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August 16, 2017
Des Moines, Iowa, USA
THE MODERATOR: We're here with Michelle Wie, playing in her fifth Solheim Cup, record of 7-7-1. Rookies, right next to each other, Danielle Kang and Angel Yin. And Lizette Salas playing in her third Solheim Cup with a record of 1-3-2. Michelle, we've seen the shoes. We have the socks. We have the hair. This week seems to bring out the best in you. Tell us your thoughts on playing in yet another Solheim Cup.
MICHELLE WIE: Solheim Cup, it means everything to me, I think. It's pretty obvious that it means the world to me. I think representing my team, being able to represent my country and being able to represent my team, it's so amazing. I feel extremely lucky. And I think this year, more so than any other year, it's more special to me just because of what I had to do to get here.
I clawed my way up here. I made my way on to the team. And for me this year it's just so much more special because it's already a victory for me just to be here, just to be part of this experience.
I feel so extremely honored and grateful to be in Iowa. I actually have family here in Iowa who is going to see me play for the first time. So it's going to be really special.
THE MODERATOR: Danielle, you won the KPMG. Your first victory, your first major. I know you were right on the edge of getting on Team USA, but that vaulted you into the team. What have the last two months been like for you? I'm sure it's been a whirlwind.
DANIELLE KANG: It has been a whirlwind. Many people told me to ride the excitement and just be in the moment and have fun. And, yeah, I definitely was on the cusp of making the team. But winning a major, I definitely -- it still didn't guarantee it -- but I definitely jumped up a lot on the points scale.
And last two months, honestly, I know I had two majors coming up, but I'm most excited about the Solheim Cup team. So I'm here and I'm excited to play and just love representing the United States.
THE MODERATOR: We'll move on down. Angel, another rookie on the team, most recently on the Junior Solheim Cup team, but I'm sure this has been an eye-opening week for you. You're getting faces around here. You're have an incredibly strong rookie year. Tell me what this whole week means to you and what the experience has been like so far.
ANGEL YIN: It means a lot, from Junior Solheim to two years later I'm playing the adult Solheim. The big Solheim.
DANIELLE KANG: Adult Solheim? Really? (Laughter)
MICHELLE WIE: You're adulting.
ANGEL YIN: I'm adulting, I'm 18. I know a lot of the Junior Solheim Cup players playing this year, so it's very different in the big one than the year. Different buses. They did mistake me -- they asked me if I was going to play in the junior. I said, no, I'm in the big one.
DANIELLE KANG: I got that one, too.
THE MODERATOR: You have such a young face, you'll probably get that for a while. Down on the end to Lizette. You've had, in the last three majors this year you've had three top-15 finishes. How do you feel your game's coming into shape, coming into Des Moines?
LIZETTE SALAS: I feel really confident. Along with Michelle, I've worked really hard this year to really work my way up on to the team. And I was almost dead last on that list at the end of last season. We were both dead last.
And so right after Danielle won the majors, I was, like, I have to get on that team. I've been waiting two Solheim Cups for her to get on the team. So this year is -- it's going to be a great one and I'm feeling really confident.
MICHELLE WIE: I've been waiting a lot longer.
DANIELLE KANG: I've waited six years for you to get your butt on this team.
ANGEL YIN: It's not about playing the Solheim; it's Danielle is here.
LIZETTE SALAS: Danielle is here. We need to step it up.
MICHELLE WIE: Team Danielle.
DANIELLE KANG: You need me. I'm needy.
ANGEL YIN: I'm in this group now.
DANIELLE KANG: We're in a unit. Move us as a unit. We're like furniture. She's like a couch. I could be a lamp. You could be a fan.
LIZETTE SALAS: I feel great, by the way. To answer your question, I feel great.
MICHELLE WIE: How do you feel, Lizette? How do you feel, Lizette?
