
Every morning I wake up and I just try to get really inside me, get away from all the fans and stuff. And then once I get there, I really try to enjoy it, because this week goes by fast and it's so much fun.
GERINA PILLER: Yeah, I tried -- I'm not probably the norm when it comes to preparation for tournaments. I don't ever go early for a major or anything like that. I try to just keep it like what's working for me that obviously works, so I'm going to keep doing that no matter if it's a major, regular tournament, Solheim Cup. And for me that's worked best. I feel like that for me reality is not your environment, it's how you deal with reality. And that's reality. Or how you deal with your environment. So if -- it's loud, obnoxious, and you allow yourself to get engulfed in that and overtake you, then that's going to be your reality.
So I try to just think of it as it's grass, it's a hole, and a white ball. Your ball doesn't know it's playing in a Solheim Cup. It does not know it's in Europe. So I just go out there and hit it and make it in that hole.
MODERATOR: I wish you the best of luck, both of you. Thanks for coming in and enjoy the rest of your week.
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