September 20, 1998
Q. Can you give us just your thoughts and comments on what was happening with them trying to have a punching bag in the locker room?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Didn't hear about that until after it was finished, I'll tell all of you. What I told them: I take it as a compliment, period. If that's what it takes, then I'll be glad to be their punching bag.
Q. Overview about today's victory? Your thoughts about it?
DOTTIE PEPPER: It was, in my opinion, as every day was, it was a complete team effort and there wasn't one match I saw on the back 9 that these gals, win, lose or draw, that they didn't gut it out totally and that was our team the entire week.
Q. In your mind, did you ever cross the line between gamesmanship and sportsmanship?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Not once.
Q. Dottie, not to belabor the point, this is Pia Nilsson: "Nothing I would encourage players I coach. She has to take responsibility for herself. That's nothing I look up to." Any comment.
DOTTIE PEPPER: That's her opinion. To me, it's patriotism. Not one motion was made to another player or caddie or anyone else. It was only toward the crowd to get them into it. And emotion is part of this game.
Q. Dottie, could you play it any other way?
DOTTIE PEPPER: No, I couldn't.
Q. Same in match-play, if you took that out of your game?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I wouldn't be the same person walking to my room if I was. Louis SOLHEIM pulled me aside and said: "Don't you ever let anyone tell you to be any different."
Q. You were the only golfer this week that went undefeated and none of them did. Do you think there is a little professional jealousy there?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I'm not here to answer questions like that. I went out there and did what I felt like I had to do to play well and that doesn't -- isn't any different from any other day of the week.
Q. Dottie, what were you thinking when you were out there playing and you looked up at the board and saw a bunch of blue up there earlier in the day?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Visions of DALMAHOY. We all got off to really rocky starts, myself included. I made a few 3- , 4- , 5-footers, 10-footers including the 10th hole just to stay in the match. Like I've said before, this team has got more heart than any team I've ever been around.
Q. Would you comment on your record?
DOTTIE PEPPER: It's just a record and records are -- it's coined also -- they're made to be broken. It won't last long, I'm sure. But I'm very proud of it. But it's just much more important that this team won.
Q. Sherri, what did it feel like to get the point that clinched the Cup in your match?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: It was an incredible feeling. I had hoped it wouldn't come down to me, being that I was 10th off. If it didn't earlier in the week, I was asked a question by a reporter: If it came down to you, would you want that putt? And I said: If I had confidence in my putting and it was a 6-footer uphill, I'll take it. And that was the one -- actually, on 16, the one that clinched it on 15 was only about a foot, foot and-a-half. But yet, at that point, sometimes those look a little longer when it's to clinch it. It was incredible feeling. If it came down to me, that's -- the team, it was all a team effort all week and I just happened to be in the position that ended up clinching it. It was just a great, great feeling.
Q. Sherri, Judy said she didn't know that you had clinched it. Did you, when you made that little putt, did you know?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, because I know I was 3-up, and 3 to go and if I lost every hole, it was half a point and that was it. Yeah. I did know.
Q. Judy was a little confused.
DOTTIE PEPPER: I can't understand why (Laughs).
Q. Did you and Rosie have any kind of spoken or unspoken desire to prove anything as captain's picks coming into this thing?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Well, I think Judy told me after she chose myself she said just one thing: "I want you to go out there and not feel you have to prove yourself. You've earned your way on this team and don't think you have to prove that you're good enough to be on this team." Even though I do kind of feel that way, but it didn't help ease the thoughts and she made me feel such a part of the team, as Rosie, and Rosie and I were -- we were fighting all the way. We talked about it about two months ago and how close -- how well we will have to play to earn a spot on this team and we didn't earn the spot and we ended up being chosen. Just proud that Judy had the confidence in myself to choose me to be a part of this team.
Q. Could you further elaborate for us the kinds of things that made Judy such an outstanding captain, in your mind, about her that was special?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I think, you know, she exudes confidence, she has had a great career that we can feed off of and she is just -- very level. Even though we know she is nervous underneath, but she played it pretty level and even for us and just really proud to play under someone as great a person as Judy.
Q. Would you say the same thing or do you have anything to add to that?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Other than that, she made it easy for us because she took care of the minute details. Between her and Yippy, they did everything. She was even -- if we didn't want to wear cream shirts today, she was prepared to wash all our white shirts from yesterday and have them ready for us. That takes a special person.
Q. Dottie, you know Judy better, from the way it sounds, the last couple of SOLHEIM CUP teams. Have you noticed anything about her this time than last?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Not really. If anything, I mean, she took -- I think, the little things that went undone last time and did everything. If -- there were the things when she went back and said I could have done this; so the gals didn't have to or make these arrangements-- because I think she knew it was going to be harder for us playing at home with all of the other pulls on us from family, friends whatever. She made it clear to us right away, the ticket situation, where players could put family to stay. So everything -- if we were asked questions, we had answers for. That wasn't really the case when we played in Wales, just because there wasn't as many bodies involved family-wise. She definitely took care of all of that for us. That's probably the biggest thing.