DANIELLE KANG: Feels fantastic.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. If you hadn't taken your Myers Briggs sheet, and Juli hadn't done all those tests to find out what pods you're in, do you think you would have picked yourself as four people all playing together? And would you all talk at once, please, so we know you're all the same?
MICHELLE WIE: Do you see the color.
DANIELLE KANG: I don't think we have a similar personality. We have similar personalities.
ANGEL YIN: I don't think we do.
LIZETTE SALAS: I clearly don't.
MICHELLE WIE: We were not in the same pod last time.
LIZETTE SALAS: I was in a different pod last time.
DANIELLE KANG: We're very -- a mixture of people and personality-wise.
ANGEL YIN: We complement each other.
DANIELLE KANG: And then we all look alike.
MICHELLE WIE: We do look alike.
Q. You guys seem like trouble. But following that theme, I have to ask you, Michelle, with the hair, the shoes, the bling, two years ago there was so much emphasis on kind of downplaying that. Are you Juli-approved, or are you a rebel?
MICHELLE WIE: The bling shoes, I love them. I don't know if I'll be playing in them just because I took them out to the range and they were very bright.
But that shows my personality. I had a long talk with Meg Mallon about it, and we did try to suppress a lot of things in the last Solheim. And to some people that is their personality. To me, you know, that's just not it. I like celebrating after making putts.
I want to be as respectful to the European team. And I think this is such a fun week. I think this is such a great week to be energetic. I think both sides -- it's different from a normal LPGA event.
It's more excitement. There's more intensity. And I just, I'm just trying to embrace it. I'm just trying to have fun. I think being a girl it's especially fun in events like this because there's a lot more that you can do. I think it's evident.
I love to do things with my hair. Even if it wasn't Solheim I'd probably do something like with my hair. I like to have fun. Meg Mallon told me don't try to hide your personality; don't try to tone it down. Be who you are and embrace it. Life is too short to try and suppress your emotions and your feelings, and you just really gotta enjoy every second of it.
Q. Michelle and Lizette, for you guys, you have two rookies sitting in between you that seem very relaxed. Were you this relaxed when you were making your debut during your first Solheim Cup? And what do you tell these two as they get ready for competition?
LIZETTE SALAS: I was not even close to their mental state. I was very nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I think on that team, when I was a rookie, you don't think anyone really kind of took me under their wing -- well, maybe Stacy did a little bit. But we really just try to give them advice, but they're strong, aggressive players themselves.
I can't say anything to help them. They -- I mean, she's having a really strong rookie year. Danielle just won a major. They got to this place their own way. So I stay out of their heads and answer questions whenever they come up to me. And mainly Angel is just asking about hair and makeup advice right now. That's pretty much it. Just hair.
MICHELLE WIE: I try to give them advice but they don't listen to me anyway. I'm like hey listen this is what you have to do and they're like [motioning with her hands] .
DANIELLE KANG: We do do that.
MICHELLE WIE: I try to have pod meetings and be productive and it's just, like, nope.
DANIELLE KANG: Angel just bombs it 350.
ANGEL YIN: I'll just take it to the corner. We do that.
DANIELLE KANG: We have really good communication. We don't just listen and deleting.
Q. Michelle, I'm curious with the fantastic finish two years ago on Sunday, how does that in any way carry over to this year? Does it change the mindset knowing what this team is capable of doing?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it was incredible. Two years ago what the team did, how we got together and really rallied the last day, that was truly special. That will definitely go down in my memory books as one of the best days ever. And it's nice knowing that we have it in us.
Hopefully the fear, we don't have to dig so deep. But it's amazing knowing that we got together. We combined our forces really as one, and we made it.
And two years is a long time ago. It's a new year, new team, new golf course, new mindset and I'm really excited for this week to begin.
Q. Really for anybody, in between all the fun, I'm sure you guys have gotten at least some looks at the golf course. The rain has obviously taken some of the firmness out of the fairways for now. But what are your guys' impressions? And what kind of player, and what kind of play will ultimately mean success for you guys this weekend?
