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August 16, 2017

Catriona Matthew

Annika Sorenstam

Suzann Pettersen

Des Moines, Iowa, USA

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen and Catriona Matthew. I'll pass over to Annika to make an announcement.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thank you very much. It's great to be here. I wish the rain wasn't coming down, but I think we're in a good place. As many of you know, it's already been an announcement earlier that Suzann has decided that she's not ready to play this week. And that Catriona Matthew, here on my right, is ready to step in.

Obviously we're very sad about that. Suzann's career is obviously very decorated and the Solheim Cup has been a big part of it. But we're happy to announce that since I lost a vice captain I have now gained a vice captain. So I appreciate Suzann taking the invitation and we look forward to getting this party started and we're ready to go.

Q. Suzann, can you walk us through the injury, when you injured it? Or was it a reinjury? And when did you feel like hey I really can't go?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I went back to Norway after the British Open, played and practiced, prepared to obviously come here in good shape. Unfortunately I had an incident on Saturday which was not a very pleasant experience. I called Annika Saturday night, told her to kind of inform her and it's obviously a little bit of an old history with a ruptured disc that flared up, and I've tried everything I can to get ready.

But I can't see myself being 100 percent. If I can't be 100 percent, I don't think it's fair for the team, for my teammates, for us to go out there and it's a big task to come here and try to get the cup back, and we need everyone 100 percent.

So at the end of the day it's very unfortunate. It's a very tough decision, but I have to be honest and knowing that Beany is 100 percent and ready to go makes me feel a lot better.

And obviously to step in as vice captain for Annika is a great honor. And I'll try and be as good a support as I can for her and for the team.

Q. Off microphone?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It doesn't really mean what you did. Obviously it happened. And no I wasn't hitting golf balls.

Q. Beany, can we just get you to talk a little bit about jumping in the fray here and where your game is at and how you're feeling? Obviously you've done this a lot of times?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, obviously I was delighted when Annika asked me to vice captain. I was kind of looking forward to that role and I was preparing myself for that. I heard probably just before I flew over that Suzann had a sore back and wasn't quite sure.

But obviously I was playing next week so I'd been home and practicing and playing. So it's been a difficult two days. Obviously I'm gutted for Suzann not to be able to play. It's the highlight -- I've played in a few of these with Suzann. She's a great competitor and I feel really sorry for her, but it is a tough week. And if you're not 100 percent, you know -- you want to give it your all -- if you're not 100 percent, you perhaps can't do that.

So obviously I'm delighted to be playing now, and I think it's great that Suzann is going to do the vice captaincy and we can switch roles. Hopefully I can be as good a leader as she's been all through the years on the course.

Q. Suzann, what kind of frustration comes with kind of coming into this knowing the situation and still having to come out here? Obviously you're going to support your team. But what frustration comes with not being able to play at the end of the week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think all of us have been part of the Solheim Cup history. And everything that Solheim brings to the game of golf, it's very unfortunate not to be able to play. It is the biggest highlight of my career. It is different. It is very special.

So to not be able to play, it is what it is. But I think the most important thing here is to think about our team, what the team needs.

And for me not to even -- if you can't even be 90 percent, there's no point. So you have to kind of be honest with yourself and look yourself in the mirror and say are you fit enough to go or not?

And as tough as it was this morning to kind of make the final call, to kind of settle the team, to give Annika some room for different thoughts of me being out, to being in the room to prepare and get ready, I felt like it was the time to call and not wait any further.

Q. Annika, now that you've been here for a couple of days, how does the course compare to what you saw when you were here this spring? Heavy rain aside, what do you think it's going to play like this week and this weekend?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Obviously I'm just talking to the players about the golf course. They say it's playing a little shorter earlier in the week, but now with this rain it's certainly going to play a little longer.

So it's hard to give you a good answer other than that the greens are a lot more receptive than they thought it would be. Earlier on the ball was rolling in the fairways but now they won't. So it's going to add some distance to it.

