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August 18, 2017

Juli Inkster

Des Moines, Iowa, USA

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome United States captain Juli Inkster into the interview room. Juli, quite a day with your team now leading 5.5 to 2.5, and completing what is the first ever session sweep by an American team this afternoon. How are you feeling and overall on the day?

JULI INKSTER: I thought my team, first of all, let's start with the morning matches. I thought we played really well. I know Stacy and Gerina were really disappointed that they left that last match get away them. But I thought we played well. I thought we competed well.

I kind of switched my lineup a little bit in the afternoon, switching some pairings up a little bit in the afternoon. I thought my afternoon matches, I mean, they played amazing golf, inspired golf.

They played with a lot of pride and a lot of heart. And we got up early -- the first two matches, we got up early. And I think that really helped. I think Lizette birdied the first three holes.

And then we had Kang and Wie, they were kind of hanging tough. So it was a good day. But it's just the first day. And we're really never in the lead on the first day. And so I think we're in kind of unchartered waters right now.

THE MODERATOR: We just gave the pairings out to everybody. Could you talk about what your thoughts are for tomorrow, Saturday's foursomes?

JULI INKSTER: My object is not to play anybody five matches. So I rested Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson today. I'm really glad I threw Gerina and Stacy back out there this afternoon, because I just thought if they had to sit on that all day, they would have not been happy.

So Cristie and Lexi are rested. They're going to go off first. Paula and Austin actually played pretty good today. Just kind of ran into a buzzsaw. So I'm throwing them out there second.

I'm going to play Stacy and Gerina again just because I think they're a good alternate shot -- they shot the lowest score on my team for alternate shot. They just lost.

So I wanted to get them out of the four hole. Those poor guys have been in the four hole the whole time, get them out of there. And that way I could get Danielle Kang a little more rest in the morning and play her last and play her with Michelle Wie.

Lizette wanted to rest in the morning. So I'll play her in the afternoon.

Q. Can you elaborate on Lizette and her contributions today, two points, a big part of the day for you?
JULI INKSTER: You know what, Lizette -- if you look at her stats, she's like my third-best birdie person. She hits -- she's third in fairways hit on the LPGA Tour. She hits a lot of greens.

I mean, she's just -- and she's got heart. And you can't teach that. She wants the ball. She wants to be out there. And, one, I was really happy she qualified so I didn't have to waste a pick on her. But I would have definitely chose her on my team.

Q. Danielle Kang had quite the day as a rookie. One, what was it like to see her tee off while pumping the crowd up on 1, and then to watch her continue her play very well through both rounds today?
JULI INKSTER: I was a little nervous on that whole pumping-the-crowd-up kind of thing. But that's her. She played amazing today.

Every time I watched her, 4- or 5-footers, it was right in the heart. And on these greens, as you know, it's not easy. She played well. She told me she was going to play well. And that's even better when you can back it up.

Q. You said you're trying, if you can, to avoid playing someone all five sessions, but momentum being so important in matches like these, say you get off to a good start tomorrow, Danielle or Lizette produce the goods again in the morning, how will you resist the temptation to throw them back out there in the afternoon?
JULI INKSTER: You know what, I just feel like four rounds is a lot of golf, not physical. All these girls can play 36 holes. There's no doubt. It's more mental.

And I just think the singles are really important. If you can just have a half a day off, I think -- and I think another thing is I think if you can have a half day off, come out and watch golf, come out and watch how your peers are playing, I think you can learn a lot.

But you know what, this thing is so far from over. I know Annika is going to have her group ready to go tomorrow. And they're going to be looking for the broom. So we've got to come out and match their intensity.

Q. Both Kang and Angel, can you just talk about what you thought you'd get before they came to these matches, and did they exceed your expectations?
JULI INKSTER: I think all three of them did. I really liked the way Austin played today. I really liked the way she embraced the crowd.

She didn't get the point, but I still thought that she played well. I think having Lizette with Angel was great for Angel, calming influence. Angel could get up there with the driver and just bomb it. And she knew Lizette would be in the fairway. And for a bomber, that's big to know that your partner is going to be in the fairway and you don't have to worry about it.

And Danielle, you know, she's won two U.S. amateurs. She knows how to play match play. She loves the whole mano y mano thing. She rises to the occasion.