MICHELLE WIE: We played a couple rounds, obviously not as much as we want with the rain and the storms. But it's a great golf course. It's a great match-play golf course.
First hole potentially drivable. And you have a lot of par-5s and a lot of par-3s. And depending if we're going to play up-tees or not -- there's a lot of birdie opportunities. And then you make the back nine, it's a lot of tougher holes, longer holes. It's a great mix of golf holes. I think it's going to be great for match play.
LIZETTE SALAS: I just think it's a good golf course for a player that's wearing red, white and blue. That's pretty much it.
ANGEL YIN: If you hit it long you have an advantage.
LIZETTE SALAS: That's you.
ANGEL YIN: Speaking for myself right now.
MICHELLE WIE: She hits it really far, guys.
DANIELLE KANG: Angel outdrives me by a solid 80 yards average.
ANGEL YIN: I definitely agree.
LIZETTE SALAS: I'm getting a headache.
DANIELLE KANG: There's definitely an advantage for long players. However I feel also short, wedge players, short-game players definitely also have an edge as well. I don't necessarily think that there's only an edge for long hitters, because the greens are very tricky.
They're firm. They're rolling well. So whoever is a good putter, good wedges and all the par-5s, even if you don't hit it long you can still knock it close in a lot of par 4s and par-5s.
ANGEL YIN: I agree. Par-5s I can always reach it in two, not all of them but most of them. If you land on it short side, you have to have a good short game to get it up and down.
DANIELLE KANG: (Indiscernible) two par 4s in one. That counts. I think overall you have to play good golf and it just tests -- it's a good golf game test. You have to hit fairways. You gotta hit it well.
Q. Michelle, first, can you just give us the reaction to Suzann not playing and just kind of what the reaction for the whole team, for the Americans? And second, could you just describe Angel's game for us and what's impressive about it?
MICHELLE WIE: I think it made me really sad. I don't remember a Solheim without Suzann in it. She's always been such a big part of the European team. I remember a couple matches against her, and her and I being really good friends always.
I was really looking forward to it. It was always those matches that you knew that things are going to get intense. Things are going to be really fun. And I feel for her. You never want to see a competitor not be able to play because of an injury. And definitely my heart goes out to her.
I saw Beany on the putting green and I saw her putting, and I go, you get your practice in. And it's going to be good to have her on the team. But definitely my heart goes out to Suzann because I know what it feels like to pull out and it's going to be weird not having her.
And question on Angel's game. She hits it really far. Like there were some holes where, like, there's one hole, dogleg right, and it looked like she completely sprayed it right, but she purposely hit it there because she hits it so long that she just carried everything. We got down there, that is in the middle of the fairway just 100 yards in front of me.
But I played with her a couple of times this year. We played against each other in Lorena. She's a great player.
She's very solid. Hits the ball really far. Still has control, though. And great putter. So when I found out she was the captain's pick I was really excited. And yeah, she's a great girl out there. She's got a good head on her shoulders.
ANGEL YIN: Thank you.
Q. Is she the longest player that you've seen on tour? Or how does she compare to you at your height and length?
MICHELLE WIE: I think back in the day, I don't know --
ANGEL YIN: Back in the day.
MICHELLE WIE: Like back in the day, like.
ANGEL YIN: Back in the day.
MICHELLE WIE: You were probably, like, five.
DANIELLE KANG: She hits it far.
MICHELLE WIE: I used to hit it really far.
DANIELLE KANG: She hits it far.
ANGEL YIN: Just accept reality; I hit it far.
MICHELLE WIE: She hits it really far. But I think, back in the day, I don't know, on a good day I definitely could have gotten her. We'll never know because it was back in the day. But I feel back in the day I definitely got her. Now that I think about it, I definitely got her back in the day.
ANGEL YIN: Thank you. Back in the day. Back in the day. Doesn't mean anything now.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, but you'll never know.
Q. Danielle and Angel, just as rookies, can you describe what the week has been like so far and what you've been most looking forward to with this experience?