I'm just hoping that some of the electricity will go away and the players can come out and have a good practice round tomorrow and obviously get going on Friday.

Q. Suzann, were you at all apprehensive about what reaction you might receive from the crowds this weekend given what happened two years ago?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I mean, we're all here to do a job. And I think what happened two years ago was a very unfortunate situation for all of us and for the game of golf. And hopefully this year around everyone can play as good as we can and showcase the best women's golf.

Q. Were you worried as to what reaction you might have from fans out here?

Q. Catriona, can you tell us, for you, is this pretty much a bonus because you've played in, what, eight of these? Not having got selected, did you think maybe your time had come and passed and maybe you were looking ahead to the captaincy rather than the playing role in the future?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, absolutely. I probably thought this was my -- probably one of my last chances of getting on the team. Obviously was disappointed when I didn't. But I'm very excited to be playing now.

I've been practicing hard the last couple of days, and I like the golf course. So just going to go out there and play our best. So, yeah, obviously upset, is kind of a difficult one, upset for Suzann not playing, but excited for myself to be playing now.

Q. Catriona, who is going to be caddying for you? Have you got your husband -- have you got your husband? Is Graeme going to be caddying. Or are you flying Andy out? And when did you actually find out you were playing? Were your clubs back at the hotel or did you have to go back and get them?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: No, I found out this morning that obviously that Suzann was not going to play. But obviously we had -- yesterday I did play the golf course because Suzann was unsure what she was going to do. So I'm actually going to steal Suzann's caddie and use Mikey.

You couldn't bring someone else out at this late stage. He's seen the course and he's worked for me before. So two Scots now on the team.

Q. Annika, I wonder how much this will have disrupted any plans that you had going forward in terms of pairings and that sort of thing?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, it's been a lot of juggling, to put it mildly. I was just glad that Suzann called me on Saturday. I had a plan, I called it plan A. And then we started a plan B. Needless to say, we have had a lot of plans back and forth. And when Suzann and I spoke this morning, I kind of threw out plan A, and now we're sticking to plan B.

But there's been a lot of versions. We kind of make fun of it in the room; which version are you sending this time? So hopefully this is it.

But, you know, Catriona has obviously played many times and she knows many of the players. And she's very easy to pair with. So it's not going to be any more difficult. As a matter of fact, I think we're already ready with plan B. And we're going to stick to it. And hopefully there will be no plan C.

Q. Suzann, obviously there's disappointment for you not getting to play this week. But you've worked hard to make amends with American fans over the last couple of years. How much does that add to the disappointment, not getting to go out there and show sportsmanship and just sort of reconnect with people again?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think we've all tried to prepare as good as we can to come here to do the task that we're asked, and that is to play our hearts out and try to win the cup back. That has been my focus. I know it's been the rest of the team's focus.

And I think you learn from the past, to say it that way. And very disappointed not to play obviously. To be able to play for the crowds they say we're going to have this weekend; it's probably going to be the biggest crowds we've ever had. But we're all here to support the team now and do our best to cheer them on.

Q. Suzann, can you say generally what happened, what caused it? Were you working out? Dancing, household chores, can you say anything?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I was actually out for a little bit of a short, easy run, a morning run before breakfast. I was going to a wedding on Saturday night and decided to, maybe it was nice to get moving before sitting all day. And that's when it happened. And never attended that wedding.

Q. Annika or Suzann, either one, are there any rookies that you'll be taking under your wing this week, like sort of what will your role be as vice captain?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I haven't really thought about much about what it would be to a vice captain. I think I've just got to try and get into that role as we go. I was really looking forward to maybe play with some of the rookies because I think they're outstanding golfers. They have phenomenal skills and they're ready to take on this stage. So it will be fun to watch them now from the outside.

