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August 20, 2017
Des Moines, Iowa, USA
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome in the victorious Team USA, (Applause), capturing a 16.5-11.5 victory today to keep the Solheim Cup on U.S. soil. Congratulations. Juli, this is back-to-back Solheim Cup wins for you. Just talk about the emotions today coming in with such a big lead and being able to pull off this big victory.
JULI INKSTER: Well, I think it's always hard when, one, you're the favorites, and, two, you're playing on home soil, and, three, we had such a big lead.
What Lexi did today really showed a lot of heart. And to come from 4-down with an amazing player like Anna, really helped the team, because when she started coming back we started coming back. That's what you want your first player out to do is to set the pace.
And my team played with a lot of heart. They had fun. We played for each other. And you could tell out there today -- I think women's golf really won today. It was amazing golf all week.
THE MODERATOR: Juli, two very different victories from two years ago when you had to come back from so far to this one today. How different does this one feel, and kind of what are the emotions. Now two times becoming the first since Judy Rankin to win two straight.
JULI INKSTER: I have to say Germany -- I'm not a huge math major -- I just never thought we'd ever lose. I know we were way down. But it never ever crossed my mind that we would lose. My team played amazing that day.
And today, it crossed a little bit. (Laughter). No, I knew -- I mean, you never want to get ahead of yourself, and you know you have to go through the process, you have to go through playing each match, but the way my team was playing, I felt pretty confident.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Lizette, you joined a very elite group -- every athlete has always dreamed of having the flag draped over their shoulders after winning a match or a game or a race. What did that feel like to have the flag on you, and what did you say to your family afterwards?
LIZETTE SALAS: Well, it was a complete surprise. My caddie's daughter had it all week. And he wanted to bring it out on 17, because we wanted to end the match there.
And Jodi made that putt, so we had to go to 18. And he was just so confident that we were going to have that victory and get that clinch point.
I feel it was really special. You know, to be from close to the bottom of that list at the end of last year and to now be in this elite group of women, I feel very honored. And I feel blessed to be playing for Juli.
Q. Juli, if you can expand just a little bit, with the quality of the play yesterday and then that first match today on top of that going out, how much of an advertisement for women's golf was that?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I'm a big believer, we don't get what credit we're due. If we play well, the courses are too short. If we don't play well, we're not good enough.
I'm telling you, these ladies behind me -- and even the European team -- are amazing golfers. They play with power. They play with finesse. Their putting -- these greens are tough.
And we had a lot of 11-, 12-unders, 9-unders, 10-unders yesterday, best ball, that's golfing your ball. I hope people are starting to recognize how good they are.
Q. How vital do you think the pod system is to helping you to brilliant victories like this?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I think it's huge because not obviously two years ago because we did the pod system then, but prior to that I honestly didn't feel like we were as close as we are now. And having the pod system, it kind of breaks it down to a small team inside of a team.
And I mean this year, obviously, Gerina, Stacy and B Lang and I were on a pod, and I feel like I'm closer to them than ever. Obviously we've played a lot of practice rounds this week together, just got to know the three of them even more than what I thought I already knew.
And I think just coming together as a small team within a team brings us all together as one big team, and we really played for each other the last two times, the last two Solheims, I think.
JULI INKSTER: People say when you break them down into pods, they don't really communicate with the other eight players. And I think it's the opposite.
I think when you've got small groups like that, I think it's easier to communicate with the other people. And whether it works or not, I just think they learned to play for each other. It's a little easier.
Q. Juli, you gave Lexi a hug early on in the match and had a chat with her. What did you say?
JULI INKSTER: I said, really? (Laughter).
LEXI THOMPSON: Basically. It was code for, really. (Laughter). What are you doing?
JULI INKSTER: You might have to ask her what I said.
I just told her, hey, you know, you're the best player on this team. And you got a ton of holes left. I said, you just gotta keep plugging away. I mean, just keep your head up, keep your emotions in check, take a lot of practice swings and deep breaths and you got this.