ANGEL YIN: I'm looking forward to our teamwork, how our team comes together during the tournament and how we rally. Just the team spirit.
DANIELLE KANG: Can you repeat the question?
Q. What's the week been like for you so far as a rookie and what about this experience were you most looking forward to?
DANIELLE KANG: So, so far as a rookie, nothing's been too crazy, to be honest. And getting all the cool stuff is really awesome. I'm getting a lot of great gear every day. There's like -- I don't know, every time I open the door there's a present outside. It's really cool. It's like Christmas every day.
Q. What are some of the cool things you've gotten?
DANIELLE KANG: Bags, shoes, clothes.
ANGEL YIN: I got socks.
DANIELLE KANG: I didn't get any socks.
ANGEL YIN: I got socks.
DANIELLE KANG: Well, I didn't get any.
ANGEL YIN: You've got too many already.
DANIELLE KANG: It's definitely exciting to be here. What I'm looking forward to is the vibe that I get that everyone talks about that experience that they have at Solheim -- the first-tee experience, the fan vibe, everything that's supposedly really amazing about Solheim. I haven't experienced it, so I'm really excited to be part of it when the tournament starts.
I can't wait for the singing to happen because I haven't heard any songs yet. I can't wait for that to happen for me to experience what everyone talks about.
ANGEL YIN: When we tee off, I can't wait. On Friday.
DANIELLE KANG: I want to hear what people are talking about. Like Lizette said that she was -- did you say you cried? You cried.
LIZETTE SALAS: I cried.
ANGEL YIN: She cried on the spot. Did you throw up?
DANIELLE KANG: I didn't throw up.
ANGEL YIN: Somebody threw up. And then I want to know what that feels like, because that differentiates between regular tournaments versus Solheim Cup. So, yeah, my friends have been waiting for me to be on here, and I'm finally here. Sorry for the long wait. Sorry. We're here.
Q. With those expected record-breaking crowds, for the two rookies, how do you even try and simulate those nerves going into this tournament? And what do you think that is going to feel like when you do step into the first tee with the amphitheater around it?
DANIELLE KANG: Honestly for me, the bigger, the better. I want as many people out here as possible. I wish the LPGA would get that record-breaking every day at every event. I even Googled what the Waste Management gets. It was over 200,000 people in a day. I hope we get there one day. Fingers crossed. But I'm excited.
ANGEL YIN: Honestly, people ask me, what are you going to feel? I mean, I don't know. Because right now there's not as many people on the first tee. There's people. We're practicing. When we see people in the bleachers we make them scream. We try to get that feeling.
But when we're on the first tee, it's going to be completely different. After Friday, I'll tell you. If you find me, I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I feel.
DANIELLE KANG: Find you?
ANGEL YIN: After the round.
DANIELLE KANG: She'll be here.
LIZETTE SALAS: Oh, my God.
Q. Lizette, are you in charge of keeping them out of trouble?
LIZETTE SALAS: Clearly not.
Q. Seriously, though, what has the pod been like to be a part of it. Seems like you guys are having a lot of fun. Seems like an instant connection. What's the pod been like?
LIZETTE SALAS: It's been great. We've all had friendships outside LPGA. I've known Angel since, dang, since you were like 12. She used to come and practice at my golf course and I used to see her. And now we're on the same Solheim Cup.
It's been an instant connection. And even on the golf course, it's been really comforting to know that we can rely on each other and we complement each other's game. We know each other's game even though we've only been playing for a couple of days.
So I told the rookies, I said, we just want you to be the most comfortable, the most confident for you guys. Michelle and I have already gone through our rookie years and we know what it's like, and we want to give them the best experience possible.
Q. Typically golfers don't look at the leaderboard. You guys focus on the next shot and then see how it turned out. During the Solheim Cup, do you look at the leaderboard? Are you checking out to see how the rest of the squad is doing?