Q. And Annika, could you just speak to the -- Suzann has such a presence on the golf course, such an intense player, the loss of having that inside the ropes this week, and in the locker room?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I think that's one of the reasons we wanted Suzann to be part of the team. I think she earned the right to be here. And obviously it was very unfortunate what happened, but to have her part of the team, being in the locker room.

I told her put a headset on. And she said, maybe you're going to change your mind once I start speaking. I said, okay, you can listen. I'm going to mute you. But just having -- like you said -- having her presence here and this is a big part of everybody. We're here to support each other. No task is too little for anybody.

So we're going to go out there and do the best we can. I think she can -- you know the role as a vice captain, I think she's going to do an excellent job. Don't worry, Suzann, I already have a list for you, so get ready.

But it's going to be fun. I'm glad it worked out. And obviously I want to thank Juli for accepting us to this. I know it's been a lot of changes. I'm hoping we're done and we're ready to play.

Q. Annika, you said that the three of you had these discussions starting on Saturday. When did you tell the rest of the team that Catriona was possibly going to be on the team? And when did they know that she was the name in the hat?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I'm trying to go through the sequence. Obviously I got the call on Saturday, and then I called the vice captains right away to let them know. And I said we don't know anything until Suzann gets over here to the States.

And I spoke to her about it. But I said I want to see Suzann and talk to her in person. And so when she showed up on Monday, we discussed it a little bit and she addressed to it the team right away, literally off the plane.

I said just speak to them. Tell them how you feel. Get it out there. And she did that. And I think everybody was obviously concerned but also knowing what's going on is more important. And that's when Catriona, I think, started to think about that there's a possibility for me to go out.

But we wanted to have Suzann to have a chance to do some treatment. We have some great physios on the team. She worked really hard three times. I believe she had three sessions, really pushing it. And this morning when we spoke, I mean, Suzann just literally said, I'm pushing it to the limit.

And so we literally just looked at each other and maybe a tear or two came out and we haven't looked back. I mean, a decision is a decision. And we're moving forward. We rushed to Catriona, got her going. We told the team and we haven't looked back. So the facts are what they are. And this is not going to stop us.

Q. So did the team know she was the alternate prior to this morning?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I think they kind of got the hint when she was playing yesterday. But obviously I'm going to be -- it's been a very unknown. There's a fine line of waking up the sleeping bear, whatever that is, it's a Swedish expression we have in Swedish. But we wanted to keep it low until you know, but when you have the facts, just let them out.

Q. Annika, as somebody who has made your living in the game of golf, Suzann mentioned the record crowds, what does it mean to you to have the potential for the turnout that they're going to have this weekend? And what does it mean for the game?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think it's exciting. I've been here twice the last 12 months, and I've never seen so much support from the community and I mean the golf club in general. It's just fantastic.

And the Solheim Cup is really growing to become one of the biggest events in women's golf. So I think it's terrific for the game. And with these players here this week and these are some of the premier names.

So it's going to be a wonderful show, I think, and the fan base is going to be huge. We have, obviously, people coming from overseas. But mostly U.S. fans.

But they love golf. And I cannot tell you how friendly they have been. They've just made us feel so welcome already. So I think this is just the beginning. Once the sun comes out and the matches get going, it's going to be packed. It's going to be an atmosphere we've never seen before.

Q. Catriona, how does this course set up for your game? You've had a couple of practice rounds now. How do you like it? What don't you like about it, so on?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it's a great course. I came here maybe two months ago with some of the other players and we had a bit of a practice.

So I was quite familiar with the course before I came here. But, I think the greens are a challenge. They're going to be pretty quick and undulating. So I think getting the ball in the right position on the greens is going to be the key.

Obviously with the rain and things, of course, it was playing quite firm on the fairways, but obviously softened up the last couple of days with the rain. But, yeah, I think it's a good challenge for both of us. I think there will be some birdies out there and exciting, which is what people want to see.