Q. She has to be a master psychologist with the players; is that true?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Absolutely. She can put players together like I've never seen somebody.
Q. I don't think it would work, but would you draft her to be captain again?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I sure would. I think there's 11 other players that would probably agree with me, too.
Q. Sherri, can you contrast winning a major and the feeling you have winning this thing today?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: When you're playing for your country, I don't think you can compare it. This is just one of the neatest feelings, greatest feelings I've ever had. Winning is great, but winning for your country, I think, is really special.
Q. Dottie, why do you think that the Americans continue to beat Europe?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, we played better golf. Period. That's all there is to THE SOLHEIM CUP. Whoever plays better wins and we've played better. We've played better.
Q. Why do you think -- do you think you're better players or do you think you produce better golf in the week?
DOTTIE PEPPER: That, to me, is a very loaded question. I think from 1 to 12, we're better players. But I also think we dig down pretty deep. This team had a huge heart and every time it looked like we were going to be outplayed, they dug deeper.
Q. Dottie, can you compare this SOLHEIM CUP team in terms of strength and performance and chemistry with the other teams that you have played on?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I think this team exceeded every other team I've played on. And I'm not going to speak for Judy, but I think you could put just about anybody on this team together and send them out and be confident that they could win a match. And put players out in any order in singles and know that someone, if the bell rang, could produce. That's a great credit from 1 to 12.
Q. How hard is it to win in Europe, Dottie? We've obviously, heard the comments from the Europeans, their perspective and patriotism, if you will. But how hard is it to win over there and can you maybe put it in perspective?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, Judy said to us last time the silence was golden when you're playing in Europe. When it got very quite over there on Sunday, we felt very comfortable because we knew things were in our favor. Over here, I'm sure they felt the same. It is definitely harder to win on foreign soil and I firmly believe that this crowd was our 13th man this week.
Q. Or woman?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Or woman, excuse me.
Q. Judy has an American flag on her leg. I wonder if that's -- who is responsible for that?
JUDY RANKIN: It's one of those crazy ideas I have in the middle of the night I had a month or so ago and Beverly Willy did that to me. I'm about to clean it off about quarter to 2:00. Maybe a quarter to 3:00. I was thinking this wasn't good luck.
Q. Judy, any feelings different this time than the last SOLHEIM? Do you feel different about there victory than you do about the last one?
JUDY RANKIN: Well, only that I had the full preparation thing this time. Whereas the last time, I came in this February in 1996, when JoAnne Carner stepped down because of her husband's illness and so, you know. I had more sort of the full two-year experience this time and the competitive experience, although being the same, was totally different. I mean, the last time we'd have ourselves a hole and crawled out of it on Sunday and this time, we risked what we did on Sunday in Wales happening to us. And I really worried about that all night and all day. I mean, it goes without saying that, you know, the European team has wonderful players. I mean, you saw enough spectacular golf this week to know that this -- no one believed me yesterday -- but now you know this was not a comfortable lead last night. The singles, there is something about the color of the board going red or blue that is infectious with players. It just is. And the singles, they're tough. And you just can never relax.
Q. Judy, there was talk before this event that the '87 MUIRFIELD helped spur the RYDER CUP and that that might happen this week. Do you think that, indeed, could happen to this event this week?
JUDY RANKIN: I thought the RYDER CUP win here was going to be -- was a big sort of internal boost for the European team and I told these players that a month ago. I would assume that they were watching old t.v. tapes of that this week. Yeah. And I kept that in mind right along. In response to a question about the golf and stuff, I just would like to say that I believe when we -- when THE SOLHEIM CUP matches first started, the foursomes golf was -- and the strict foursome format was pretty new and unfamiliar to the American players. And I think that they both in '96 and, again, here have really stepped up to the plate to play that alternate shot format. And some of that alternate shot golf -- maybe you play it at your club or something, but that is high pressure stuff. And when you put that with a golf course this difficult, those were some spectacular things that we saw, I thought. I watch a lot of golf now, it's my life, watching golf, and I thought there was some pretty spectacular golf. But I don't think the Americans were very good at foursomes kind of golf eight years -- not nearly as good eight years ago as they are now.
Q. You seem kind of emotional -- especially toward the end of the day. Was that because of the way the day went or was part of that realizing that this may be your last Cup as captain?