All it takes is one hole. And she made a great birdie on the next hole, fifth hole. But to come from 4-down to tie Anna Nordqvist, that's a great feat.
Q. On TV, they said you said don't be afraid to fail. Did you say that?
JULI INKSTER: I might have.
LEXI THOMPSON: I said that?
Q. Someone said that one of -- Nancy or Juli said don't be afraid to fail?
LEXI THOMPSON: No, I didn't hear that one. (Laughter) no, they basically both just said, keep your head up. You can do this. You can birdie six of the next six holes. You can do this. And that's all I needed to hear.
It was a bit of a struggle. I don't really know what was going on my first few holes. But I just tried to stay in it. I had nothing to lose going into that back nine and just went for every pin. And hearing the crowds cheer for me definitely helped in between holes as well.
Q. Danielle, I have a question. I know it's about the team this weekend, but for you individually it's been an amazing month or six weeks, with the U.S. Open and now the Solheim Cup. Could you comment on that?
DANIELLE KANG: KPMG. Yeah, it's just been an amazing few weeks.
I haven't been on the Solheim Cup team obviously, and this is my rookie year. And I couldn't have asked for better teammates and better captain and better Solheim Cup debut.
It has been the most amazing week. And I had so much fun every single day and even watching my teammates tee off, hearing that roar, hearing the chants. And I just can't wait to be back.
Q. Stacy and Cristie, at the end of yesterday, Juli said sometimes you just have to learn how to be a team. They've learned how to be a team. Could you address what you think Juli meant, specifically as it relates to what Juli has shown you about that over the last four years?
JULI INKSTER: This is embarrassing.
STACY LEWIS: Do I have to talk about her while she's right here? You know, Juli said something the other night, I think it was last night, she said something about how just how confident we all seemed.
And I think that's what Juli has brought out in all of us. She never doubted us. She hasn't doubted us in four years. And I just think that confidence, it rubs off on us.
And it was a different feel in the air, I felt like this year. Everybody, we were calm. We knew what to expect. We knew what we were going to do. We knew we were going to go play great golf. And there was never a doubt. And I think a lot of that comes from your captain.
CRISTIE KERR: Juli said something that really hit home for me. And obviously the last time in Germany and now is you play for the person in front of you; you play for the person behind you. And it is not about your individual records. It's for the team. And I mean, it's amazing how hard you can pull for each other when you have that mentality.
JULI INKSTER: Good answer.
Q. Angel, we heard a lot from you about the influence that your pod had on keeping you -- and that you had on them and keeping it loose and relaxed atmosphere for the whole week. I'm curious from your standpoint, what did you think your experience with having Juli as a captain was like? Your age, if nothing else, has you at a point to where you've known Juli as a figure who has been this presence in American women's golf, but now she's this leader that has introduced you to this --
ANGEL YIN: Can I stop you really quick. Can you shorten that? (Laughter) I'm sorry, just whoa, whoa, whoa.
JULI INKSTER: Welcome to my world.
ANGEL YIN: I'm 18.
Q. What has Juli being your captain meant to you?
ANGEL YIN: Thank you. I mean, it means a lot, because, well, since I've played golf I know who she was. She played great, won a lot, has a lot of passion, plays with a lot of heart.
So for her to be my captain when I'm down she comes over; she'll just pop out of nowhere and be, like: You got this. It pumped me up. It was a good week. A lot of hand gestures.
Q. Juli, were you nervous at all today?
JULI INKSTER: Yes. Yes. I mean, yes. I mean, how can you not be nervous? The problem is 18 holes is a lot of golf. You start off at 9:30 and you've got two hours of tee times. And you're just watching the board, watching the board, watching the board, watching the board. And it was just nerve-racking. I felt like I had no control over anything.
Then once I got on the golf course and started to be able to talk to the girls and roll up to the girls, I felt a lot better. But that two hours on the tee, it was no fun.