Q. Annika, you haven't played the underdog role very often in your career. Obviously being here in the U.S., and just on paper, given the number of rookies, the experience level, I think most people would say your team would be the underdog this week. Given your personality and sort of how you attack things and how these players learn from you, what do you take away from that? What do you think that you possess that can really instill something in these girls to have that belief that you always had as a winner throughout your career?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You know, my approach is really to just do what I normally do, the way I would approach anything in life.

I'm very analytic. I take my time making decisions, but once I make a decision, I stick to it. I try to be thorough. I try to have good communication with the team. And I think you just have to be yourself.

As far as all the other things, I mean, certainly I bring experience to the table. I've been in every single role. I've been a player. I've been a vice captain, and now being the captain. So I can relate literally to any situation, at least I feel that way. And I don't know how the players feel like I am as a captain, but I try to be me, the way I go about things.

I feel like I have a great leadership team around me that certainly pick up my weaknesses. So I'm here to have fun. You know, I guess you mature, you grow up, you have kids, you realize what's important in life. And I can look at things a lot differently now.

This is about having fun, and I want to spread that through the team and just show them that I believe in them; that's why I'm here. And I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe in them. And I believe in Solheim Cup.

Q. Annika, kind of a follow-up on that question. In terms of your pairings, how much player input are you allowing, or I remember you saying a couple weeks ago you're a stats nerd, how much is it based on those statistics?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I do like numbers. But now you know I think I was using the numbers more to pick the team. Now we're going with feel. And I can tell you that the pairings, they're 99 percent players' choices. I want them to be happy. And if you have happy players, there's hopefully good golf.

So I'm literally doing what they want them to do, and I want them to have fun out there and play with the people they want to play with.

They're professional enough to know which players and partners they want to have. You know, they ask for input, I give them input or what I think. Some of the holes, they asked how I would play it. They've asked some other questions. But as far as who they want to play with, it's up to them.

Q. And just one other thing, you talked about plan A, plan B now. I don't know, plan C, hopefully don't go there, involves Anna Nordqvist, how is she? And likely do you feel that she can play 36 holes in a day?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I feel pretty confident about that and so does she. Obviously we've spoken every day. And she's been part of kind of the pairings in the sense of what do you need, Anna.

I obviously want her to play her best: What do you need to play the best? So I think open communication is so important. Different players want different things. So you try to put that into the equation. Just look at her performance at the British Open. First of all, I didn't think she was going to play. And then to go out to play the way she did.

So she's taken it a little bit easy in the afternoons, which is -- obviously we let her do whatever she needs to do to prepare. I'm not so worried about Anna.

Q. That last part of the question, how likely do you think she will be able to play 36 holes?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Oh, there's a big chance, absolutely. Yes, absolutely.

Q. Annika, just wondering, you know how much this week means when it comes to camaraderie for your team. Team USA, Juli Inkster, handed out hard hats and last time she handed out lunch pails. Any plan you have to bring that kind of camaraderie with tangible things?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: We have our methods in Europe. We do some fun things in the team room. We started actually Monday already having some fun activities.

And they will continue. So it's kind of easy going, a little kind of take it as it comes. But we have a few plans coming up. But it's not just me. I mean, I have a great team and they like to do the entertainment by themselves. So I let them run with it.

So I can tell you there's not a lack of laughs in the rooms.

Q. Catriona, given the kind of current state of the Ladies European Tour, is a win this week more important than ever in the kind of wider sense?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know if it's more important. I mean, I think we're here. We're wanting to win. It would obviously be great for European golf if we do win.

But I don't think that's putting any more pressure on us or anything. I think we're all here. We're all wanting to win. So a win would obviously be good for the tour. So hopefully we can deliver that for them.

Q. Following that up, Annika, how do you feel about the state of European women's golf, and maybe what's required to get it to another level, if it needs to go there?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You know what, I got enough on my plate at this point. Maybe ask that question on Monday. I can tell you that the talent is very strong. And I know the LPGA and LET are talking in many ways. There's partnerships already with the British Open and Evian and so forth. That's about the extent I want to get into this at this time.


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