MICHELLE WIE: It's the same as other tournaments. There's a lot of factors when you look at the leaderboard. I mean, there's a lot of factors that you can't control. I mean, obviously you kind of have a look at it and see how the team is standing and whatnot.
But the only thing you focus on is your next shot. Because that is the only thing you can do. You can control. Everything else is out of your control. You can't play your other team matches. The only thing can you do is focus on your next shot and try to win your match.
I think I'll watch a little bit just to see, but same as other tournaments, I just watch just because I'm curious, but I'm just trying to play my own shot and win my own match.
DANIELLE KANG: I think it goes with all players, as when you're playing golf, any other tournaments, like I said before, I'm a leaderboard watcher. No matter what position I am, I want to know where the cuts at, I want to know where the leader is at.
That's just how I play. So, yeah, I will definitely be watching the scoreboard. I want to know who is up and who is down. That's just how I usually, normally play. For me I don't think it will change.
ANGEL YIN: I don't think I'll be looking at the leaderboard, because it doesn't really make much of a difference. You can't go over to their match and help them if they're not doing well. You've just got to go focus on your own match, win that point and go for the next one, just keep playing your own game.
LIZETTE SALAS: I think for me it's a little bit of both. I try to focus on my own game but at the same time we're playing for 11 other players. We're playing for the red, white and blue. So I should be aware of what's going on, and if I need to take it up a notch I'll do my best.
And so on the 2015 Solheim Cup, I definitely looked at that leaderboard, especially when it was all blue at the beginning of Sunday. And when it started turning red I was pretty excited and motivated me to win more holes. So I think it helps me out for sure.
Q. Michelle, at the outset you mentioned how being on this particular team felt really special just because of the unique battle that you had to go through to get back to this point. But on the other hand, it's clearly been an ascending track for you to get here. I mean really consistent play, for the most part. I know the neck tweak. But you've had several months of really confidence-inspiring play. So in that sense, like, is there a different -- you say it feels special -- but do you feel any different going into this week just because there's maybe a different level of confidence about you? Or you just feel more relaxed because of a nice rhythm that you feel like your game's been at?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that this year's been a lot of fun for me. I started this year with a whole new mentality and I made a pact for myself that I was going to make the team, I was going to claw my way up there.
Like I said, I'm extremely proud of myself. With the Solheim, it's always nice to enter the week with confidence just because there's so much riding on it, there's so many nerves, that knowing that you have been playing well definitely calms my nerves a little bit.
But yet there's nothing like the first-tee nerves at Solheim. And just because there's so much riding on it, you're not only representing yourself but your teammates and your country. So it's a truly special week.
Each of the past four has been so amazing. Played under a lot of great captains, and just to be able to play under Juli once again, I think it's going to be another great experience. And with my teammates it's always a great time.
Q. Locally, many people may not understand how the fans are supposed to act at the Solheim Cup. Could somebody describe what kind of atmosphere you want to see when you step up to that first tee?
DANIELLE KANG: I've never played it, but I want it to be loud. Like I want it to be so loud that I can't hear my caddie.
ANGEL YIN: Exactly.
DANIELLE KANG: Or my teammates. I want it to be loud.
ANGEL YIN: I want to hear my caddie.
DANIELLE KANG: I want him to yell at me. I want it to be that loud, that he has to scream at me what the number is.
ANGEL YIN: Yeah, I want to feel the energy.
LIZETTE SALAS: As long as they're saying U.S.A. and red, white and blue and all these U.S.A. chants, I'm fine. As loud as you can get.
We're expecting record breaking fans and I think that's great for women's golf. We're seeing such a great transition with higher purses, more TV time, and it's just the icing on the cake just to get more people, and especially the local communities to come out, even though they're not really aware of how big a Solheim Cup is, just to come out and support women's golf, I think is just a positive in itself. So we're really glad and looking forward to the crowds this week.
Q. You all are talking about how much you're relishing the team aspect of this. Earlier in your lives, did you play on any team sports of other types, and if so what were they?