Q. You obviously have trust in Cristie, Lexi both, just in talent and experience. But how important, just with them being first off and then coming back and winning the last two holes to have that first match? I mean, was that a sneaky key to the day, just kind of taking that point that might have been Europe's and at least --
JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah, that was a huge point, a huge point. And then Danielle Kang making that putt right after her, huge. And walking off the 17th green I said, hey, you guys have two more holes. A half a point is huge. Half a point -- and Cristie is reiterating that to me -- half a point, that's all we need, half a point, half a point, that's all we need.

And they make two good shots on 17, which is a tough hole. And then had it set up perfectly with Kerr putting on 18. It was big.

Q. Was Danielle's putt right after that, was that one of the high heart-rate moments for you? We could kind of see cameras, you were pacing all the way back around for like a whole minute --
JULI INKSTER: Oh, my God, I think I only walked, like, half a mile, but I paced about six miles. I'm a pacer. And I don't like a lot of people around me. I like to be by myself. I like -- what?

Q. (Inaudible)?
JULI INKSTER: It does for me. I like everybody away. I don't like a lot of people in my cart. I just like to be -- and they hit the green on 17, and the other team missed the green and they ended up making par and we 3-point. And I'm, like, oh my God, are you kidding me?

But they're walking down 18 and Danielle says to Lizette "this just means more air time for us." (Laughter). So, you know -- I have to say Lizette made a hell of a chip shot. That's a tough chip shot from that right-hand side. And then Danielle made the putt.

Q. You said you weren't entirely comfortable necessarily with Danielle whipping up the crowd on the first. I'm curious, did she have a conversation with you about it in advance or --
JULI INKSTER: No, that was, I was like, okay, here we go. I mean, I know Danielle and I know Danielle well. And that's the way, she loves it. But I didn't think she'd do it. Personally, I didn't think she would do it.

Q. I saw you singing "Sorry" by Justin Bieber on the first tee, then dancing to "Despacito." Are you a Justin Bieber fan?
JULI INKSTER: Is that bad if I say I like Justin Bieber?

Q. Not at all.
JULI INKSTER: I love the Bruno Mars "Chunky." That's my go-to song.

Q. What did you think of the crowds today?
JULI INKSTER: I thought the crowds were great. And I loved the way everybody wore red today, and I'm sure everybody will wear white tomorrow. We had an unbelievable amount of support out there.

Austin Ernst must have said it 15 times, oh, my God, I can't believe how many people are out here. I would love to play in front of these crowds every week. I'd love to play in front of these crowds. And they were amazing out there.

Q. Did you request that Bruno Mars song?
JULI INKSTER: I did. I'm going to get it tomorrow.

Q. So on Tuesday you mentioned that you looked at your four-ball and foursome history and concluded that the Americans equally suck at both. What was it about today, then, what was the secret to today?
JULI INKSTER: Brittany Lang comes up to me after she won today, and I said, way to go, B Lang, that was great. You got your captain a point. She goes, yeah, you inspired me when you said we both suck equally at best ball and alternate shot. (Laughter) But you have to see -- you look at our past history, we're not very good. And I've looked at all of it. I've looked at all of it. And we aren't.

But today we were amazing. Even though we lost in the morning, we still played very well. And I told them that. I said, you guys, we played well. We played great. We made a few mistakes. Let's clean that up. And we'll be fine.

Q. I noticed that Michelle Wie wore the wrong outfit this afternoon. It's always something, isn't it?
JULI INKSTER: Does that shock you? (Laughter). No, no, it didn't shock me at all either. But you know what, I'm kind of in that little same boat, too. I usually wear the wrong hat or something.

Q. You mentioned that you thought Annika would be out there looking with a broom tomorrow. What do you tell your players, because obviously it's pretty hard to be better than 4-0?
JULI INKSTER: I'll tell them, but I think they know that this is a distance run. It's a marathon. It's not a sprint. We have to do the work. We have to do the process. We gotta go out there, and 36 holes, we got 8 points out there tomorrow. That's a lot of points and we need to get a lot of those. And that's what I'm going to tell them.

I know Annika. Annika has some good pairings out there tomorrow. But I also have some good pairings. So we're going to have to match up. We're going to have to play some good golf. The golf course is playing phenomenal. I think it's playing tough. The greens are tough. So it will be fun.

Q. Following up with that, you've said for months I know coming out to Des Moines that playable but penal was what you wanted, especially in the rough. The rough, even just walking through it, it is really gnarly in some places. Is that up to the standard that you want it?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I really thought our players drove the ball well today. Even our long hitters drove it well today. You can't play this golf course from the rough. You gotta play it from the fairway.

And even if you play it from the fairway, it's still tough. So we have to consciously and consistently get that ball on the fairway off the tee.


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