UNIDENTIFIED GOLFER: Your dancing was awesome.
JULI INKSTER: I know, but my feet are killing me.
Q. Paula and Lexi, what's it like to win the Solheim Cup or retain it on American soil as maybe as opposed to winning across the pond?
LEXI THOMPSON: It was amazing. Anytime you can win it's an amazing experience. But just to be able to represent your country, it's the highest honor that you can possibly have. But to do it on American soil in front of that amount of fans, it's the best feeling.
But to win it for Juli and all the assistant captains and for the team, I mean, it's just an incredible team. There's nothing like it. Team events are the best. We don't get that opportunity very often in golf. So we definitely cherish that moment.
PAULA CREAMER: Playing for your country, anytime you wear red, white and blue, it's such a cool feeling. But when you're overseas you look over on the sidelines, there's a lot of fans. But it's mainly our families and our husbands or significant others. And when you're here, there's just so many people.
Even if you were down, they just were pulling you right back up and you just wanted to hit good shots for them and your teammates.
But when we go back over to Scotland in two years, it's a different feeling. It's definitely a different vibe. I think that the fans did a great job for both sides. Everybody was very respectful. There was some great golf being played and definitely women's golf won this week for sure.
Q. Juli, at the first tee when the players would come out, you would be waiting, and you'd wrap them in a big hug. Then it almost seemed like you were also saying something to them individually. How important was that moment as far as your captaincy? What were you accomplishing there?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I just wanted -- I said get me a point. (Laughter) I just wanted them to know I was there for them. And I think they knew that. But I'm a hugger. I like to hug. And it's just kind of the way I roll as a captain.
Q. Could a player just tell me, maybe, what that meant to them every day before they went out? What the hug and the words meant?
GERINA PILLER: It's just awesome to have someone like Juli, obviously, as your captain. But to sit there and really hug you, it's very sincere in what she says. And when she speaks, you listen. And there's not one word that she's ever told me that I do not let it sink in.
And for her to sit there on the tee and to have the belief in you to tell you you got this, I believe in you, you're a great player -- I mean, I'm sure every girl up here would agree that she is a freakin' rock star, whether it's a captain, whether it's a friend, whether it's a player.
And I think that's huge for all of us that we look up to her so much that we cherish every moment we have with her and all the words that she gives us, whether it's a kick in the butt or just a hug.
Q. Juli, given your success and how much you enjoy this, how much the players enjoy playing for you, is a third time doing this possible or feasible?
JULI INKSTER: I don't want to go there. I would love to do it, but I think there's other people in line that deserve the chance. But I'll be there. I'll be there with some hugs.
Q. Juli and Kerr, I'd like you both to speak to this. Annika was just in here and said, you know, as good as we played it didn't feel like a loss, even though they got beat worse than any European team since 1996. She said it was just an incredible show for women's golf. Did you feel the same way? And could you speak to what this could possibly do for women's golf?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I mean, yesterday probably could have gone either way. I think, really, our Friday afternoon four-ball was incredible. We came out and played great and swept 'em.
That really set the tone for the whole week. But yesterday afternoon, the four-ball was incredible. This golf course is not easy. And they played exceptional golf.
We just played a little better. I think we were a little deeper. I played everybody at least three times. And I think that really helps for the confidence of the team.
Q. As compelling as the show was, though, what do you think this will do for the game in general?
JULI INKSTER: You know what, I hope it builds momentum. I mean, I don't know. I just think as women golfers we always get shortchanged and it irks me.
I just think if anybody has kids and has girls, you know, you want to give them an opportunity to do what they want to do and be who they want to be.
And I mean, even from the PGA TOUR down, I just don't think we get really the respect we deserve. And I just think hopefully it goes on and hopefully things start to change, especially in sponsorships.
I mean, I'm going to say it right now, and I probably shouldn't say it because I already said it, but I just don't understand how all these companies get away with supporting PGA TOUR events and not supporting the LPGA.