ANGEL YIN: Junior Solheim.
Q. Outside of golf.
MICHELLE WIE: I played a lot of different sports. I was on the swim team, baseball team, soccer team. I played tennis, as an individual. I did ballet. I did awful at every single one of them.
But I do remember being on a team and being, remember how fun it was. And then golf is very individualistic. You're out there by yourself practicing hours on end. Even when you're playing with friends, you're still competing against them.
So being on this team, it's really fun. I remember playing Curtis Cup when I was younger. And just remember staying up -- I don't really remember the golf from Curtis Cup; I just remember staying out super late. Paula and I were talking about how we used to watch these model shows, and we'd play card games. We decided to pull an all-nighter after we won when we were 13 and Nina, she was 16. And it was the first all-nighter we ever pulled. And we thought it was so cool. And those are the memories that I remember, not the shots that I hit.
I think that's kind of what Juli wants us to -- remember the journey, how we got here, how we got together. And just this week, whether we just want to give it all our, 110 percent, just be there for each other and support each other this week.
Q. Obviously you have entertainment going around with you at all times here with these two in the middle, but what do you guys do for fun outside of the golf course, whether it be killing time at the hotel or passing time in between, this week?
DANIELLE KANG: We don't have time.
ANGEL YIN: No, we don't.
DANIELLE KANG: I haven't had time to literally go to the bathroom.
ANGEL YIN: It's not that bad but --
DANIELLE KANG: I haven't peed since --
ANGEL YIN: Oh, Jesus.
LIZETTE SALAS: Oh, gosh.
ANGEL YIN: We do have a ping-pong tournament tonight.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, we do have a ping-pong tournament.
ANGEL YIN: Yeah.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, caddies and players, a team ping-pong tournament.
ANGEL YIN: I'm going to channel my inner-Asian.
LIZETTE SALAS: Oh, my God.
ANGEL YIN: Is that allowed?
LIZETTE SALAS: You can say whatever you want, Angel.
ANGEL YIN: I can say whatever I want, right?
LIZETTE SALAS: You can say whatever you want.
ANGEL YIN: I'm sorry.
MICHELLE WIE: No, it's been fun, though. We have a team room. We have a team room filled with cornhole, ping-pong tables, I mean, and games like Jenga and all that stuff, not that we really have time.
I think it's been fun. Basically this week is hectic and I think what they're trying to say, let me try to summarize this for you, is it's such a busy week. It's long days on the golf course. It's a lot of things we have to do, so if we're not doing anything we're just putting up our feet up and resting and sleeping as much as we can.
DANIELLE KANG: I think it's good that we don't have time because this is what the fun is about, like, playing in the Solheim, being a part of it, being busy every day, every hour, that's the fun of it. So, I don't mind.
ANGEL YIN: I think it's great.
DANIELLE KANG: I want to be busy.
ANGEL YIN: Every hour is booked. We're busy. We do all that stuff and then we go sleep. So we don't have that much time to think. And then when it's go time we go.
DANIELLE KANG: I asked Lizette (indiscernible) to come get chocolate milk with me. She said, no, she doesn't have the time. It takes 15 minutes.
LIZETTE SALAS: Way to call me out, yeah. That's what she does. She calls me out.
DANIELLE KANG: I'm bitter about it.
LIZETTE SALAS: Yeah, I know.
DANIELLE KANG: I went by myself.
LIZETTE SALAS: Sorry.
Q. Michelle, I'd like you to go way back. What do you remember about your experience at the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, wow. Okay. That was random. John Deere, that was a fun tournament. I remember -- I eagled 17. That I remember. I feel really proud of myself for doing that. It was fun. I really enjoyed it.
Obviously playing the Sony when I was a kid and I had the opportunity to play in a couple of other PGA TOUR events. It was truly super cool. I remember standing on the range and just warming up to the golfers I looked up to my entire life and playing with them. It was awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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