JUDY RANKIN: It was the day. It was the day. I've -- I was really -- I was in great fear a good part of this day that this thing could turn wrong and it doesn't necessarily mean that your players aren't playing well. It sometimes means the other players are playing very well.
Q. Where exactly were you when you were interviewed on t.v. and you didn't know you had clinched the Cup?
JUDY RANKIN: They're going to have a keeper for me if I do anything like this again. I was between the 15th green and the 16th tee when she birdied.
DOTTIE PEPPER: We were on 16 and here she comes from the 15th green walking all by herself. There was no one a hundred yards either way of you.
JUDY RANKIN: When Sherri's match ended at 16, I was back at the 16th tee and that is the only winning match that I saw all day long, and I was 200 yards away. Because every time a match, I thought, needed me, I went there. And I even -- I was there when Kelly Robins hit the wonderful iron shot at 17, but then I went down to 14 green to try to watch her and give her a boost. So hers was the only hole that I saw one that ended a match all day.
Q. Could you chart a map of your route all day today?
JUDY RANKIN: If Seve Ballesteros wants to get in the cart and have a race with me, I watched him at the RYDER CUP and I learned the first morning, I was almost on foot all morning and it nearly did me in. And I learned this one hand on the radio, one hand driving the thing and I don't think -- I didn't ever hit anybody. (Laughs).
Q. Could you be drafted for another SOLHEIM CUP?
JUDY RANKIN: You know, it would be great to do this. I mean, Sunningdale might be my most favorite golf course in the world. It was the first place I ever went to that made me really feel something about the history of golf and all that. It was just -- that was a very special experience, that place for me. Dottie went there with me and several players did Sunningdale before we went to Wales a couple of years ago. And I very much want to be there and, you know, I'd love to be with 12 players over and over and over again. But in all sincerity, it has been such a magnificent experience for me and I have loved it so much that it would be wrong not to let somebody else have this chance. And as each two years goes by, then maybe someone doesn't get that chance and I will -- I have loved this. I will continue to enjoy it. I hope that we stay healthy and I can be a fan, but I honestly think the right thing is for someone else to get to do this.
Q. What was the event or the reason you were in Sunningdale and felt that way?
JUDY RANKIN: When Colgate/Palmolive was so involved in the tire and started taking us around the world and we played the EUROPEAN OPEN the first time in Sunningdale in 1974. And I hadn't -- I had one of the great old caddies over there. He was in his 60s when he started caddying for me and he died a couple of years ago. He was 85. He had been at Sunningdale since I was 13. This man said: If you hit your ball here and then it will go over and then in the hole. If you hit it there, it would go there and go into the hole. And we motored our way around the course like that. His name was Ron Mullens and it was different than anything in golf I'd ever quite experienced and I have just -- I love that place.
Q. Judy, yesterday when somebody asked you about who had provided input to the team about this golf course and preparation, you mentioned -- you answered the question: You said, "I might have more to add on that subject today".
JUDY RANKIN: Well, I -- I told -- I couldn't remember if I had been here eight or nine years doing the MEMORIAL Tournament and I know it is a different time of year. I also was here when the Wendy's 3 Tour Challenge was played here and that was in the fall. But I've gotten to be on pretty good terms, pretty friendly with quite a few guys on the PGA TOUR now, and I just -- I had this idea that maybe these fellas who play here all the time could help us a little bit. Particularly a few who had had some success here. So I went about the business of asking just a few people and, of course, one of those that I asked was Jack, and I put together this little booklet -- I just kind of put a cover page on it trying to give them a little boost. But then I made the booklet, I hope, a nice memento. And the first page was from Jack Nicklaus. And the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th people in the book, I mean, they sat down and really gave this a lot of thought and handwrote really great stuff about the golf course, I think. And it was Tom Lehman and John Cook and Justin Leonard. There were -- there was a few words in there from Hale Irwin and a wonderful letter in there from Curtis Strange that is a little more general about the golf course, but he said -- he told them one great thing, which was -- just practice putting all week long. I thought that was a great piece of advice. And the last one in there was from Kathy Gearing who lived here for so many years. So I think that there was a little insight there, a couple of things that I have seen happen at the golf course. I believe these players played this golf course very well and very smart and it's my opinion -- particularly this time of year when it plays this fast, that it is a smart player's golf course. I don't think you can overpower it. I don't think any of those things are the key to this course, certainly, this time of year.
Q. Is this book like a yardage book in its size?
JUDY RANKIN: No, it's like a book report at school. It's in a little thing you put your book report in.