And it makes me a little upset, because I think we've got a great product. I think we do a lot of things really good. And I think the golf is fantastic. And I think we deserve our due. (Applause).
CRISTIE KERR: I don't know if I can follow that one up.
Q. Either of the Brittanys. We've talked all week about the energy that this crowd has brought, the city really excited for you guys to come. Now that you have finished the Solheim Cup, what are you guys' take away from what the environment was, what you saw from the fans this week?
BRITTANY LANG: This is my fifth Solheim Cup and I've never seen crowds like that. I barely heard that "Ole" song at all. I don't even think they had any fans out there. It was unbelievable. The amount of people and the amount of U.S. fans, it was incredible and just the best fans I've ever seen with the energy, it was so great.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, totally agree. We couldn't do it without them, without the fans, without the volunteers. Anytime I felt like I got down, when I heard a roar from somebody else's group, it really pumped me up.
And they had their face paint on, their outfits on. They really helped us so much. This win, we couldn't have done it without the fans, for sure.
Q. Austin, Angel and Danielle you were in here this week earlier saying you didn't know what to expect from a Solheim Cup. Now that you've experienced one, what can you say about it?
AUSTIN ERNST: I don't know how to explain it now. I can kind of see why no one can really explain what it's like. It's the most fun I've ever had on a golf course, that's for sure. Walking down, especially, especially yesterday, all day yesterday, crowds were huge.
And anytime we made a birdie, it was unbelievable. Whether I made it or whether Paula made it, I've never gotten so jacked up for someone else making a putt. I think I fist pumped more this week than I have my entire life.
PAULA CREAMER: You have bruises.
AUSTIN ERNST: Yeah, I do have a bruise. It's an unbelievable experience. It's something that I want to do again in two years, even more now than before.
ANGEL YIN: Sorry, can you repeat? Amazing. Same answer I gave before I teed off. Before I told you I didn't know what -- hand gestures -- I didn't know what to expect. But it's like what I imagined but crazier, if that helps explain everything.
DANIELLE KANG: Well, it's actually unexplainable, like Austin said. It has been the most incredible week I've ever played professional golf in. And even amateur golf.
We've all had successes, but now I know what the hype was about. Now I know why everyone wants to make this team. And it's something that you need to be part of, that you want to be part of and that you don't want to be missing out on.
And it's unreal, actually, absolutely unreal. And I hope that this is a win for women's golf. And I hope that fans could come out every week like this, because we play like this every week so it's not just this week. And I know my teammates --
BRITTANY LINCICOME: We can be loud every week.
DANIELLE KANG: They can be loud every week. We make birdies every week. We don't just make pars. We got the best woman golfer out here. So it's been unreal with -- playing with my teammates and playing for Juli. And it was the best rookie Solheim.
Q. Juli, you didn't hit a shot, but --
JULI INKSTER: Thank God. Yeah.
Q. But you heard all week everybody on this team behind you and next to you talks about the impact that either you've had on how they grew up playing the game, how they look up to you now as their captain. Whether you ever captain again or never captain again, you've changed the way that the whole team aspect works by the way everybody says. So what do you hope that you've added to the whole process of being a captain and putting a Solheim Cup team together, that future teams and future captains would be able to emulate? Because it's gone very well.
JULI INKSTER: Well, I have to say, I've been fortunate to play on a lot of Solheim Cup teams. I don't know. I just felt the last couple times I wasn't having any fun. It was a chore.
I just felt like everybody was going in different directions and even though we were a team, were we a team? I don't know. I just felt like the younger times it was so much better, so much easier. Everybody bonded, hung out. I just felt like we were losing that.
And to hear Austin and Danielle and Angel say that they had an amazing time makes me feel great. And it should make Nancy and Wendy and Pat feel great, because that's the experience we want them to have.
