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August 27, 2005

Nancy Lopez


PAUL ROVNAK: We're joined by Nancy Lopez, Captain of the Solheim Cup team coming up in about a week and a half.

You have a lot of interesting things coming up today and tomorrow with the announcement of your team, making your team captain selections. Talk about your thought process for the next few days.

NANCY LOPEZ: It's a very difficult decision to make because I've been with 15 players that the 10 that have been on the point, and then five that are fighting to get into the Top 10, or at least get selected. It just becomes very difficult, especially when you become very good friends with them and become very attached.

You have to look at how they are playing, how they're playing now and how they're playing going into the Solheim Cup. It is a tough decision. I look at stats a little bit. Stats are important. But also consistency, how they play, experience, and how they are as team members, how they are as a team player.

There are a lot of things involved in the decision, not just the way they're playing, because I think any player that I pick will help this team win. I don't think I can go wrong with any of the choices I make.

Q. How much deliberating do you have left in front of you. Have you narrowed it down pretty closely?

NANCY LOPEZ: I've narrowed it down a little bit more. The last couple of weeks have been a lot of thinking and debating and looking at a lot of different things. I definitely think I'm closer to a decision, for sure. Coming into here, you know, I was probably even less sure of what I was going to do, but as the days have gone on, I've become a little bit more sure of which way I'm leaning. But I will have to decide that probably tonight.

Q. You say you weigh all those factors? Do you have like a calculated way of weighing those factors, experience versus playing well, maybe a ranking?

NANCY LOPEZ: I think I know the players pretty well. I've watched them play a lot of golf this year, and especially doing Golf Channel, I've been able to watch a lot of golf. I think sometimes you have to go with gut feeling about what you feel about a player, how she'll perform. But I think I know the players well enough. I know their ability, how they react under pressure. I feel like I know all those things. I'm very familiar with them and I've talked about them so much to my husband.

We've really gone over a lot of stats and what they've done this year and how they're playing now. Last year really doesn't come into play, to me, in my decision. The 10 that have earned their points and are on there, they earned their points. And now the two that I pick, I have to look and see what they've done this year, and really especially the last few events.

Like I said, then I have to go with my gut feeling and how I feel about that person and who is going to be best for the team. I've always considered myself a team player myself and I know that you need somebody who is positive, somebody who encourages the other players, doesn't have much I don't want to say not much of an ego, but an ego that she can't go up to somebody and say, I'm sorry you didn't play well or, let's go, let me help you out, what can I do for you. Somebody that gives of themselves that way makes a big point with me in what they have to do if I choose them.

Q. One of the considerations you might make with a pick, would it be if she has played well with somebody that's already on the team in the past in a team match?

NANCY LOPEZ: No, not necessarily. I think it's just experience, who has maybe been there before, who I know can intimidate a little bit. I think that's important in a player. But I definitely look at past Solheim cups, how they performed, how many points they've won.

Because you can win a golf tournament in the LPGA Tour, but there is different pressure playing in the Solheim Cup. And how I think a player will react to that, that will be different.

I just remember the feelings of when I played in the Solheim Cup, the first one, and how I felt, and it's a whole different nervousness. It pretty much choked me to death on the first hole, in the first match I was having, because I was having a tough time with my emotions on that first tee. And after, of course, I got started I was fine, but it was very difficult to get my composure together when I started.

And I had won a lot of tournaments already at that point, so I know the pressure of what the Solheim Cup is. Playing for your country, but also now you're playing in a team event, you've always been in individual events, but playing for your country and knowing that you're trying to beat another country for a cup that's means so much to you, there's tremendous pressure.

Q. You said you may make a decision even tonight. Our leaderboard is so packed, and I realize you don't want to put weight on one tournament, it's based on the last couple of years, and certainly it's heavier for this current year. But if you were to have somebody who had a hot hand yesterday and came out of the pack or tomorrow, and did very well to win it, would that shadow what you might have decided already tonight? Can somebody still make the team who doesn't make it tonight, can they still make it tomorrow?

NANCY LOPEZ: No, I don't think so. I think my decision up to today and what I'm thinking about doesn't come down to the last tournament. I don't think that would change my decision on what I'm feeling and how I'm thinking.

Q. The five that you were thinking about that may be smaller now, can you give us any idea of how far that goes down through the point standings, as far as people that you're looking at?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I've been looking at the top 5 out of the Top 10, so 11 through 15, which would be Delasin, Bowie, Wendy Ward, Beth Daniel, and Stacy Prammanasudh. Those are the five that have been invited to all the dinners in the last couple of months, because they've been there in the last couple of months point wise, dinners and meetings, practice round that we did a couple of weeks ago. Those are the ones I really think would be a pick for sure, those last five.

Q. So your two will come out of that five, or anybody that might get

NANCY LOPEZ: I think probably out of that five.

Q. I'm sorry, I want to clarify. If Wendy would get into the Top 10 and bump Michele out, she would obviously be considered for a pick, if somebody would get bumped out of the Top 10?

NANCY LOPEZ: You mean bump Michele out? I don't think she's going to get bumped out.