Q. Could either of the players comment on what they got out of it?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, each letter, I think, was different. Some were more -- as Judy eluded to -- Curtis's comments were more general and more about how proud you should be just to be where you are. How proud you should be to play for the captain we're playing for and how well he thought we'd play. Curtis thought enough of us to fly in yesterday and that was pretty special. Justin Leonard went through it hole by hole in his own handwriting on a -- it looked like a regular college-ruled notebook. Tom Lehman's was incredible. It was single-spaced typed front and back of a page, if not onto a third, and it was from the first tee shot to the last shot. It was amazing, down to the detail, including: If you hit it in the back bunker left at 14, it's X.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I went there. (Laughs). And I knew it.
DOTTIE PEPPER: And Kathy's was very emotional, not only because of her attachment to Muirfield because she has seen -- Jim spent so many years here, but also her attachment to the team, being a member in '90. Being my teammate and one of the -- Kathy is a dear, dear friend of mine. I think my fondest memories after all is said and done, deciding who was going to play off the first and who was going to play off the 2nd. Or even in alternate shot, she looked at me on Thursday afternoon and she said: "Can I tell you one thing, I'm not hitting the first tee shot." I said, "I guess that leaves me." (Laughs). She is just a classic and she was out there pushing all week. Hill's was more, I think, golf course-management minded. And Jack's was, as well. But the majority of them are great players and great ball-strikers. It's not what you wouldn't have expected. But each one of them, you could tell, took an awful lot of effort and cared an awful lot about this team to do what they did, and John Cook's as well.
JUDY RANKIN: It was four pages, handwritten.
DOTTIE PEPPER: And signed by both he and his wife, so it was pretty special.
TIM MCNULTY: Two more questions to the players and Judy has to get to a reception.
Q. Because the sheets are a little vague, how far would you say the putt was that Meg conceded?
JUDY RANKIN: I don't really know. I think Sophie was about 18 feet left of the hole and wasn't Meg just in the fringe behind the hole.
TIM MCNULTY: Meg was not on the green.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Back fringe.
Q. Judy, do you think people will look at you differently now after two successful captainsies. People knew you were a player and knew you had a reputation of winning and knew you did t.v., but this is a different side of dealing with players and dealing with their psyches and dealing with their egos. And you've done it fairly well.
JUDY RANKIN: You know, my father, from little girl on, my father was talking to me a lot. He was always, you know, trying to get me to think a certain way to play golf as a little girl and on into my adult life. And I don't think every bit of it was good, but a lot of it was really good. I think -- you know, I've drawn a little bit from that. I'll tell you, some of what I drew on in this experience -- and I'll bet some of you can appreciate this. My son played all these team sports, played little league and all that and then he was a very good high school baseball player, high school quarterback. He is a serious athlete and today he coaches football and baseball in high school. But in those years growing up and particularly in high school, he and I would talk about a lot of things, about how some coaches get so much out of people and how some coaches just are dragging yourself to practice and that sort of thing. I've always thought that you need -- it's -- it would be great to always do it because you're rising to the occasion and you want to. So then, you know, after the fact, our son becomes a coach. And I think he's -- he tells me some things now and then that I think -- I know are right and he's close enough to having been the player that some of the conversations that we have had that have helped me. He tells me even with these kids growing up that unless it's just an impossible situation, he always tries to stress the positive. But, you know how you know your child pretty well, and I saw his face lots of times when I saw a coach do the right thing or when I thought I saw a coach do the wrong thing. And I guess I have drawn something from that, too. I really tried hard both of these times to never get into the center of these people's golf game. I think that is -- they're grown-up people and it's a personal thing with each one of them. I've more tried to be on the fringe of that and let them be themselves when it came down to the real specifics of their golf.
JUDY RANKIN: No. And the LPGA, they were even going to surprise me and get him here. But he is a high school football coach and this is the fall in Texas and maybe if I had checked, he could have had the day off, but that would have been about it.
Q. Were you close to that?
JUDY RANKIN: He might have had a reservation about 3:00.
Q. Do you think winning yourself, being a winner, the mentality of a winner rubs off on your team?
JUDY RANKIN: I hope so. I hope so. I hope so. I think having, you know, some good playing experience to draw on, even now it seems -- it seems sometimes like another lifetime can't hurt. But I'll tell you what the players did that it's hard to make grown-up people do: I've never had a player be late for the simplest, dumbest function in two times doing this. I've never had a player cross me in any sort of way that I've ever been aware of. There might be things I don't know about. But I've had 12 people who are grown-ups and don't need somebody to tell them what to do every minute of the day, do just about everything I ever asked them to do and I think that helped these teams to be successful.
Q. You never wore that pin to the press room.
DOTTIE PEPPER: She wore every other pin.
JUDY RANKIN: I wore it at the opening ceremony. He wanted me to wear it on the course and I told him I'd be overdressed.
TIM MCNULTY: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
JUDY RANKIN: Thank you all so much for all your efforts this week. These players really do appreciate it.
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