We want them to work hard. We want them to be on this team. We want them to, the last five tournaments and they're not in, like Lizette and Michelle worked their ass off to get in.
I don't want somebody to say, well, it's not that great. It's not -- it's a lot of work, and it's not that fun. I want them to say, you know what? It's a friggin' amazing.
And I'm very fortunate that I get to play with these girls a lot. And I know their personalities. And I know they're fun. And I know they enjoy having fun.
And it was my job to bring fun back to the Solheim Cup. And whether we win or lose, you know what? It doesn't matter. It's the memories you create. It's the bonding you create. It's the atmosphere you create.
And our job as captains was to create an atmosphere where they feel loved and they feel welcomed. And whether they get a point or not a point, they're a huge part of this team. And it's been an amazing ride.
And I've learned so much about myself these last four years, because as my team knows, organization is not really one of my skills, but I feel I can be organized in the things I want to be, and I can follow my gut and my heart in a lot of things. And it works out.
Q. Michelle, you're not getting out of here without saying something, too. Is there anything this week that may have stood out for you? And if you want to address playing with Danielle, too, because I know you guys are really good friends. So just maybe a couple of words of how your week was?
MICHELLE WIE: I thought the crowd here in Iowa was truly amazing. Like everyone said, I thought that they were very classy. There's a lot of good golf this week. I thought Europe played amazing. And our team just really shined.
I thought our rookies really stood out. They did amazing. There wasn't really a weak link on the team. Everyone got along. Our pods really worked out.
I had so much fun. It was nice having music on the first tee. That was a blast. It was nice that we had the same song every day. I don't know if it was for everyone but I felt like we had our song, and kind of knew what was going to happen. Yeah, back there, the D.J. You were on point.
But also playing with Danielle, it was so much fun. We started the year not being on the team. And we worked our butts off to get on the team because we wanted to play together.
We told Juli we want to play together. She played us twice. That was a lot of fun. And I can't wait for two years from now in Scotland
Q. Gerina, is it fair to say as a team maybe you were remade in Juli's image? And if that's true what does that mean?
GERINA PILLER: That's deep.
JULI INKSTER: I don't know, but it's not good for you. (Laughter) No, just drop the mic.
GERINA PILLER: Well, playing as a team, I don't know if this answers your question, but for me I grew up playing team sports. I didn't play golf until 2000. That's kind of all I knew was playing for a team.
I knew it was my responsibility in Germany to let the team know kind of what it means to play as a team. And I've always said volleyball was, like, my number one love.
And obviously I'm 5'6" on a good day. And I wasn't going to go anywhere in volleyball. So I just know once I stepped on the court with any of the girls on my team, whether I would be caught dead with them in public or not, I know if we had the same jersey on, I had their back and they had mine.
And I think that's what our team has done the last two years. They've really gotten it. They really have let their guard down, been vulnerable to other people.
Golf is a very personal sport. It's very individual. And we play against all these girls year in, year out, all year long, compete against them. And so one week out of the year, to come together -- and for me, Stacy has been a huge part of my success in that I think very highly of her.
And for her to offer advice whether it's something as simple as I know I heard from her in a media interview one time that said, I'd love to play with her, she's a great player. Just to hear that little nugget and to hear someone else on the team thinks I'm a great player, that's pretty special.
And Juli is all about team play. And like Cristie said earlier, you play for the girl in front of you; you play for the girl behind you. And I think that has really resonated with us the last two times that we've played in the Solheim Cup.
So I really think our American team is getting what it takes to play for another girl. And it's really hard. It's really hard to play for someone else when all your life you've played for yourself and it's an individual sport unless you've gone to college or you've played other sports.
So for a captain to come out here and try to get 12 girls on the same page, it's pretty difficult. And I think that having the pods has been huge and that kind of narrows it down. But we can't be more thankful for Juli and her assistant captains and what they've done for us, and giving us the confidence and just really have welcomed us and really made us feel like a team. (Applause)
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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