Q. Is this difficult for you?


Q. Do you feel that there would be you run the risk that there somebody could have hurt feelings?

NANCY LOPEZ: They will have hurt feelings. I had hurt feelings when I wasn't picked. I had two years where I was right there hoping the captain would pick me and I didn't get picked. Oh, yeah, it hurts a lot. I knew I had the opportunity to be in the Top 10. That was up to me and I didn't make it. Then I was really at the mercy of the captain.

Definitely, it's going to be hard for me because the other three players I've really gotten to know and gotten more attached to them. So it's definitely going to be harder to hurt their feelings than just saying you can't play on the team. It's going to be as much emotion for me as it is for them.

Q. Not to get too technical, but Wendy Ward, if she wins, would be an automatic, and she would bump someone out. Are you sort of saying that if they are already in the Top 10, they're in, in other words, as a Captain's pick?

NANCY LOPEZ: I can't tell you that. This is fun (laughter). Does she have blond hair? Does she have dark hair?

Q. Redman, you thought, wasn't going to get bumped out. That's why I followed up with that.

NANCY LOPEZ: If Wendy won, I believe she would bump Michele Redman out.

Q. Or Laura Diaz?

NANCY LOPEZ: Or Laura Diaz.

Q. I think the situation would be Wendy would have to win, Michele Redman would have to

NANCY LOPEZ: She would have to not make any points.

Q. Michele would have to play extremely well. We haven't figured it out, but Top 5, Top 8 and that could potentially bump Laura Diaz out. A lot of ifs.


Q. In that case, would Laura be considered, since she's been in the Top 10 so long, would she be considered for a pick?

NANCY LOPEZ: She would definitely be considered.

Q. Wendy said yesterday you told her really don't worry, just play your best game, don't really worry about the team. Is that accurate, you guys had a talk about that?

NANCY LOPEZ: I've been trying to encourage all the players. It's the last five that aren't in, because I know it's a pressure time for them and I want them to play their best game and enjoy this time, because they could make it still. It's just like trying to make the cut. You can't try to make the cut. You have to play your own game, one shot at a time and play well.

I encouraged all of them to play the best they could and always give them a hug and tell them go out and play the best you can, and don't worry about anything except you playing well. Just go out and play well for you, not for Solheim Cup, not for anything, just for you. I've tried to do that for all my players, because if they do make the cut, I want them to know I've been backing them through all of this time and they won't feel like they're just all of a sudden getting on the team and, you know, does Nancy really care I'm on this team. I want them all to know that I care whether or not they're on the team.

That's what I try to do more than anything, because I have to say no to somebody, but I don't want to not talk to them if I felt for sure I wasn't going to not pick them. I still wanted them to feel included in what was going on and how I felt about them and to encourage them the best way that I could.

Q. The best piece of advice, if any, that you've gotten from a past captain, what is it?

NANCY LOPEZ: To really go with my gut feeling. I think all of them have said that, because you weigh so many different things. But when it comes down to it, your gut feelings tell you this person is really going to be better for my team. Me, being the captain, who do I mesh with best, too. I know when I tell her I need her to do something, she may be able to do it. I know that's important.

I know the captains I've spoken to, they've all said that. All of them have made that comment, they went with their gut feeling when they chose their two players. And it wasn't necessarily the players that were right there, 11, 12, whatever, they went with what they felt would help the team.

Q. Would you like to see the American captain get more than five picks?

NANCY LOPEZ: No that would be tough. I don't know. I guess it would nice to have five picks. It would be nice to have I know that we don't do it anymore, but they have an alternate, because then you're not leaving somebody else that you might want to be there, at least make them feel that you want them there.

Five picks is tough, to me, because you could go all the way down to 20th or 20 something on the Tour. I mean, I look at Brandie Burton. She would be the one person I would love to pick. She's way down and I think she's a great competitor. But she's been hurt and unfortunately she hasn't been able to get in the Top 10. But she would be one person, yes, if there were five picks, she would be one of my picks, because she's that kind of player. No matter where she is on the money list or in points, she is a great competitor. She would be great as a Solheim team member. I would do something like that if I had five picks maybe.

Q. How much will you be scoreboard watching today? You're going to make the pick tonight. Are there decisions to be made based on what's happening today?

NANCY LOPEZ: Not really. I just want them to play good so they feel good about where they're going.

Q. Do you have an assistant captain?


Q. Who is that?

NANCY LOPEZ: It was Rosie Jones, if her back bothered her and she couldn't play, but it's Donna Caponi.

Q. You mentioned your husband. What is Ray's official title?

NANCY LOPEZ: He is my sounding board, the stat man. Baseball players are into stats. But as Ray said, he said, we've had a lot of ball players that have been hitting 300, but if there's somebody on second base, they can't get them in. So he said sometimes stats go out the window. He's always been the one that tries to make the negative look at it, and the positive, but he tries to be the devil's advocate and makes me really think about what I'm doing, which is good.

Q. So he's a gut feeling kind of manager?


PAUL ROVNAK: Thank you, Nancy.

End of FastScripts.

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